Present and past Coloradan lawmakers honored for their trailblazing roles as Hispanic women in legislature

Both a present Coloradan lawmaker and one from the past were honored at the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute Saturday for their trailblazing as Hispanic women in the state’s legislature. House Speaker Crisanta Duran, the state’s top Democratic lawmaker, and Polly Baca, a former state legislator and longtime activist, received the William C. Velazquez Trailblazer Award and the Dr. Henry L. Lacayo Lifetime Achievement Award, respectively. Duran is the first

Electric cars and technology are upending transportation as we know it. But is Colorado prepared?

Ready or not — the electric vehicle revolution is here. That’s the key takeaway from auto manufacturers, that — propelled in part by governmental pressure across the globe to boost fuel efficiency and cut back on pollution — are now investing heavily in electric drivetrains, with one foreign automaker, Volvo, planning to drop out of the gasoline-powered market entirely as soon as next year. One industry forecast from Bloomberg New Energy Finance

Bipartisan curling (kind of): Cory Gardner, Michael Bennet recognize Colorado’s Olympians in goofy video

Colorado’s U.S. Sens. Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet probably should stick to their day jobs. The Republican and Democrat, respectively, teamed up in a goofy video recognizing Colorado’s winter Olympic athletes. In the brief recording, the lawmakers curled (if you can call it that), apparently through the halls Congress. “We’re proud of you,” Gardner said in the video, which notes that Colorado has the most Olympic athletes in PyeongChang of

Leaving a campfire unattended in Colorado grasslands or forests could land you in jail under new measure

Leaving a campfire unattended in Colorado could have more serious consequences under a bill that passed the Democratic-controlled House on Wednesday as lawmakers work to prevent a leading — and preventable — cause of wildfires. House Bill 1051 would change the crime of leaving a campfire unattended in any grasslands or forests from a Class 2 petty offense to a Class 3 misdemeanor. Under current law, violators face a $50 fine.

Dead on arrival: The bills at the Colorado legislature that never stood a chance

They never stood a chance. Dozens of bills introduced at the Colorado statehouse every year were dead on arrival, more of a political statement than a serious attempt to pass legislation. Republicans know that efforts to repeal gun regulations or tighten abortion laws aren’t going to fly with a split legislature and Democratic governor. Democrats know that ambitious efforts to target climate change or expand social welfare programs aren’t going

What does Cory Gardner get for easing the pot siege with Jeff Sessions? “Positive conversations about protecting states’ rights.”

WASHINGTON — The pot siege has all but ended. U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner announced Thursday that he no longer will block more than two dozen appointments tied to the U.S. Department of Justice — a barrier Gardner put in place last month after Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded an Obama-era policy that generally left alone states that had legalized marijuana. Gardner said he took that course after he received undefined

Welcome to The Spot newsletter: Colorado politics (and more) from The Denver Post politics team

Welcome to The Spot, where The Denver Post’s politics team captures what’s happening this week — from the Colorado legislature to Denver city hall, with a stop through the halls of Congress in Washington, D.C. Each Thursday, our reporters and editors will break down what we’ve covered and what to watch for in the days ahead. Let’s get right to it. While the Colorado legislature was again busy dealing with the

Colorado gun-store thieves could face more prison time under bipartisan measure that cleared its first hurdle

Thieves who take guns or ammunition during a burglary in Colorado could face a stiffer prison sentence and heftier fines under a measure that passed a House committee Thursday, with prosecutors, victims of gun violence and lawmakers from both parties backing the legislation. Currently, firearms theft during a second-degree burglary can be a Class 4 felony, which carries a sentence of two to six years in prison. House Bill 1077

Effort to extend Colorado’s statute of limitations for failure to report child abuse fails after opposition from Catholic church, teachers group

An effort to extend Colorado’s statute of limitations for the crime of failing to report child abuse died in a Senate panel Wednesday following opposition from a teacher’s organization and the Catholic Church. The vote for Senate Bill 58 was 3-2 along party lines in the Republican-controlled Senate’s State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee. The legislation would have changed the start of the statute of limitations for failing to report

With ranking Republican’s vote, effort to bolster Colorado’s hobbled immigrant driver’s license program clears first hurdle

State lawmakers advanced a proposal Wednesday that seeks to ease the application logjam of Colorado’s long-hobbled driver’s license program for people living in the U.S. illegally, with a ranking Senate Republican casting the decisive vote. Jerry Sonnenberg, a Sterling Republican and the Senate’s president pro tem, joined two Democrats on the State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee to pass Senate Bill 108 on a 3-2 vote. The measure, which also seeks to simplify

Denver wanted to pursue a supervised injection site for heroin users. Colorado lawmakers told them no.

A Republican-led legislative panel rejected a bipartisan bill Wednesday to allow Denver to create a supervised injection site for drug users, despite pleas from public health experts and relatives of overdose victims. The measure, Senate Bill 40, would have allowed one community in Colorado to create a site where drug users could inject with clean needles under the supervision of staff with medical training who can administer the overdose-antidote naloxone.

Leading GOP state lawmaker said he voted for bill in bid to help fellow Colorado Republican’s re-election effort

A leading GOP state lawmaker who was instrumental in getting before the full Senate a bill to aid rural Colorado communities said the measure advanced only because Grand Junction Sen. Ray Scott thought it would help in his primary race against fellow Republican Rep. Dan Thurlow. Charles Ashby, The Daily SentinelSens. Kerry Donovan, D-Vail, left, and Ray Scott, R-Grand Junction, react on the floor of the Colorado Senate to votes

Colorado lawmaker accused of sexual harassment to step down from a committee chairmanship, but won’t resign

The sexual harassment scandal at the Colorado Capitol escalated Tuesday when a prominent senator stepped down from a committee chairmanship — even as the legislature’s top Republican blasted the outside investigation into the complaint and Democrats introduced legislation to expel the accused lawmaker. State Sen. Randy Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulphur Springs, denied allegations that he slapped and grabbed the buttocks of a legislative aide four times in the 2016 legislative session,

Top GOP lawmaker expects to take action on sexual harassment complaint against Colorado legislator this week

Senate President Kevin Grantham, the top Republican in the Colorado legislature, said Monday he expects to make a decision by the end of the week on whether to discipline a fellow GOP lawmaker after a sexual harassment complaint. The movement follows a week when Grantham faced significant pressure to take action against state Sen. Randy Baumgardner, of Hot Sulphur Springs, who faces a substantiated complaint that he slapped and grabbed the

Colorado House OKs proposal to allow community colleges to offer four-year nursing degrees

A homegrown proposal that would allow Colorado’s community colleges to give students who earn an associate’s degree in nursing the chance to obtain an advanced bachelor’s degree left the House floor Monday with “an enormous amount of momentum,” said Rep. Paul Lundeen, a Republican from Monument who represents portions of El Paso County, where the proposal initiated. On Monday’s third reading, House Bill 1086 passed with 55 votes in favor

From gun-smithing to wind energy and nursing, Colorado’s rural colleges offer low-cost classes and bring competition to CU

From the college president in Sterling who visits dorms rooms to find out why a student bombed on a midterm exam to a packed classroom in Trinidad that teaches the finer points of gun-smithing, education on Colorado’s two-year rural college campuses is done a little differently. Compared to the much larger and more prestigious four-year schools on Colorado’s Front Range, tuition is meager and instruction almost always one-on-one among the

Warnings ignored: Why PERA is barreling toward its second funding crisis in a decade

In a January 2010 letter, three members of the state pension fund’s board of directors sent a stark warning to state lawmakers: Any attempts to water down a proposed reform package could leave the retirement system, which 1 in 10 Coloradans depend on as a replacement for Social Security, in grave financial peril. “To be frank, there is little to no room in this bill for error or modification,” the

Another Colorado lawmaker’s credible sexual harassment complaint emerges, as Democrats mount pressure for top Republican to act

Democrats are ramping up pressure on the top Republican in the Colorado General Assembly to address sexual harassment at the state Capitol after a female lawmaker went public this week with a previously filed complaint against a male colleague, pointing to what she sees as broader inaction on the issue. State Rep. Susan Lontine, D-Denver, filed a complaint in November that state Sen. Larry Crowder, R-Alamosa, pinched her buttocks on

Colorado ended the insurance of a state trooper’s widow days after his death. Lawmakers want to ensure that doesn’t happen again.

For Velma Donahue, the death of her husband, Colorado State Patrol Trooper Cody Donahue, more than a year ago was enough of a nightmare. But when her young daughter became sick days later, before Cody was even buried, everything suddenly became much worse. “I took her to the doctor, I walk in and they say, ‘I’m sorry, you don’t have health insurance any longer,’ ” Velma Donahue recounted Thursday. “There was

GOP state lawmakers vote to withhold funding for commission at center of Colorado baker case before U.S. Supreme Court

Republican members of a powerful budget committee in the legislature on Thursday voted to withhold funding for the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, a move that could be revisited but which quickly stoked political outcry from Democrats and the LGBT community. The commission is at the center of the pending U.S. Supreme Court case involving the refusal of Lakewood baker Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop to make a wedding cake for a