GARCO SAGE GROUSE PLAN IGNORED BY FEDS
Glenwood Springs—Garfield County Community Development Director Fred Jarman delivered some discouraging news to the Board of Commissioners today. He says after a recent conversation with Governor Hickenlooper’s appointed sage grouse expert, John Swartout, it appears the Bureau of Land Management paid very little attention to the months-long scientific study of grouse habitat and mapping. Garfield County has been leading the effort to prevent the bird from being listed as endangered or threatened due to the potential severe economic impacts of closing off millions of acres of public land. Jarman says the BLM seems intent on fast-tracking it’s final Draft of the Resource Management Plan Amendment. The county has until May 13th to formulate a rebuttal to the BLM.
STATE LEGISLATURE WORKING FURIOUSLY IN FINAL DAYS OF SESSION
DENVER (AP) – Colorado House Democrats have passed a plan that would prevent future taxpayer refunds to use the money for education and transportation. The booming economy means Colorado is collecting more taxes than it’s allowed to keep. The state constitution mandates refunds when tax collections exceed the rate of inflation of population growth. A bill approved by the House Monday would keep the state under that limit by reclassifying the hospital provider fee, a charge to facilities that the state uses to get a federal match to help with Medicaid costs. The change would mean the fee would not count toward the tax limit, stopping refunds projected to go out in three years. Republicans oppose the plan, which faces long odds in the GOP-led Senate.
DENVER (AP) – Legislation to make Colorado public schools legally liable for student safety awaits the governor’s signature. The state House and Senate agreed Monday on final language in the bill to allow public schools to be sued for negligence in cases of school shootings or other violence. Gov. John Hickenlooper has said he supports the bill, meaning it is likely to become law. The bill is named for Claire Davis, who was killed at Arapahoe High School in 2013. She was shot by a fellow student who then turned the gun on himself. Lawsuits would be limited to $350,000 per victim or $900,000 per incident.