<![CDATA[Colorado Springs Gazette RSS - government]]> http://gazette.com/rss/government Fri, 27 Feb 2015 15:51:44 -0700 Zend_Feed http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss <![CDATA[Colorado moves ahead on medical marijuana crackdown]]> The Associated Press http://gazette.com/colorado-moves-ahead-on-medical-marijuana-crackdown/article/1546952?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/colorado-moves-ahead-on-medical-marijuana-crackdown/article/1546952?custom_click=rss

DENVER — A crackdown on medical pot growers in Colorado passed its first and toughest test in the state Legislature Thursday.

The bill's 5-0 bipartisan approval in the Senate Health & Human Services Committee gives law enforcement and state pot regulators hope that years of unsuccessful attempts to curb unregulated pot growers are nearing an end.

The bill changes rules for caregivers, who in Colorado are people designated to grow medical marijuana on behalf of others.

Colorado has about 3,000 marijuana caregivers but no statewide registry of where they're growing pot. As a result, police have no way to verify claims that growing sites are legal.



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DENVER — A crackdown on medical pot growers in Colorado passed its first and toughest test in the state Legislature Thursday.

The bill's 5-0 bipartisan approval in the Senate Health & Human Services Committee gives law enforcement and state pot regulators hope that years of unsuccessful attempts to curb unregulated pot growers are nearing an end.

The bill changes rules for caregivers, who in Colorado are people designated to grow medical marijuana on behalf of others.

Colorado has about 3,000 marijuana caregivers but no statewide registry of where they're growing pot. As a result, police have no way to verify claims that growing sites are legal.

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Fri, 27 Feb 2015 15:12:35 -0700
<![CDATA[Ballot Countdown: Colorado Springs candidate events kick off busy March]]> BY MONICA MENDOZA MONICA.MENDOZA@GAZETTE.COM - http://gazette.com/ballot-countdown-colorado-springs-candidate-events-kick-off-busy-march/article/1546894?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/ballot-countdown-colorado-springs-candidate-events-kick-off-busy-march/article/1546894?custom_click=rss

Round table about seniors' issues

Mayoral candidate Mary Lou Makepeace will host the third in a series of five round table discussions from 10 to 11 a.m. Tuesday at The Center at Cordera, 9208 Grand Cordera Parkway.

The discussion will focus on issues important to seniors including housing and transportation, home care and lifelong learning.

Panelists include: Jason Reever, executive director of The Center at Cordera, Pat Ellis, executive director of Silver Key, Gregg Coopman, vice president of Right at Home Senior Care and Vicki Heffner, executive director of The Pillar Institute for Life Long Learning.

The event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited.



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Round table about seniors' issues

Mayoral candidate Mary Lou Makepeace will host the third in a series of five round table discussions from 10 to 11 a.m. Tuesday at The Center at Cordera, 9208 Grand Cordera Parkway.

The discussion will focus on issues important to seniors including housing and transportation, home care and lifelong learning.

Panelists include: Jason Reever, executive director of The Center at Cordera, Pat Ellis, executive director of Silver Key, Gregg Coopman, vice president of Right at Home Senior Care and Vicki Heffner, executive director of The Pillar Institute for Life Long Learning.

The event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited.

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Thu, 26 Feb 2015 21:52:50 -0700
<![CDATA[US to spend $57 million more on stream damage from '13 flood]]> The Associated Press http://gazette.com/us-to-spend-57-million-more-on-stream-damage-from-13-flood/article/1546960?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/us-to-spend-57-million-more-on-stream-damage-from-13-flood/article/1546960?custom_click=rss

DENVER — The U.S. Agriculture Department said Thursday it will spend another $57 million on recovery work on Colorado rivers and streams that were damaged by the 2013 flood.

Most of the work will be done in Boulder, El Paso and Larimer counties, along with other projects in Jefferson, Morgan and Weld counties, officials said.

Projects can include shoring up eroded banks, removing debris and reseeding hillsides with trees and other vegetation, said Jason Weller, chief of the National Resources Conservation Service, part of the Agriculture Department. Work can be done on public or private land if requested by a state or local government agency, he said.



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DENVER — The U.S. Agriculture Department said Thursday it will spend another $57 million on recovery work on Colorado rivers and streams that were damaged by the 2013 flood.

Most of the work will be done in Boulder, El Paso and Larimer counties, along with other projects in Jefferson, Morgan and Weld counties, officials said.

Projects can include shoring up eroded banks, removing debris and reseeding hillsides with trees and other vegetation, said Jason Weller, chief of the National Resources Conservation Service, part of the Agriculture Department. Work can be done on public or private land if requested by a state or local government agency, he said.

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Thu, 26 Feb 2015 19:47:29 -0700
<![CDATA[Group backs off plan to put fracking ban on Colorado ballot]]> By Dan Elliott, Associated Press http://gazette.com/group-backs-off-plan-to-put-fracking-ban-on-colorado-ballot/article/1546944?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/group-backs-off-plan-to-put-fracking-ban-on-colorado-ballot/article/1546944?custom_click=rss

DENVER — An activist group on Thursday backed off its earlier announcement that it would to try to get a statewide ban on hydraulic fracturing on the Colorado ballot and said it would instead try to persuade Gov. John Hickenlooper to halt the practice.

Karen Dike of Coloradans Against Fracking said the group has not ruled out a campaign to put a ban on the 2016 ballot if the governor doesn't act.

"He should do the right thing and protect Colorado citizens, but if he doesn't, we'll look at other ways to achieve our goal, and our goal is to ban fracking in the state of Colorado," she said.



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DENVER — An activist group on Thursday backed off its earlier announcement that it would to try to get a statewide ban on hydraulic fracturing on the Colorado ballot and said it would instead try to persuade Gov. John Hickenlooper to halt the practice.

Karen Dike of Coloradans Against Fracking said the group has not ruled out a campaign to put a ban on the 2016 ballot if the governor doesn't act.

"He should do the right thing and protect Colorado citizens, but if he doesn't, we'll look at other ways to achieve our goal, and our goal is to ban fracking in the state of Colorado," she said.

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Thu, 26 Feb 2015 14:37:45 -0700
<![CDATA[Lee, Merrifield bills applauded by Colorado Springs residents]]> By BILLIE STANTON ANLEU billie.stantonanleu@gazette.com - http://gazette.com/lee-merrifield-bills-applauded-by-colorado-springs-residents/article/1546682?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/lee-merrifield-bills-applauded-by-colorado-springs-residents/article/1546682?custom_click=rss

Bills to radically reduce standardized testing and increase restorative justice for juveniles got a warm reception from about 50 citizens who braved a snowy Saturday morning to hear from state Rep. Pete Lee and state Sen. Michael Merrifield.

The people gathered at Penrose Library applauded several times as the Colorado Springs Democrats outlined their efforts.

Particularly popular was Merrifield's Senate Bill 78, which would slash standardized testing in Colorado public schools.

It would require the state Board of Education to seek a federal waiver so only one test each would be administered in elementary school and in middle school. The ACT would be the sole test in high school.



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Bills to radically reduce standardized testing and increase restorative justice for juveniles got a warm reception from about 50 citizens who braved a snowy Saturday morning to hear from state Rep. Pete Lee and state Sen. Michael Merrifield.

The people gathered at Penrose Library applauded several times as the Colorado Springs Democrats outlined their efforts.

Particularly popular was Merrifield's Senate Bill 78, which would slash standardized testing in Colorado public schools.

It would require the state Board of Education to seek a federal waiver so only one test each would be administered in elementary school and in middle school. The ACT would be the sole test in high school.

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Thu, 26 Feb 2015 12:18:45 -0700
<![CDATA[Colorado's most controversial marijuana-related bill gets test Thursday]]> Associated Press http://gazette.com/colorados-most-controversial-marijuana-related-bill-gets-test-thursday/article/1546922?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/colorados-most-controversial-marijuana-related-bill-gets-test-thursday/article/1546922?custom_click=rss DENVER — Colorado's most controversial marijuana-related bill of the year is up for its first test in the Senate Thursday.

A measure to crack down on medical pot users faces a hearing. The bill would increase oversight on doctors who recommend marijuana for severe pain, the most common ailment on Colorado's medical marijuana registry.

The bill would also increase oversight on caregivers. Those are people authorized to grow medical pot on behalf of patients.

Colorado wants to reduce the number of people using medical marijuana, which is taxed at a fraction of the rate of recreational marijuana.

But previous attempts to crack down on the medical use of pot have run into stiff opposition.



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DENVER — Colorado's most controversial marijuana-related bill of the year is up for its first test in the Senate Thursday.

A measure to crack down on medical pot users faces a hearing. The bill would increase oversight on doctors who recommend marijuana for severe pain, the most common ailment on Colorado's medical marijuana registry.

The bill would also increase oversight on caregivers. Those are people authorized to grow medical pot on behalf of patients.

Colorado wants to reduce the number of people using medical marijuana, which is taxed at a fraction of the rate of recreational marijuana.

But previous attempts to crack down on the medical use of pot have run into stiff opposition.

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Thu, 26 Feb 2015 08:49:49 -0700
<![CDATA[Red-light camera ban passes 1st test in Colorado]]> The Associated Press http://gazette.com/red-light-camera-ban-passes-1st-test-in-colorado/article/1546895?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/red-light-camera-ban-passes-1st-test-in-colorado/article/1546895?custom_click=rss

DENVER — A ban on red-light cameras and speed-van enforcement passed its first test Wednesday in the Colorado Legislature.

But a long afternoon of testimony showed the topic is as divisive as ever. In Colorado, 12 cities use the traffic-enforcement cameras.

State lawmakers have been debating red-light cameras for years, and the question pits lawmakers against police agencies that insist the cameras improve public safety.

"What are we targeting here, public safety or another revenue source?" asked Rep. Dan Coram, R-Montrose.

The question came after hours of testimony from police and pedestrian advocates asking lawmakers not to ban the cameras.



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DENVER — A ban on red-light cameras and speed-van enforcement passed its first test Wednesday in the Colorado Legislature.

But a long afternoon of testimony showed the topic is as divisive as ever. In Colorado, 12 cities use the traffic-enforcement cameras.

State lawmakers have been debating red-light cameras for years, and the question pits lawmakers against police agencies that insist the cameras improve public safety.

"What are we targeting here, public safety or another revenue source?" asked Rep. Dan Coram, R-Montrose.

The question came after hours of testimony from police and pedestrian advocates asking lawmakers not to ban the cameras.

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Wed, 25 Feb 2015 20:32:13 -0700
<![CDATA[Colorado lawmakers consider stricter snow-tire requirements]]> By Ivan Moreno, Associated Press http://gazette.com/colorado-lawmakers-consider-stricter-snow-tire-requirements/article/1546877?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/colorado-lawmakers-consider-stricter-snow-tire-requirements/article/1546877?custom_click=rss

DENVER — Colorado lawmakers are considering requiring snow tires or chains on noncommercial vehicles at all times during winter and spring months.

The bill goes to the core of what's a maddening experience for skiers and other travelers to the mountain resorts who get stuck in traffic for hours because of accidents on Interstate 70.

Democratic Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush, the proposal's sponsor, says road delays and closures are costly to the tourism industry.

The proposal expected to be debated by the full House Thursday means drivers would need to have tires equipped for snow regardless of weather conditions from Nov. 1 to May 15 or face fines if they cause an accident.



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DENVER — Colorado lawmakers are considering requiring snow tires or chains on noncommercial vehicles at all times during winter and spring months.

The bill goes to the core of what's a maddening experience for skiers and other travelers to the mountain resorts who get stuck in traffic for hours because of accidents on Interstate 70.

Democratic Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush, the proposal's sponsor, says road delays and closures are costly to the tourism industry.

The proposal expected to be debated by the full House Thursday means drivers would need to have tires equipped for snow regardless of weather conditions from Nov. 1 to May 15 or face fines if they cause an accident.

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Wed, 25 Feb 2015 15:36:58 -0700
<![CDATA[Colorado House rejects drill-limit penalties]]> The Associated Press http://gazette.com/colorado-house-rejects-drill-limit-penalties/article/1546881?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/colorado-house-rejects-drill-limit-penalties/article/1546881?custom_click=rss

DENVER — Democrats in the Colorado House have rejected a proposal to penalize communities that ban the drilling practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

The vote Wednesday comes as the GOP Senate voted recently in favor of a similar proposal.

The votes show that Republicans and Democrats in the Legislature remain far apart when it comes to local communities limiting or banning fracking.

Lawmakers from both parties are staking out positions in advance of a Friday report from a task force reviewing Colorado's oil and gas regulations.

The task force will recommend that local governments be given a consulting role on some decisions about the location of large oil and gas facilities.



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DENVER — Democrats in the Colorado House have rejected a proposal to penalize communities that ban the drilling practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

The vote Wednesday comes as the GOP Senate voted recently in favor of a similar proposal.

The votes show that Republicans and Democrats in the Legislature remain far apart when it comes to local communities limiting or banning fracking.

Lawmakers from both parties are staking out positions in advance of a Friday report from a task force reviewing Colorado's oil and gas regulations.

The task force will recommend that local governments be given a consulting role on some decisions about the location of large oil and gas facilities.

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Wed, 25 Feb 2015 15:34:53 -0700
<![CDATA[Colorado Springs council, mayoral candidates stress need to end strife]]> BY BILLIE STANTON ANLEU billie.stantonanleu@gazette.com - http://gazette.com/colorado-springs-council-mayoral-candidates-stress-need-to-end-strife/article/1546850?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/colorado-springs-council-mayoral-candidates-stress-need-to-end-strife/article/1546850?custom_click=rss

"Collaboration," "cooperation" and "leadership" were the catchphrases Tuesday night as at-large Colorado Springs City Council and mayoral candidates spoke at the Organization of Westside Neighbors forum.

Eleven of the 13 at-large candidates attended; Vickie Tonkins and Vanessa Bowie did not. Mayoral candidate Lawrence Martinez likewise was missing from that field of six.

One of the first questions posed to five council candidates at the Westside Community Center concerned the city's two strategic plans - one by the mayor, the other from the council. The candidates agreed one plan is preferable.

"They need to be coordinated and relate to one another," said Merv Bennett, the sole council incumbent seeking re-election.



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"Collaboration," "cooperation" and "leadership" were the catchphrases Tuesday night as at-large Colorado Springs City Council and mayoral candidates spoke at the Organization of Westside Neighbors forum.

Eleven of the 13 at-large candidates attended; Vickie Tonkins and Vanessa Bowie did not. Mayoral candidate Lawrence Martinez likewise was missing from that field of six.

One of the first questions posed to five council candidates at the Westside Community Center concerned the city's two strategic plans - one by the mayor, the other from the council. The candidates agreed one plan is preferable.

"They need to be coordinated and relate to one another," said Merv Bennett, the sole council incumbent seeking re-election.

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Wed, 25 Feb 2015 12:51:12 -0700
<![CDATA[Oil-gas panel suggests consulting role for local government]]> The Associated Press http://gazette.com/oil-gas-panel-suggests-consulting-role-for-local-government/article/1546840?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/oil-gas-panel-suggests-consulting-role-for-local-government/article/1546840?custom_click=rss

DENVER — A state task force will recommend that local governments be given a consulting role on some decisions about the location of large oil and gas facilities.

But the panel decided against recommending that cities and counties be allowed to enforce their own rules on the industry.

In its final meeting Tuesday, the task force also rejected proposals to require disclosure of all the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing.

The 21-member panel will submit its final list of recommendations to Gov. John Hickenlooper on Friday

The recommendations also include expanding the staffs of the two state agencies that regulate oil and gas and monitor public health.



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DENVER — A state task force will recommend that local governments be given a consulting role on some decisions about the location of large oil and gas facilities.

But the panel decided against recommending that cities and counties be allowed to enforce their own rules on the industry.

In its final meeting Tuesday, the task force also rejected proposals to require disclosure of all the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing.

The 21-member panel will submit its final list of recommendations to Gov. John Hickenlooper on Friday

The recommendations also include expanding the staffs of the two state agencies that regulate oil and gas and monitor public health.

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Tue, 24 Feb 2015 19:43:26 -0700
<![CDATA[Colorado fracking opponents plan drive to put ban on ballot]]> The Associated Press http://gazette.com/colorado-fracking-opponents-plan-drive-to-put-ban-on-ballot/article/1546834?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/colorado-fracking-opponents-plan-drive-to-put-ban-on-ballot/article/1546834?custom_click=rss

DENVER — Activists said Tuesday they would try to put a measure on the 2016 ballot to ban hydraulic fracturing in Colorado, just as a task force was trying to finish up recommendations that were supposed to help settle disputes over oil and gas development.

The newly formed Coloradans Against Fracking announced the campaign outside a room where the task force was working through the final versions of its suggestions.

The group could begin voting on its final recommendations as early as Tuesday afternoon. Its final report is due to Gov. John Hickenlooper on Friday.

Hickenlooper set up the task force in August in a deal that kept four divisive measures off the November ballot. Two would have restricted drilling,



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DENVER — Activists said Tuesday they would try to put a measure on the 2016 ballot to ban hydraulic fracturing in Colorado, just as a task force was trying to finish up recommendations that were supposed to help settle disputes over oil and gas development.

The newly formed Coloradans Against Fracking announced the campaign outside a room where the task force was working through the final versions of its suggestions.

The group could begin voting on its final recommendations as early as Tuesday afternoon. Its final report is due to Gov. John Hickenlooper on Friday.

Hickenlooper set up the task force in August in a deal that kept four divisive measures off the November ballot. Two would have restricted drilling,

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Tue, 24 Feb 2015 18:27:03 -0700
<![CDATA[Colorado Democrats setting up fight over immigrant licenses]]> The Associated Press http://gazette.com/colorado-democrats-setting-up-fight-over-immigrant-licenses/article/1546835?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/colorado-democrats-setting-up-fight-over-immigrant-licenses/article/1546835?custom_click=rss DENVER — Colorado Democrats added funding Tuesday for a program that lets immigrant drivers get a license regardless of their legal status, setting the stage for a fight with Republican lawmakers who dislike the policy.

The law passed in 2013 when Democrats controlled both statehouse chambers. But Republicans now controlling the Senate have leverage over the program. It's unlikely they could repeal the law outright because Democrats still control the House, but they can exert their power over how the program is funded.

The dispute centers on a request from the state Department of Revenue to be able to use $166,000 for program operations. That money is from fees already collected from immigrants who have paid for the



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DENVER — Colorado Democrats added funding Tuesday for a program that lets immigrant drivers get a license regardless of their legal status, setting the stage for a fight with Republican lawmakers who dislike the policy.

The law passed in 2013 when Democrats controlled both statehouse chambers. But Republicans now controlling the Senate have leverage over the program. It's unlikely they could repeal the law outright because Democrats still control the House, but they can exert their power over how the program is funded.

The dispute centers on a request from the state Department of Revenue to be able to use $166,000 for program operations. That money is from fees already collected from immigrants who have paid for the

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Tue, 24 Feb 2015 18:25:35 -0700
<![CDATA[Temporary powdered-alcohol ban advances in Colorado Senate]]> Associated Press http://gazette.com/temporary-powdered-alcohol-ban-advances-in-colorado-senate/article/1546821?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/temporary-powdered-alcohol-ban-advances-in-colorado-senate/article/1546821?custom_click=rss

DENVER — Grappling with how to regulate powdered alcohol, Colorado lawmakers advanced legislation Tuesday to put the sale of the product on hold before it's in stores.

While the product called Palcohol awaits federal approval, legislators, law enforcement and the service industry have already raised concerns about whether it will make it easier to sneak alcohol into schools, public events, or restaurants and bars.

The product comes in a pouch with powder to which water is added for the equivalent of a shot of vodka or rum.

A Senate committee voted 3-2 Tuesday to temporarily ban Palcohol until there's a state regulatory system for it. The House has already approved the bill.

"What this really is is a



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DENVER — Grappling with how to regulate powdered alcohol, Colorado lawmakers advanced legislation Tuesday to put the sale of the product on hold before it's in stores.

While the product called Palcohol awaits federal approval, legislators, law enforcement and the service industry have already raised concerns about whether it will make it easier to sneak alcohol into schools, public events, or restaurants and bars.

The product comes in a pouch with powder to which water is added for the equivalent of a shot of vodka or rum.

A Senate committee voted 3-2 Tuesday to temporarily ban Palcohol until there's a state regulatory system for it. The House has already approved the bill.

"What this really is is a

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Tue, 24 Feb 2015 18:20:04 -0700
<![CDATA[Government drone limits face rocky future in Colorado]]> The Associated Press http://gazette.com/government-drone-limits-face-rocky-future-in-colorado/article/1546833?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/government-drone-limits-face-rocky-future-in-colorado/article/1546833?custom_click=rss DENVER — A proposal to limit drone surveillance by law enforcement in Colorado appears headed for defeat after a raft of government officials lined up to oppose it Tuesday.

The Senate Judiciary Committee took hours of testimony from opponents of the bill, including representatives from several parts of the administration who indicated a veto would be in the offing if the bill isn't changed.

Senators delayed final action on the bill until Wednesday.

"We're going a little sideways," warned Jay Lindell, speaking on behalf of the state Office of Economic Development and International Trade. He lauded drones' "transformational capability."

"We have not even recognized the full potential of where we can go



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DENVER — A proposal to limit drone surveillance by law enforcement in Colorado appears headed for defeat after a raft of government officials lined up to oppose it Tuesday.

The Senate Judiciary Committee took hours of testimony from opponents of the bill, including representatives from several parts of the administration who indicated a veto would be in the offing if the bill isn't changed.

Senators delayed final action on the bill until Wednesday.

"We're going a little sideways," warned Jay Lindell, speaking on behalf of the state Office of Economic Development and International Trade. He lauded drones' "transformational capability."

"We have not even recognized the full potential of where we can go

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Tue, 24 Feb 2015 18:17:28 -0700