In this episode, we discuss the top 10 issues facing the Colorado legislature in 2017. For this show we reference an article in the Denver Post, “The Top 10 Issues Facing Colorado Lawmakers in the 2017 Session”, published January 8th by Brian Eason and John Frank.
Segment #1 – The Trump Effect
Will legislators try to adopt the style and tone of Donald Trump even though he lost Colorado to Hillary Clinton by 137,000 votes? We think this is a bad idea, but some legislators will not get the hint.
Segment #2 – Fixing Colorado’s Crowded Crumbling Roads
Transportation is going to be an issue that voters want addressed. The big question is if Democrats and Republicans can come together and put something on the ballot this November for voters to approve.
Segment #3 – The 2018 Governor’s Race
What the legislature is able to accomplish or fail to accomplish in the 2017 session will impact the primary and general elections in 2018. However, other than Senator Ray Scott, there are not many players in the legislature that will be running for Governor.
Segment #4 – It’s All About the Budget
The projected state budget is 28 billion dollars and a budget shortfall is projected to be $169 million dollars. This is going to force legislators to prioritize their spending and make touch choices. However, we do not believe voters will really care about the actual nuts and bolts of the budget in the 2018 election.
Segment #5 – Energy vs. the Environment
The ongoing battle between fossil fuels, oil and gas and the environmental lobby continues into 2017. However, with split control of the legislature it is unlikely any anti-fracking or major changes to energy regulations will occur this session. It’s really more about legislators grandstanding for their respective constituents.
Segment #6 – A New Look at Construction Defects Overhaul
This is another ongoing battle between the home building community, defective construction compensation and consumer rights advocates. This debate is really inside baseball that only lobbyists and legislators follow. Housing is a hot issue, but construction defects legislation reform is not going to be on voter’s minds come 2018.
Segment #7 – Addressing the Affordable Housing Crisis
This issue is a big one and will be more and more relevant as we get closer to the 2018 election cycle. The bottom line is housing, either renting or owning a home is more difficult for Coloradans than it ever has been. Governor Hickenlooper has increased funding to fight the increase in the homeless and made this a signature issue of his legacy. We comment on how Republicans would be politically wise to put forth solutions to this problem.
Segment #8 – A New Formula for Funding Classrooms
This is also a hot topic and always will be, funding for public education. The article says behind the scenes there may be some discussion about some new funding for public education, however anything that has involved a massive tax increase has been rejected by Colorado voters. We are eager to learn about any new proposals on this front.
Segment #9 – Hospital Provider Fee
Again, the debate about reclassification of the Hospital Provider Fee so that it does not fall under TABOR limits is in our opinion inside baseball. Voters do not understand or really care about this debate. We discuss the point that this the Hospital Provider Fee is really a debate about setting a new precedent where TABOR would could be weakened.
Segment #10 – Marijuana
This segment discusses the problems created by the legalization of marijuana and how the state is dealing with it. We also discuss the politics of marijuana and how there are stark differences by party affiliation.