John Hickenlooper

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Europe District / Flickr - Creative Commons

Colorado is one of 20 states that let parents use personal belief exemptions, which only require a parent's signature to keep their child from getting some or all of the required immunizations like MMR and whooping cough. Beginning July 2016, parents will have to sign those non-medical exemptions much more frequently under new rules passed by the state's Board of Health.

Bente Birkeland / RMCR

On average students in Colorado classrooms take more than two-dozen assessments before they graduate, in some cases up to four times a year according to the Colorado Education Association. Critics say it actually means less time for overall learning.

A bipartisan measure aimed at reducing the number of tests Colorado public school students take remains in limbo at the state Legislature. The sponsors delayed the first hearing and don't know when it will be rescheduled – if at all.

Jessica "The Hun" Reeder / Flickr - Creative Commons

Boulder and Denver have become hubs for tech start-ups, and the northern Colorado region is dotted with widely respected scientific research institutions. But a new report [.pdf] from Colorado State University takes the idea a bit further, with an agrarian twist.

Economists say the state's Front Range is at the forefront of agricultural innovation.

Bente Birkeland / RMCR

Reaction at the state capitol to work of the Oil and Gas Task Force was decidedly mixed. Members of the governor's own party called the effort a failure, one lawmaker even graded it an "F+."

The proposed recommendations are intended to mitigate the impacts of energy development near communities. While the task force wants local governments to be more involved in developing large drill sites, it stopped short of allowing cities and counties to adopt rules stricter than the state standards.

With the final nine recommendations to hit Governor John Hickenlooper's desk Feb. 27, what are his thoughts on the group's work and the backlash?

Dan Boyce / Inside Energy

After five months of meetings, and coming up with nine recommendations, the work of Governor John Hickenlooper's Oil and Gas Task Force is getting mixed reviews from lawmakers at the state capitol.

Among the critical voices is Democratic Senator Matt Jones of Longmont.

"What they were charged to come up with is strong community protections, they got an F+, they're talking about how it's really a B, it's not," Jones said.

Dan Boyce / Inside Energy

Votes have been tallied on over 50 proposals seeking to reduce conflicts between the public and the oil and gas industry. When it was all said and done, the Governor's Oil and Gas Task Force was able to send nine recommendations along. All passed with the two-thirds majority vote required.

One of the nine attempts to address the task force’s biggest charge -- finding compromise on whether local governments should be given more say when drilling is proposed near residential and urban areas, especially with larger multiwell operations.

Meet Don Brown, Colorado's New Agriculture Commissioner

Feb 23, 2015
Jessica Reeder / Flickr - Creative Commons

Colorado has a new agriculture commissioner: Don Brown, a Yuma County farmer who raises beef cattle and grows corn. Governor John Hickenlooper tapped Brown for the position following the retirement of former commissioner John Salazar.

Dan Boyce / Inside Energy

Eric Ewing once described his family's two acre plot on the rural Northern Colorado plains as heaven on earth. Now however, Ewing's household is surrounded by the unmistakable signs of oil and gas production - a large new processing facility, clusters of wells and tanks, even a recently drilled well 650 feet from his home.

"It feels like I live in a factory now," he said.

Ewing's concerns about noise, air pollution and quality of life impacts are exactly what Governor Hickenlooper's Oil and Gas Task Force is trying to appease. The group was created as part of a deal to avoid a handful of competing oil and gas ballot measures. But, time is running out for the group to submit policy recommendations.

Jim Hill / KUNC

Governor John Hickenlooper has given his annual State of the State Address in front of a joint session of the General Assembly. What were some of the highlights of his annual report on Colorado's prospects? What should we expect in the year ahead?

We asked some of the reporters that work daily in the capitol building for their thoughts.

Grace Hood / KUNC

As jury selection starts for the Aurora Theater Shooting, there's a quiet shift underway in Colorado's mental health crisis services. In 2013, Gov. John Hickenlooper and legislators approved $20 million for a statewide hotline, walk-in stabilization centers, mobile and respite services.

The most visible sign of the change are Colorado's 13 walk-in centers.

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