IN THE NEWS

Senators Rodriguez and Hisey: Sealing more criminal records will give more people a shot at a job.

By Senators Robert Rodriguez and Dennis Hisey / The Colorado Sun

There’s a labor shortage out there. Colorado Clean Slate will open up an underutilized segment of the workforce. Sitting around the dinner table with a warm meal in front of you, it’s hard not to reflect on how incredibly fortunate it is to provide food and a safe home for family and loved ones. For many, however, these fundamental staples are out of reach because of Colorado’s complex and ineffective process for sealing criminal records. Continued…

Catalytic converter theft crackdown: Colorado lawmakers aim to slow surge, provide relief to victims.

By Saja Hindi / Colorado Daily

A proposed bill calls for certifying aftermarket catalytic converters. A few years ago, you might not have known where the catalytic converter on your car was located, let alone what it did. But now, with increasing thefts of these emission-control devices across the country, people have become more aware of them — and their value.

Three candidates face off in one of Colorado’s most competitive legislative districts.

By Faith Miller / Colorado Newsline

Democrats Exum and Avila head to a primary while the Republican Hisey hopes to claim Senate District 11 for GOP:  Senate District 11, which contains the diverse neighborhoods in Southeast Colorado Springs. Long neglected by city planners and developers, the Southeast’s economy has grown in recent years thanks to the advocacy of community leaders and new resources from state and local government. The district also includes new development east of the Colorado Springs Airport, including areas the city recently annexed.

Rash of catalytic converter thefts prompts bipartisan measures at Colorado Capitol.

By Faith Miller / Colorado Newsline

Automakers say best remedy would be to allow aftermarket parts. As thefts of catalytic converters rise in Colorado, state lawmakers are proposing policies they hope will reverse the trend. Catalytic converters, which make a vehicle’s exhaust fumes less polluting, contain precious metals, making them attractive to thieves. But as more and more of the car parts are stolen, and as global supply chains still feel the economic effects of the pandemic, the resulting supply and demand imbalance means it can take weeks to replace a catalytic converter. In the meantime, victims have to scramble to find an alternative means of transportation to work, school or child care.

Prisoner work bill passes Senate, moves to House.

By Nick Wills / Fox31

DENVER (KDVR) — A senate bill achieved near-unanimous approval on Wednesday and aims to help incarcerated Coloradans re-enter society with more ease, all while sidestepping the all too prominent problem of recidivism. SB 22-050 passed the Senate on Wednesday with 31 in favor of the bill, zero in opposition and two abstaining from the vote. This follows the recent passing of the bill through the Senate Judiciary’s Committee of the Whole, which occurred on Feb. 16.

Senate Democrats kills Republican transparency bills on hospital fee, health care savings office.

By Marianne Goodland / Colorado Politics

Two bills designed to promote transparency in health care — something Democrats at the state Capitol have advocated for in the past — both went down to defeat Tuesday in the Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee. Republicans sponsored both bills, and their assignment to the State Affairs committee — aka the “kill committee” — signaled where those bills were headed.

Bill aims to curb catalytic converter theft in Colorado.

By Hannah Metzger / Colorado Newsline

Catalytic converters are exhaust emission control devices found in many lower emission and hybrid vehicles. The converters contain precious metals that are trading at record prices, leading to skyrocketing theft rates nationwide, according to the Catalytic Converter Theft Committee. If passed, Bill 22-009 would aim to curb the thefts by making it illegal to install, sell or advertise any used, recycled or salvaged catalytic converter, unless it is an aftermarket catalytic converter certified for installation and sale by the air quality control commission. The bill would take effect Oct. 31.

As housing costs soar, Colorado leaders will push cities to get denser.

By Alex Burness / Colorado Politics

Lawmakers, suddenly flush with cash, say they hope financial incentives will nudge local governments toward more multi-family housing. Colorado’s housing crisis is now such that even people making above-average salaries are struggling to rent or buy at rates they can afford. State lawmakers appear mostly united on at least one way the state should address this problem: embracing density over sprawl and single-family development.

In the coming legislative session, which begins Jan. 12, lawmakers plan to create incentives for developers and local governments around the state to prioritize dense, multi-family housing as a means of promoting relative affordability in a state where home prices have risen at least 457% in three decades.

These Colorado legislative districts are poised to be the new battlegrounds after redistricting.

By Jesse Paul / The Colorado Sun

The fiercest fights for control of the Colorado House and Senate would no longer be mostly contained to the Denver area. The new Colorado House and Senate maps drawn through the once-in-a-decade redistricting process would shift the state’s legislative battlegrounds.

The maps still need final approval from the Colorado Supreme Court, but if they are adopted fights for control of the General Assembly would likely no longer be mostly contained to the Denver area. For instance, Durango and the San Luis Valley, as well as Loveland and Nederland, would be the heart of competitive districts central to deciding which party is in the Senate majority. In the House, districts in El Paso and Weld counties could be the fiercest battlegrounds. 

Republican lawmakers roll out 44-bill package as part of Commitment to Colorado.

By Marianne Goodland / Colorado Politics

Colorado Politics – Fresh from opening day speeches, Republican lawmakers unveiled a 44-bill package to address affordability, education and public safety, part of the GOP’s Commitment to Colorado program announced last August.

In a news conference Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Chris Holbert of Douglas County outlined some of the proposals addressing “the rising cost of living, skyrocketing crime and failing government-run education system.”

Holbert expressed skepticism at Democrats who say they prioritize affordability — the minority leader said his colleagues from across the political aisle passed numerous fee increases and made things more expensive for Coloradans.

GUEST COLUMN: Unions should support, not exploit their members

By Dennis Hisey / The Gazette

Since March, Colorado Springs and Boulder have experienced the third and fourth deadliest shootings in Colorado’s history. The shooting at a Colorado Springs birthday party last weekend and the Boulder King Soopers shooting in March have left our communities speechless and shattered.

In my nearly two decades of public service as El Paso County Commissioner and State Senator, I have seen community leaders time and time again come together despite their differences to unite after natural disasters and mass shootings.

Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus to focus on education this session.

By Robert Davis / The Center Square

(The Center Square) – Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus to focus on education this session. The Colorado Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus said during a Thursday meeting that it will focus on educating residents about the sporting lifestyle during the 2022 legislative session. 

The caucus, which is the state branch of the national nonprofit advocacy group Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, is led by state Rep. Perry Will, R-New Castle. He was joined by Sen. Dennis Hisey, R-Colorado Springs, and Reps. Barbara McLachlan, D-Durango, and Rep. Edie Hooton, D-Boulder, as well as members from Colorado’s sporting community. 

Hisey said the group is focusing on education this year after seeing urban district Democrats introduce numerous bills restricting gun ownership and certain sporting activities in recent sessions. 

Colorado’s housing crisis touches every inch of the state. Lawmakers hope $400 million will help.

By Moe Clark / Colorado Newsline

A new legislative task force will be the third state-appointed group in a year to tackle affordable housing and homelessness. Colorado’s affordable housing crisis touches every inch of the state, whether it’s rising rents coupled with stagnant wages, limited available affordable units, or unattainable building costs. 

State lawmakers this session set aside $400 million in federal coronavirus relief funds to try to alleviate the growing housing pressure seen across the state. The challenge now will be coming up with solutions that address the unique challenges urban, mountain and rural communities are facing.