<![CDATA[Colorado Springs Gazette RSS - government]]> http://gazette.com/rss/government Sun, 01 May 2016 00:13:21 -0600 Zend_Feed http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss <![CDATA[El Paso County document shredding event sees huge turnout]]> http://gazette.com/el-paso-county-document-shredding-event-sees-huge-turnout/article/1575147?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/el-paso-county-document-shredding-event-sees-huge-turnout/article/1575147?custom_click=rss

There was an unexpected traffic jam in downtown Colorado Springs on Saturday.

The pileup along Cascade Avenue didn't have to do with construction, a horrible crash or some other inconvenience: These motorists waited in their vehicles for up to an hour or more on purpose. Each vehicle hauled boxes of old documents to be shredded at Saturday's "Letter Rip" event to help prevent identity theft.

But was the wait worth it?

"I hope so," said Todd Boesdorfer, who had been waiting in the line for about an hour and was about 20 vehicles away from the shredder at 1:30 p.m.

"We wanted to get some junk out of the house, old tax returns, four years of our old receipts," he said.

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Sat, 30 Apr 2016 17:41:23 -0600
<![CDATA[Lamborn wants Hickenlooper to testify before Congress about Gitmo prisoners in Colorado]]> http://gazette.com/lamborn-wants-hickenlooper-to-testify-before-congress-about-gitmo-prisoners-in-colorado/article/1575107?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/lamborn-wants-hickenlooper-to-testify-before-congress-about-gitmo-prisoners-in-colorado/article/1575107?custom_click=rss

DENVER - Congressman Doug Lamborn sent a letter to Gov. John Hickenlooper Friday asking the Democrat to testify before Congress about the risks of bringing prisoners detained at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba to the United States, particularly to federal prisons in southern Colorado.

"I applaud your decision to listen to the people of Colorado and oppose any transfer of dangerous terrorists to our state," Lamborn writes. "To better publicize the opposition to such transfers that we have in Colorado, I urge you to testify before Congress regarding the costs, risk and impacts such actions could have on the state of Colorado."

Both Hickenlooper and U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet have said they oppose Guantanamo detainees in

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Sat, 30 Apr 2016 13:12:07 -0600
<![CDATA[Colorado Springs politician once again bucks Republicans]]> http://gazette.com/colorado-springs-politician-once-again-bucks-republicans/article/1575119?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/colorado-springs-politician-once-again-bucks-republicans/article/1575119?custom_click=rss

DENVER - State Rep. Kit Roupe, R-Colorado Springs, was one of five Republicans to vote for a bill Friday that would allow the state to retain millions of dollars that otherwise would have to be returned to voters under the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights.

House Bill 1420 passed 39-26 on Friday and is headed to the Senate, where its success depends on what committee it is assigned to by Senate President Bill Cadman, R-Colorado Springs.

The bill removes from the general fund revenue generated by a fee charged on hospital stays so that money no longer counts toward the TABOR threshold (the point where revenue has grown too fast and money must be returned to taxpayers).

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]]> Fri, 29 Apr 2016 18:10:01 -0600 <![CDATA[Keyser back on the Colorado Republican primary ballot; Blaha, Frazier may challenge disqualifications]]> http://gazette.com/keyser-back-on-the-colorado-republican-primary-ballot-blaha-frazier-may-challenge-disqualifications/article/1575095?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/keyser-back-on-the-colorado-republican-primary-ballot-blaha-frazier-may-challenge-disqualifications/article/1575095?custom_click=rss

DENVER - Jon Keyser will be on the ballot for U.S. Senate, a Denver District Court judge ruled Friday.

Keyser challenged his disqualification Tuesday, hours after learning he failed to make the ballot because he was 86 signatures short in one congressional district, in part because a petition gatherer was deemed not to be a registered Republican. Keyser's attorney presented evidence, including the testimony of the petition gatherer, proving that he is indeed a Republican. The signatures were deemed valid by Judge Elizabeth Starrs on Friday.

"It's a shame for Sen. Michael Bennet that the best days of his campaign will be remembered as the few days he falsely dreamed Jon Keyser was blocked from the ballot," said Matt Connelly,

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]]> Fri, 29 Apr 2016 13:04:31 -0600 <![CDATA[Colorado DA says time-off policies don't apply to him]]> http://gazette.com/colorado-da-says-time-off-policies-dont-apply-to-him/article/1575077?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/colorado-da-says-time-off-policies-dont-apply-to-him/article/1575077?custom_click=rss

DENVER — A Colorado District Attorney is defending his 6 ½ weeks of vacation in 2015, saying he is "a public servant, not a public slave."

The Denver Post reports (http://dpo.st/1UlAYbU ) that 5th Judicial District Attorney Bruce Brown, elected in 2013 and seeking re-election this year, said he isn't required to keep track of how many vacation days he takes.

Through a review of email newsletters that show the DA's weekly schedule, the newspaper found Brown took 33 days off in 2015, 28 days of in 2014 and 19 days off in 2013.

Employees in Brown's district can accrue up to 22 vacation days each year.

Each judicial district handles time off differently for elected officials.

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Fri, 29 Apr 2016 08:28:54 -0600
<![CDATA[Colorado Democrats bring bill to House floor that would let state retain millions in taxpayer refunds]]> http://gazette.com/colorado-democrats-bring-bill-to-house-floor-that-would-let-state-retain-millions-in-taxpayer-refunds/article/1575065?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/colorado-democrats-bring-bill-to-house-floor-that-would-let-state-retain-millions-in-taxpayer-refunds/article/1575065?custom_click=rss

DENVER - After months of political pressure and behind-the-scenes negotiations, Democrats finally brought a bill to the House floor for debate that would let the state retain millions in taxpayer refunds that otherwise would be required under the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights.

House Bill 1420 passed the House of Representatives on a preliminary voice vote with the support of at least two Republicans.

The bill has a Republican sponsor in the Senate, too.

But the governor-backed proposal still has an uphill climb.

Most of the rest of the GOP caucus - including the leader of the Republican-dominated Senate - oppose the measure.

Republicans in the House Thursday didn't hold back on their criticism.

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Thu, 28 Apr 2016 22:46:25 -0600
<![CDATA[2 more Republicans fail to make Colorado primary ballot for U.S. Senate challenge]]> http://gazette.com/2-more-republicans-fail-to-make-colorado-primary-ballot-for-u.s.-senate-challenge/article/1575025?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/2-more-republicans-fail-to-make-colorado-primary-ballot-for-u.s.-senate-challenge/article/1575025?custom_click=rss

DENVER - Two more Republicans have failed to make the U.S. Senate primary ballot, according to Secretary of State's Office officials charged with verifying thousands of signatures turned in on the candidate's ballot petitions.

Colorado Springs businessman Robert Blaha and former Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier learned Thursday afternoon that their signatures were not sufficient.

On Tuesday, Jon Keyser, was informed he had fallen 86 signatures short in a single congressional district of making the June primary ballot. He immediately challenged the decision in Denver District Court and is waiting for a ruling from the judge.

Candidates needed 10,500 signatures, with at least 1,500 from each of Colorado's seven

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Thu, 28 Apr 2016 22:32:28 -0600
<![CDATA[Presidential preference primary would replace caucusing in Colorado if House bill is successful]]> http://gazette.com/presidential-preference-primary-would-replace-caucusing-in-colorado-if-house-bill-is-successful/article/1575061?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/presidential-preference-primary-would-replace-caucusing-in-colorado-if-house-bill-is-successful/article/1575061?custom_click=rss

Colorado would hold a presidential preference primary in 2020 instead of caucusing on the nominee under a bill that passed the state House of Representatives preliminarily Thursday evening.

The bill was introduced with only a few weeks remaining in the 2016 General Assembly in response to discontent about how the March 1 caucuses for Republicans and Democrats were conducted. It passed on second reading Thursday and now heads to the Senate for consideration.

But it is also an insurance policy against a handful of proposed ballot initiatives that would ask voters in November to change Colorado's primary system. Some of those would get rid of caucuses, but some also propose opening up Colorado's primary process so unaffiliated

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Thu, 28 Apr 2016 22:15:09 -0600
<![CDATA[EPA paying $1 million in response costs after mine spill ]]> http://gazette.com/epa-paying-1-million-in-response-costs-after-mine-spill/article/1575037?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/epa-paying-1-million-in-response-costs-after-mine-spill/article/1575037?custom_click=rss

DURANGO — Southwestern Colorado officials are unhappy the Environmental Protection Agency won't pay their county for future water monitoring and other expected expenses related to a mine waste spill the EPA accidentally triggered.

But the EPA said Thursday it has already reimbursed La Plata County more than $200,000 in expenses and has agreed to pay the state for long-term monitoring.

The Durango Herald reports the agency told county officials Wednesday it wouldn't pay $2.4 million the county is seeking for expected future costs including monitoring water and developing response plans.

The EPA said it doesn't cover future expenses under a cooperative agreement the county is proposing. County officials said

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Thu, 28 Apr 2016 18:23:47 -0600
<![CDATA[Under proposed bill, Colorado's municipal courts would be unable to jail someone for failure to pay]]> http://gazette.com/under-proposed-bill-colorados-municipal-courts-would-be-unable-to-jail-someone-for-failure-to-pay/article/1574972?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/under-proposed-bill-colorados-municipal-courts-would-be-unable-to-jail-someone-for-failure-to-pay/article/1574972?custom_click=rss

DENVER - James Fisher, 52, was put on a payment plan of sorts by Aurora Municipal Court to cover two open container violation fines of $364, but when the temporary worker missed payments, warrants were issued for his arrest, despite a 2014 law prohibiting "debtors' prisons."

"What we found universally around the state is that municipal courts found a loophole around the 2014 law and now every payment date is an appearance date, and so they are issuing failure to appear warrants," said Denise Maes, public policy director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado. "They aren't doing anything illegal, but it's in clear violation of the spirit of the 2014 law,"

House Bill 1311 is aimed at closing that loophole said Sen.

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Thu, 28 Apr 2016 09:26:54 -0600
<![CDATA[Congressman: VA hospital on track to stay within new budget]]> http://gazette.com/congressman-va-hospital-on-track-to-stay-within-new-budget/article/1574966?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/congressman-va-hospital-on-track-to-stay-within-new-budget/article/1574966?custom_click=rss

DENVER — Congressman Mike Coffman says a VA hospital under construction in Aurora is on schedule and on track to come in within its current budget of $1.7 billion.

Coffman said Wednesday the work is now fully under the control of the Army Corps of Engineers, a step lawmakers demanded after massive cost overruns.

The current cost estimate is nearly triple the figure the Department of Veterans Affairs gave in 2014. Investigators blamed the overruns on multiple design changes and a decision by VA officials to use a complicated contract process they didn't fully understand.

A renegotiated contract calls for completion of the medical center by January 2018. It will replace an aging hospital in Denver.

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Wed, 27 Apr 2016 17:49:01 -0600
<![CDATA[Proposed Colorado lieutenant governor clears 1st hurdle]]> http://gazette.com/proposed-colorado-lieutenant-governor-clears-1st-hurdle/article/1574952?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/proposed-colorado-lieutenant-governor-clears-1st-hurdle/article/1574952?custom_click=rss

DENVER — The nominee for Colorado's next lieutenant governor sailed through her first legislative test Wednesday when Democratic health care executive Donna Lynne won bipartisan support in her first confirmation hearing.

Lynne told lawmakers she'd work to improve government efficiency and called on Colorado to consider multi-year budgeting, more like the private sector. She said she'd work on improving employment and protecting small hospitals in rural areas, and she vowed that state agencies in the executive branch would do a better job telling lawmakers what they're up to.

The House committee approved Lynne's nomination 6-2. She now awaits confirmation by the full House and then the Senate.

Current Lt. Gov.

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Wed, 27 Apr 2016 15:32:29 -0600
<![CDATA[Illegal marijuana grows concern some Colorado Springs residents]]> http://gazette.com/illegal-marijuana-grows-concern-some-colorado-springs-residents/article/1574898?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/illegal-marijuana-grows-concern-some-colorado-springs-residents/article/1574898?custom_click=rss

Local agencies have said it is difficult to pinpoint illegal marijuana grow operations in residential communities. But people who live near an illegal grow, finding them is no tougher than breathing.

Just follow your nose.

"Everything smells like marijuana, everything tastes like marijuana, my kids go to school and my husband goes to work smelling like marijuana," according to Suzanne Burkle, who said she lives next door to a grow house in Colorado Springs. "When it's in bloom my daughter can't play outside."

"It's really thick," 14-year-old Albert Burkle said of the smell. "When you walk outside it's like you can taste it.

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Wed, 27 Apr 2016 06:43:07 -0600
<![CDATA[House committee approves $8M to create National Cybersecurity Intelligence Center near UCCS]]> http://gazette.com/house-committee-approves-8m-to-create-national-cybersecurity-intelligence-center-near-uccs/article/1574878?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/house-committee-approves-8m-to-create-national-cybersecurity-intelligence-center-near-uccs/article/1574878?custom_click=rss

A committee that holds the purse strings in Colorado approved spending $8 million Tuesday morning to renovate a building in Colorado Springs to house the National Cybersecurity Intelligence Center in Colorado Springs.

The money will predominately be spent renovating a vacant manufacturing plant near the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs that is currently being used as an exposition hall, said Rep. Millie Hamner, D-Dillon, sponsor of the bill.

Hamner said this was the most important bill of the session for her.

"It will put Colorado on the map as far as fighting cyber security threats," Hamner said.

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Tue, 26 Apr 2016 22:37:08 -0600
<![CDATA[Colorado Springs City Council votes to dismiss ethics complaint]]> http://gazette.com/colorado-springs-city-council-votes-to-dismiss-ethics-complaint/article/1574895?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/colorado-springs-city-council-votes-to-dismiss-ethics-complaint/article/1574895?custom_click=rss

The Colorado Springs City Council voted 7-1 Tuesday to dismiss a complaint alleging that Mayor John Suthers, eight council members and other city officials violated the city's ethics codes.

The Independent Ethics Commission found most of the 15 allegations - made by councilwoman Helen Collins and former state Rep. Douglas Bruce last September - to be "frivolous."

Three of the complaints required further investigation and alleged that council president Merv Bennett violated a code of ethics by hiring a law firm to advise the council, city attorney Wynetta Massey gave away confidential information to a local reporter and Massey delayed filing a complaint to influence a recall election to remove Collins from the council.

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Tue, 26 Apr 2016 20:43:12 -0600