Welcome back 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. This is our second version of this newsletter (you can read last week’s here).
A brief recap of what’s been making headlines:
Congress is on a break this week, but that has not ended the constant stream of political news out of Washington, D.C., and the oval office as the national debate about guns has rekindled following last week’s high school shooting in Florida. That controversy also spread to the Colorado legislature, where the Colorado Civil Rights Commission and sexual harassment are again in the spotlight as well.
In Denver, officials released a five-year housing plan and City Council members approved a big airport contract. In the suburbs, the battle between small airports and development rages on.
Oh, and Russia apparently tried to target Colorado voters during the 2016 election cycle in a big way.
People overflow into the hallway as they wait to enter the room where House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, R-Castle Rock, speaks to the Democratic-controlled House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee at the Colorado State Capitol on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. The committee heard three Republican bills to loosen Colorado gun laws. All were rejected by Democrats.
COLORADO: THE STATEHOUSE & BEYOND
The electric car revolution is here, if you believe the latest industry forecasts. And Colorado is a long way from prepared. We wrote about some of the big policy challenges that Colorado lawmakers aren’t even debating yet. It’s almost state budget season, which means it’s almost time for the perennial fight over film incentives. Grab your popcorn as reporter Brian Eason breaks down the issue. As The Denver Post was first to report, Mike Johnston is first to submit petitions in the governor’s race. His campaign says he set two records: fastest time (36 days) and most signatures without hiring a firm. Republicans revealed the details of the changes they want made to the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the contentious panel at the center of a U.S. Supreme Court Case. We figured out how much the sexual harassment scandal at the Colorado Capitol is costing taxpayers. And it’s a lot of money. Health care is expensive in Colorado. But a new report shows just how costly it is compared to other states. A cyber attack hit the Colorado Department of Transportation, prompting the state to shut down 2,000 computers.
DENVER & THE SUBURBS
The Denver City Council on Tuesday approved a five-year housing strategy — but what was bonkers was a public call for a councilman’s resignation that played out before the meeting officially began. During the public comment session, a woman who had tussled with Paul López on Facebook months ago over Halloween costumes took him to task for a real-life confrontation two weeks ago. It’s more hurry up and wait when it comes to finding out what happens with the University of Colorado A-Line flaggers and the debut of the G-Line to the western suburbs. Reporter John Aguilar continues to follow this issue. Delayed for the better part of a decade for a myriad of reasons, Glendale’s proposed $175 million entertainment and dining district — where you’ll be able to walk around with to-go adult beverages — took a big step forward. The inexorable population growth in metro Denver, and the accompanying rise in home prices, has developers looking at land to build on that might have been off-limits in the past: like in the shadow of the metro area’s many general aviation airports. If you live in Denver and haven’t heard of the Blueprint Denver plan, it’s time to read up. City planners soon will put the finishing touches on maps that could affect development patterns in the fast-growing city for years to come. Sure, voters last fall approved a massive $937 million bond package for Denver. But it takes people to make those projects happen, and this week the City Council approved millions of dollars in spending on an oversight contract and new city staffers.
A jet at Centennial Airport south of Denver last year. The newest front in the push-and-pull over metro Denver’s runaway population growth is landing at the edge of local airports.
D.C. POLITICS FROM A COLORADO PERSPECTIVE
U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Aurora, held a town hall in Greenwood Village on Tuesday night, and guns were the main topic of a contentious conversation. There’s a big shakeup happening at the U.S. Department of the Interior, and there could be Colorado impacts. Colorado is only seven years removed from the last redistricting fight that gave the state its seventh district. Here’s a look at what changes could be made. The father of a Columbine High School shooting victim was among those who met with President Donald Trump on Wednesday about violence at schools.
Darrell Scott, whose daughter Rachel was killed at Columbine, among those meeting now w/ Trump at WH to discuss gun violence. “My heart goes out … to every one of you,” Scott said to relatives of more recent attacks. #copolitics
— Mark K Matthews (@mkmatthews) February 21, 2018
Here are some stories from around the state, region and U.S. we think you should check out:
A bill making its way through the Colorado legislature would let bicyclists ride through intersections without stopping. — The Daily Sentinel Michael Reis was asked to resign by the Longmont Housing Authority’s board last week after a photo of him made its way to a local newspaper. Now he is apologizing. — The Times Call The growing marijuana industry is becoming more energy-efficient, but it still accounts for 4 percent of all electricity use in the city of Denver. — Colorado Public Radio We’ve had a lot of news in Colorado about Russian bots trying to infiltrate our politics. Those trolls were very active after last week’s school shooting in Florida. — The New York Times While Colorado lawmakers in both parties waited mere hours to propose ways to spend the unexpected revenue windfall from federal tax reform, Republican leaders in Georgia have reached a deal to cut income taxes instead. — Atlanta Journal-Constitution Colorado’s sexual harassment scandal gets national attention, and shows why Statehouse interns are especially vulnerable. — Pew In New Mexico, the sole GOP candidate for state treasurer might be out of the race pending a lawsuit. — The New Mexican
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