<![CDATA[Colorado Springs Gazette RSS - government]]> http://gazette.com/rss/government Mon, 08 Feb 2016 10:02:19 -0700 Zend_Feed http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss <![CDATA[Bill would allow more Colorado offices to process IDs, driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants]]> http://gazette.com/bill-would-allow-more-colorado-offices-to-process-ids-drivers-licenses-for-undocumented-immigrants/article/1569494?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/bill-would-allow-more-colorado-offices-to-process-ids-drivers-licenses-for-undocumented-immigrants/article/1569494?custom_click=rss

DENVER - Some have waited months or years for the chance of getting a driver's license through a controversial program that allows undocumented residents of Colorado to obtain state licenses and identification cards.

"At the end of the day we want to see this be an accessible, effective process to ensure that anyone who has taken the time to learn the rules of the road and pays their dues is able to get insured and licensed and becomes a safe part of our highway system," said Rep. Jonathan Singer, D-Longmont.

Singer plans to introduce a bill this week that would allow more offices across the state to process the licenses. The program was passed by Democrats in 2013, and it became law in 2014.

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Sun, 07 Feb 2016 20:44:52 -0700
<![CDATA[Critics of universal health-care proposal give an earful to Colorado Springs-area residents]]> http://gazette.com/critics-of-universal-health-care-proposal-give-an-earful-to-colorado-springs-area-residents/article/1569452?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/critics-of-universal-health-care-proposal-give-an-earful-to-colorado-springs-area-residents/article/1569452?custom_click=rss The fall election might be nine months away, but opponents of a plan to bring universal health care to Colorado aren't wasting time.

Amendment 69, a proposed amendment to the state constitution that will appear on the Nov. 8 ballot, isn't just a misguided effort to introduce a new health-care system in Colorado; it's the Super Bowl of government boondoggles, critics say.

"I want to emphatically state this is a stupendously bad idea," said Matt Coleman, board chairman of the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance.

Coleman and Jonathan Lockwood, executive director of nonprofit opposition group Advancing Colorado, spoke to about two dozen people Saturday morning during a forum at the Fountain Senior Center south of

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Sun, 07 Feb 2016 09:56:18 -0700
<![CDATA['Blatant dishonesty and corruption:' Care delays at Colorado Springs VA clinic spur outrage]]> http://gazette.com/blatant-dishonesty-and-corruption-care-delays-at-colorado-springs-va-clinic-spur-outrage/article/1569438?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/blatant-dishonesty-and-corruption-care-delays-at-colorado-springs-va-clinic-spur-outrage/article/1569438?custom_click=rss

Angry lawmakers are calling for a probe of misconduct at the Department of Veterans Affairs in light of a report that found that hundreds of veterans faced care delays at a Colorado Springs clinic, even as an agency spokesman disputed the findings.

Colorado U.S. Reps. Doug Lamborn and Mike Coffman were joined by House VA committee head Rep. Jeff Miller in calling for a congressional review of the Floyd K. Lindstrom Clinic, where the VA's inspector general found 68 percent of 450 veteran cases reviewed faced delays of more than 30 days for care.

What angered lawmakers the most was the use of phony dates in a scheduling system for some cases that investigators said "made it appear the appointment wait time was less than 30

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Sun, 07 Feb 2016 08:18:51 -0700
<![CDATA[Legislative roundup: Colorado mothers of slain kids push for legislation]]> http://gazette.com/legislative-roundup-colorado-mothers-of-slain-kids-push-for-legislation/article/1569431?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/legislative-roundup-colorado-mothers-of-slain-kids-push-for-legislation/article/1569431?custom_click=rss

The mothers of three children who went missing or were killed in unsolved Colorado cases spoke in favor of a bill last week that would create harsher penalties for those convicted of tampering with dead bodies in an effort to hide evidence.

Elaine Hall, the mother of Dylan Redwine, who went missing when he was 13 years old from his father's house outside of Durango, urged members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to approve Senate Bill 34.

"We continue to search for the rest of Dylan's remains," Hall said, describing how just a few of Dylan's remains were found scattered all over Middle Mountain a few miles from his father's house.

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Sat, 06 Feb 2016 17:45:08 -0700
<![CDATA[Governor gets support for mine spill Superfund listing]]> http://gazette.com/governor-gets-support-for-mine-spill-superfund-listing/article/1569418?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/governor-gets-support-for-mine-spill-superfund-listing/article/1569418?custom_click=rss

DENVER — Gov. John Hickenlooper says he believes there is enough support to get a Superfund listing following the Gold King Mine spill.

The governor met Friday with officials from Durango, Silverton and San Juan County. Opponents have expressed concern it could hurt the image of their communities.

According to the Durango Herald (http://tinyurl.com/gn2uazz ), the governor has until Feb. 29 to meet a deadline to propose the federal designation, which could provide substantial federal help.

On Friday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said a 3 million-gallon spill from the southwestern Colorado gold mine last year may have dumped more than 880,000 pounds of metals into the Animas River.

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Sat, 06 Feb 2016 14:00:56 -0700
<![CDATA[EPA: Traces of contaminant found in Fountain, Security-Widefield water]]> http://gazette.com/epa-traces-of-contaminant-found-in-fountain-security-widefield-water/article/1569402?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/epa-traces-of-contaminant-found-in-fountain-security-widefield-water/article/1569402?custom_click=rss

DENVER — Traces of widely used and potentially harmful chemicals have shown up in three drinking water systems in Colorado, prompting officials to shut down three wells and start looking for the source.

Two compounds once used in nonstick cookware coatings, firefighting foam and other materials were detected in utilities serving about 69,000 people in the city of Fountain and an unincorporated community called Security-Widefield, the federal Environmental Protection Agency said. The communities sit side-by-side on the southern edge of Colorado Springs.

State officials say no health problems in Colorado have been linked to the compounds, called PFOS and PFOA.

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Sat, 06 Feb 2016 11:01:56 -0700
<![CDATA[Colorado considering new child care rules]]> http://gazette.com/colorado-considering-new-child-care-rules/article/1569417?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/colorado-considering-new-child-care-rules/article/1569417?custom_click=rss DENVER — The Colorado Department of Human Services is considering a requirement that social workers examine prior contacts with a child to determine if further investigation is necessary after the deaths of 43 children in Colorado's welfare program.

The change determines when caseworkers must investigate reports of abuse and neglect. The previous rules required that county social workers automatically open an investigation if they receive three reports of child abuse or neglect within two years, and the first two referrals were not investigated.

According to the Denver Post (http://tinyurl.com/6un5tzj), opponents said the proposal is based on opinions instead of solid information.

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Sat, 06 Feb 2016 10:56:04 -0700
<![CDATA[Hickenlooper stresses need to find money for highways in Colorado Springs speech]]> http://gazette.com/hickenlooper-stresses-need-to-find-money-for-highways-in-colorado-springs-speech/article/1569383?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/hickenlooper-stresses-need-to-find-money-for-highways-in-colorado-springs-speech/article/1569383?custom_click=rss

Gov. John Hickenlooper has a solution for Colorado residents who are "fed up" with gridlock on state highways.

Find the money.

Hickenlooper on Friday pointed to the need to widen a clogged stretch of Interstate 25 in a call to legislators to help him find money for highway expansion during a recap of his State-of-the-State Address to a Colorado Springs business group.

He asked lawmakers to back his plan to remove a fee charged to hospitals from the state budget and revenue limits under the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights, which would allow the state to keep more than $200 million that could be spent on highway projects.

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Sat, 06 Feb 2016 07:34:02 -0700
<![CDATA[El Paso commissioners quickly pass ban on crosses on medical marijuana signs]]> http://gazette.com/el-paso-commissioners-quickly-pass-ban-on-crosses-on-medical-marijuana-signs/article/1569276?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/el-paso-commissioners-quickly-pass-ban-on-crosses-on-medical-marijuana-signs/article/1569276?custom_click=rss

Afraid visitors will confuse medical marijuana dispensaries with pharmacies, El Paso County commissioners on Thursday unanimously voted to ban green crosses from dispensary signage.

The resolution, which goes into effect immediately, only applies to dispensaries in non-incorporated parts of the county, and would not require existing facilities to remove their signs right away. But the resolution would require those businesses to change their signs when they renew their licenses, said Lori Seago, the senior assistant county attorney.

The addition to the county's ordinance governing medical marijuana will have a small impact, since only four medical marijuana facilities operate in county jurisdiction.

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Fri, 05 Feb 2016 11:22:49 -0700
<![CDATA[Lamborn: Colorado Springs clinic 'lied and heads need to roll']]> http://gazette.com/lamborn-colorado-springs-clinic-lied-and-heads-need-to-roll/article/1569289?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/lamborn-colorado-springs-clinic-lied-and-heads-need-to-roll/article/1569289?custom_click=rss

Workers at the Colorado Springs Department of Veterans Affairs clinic gave delayed care to hundreds of veterans and in some cases falsified records to make the situation appear better than it was, a report from the VA's internal watchdog found.

The VA had acknowledged long wait times at the clinic, but not to the scope found by the agency's inspector general. Investigators found that 68 percent of veterans appointments they reviewed took more than a month to get care.

"We reviewed 150 referrals for specialty care consults and 300 primary care appointments," the VA's inspector general said in the Thursday report. "Of the 450 consults and appointments, 288 veterans encountered wait times in excess of 30 days.

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Fri, 05 Feb 2016 07:19:55 -0700
<![CDATA[Colorado right-to-die bill approved by House panel]]> http://gazette.com/colorado-right-to-die-bill-approved-by-house-panel/article/1569285?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/colorado-right-to-die-bill-approved-by-house-panel/article/1569285?custom_click=rss

DENVER — Supporters of a Colorado right-to-die bill hope to overcome a defeat in a GOP-led state Senate committee by urging a Democrat-led House panel Thursday to provide a legal option for the terminally ill to end their lives.

Opponents contend the bill would facilitate doctor-assisted suicide, especially with wrong terminal diagnoses, and insist existing hospice and palliative care for the dying is sufficient. They testified in droves Wednesday, and their arguments helped defeat a similar proposal last year.

A Senate committee voted 3-2 along party lines to reject the bill late Wednesday. The bill's sponsors hope to bring it back if it passes in the House.

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Fri, 05 Feb 2016 07:00:41 -0700
<![CDATA[Those who don't shovel snow in Colorado Springs could be cited]]> http://gazette.com/those-who-dont-shovel-snow-in-colorado-springs-could-be-cited/article/1569281?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/those-who-dont-shovel-snow-in-colorado-springs-could-be-cited/article/1569281?custom_click=rss

Another snowstorm and another snow day spent shoveling the sidewalk.

It's a grueling task familiar to Colorado Springs residents. Some love doing it, for safety reasons. Some do it in front of their home and their neighbors' homes.

And some people hate the task, and say they'll clear their walks when the city plows their streets.

Regardless of how residents feel about the age-old bugaboo of sidewalk clearing, Colorado Springs law states they must do it. City ordinance requires that residential sidewalks must be cleared 24 hours after snow has stopped falling or by 5 p.m. of the next business day. Property owners in violation could get a warning or a citation. The city can even clear the sidewalk and bill the homeowner,

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Thu, 04 Feb 2016 20:38:09 -0700
<![CDATA[Colorado right-to-die legislation defeated in Senate hearing]]> http://gazette.com/colorado-right-to-die-legislation-defeated-in-senate-hearing/article/1569249?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/colorado-right-to-die-legislation-defeated-in-senate-hearing/article/1569249?custom_click=rss

Sen. Michael Merrifield's father wished to climb his favorite mountain, sit under a tree near Clear Creek and die peacefully on his own terms.

Instead Merrifield, a Democrat from Colorado Springs, retold the excruciating pain that his father, Kenneth Merrifield, lived through in the final months of his battle with prostate cancer before he died in 2001. Merrifield recounted the story in detail as he explained to members of a Senate committee Wednesday why he is sponsoring a bill making it legal for Colorado doctors to prescribe life-ending drugs to terminally ill patients.

"I watched him panting for breath," Merrifield said, stopping to regain his composure. "Then I told him, I whispered in his ear, that it was OK to go and

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Thu, 04 Feb 2016 08:07:00 -0700
<![CDATA[Colorado group wants ballot measure to make it harder to change state constitution]]> http://gazette.com/colorado-group-wants-ballot-measure-to-make-it-harder-to-change-state-constitution/article/1569202?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/colorado-group-wants-ballot-measure-to-make-it-harder-to-change-state-constitution/article/1569202?custom_click=rss

DENVER - Civic leaders trying to make it harder to amend the Colorado Constitution will ask voters in November to require future petition signatures be gathered in each of the state's 35 Senate districts and that at least 55 percent of voters approve the initiative when it appears on the ballot.

"Our constitution has become a special-interest playground because the bar to amend it is so spectacularly, inexplicably, unthinkingly low," said former state Sen. Greg Brophy, R-Wray, who is backing the five initiative petitions submitted Tuesday to Colorado Legislative Council Staff.

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Wed, 03 Feb 2016 21:10:37 -0700
<![CDATA[Latest Colorado health insurance enrollment surpasses 150,000]]> http://gazette.com/latest-colorado-health-insurance-enrollment-surpasses-150000/article/1569157?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/latest-colorado-health-insurance-enrollment-surpasses-150000/article/1569157?custom_click=rss

Thousands of people rushed to beat Sunday's deadline for purchasing health insurance for 2016, Colorado's exchange reported Tuesday.

The rush of last-minute shoppers helped push the state's exchange, Connect for Health Colorado, to 153,583 enrollments from Nov. 1 through Sunday, according to the exchange. The total was 11,944 more than the 141,639 enrollments recorded during the previous open enrollment period.

"I think there's a lot of satisfaction with the improvements we were able to achieve," said Luke Clarke, an exchange spokesman.

In addition, 25,604 people enrolled in dental coverage - most of whom also purchased medical plans.

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Wed, 03 Feb 2016 06:54:16 -0700