STATE LAWMAKERS BACK TO WORK
DENVER (AP) – It’s going to be a tougher fight than usual for Colorado’s 100 state lawmakers who return to work toda.That’s because the state’s cupboards are bare, with constitutional spending restrictions meaning that politicians won’t have much wiggle room as they jostle to pay for their ideas.Colorado has a Democratic House and a Republican Senate. Right from the start the lawmakers will start jockeying over the state budget. The parties have very different ideas about how to balance the books. Republicans want to issue bonds to pay for highway upgrades. Democrats want to use a legal maneuver to avoid issuing taxpayer refunds.Lawmakers are also expected to debate proposals to boost affordable housing in Colorado. There is also likely to be talk of abortion rights and raising the minimum wage.
ERRANT DUI TESTS INVESTIGATED
DENVER (AP) – State officials are reviewing DUI blood alcohol tests after dozens of tests conducted in the last six months were found to be incorrect. Colorado Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Susan Medina says initial results found in 56 blood tests revealed lower alcohol levels for drivers than when they were retested by an independent laboratory in Boulder. The CBI says there’s no indication people were charged inappropriately based on the erroneous test results. The state agency has conducted about 1,500 DUI blood tests for law enforcement agencies since July 2015. The laboratory notified state authorities of the faulty tests in December. CBI has not revealed the exact cause of the testing discrepancies, but says they have corrected the problem.
DENVER (AP) – Early-season skiers flooded Colorado in late 2015 to take advantage of the snow left by a strong El Nino. But for the rest of the season, room bookings are lagging. Colorado Ski Country USA said that visits to its 21 member resorts were up 10 percent compared with the same period last season. Ski Country president Melanie Mills says the spike is fueled by strong snowfall and buzz about the El Nino weather pattern. But an end-of-November analysis from Denver-based DestiMetrics said bookings for both January and February were down. DestiMetrics analyzes lodging reports from 19 mountain communities in six western states. DestiMetrics director Ralf Garrison says the research group expected strong bookings for those months, calling the data inconsistent with recent history.