12.31.2008

New Laws Effective January 1, 2009

Tomorrow, being January 1, a number of new laws will take effect. These include:

  • An increase in Colorado's minimum wage. Minimum-wage workers will automatically receive a 26-cent pay increase as required by the Colorado Constitution. For more information, see the Colorado Dept. of Labor & Employment's Minimum Wage Fact Sheet.
  • New drunk driving laws. Careful you don't party too hardy tonight, because a new drunk driving law takes effect at midnight, requiring that everyone charged with a DUI be required to install an ignition interlock device in their car, or lose their license for a period of time. The new law states that interlock devices will be required for first-time offenders as well as repeat offenders.
  • Sales tax rate changes. Some cities and counties will have an increase in sales tax. To find out if your city or county is affected, and what the money will go for, see the Colorado Dept. of Revenue's press release.

12.23.2008

Economic Forecasts - who's right?

Last week economic forecasts were released from two different state agencies, the Colorado Legislative Council, and the Governor's Office of State Planning and Budgeting. There is a wide disparity between the two reports -- the Legislative Council is predicting a shortfall of $600 million, while the forecast from the Office of State Planning and Budgeting shows a shortfall of $70.2 million. The economists from both offices are planning to sit down and review the formulas used to derive this year's estimates, and come up with figures that the Joint Budget Committee can use when they make adjustments to the state budget. Which prediction is correct? Decide for yourself -- both forecasts are available online:

12.18.2008

Remedial Education

Last week the Colorado Dept. of Higher Education released their 2008 report on remedial education. This report received a great deal of attention in the news due to its findings that more and more college freshmen are needing to take remedial courses, suggesting that high schools are not adequately preparing youngsters for college. To see the report, click on the link above. In it are statistics for each state school regarding how many students have been assigned to remedial classes, comparing the numbers with last year's.

12.15.2008

Winter Heating Assistance

When faced with a week of below zero temperatures, keeping warm becomes of vital importance. The high cost of heating fuel can be a burden for many individuals. The Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) may be able to help. LEAP is a federal program to assist people with heating costs, and is administered by the Colorado Department of Human Services. Visit the website to find eligibility requirements or call the HEAT HELP line at 1-866-432-8435.

12.11.2008

Prairie Dogs

As more and more land gets developed, these cute little critters are becoming endangered. Because prairie dogs are (or at least, used to be) one of the most visible species of wildlife along the front range, the Colorado Division of Wildlife has published a number of guides to these little animals. Available from our library:

Also, see the following publications regarding Colorado's endangered wildlife:

12.08.2008

Winter Driving

A winter storm is expected to arrive in the Front Range sometime this afternoon. In preparation, you may want to check out the Colorado Department of Transportation's winter driving website. They have winter driving tips, a de-icer fact sheet about the methods CDOT uses to treat roadways, and links to information on current road conditions and travel advisories.
They also have great FAQ section with information on snow removal, road treatment, and road conditions.

Besides checking their website, you can also call 511 anywhere in the state of Colorado for current travel information.

12.04.2008

Secretary of State

Colorado will be getting a new Secretary of State soon, as the current Secretary, Mike Coffman, heads off to Congress. Twenty people have applied for the job, including a variety of people ranging from former legislators to college professors and even a political talk show host. While the Secretary's role in Colorado elections is well-known, he has many other responsibilities as well, including:

(Click on the above links to find out more about each program)

All this is in addition to overseeing elections - so, the new Secretary of State, who will be named later this month, will have a busy job ahead of them!

12.03.2008

Focus on the Children

A new and improved version of the State Publications Library's "Focus on the Children" bibliography is now available. The subject guide is a compilation of print and Internet resources that address issues regarding children and youth in the state of Colorado. Topics include adoption, careers, charter schools, child abuse, child welfare, education, health, parenting, and safety.

11.26.2008

Colorado Turkeys

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, a.k.a. Turkey Day -- and did you know Colorado is home to wild turkeys? The Colorado Division of Wildlife has produced several publications on turkey identification, hunting, and more:
  • Colorado Turkey
  • Management Guidelines for Merriam's Wild Turkeys
  • Where and How to Hunt Wild Turkey in the Fall in Colorado
  • Merriam's Turkey Roost Preferences on Mountain Ranges
  • The Wild Turkey in Eastern Colorado
  • Wild Turkey Hunting Techniques

Additionally, the CSU Agricultural Experiment Station has produced some publications on raising turkeys:

  • The Augmentation of Poult Yield
  • Turkey Breeding Practices
  • Exhibiting Poultry
  • Ailments of Turkeys and Other Fowls
  • Raising Poultry the Organic Way
  • Floor Space and Feeder Space as Factors in Finishing Turkeys for Market

Happy Thanksgiving...gobble, gobble!

11.25.2008

Unemployed?

Unemployed? The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment may be able to help. Colorado Workforce Centers provide a variety of free services including job listings, career counseling, and job training. Find a workforce center, or search their job listings at http://www.coworkforce.com/emp/WFCs.asp.

If you have questions about Unemployment Insurance, call (303) 318-9000, toll-free: 1-800-388-5515, or visit the Unemployment Insurance Benefits website.

11.20.2008

Safe-2-Tell

The Colorado Dept. of Public Safety and the Colorado Attorney General's Office are both supporters of the non-profit organization Safe-2-Tell, which is a way for teens to anonymously report what they know about crimes being planned or that have already happened. Because teens are often scared or embarrassed to talk to parents, teachers, counselors, and the like, Safe-2-Tell offers an anonymous, safe way to get help or to help save others, whether teens are themselves the victim or just know something about a crime. Although Safe-2-Tell is not a state program, it is, as mentioned above, strongly advocated by several state agencies and the director is an investigator with the Dept. of Public Safety. The number for the hotline is 1-877-542-SAFE. For more information on this program, visit www.safe2tell.org. Also, for other programs on reducing school violence, the Colorado Dept. of Public Safety has set up a School Safety Resources Webpage.

11.18.2008

Agritourism

Have you ever been to a farmer's market? toured a winery? picked your own blueberries? These activities are all part of agritourism.

Agritourism refers to activities, events, and/or services related to agriculture. There are three main categories: activities on a farm or ranch (orchard tours, u-pick operations, sleigh/hay rides); food-based activities (farmer's markets, winery tours, etc.); and heritage activities (historical museums on agriculture history, farm machinery, pioneer cabins, rodeos).

Over the last two years the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the Colorado State University Extension has been investigating agritourism trends in the state and examining the economic impact of "agritourists." They have published several interesting online reports as part of their "Economic Development Report" series.

11.13.2008

Colorado Water Law

Water law is a major issue in Colorado, and our library owns a number of publications on this topic, including
  • Synopsis of Colorado Water Law, 2008
  • Recreational Water Rights, 2006
  • Citizen's Guide to Colorado Water Law, 2003
  • Groundwater Law Sourcebook of the United States, 2003
  • Negotiating High Stakes Water Conflicts, 2003
  • Justice and Natural Resources, 2002
  • Two Decades of Water Law and Policy Reform, 2001
  • Water and Growth in Colorado: A Review of Legal and Policy Issues, 2001
  • Interstate Water Allocation, 2000
  • The New Watershed Source Book, 2000
  • Vranesh's Colorado Water Law, 1999

11.11.2008

Services for Veterans

Today is Veterans' Day, a time to honor those who have fought for our country in times of war. It is also a good time to highlight services available to Colorado veterans.

There are mainly two state agencies that offer services to veterans:

The Colorado Division of Veterans Affairs is a central source of information on veterans benefits, rights and issues. Their "Veteran Resource Links" page is a great collection of internet resourcesfor veterans.

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment has a program called "Veterans Succeeding in the 21st Century Workforce." Their mission is "to provide Veterans and transitioning service members with the resources and services to succeed in the 21st Century workforce by meeting labor-market demands with qualified Veterans." This is the place to go for information on employment services, education and training, and benefits for veterans.

11.06.2008

Election Statistics

To find voting statistics for Tuesday's election and other official information, visit the Colorado Secretary of State's Elections Division website. For statistics from past years' elections, check out the Abstract of Votes Cast booklets, which our library has dating back to the 1890s. The Elections Division page also has information on prior elections dating back to 1996.

11.03.2008

Governor's Budget

On Sunday, Governor Ritter revealed his budget proposal for the 2009-2010 fiscal year. The budget was submitted to the legislature's Joint Budget Committee. The Governor is proposing an economic stimulus package that involves strategic investments in job creation, job training and education, and also suggests creating a reserve fund for Colorado state government. Budget facts and highlights of the Governor's letter can be found in a press release from the Governor's Office. The details of Governor Ritter's budget letter can also be found on the Governor's web site: http://www.colorado.gov/governor/.

10.30.2008

Government Efficiency & Management Study

This year Governor Ritter and state officials put together the Government Efficiency & Management (GEM) plan to create more efficiency in government services. This includes improvements such as streamlining purchasing/contracting services, "greening" government, aligning state IT services, improving customer service, and more, all directly aimed at creating more efficiency and better government operations while saving money. In all, the plan identifies over 90 suggestions for better efficiency in state government. For details, click here to view the study online.

10.24.2008

Sex Offender Map Search

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation has added a new feature to it's sex offender web site, http://sor.state.co.us/. The new "map search" allows you to create a map and view listings of sex offenders in the area. You can search by address, city, county or zip code. The visual representation is a great enhancement to the existing registry. Check it out, and see if there is someone dangerous living in your neighborhood.

10.22.2008

Mail-in Ballots

If you're worried about not having received your mail-in ballot yet, there could be a variety 0f reasons - if you moved, your address might have not been changed, or, you might not be registered for permanent mail-in ballots. To check your status, simply go to the Secretary of State's Registered Voter Search page. You will need to enter your name, birthdate, and zip code. The system will then tell you your voter information, including name/address, status of mail-in ballot (received, in process, etc.) or whether you are or are not registered for permanent mail-in ballots, your party affiliation, date of declaration of your party affiliation, date of first registration, and your nearest polling places, including locations for early voting. This is a very helpful site that can alleviate many voters' burning questions about their registration.

10.16.2008

Right-to-Work Laws

Many of the measures on this year's ballot have to do with labor unions, including Amendment 47. According to Colorado's 2008 Blue Book, Amendment 47 would "prohibit requiring an employee to join and pay any dues or fees to a labor union as a condition of employment; and create a misdemeanor penalty for violation of this law." Proponents argue that it is unfair to force a worker to pay union dues if they don't want to (choosing not to pay dues is often referred to as right-to-work), and that it creates a more business-friendly state. Opponents, however, argue that all workers would get the benefits of the union regardless of whether they paid or not, leaving some workers to foot the entire bill. To help decide what you think, you may want to consult a document we have here in our library: Do Right-to-Work Laws Matter? This publication, written by CSU's Center for Research on the Colorado Economy, explores how other states have dealt with this very same issue.

10.14.2008

Hunting

Cool days and frosty mornings are signs that hunting season has arrived. Whether you enjoy tracking elk, deer, or ducks, the Colorado Division of Wildlife website is the place to go for hunting information. You can:


You might also be interested in borrowing one of these items from our library (or a depository library near you):

  • The 2008 Hunting Guide edition of Colorado Outdoors Magazine, NR6.53/2008
  • Elk hunting Colorado (videorecording) 2006, NR6.2/EL5/2006
  • Down to the bone [videorecording] : quick and easy method for deboning an elk in the field NR6.2/D65/2006
  • From the field to the table [videorecording] NR6.2/D81/1992
  • Big game hunting in Colorado [videorecording]NR6.2/H92/1997/2

Other materials on hunting in Colorado can be found by searching our library catalog using the keyword "hunting."

10.09.2008

History Museum Location

About a year ago, the Colorado Historical Society met with controversy as they unveiled a plan to build a new museum in Civic Center Park -- not just in the neighborhood, but in the park. The history museum was being forced out of their current home by the Colorado Judicial Branch, with which it currently shares the block between 13th and 14th, Broadway and Lincoln. In the past six months or so, the CHS dropped their plans to build in the park and chose a site at 12th and Lincoln instead. This decision was made after a long deliberation of possible sites, the Society's needs, etc. What's interesting, though, is that this same process occurred just about 35 years ago. Back then, the CHS outgrew its old building at 14th and Sherman (now the Joint Budget Committee/Legislative Services building). They conducted a location study back then, too -- and we have copies of that study here in our library: Location Study, Colorado Heritage Center, 1973. The current museum building and the justice center were both built at that time. Now, only 35 years old, the two buildings will both be demolished within the next few years.

10.07.2008

Ballot Information - in Audio

As the election nears, I would like to alert you to a resource that the Colorado Talking Book Library provides - an audio version of the Blue Book, officially known as the State Ballot Information Booklet.

CTBL provides this service for their patrons and since they record in digital format, they have provided the MP3 files on their website. The audio "Blue Book" was created in conjunction with the Colorado Legislative Council.

Audio files are located at:
http://www.cde.state.co.us/ctbl/resources/2008_Legislative_Blue_Book.htm

10.02.2008

Colorado Energy: Looking to the Past for the Future

Today, we hear so much about "green" living and energy conservation. Back in the late 1970s/early 1980s, Colorado experienced an energy crisis, and as a result, the state published many informational publications regarding saving energy. Some of the titles done back then, but still highly relevant today, include:
  • Practical Energy Management for Apartments
  • Taming High Energy Costs
  • Renewable Resources in Colorado
  • How to Weatherstrip and Caulk
  • The Solar Handbook
  • Your Energy Efficient Car
  • Understanding the Skyrocketing Cost of Energy: You Can't Afford Not To
  • Home Management Tips to Cut Energy Costs
  • Insulating the Home
  • Cut your Home Lighting Expenses
  • Storm Windows and Doors
  • How to Cut your Hot Water Expenses
  • Wood for Home Heating
  • The Economics of Solar Heating

Of course, we have many up-to-date publications as well, including those produced by Governor Ritter's Energy Office. Search the term "energy" in our web catalog for publications.

So what did Coloradans 30 years ago predict about the future of energy conservation in our state? Check out these historical publications to find out:

  • Energy Issues in Colorado's Future (1980)
  • Exploring Energy Sources for the Future (1974)
  • Future Energy Alternatives for Colorado (1976)
  • Water and Energy in Colorado's Future (1980)
  • The Colorado Energy Conservation Plan (1977)

9.30.2008

Colorado Economy

All the dire news about the nation's economy may have you wondering how Colorado is doing. Economic analyses, forecasts, and statistics are available from several state agencies.

Here are a few suggestions for beginning your research:

Colorado Economic Perspective: A quarterly publication reviewing and forecasting the economic and revenue situation for Colorado. (Office of State Planning and Budgeting)

Focus Colorado: Economic and Revenue Forecast, from the Colorado Legislative Council.

Employment/unemployment data, and labor market statistics from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment

State Demography Office
Use the menu options on the left to locate statistics and analysis of the Colorado economy and labor force.

Colorado Business and Economic Information: A subject guide from the State Publications Library.

9.25.2008

Traffic Safety Data

The Colorado Dept. of Transportation (CDOT) has three new webpages devoted to traffic safety data: the Seat Belt Enforcement Reporting Site, the Work Zone Enforcement Site, and The Heat is On! Reporting Site. These sites each have a database searchable by county, date, and more. The seat belt site gives statistics on seat belt violations and the number of fatalities occurring where persons were not belted in. The work zone site offers data on various traffic violations occurring in construction zones. Data can be searched by work zone, work zone type, county, or violation type. The Heat is On! site gives data for arrests made during Heat is On! high-visibility enforcement campaigns to catch drunk drivers. Data is searchable by county and by date of campaign.

9.23.2008

School Research Topics

Need help finding information on the history of Colorado? Writing a paper on big-horned sheep? or investigating Colorado crime trends?

State agency websites and publications can provide the answers.

The Colorado State Publications Library has revised and updated "School Research Topics", a bibliography of notable Internet resources from Colorado state agencies. Librarians, parents, students and researchers alike will find this guide useful for locating information. Print copies can be requested by sending an email to: spl@cde.state.co.us

9.12.2008

Ballot Proposals

The November election is growing near. There are 14 proposed amendments to the Constitution, and 4 referendums on the ballot this year. The number of proposals may seem overwhelming, but the Colorado Legislative Council can help you sort through the issues. They put together a non-partisan analysis for each proposed amendment and referendum. General information on the ballot iniative process can also be found on the Legislative Council website.

To participate in the November elections, individuals must register to vote 29 days before the day of the election. Voting information can be found at GoVoteColorado.com .

9.11.2008

Colorado's Native Americans

Colorado has a rich history of Native Americans, including plains tribes like the Arapaho and Cheyenne in eastern Colorado, the mountain Ute tribes in western Colorado, and the Ancestral Puebloan peoples (formerly called Anasazi) down in the four-corners region. Our library has many resources available to those researching the history and archaeology of Colorado's first residents. Some of the titles in our collection include:
  • Sacred Objects and Sacred Places: Preserving Tribal Traditions
  • The Last War Trail: The Utes and the Settlement of Colorado
  • The Ute Indians of Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico
  • Colorado Ute Legacy (video)
  • Cheyenne Dog Soldiers: A Ledgerbook History of Coups and Combat
  • The Anasazi of Mesa Verde and the Four Corners
  • Excavation and Analysis of a Human Burial (5AM1733) Along the 120th Avenue Extension Near Northglenn
  • Twenty-Five Year Report of the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs
  • Colorado Directory of American Indian Resources
  • Report of Native American Sacred Lands Forum
  • Archaeological Investigations and Wolf Spider Shelter
  • In the Shadow of the Rocks: Archaeology of the Chimney Rock District in Southern Colorado
  • The Battle of Beecher Island and the Indian War of 1867-1869
  • Archaic Period Architectural Sites in Colorado
  • Prehistoric Paleo-Indian Cultures of the Colorado Plains
  • The Process of Decision-Making in Tribal Courts
  • Indian Water Rights in the West: A Study
  • Cheyenne Texts: An Introduction to Cheyenne Literature
  • Southern Ute Lands, 1848-1899: The Creation of a Reservation
  • The Indians of Colorado

9.05.2008

Learning from Catastrophe

The news of Hurricane Gustav hitting the Louisiana coast, and reports of three more tropical storms/hurricanes that may make landfall in the continental United States brought to mind a publication in our collection called "Learning from Catastrophe: Quick Response Research in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina."(available from our library: UCB6/57.2/L47/2006) The book is a special publication produced the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado - Boulder. Sections on the culture of disaster, social vulnerability, disaster response, levees and land use, make interesting reading.

The Natural Hazards Center has the mission "to advance and communicate knowledge on hazards mitigation and disaster preparedness, response, and recovery." They not only study planning and preparation for natural disasters, but also conduct research on terrorism. They have a large library of materials focusing on natural hazards and extreme events, which includes an online database called "HazLit." Many of their publications are available for free on the Center website.

Take some time to browse through the Natural Hazards Center website (http://www.colorado.edu/hazards/), I think you will find it worth your while.

9.03.2008

Food, Nutrients, and Health & Safety

The many different foods we eat each offer a variety of nutrients, such as vitamins, fiber, sodium, potassium, iron, and many more. Also, it is helpful to be aware of food dangers, including botulism, bacteria, and e-coli. You can find out about all of these things by visiting the CSU Extensions' page of food, nutrition and health fact sheets. Other interesting topics covered in these fact sheets include what to do if your freezer stops, how to identify nutrition quackery, how to preserve foods by canning or freezing, what to feed your baby and when to introduce solid foods, how to lose weight, care for diabetes, or lower your blood pressure, and whether food or pills are better for getting the nutrients you need, plus much more.

8.28.2008

Renewable Energy

As fuel prices rise, the interest in alternative sources of energy has greatly increased. We've been hearing a lot in the news about "greening" initiatives -- greening government, and the greening of the Democratic National Convention. The presidential candidates say energy is one of the main issues in this election.

Colorado is rich in both traditional and alternative energy resources. We have lots of minerals, natural gas, sunshine and wind. To learn more about renewable energy and it's uses in Colorado, try the following sources:

8.21.2008

Colorado Tourist Attractions

Next week, as thousands descend on Denver for the DNC, many will be looking for things to do and visit while here, and our library can help.

For visitors who are interested in historical sites:
The book Colorado Museums and Historic Sites is a very valuable tool. It gives descriptions of museums and sites across the state, along with contact information. Also, we have many guidebooks to the Colorado Historical Society's museums statewide. See their website for a list of their many museums.

For visitors who want to experience the outdoors:
Our library has numerous hiking trail maps, parks guides, fishing and hunting guides, and more. Of note is Steppin' Out with State Parks, with mini-maps of each Colorado State Park; and the annual Colorado Outdoors Fishing Guide, just updated this summer, which can be checked out from our library.

For visitors interested in entertainment, dining, and nightlife:
There are numerous sites on the web for this kind of information, but one good place to start is the state's official tourism website, colorado.com. This site is great for suggesting things to do in towns and cities across Colorado. There's also lots of coupons and free passes! This site is useful for helping visitors plan whatever kind of vacation they're interested in.

Of course, there are a million options, so check our web catalog for more ideas.

8.19.2008

Are you an EcoDriver?

Yesterday Governor Ritter announced his endorsement of a consumer awareness campaign on 'EcoDriving', that offers easy actions that all of us can take to 'save money, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and benefit the environment.' The idea is that you don't have to change your car or buy a hybrid to drive green. We can all take part by avoiding "jack rabbit" starts, cutting down on engine idle time, using proper motor oil and maintaining your vehicle. For more information on EcoDriving, read Governor Ritter's press release and visit http://www.ecodrivingusa.com/ .

8.15.2008

Driving during the DNC

Worried about getting around during the convention? The Colorado Department of Transportation has you covered. They have a section on their web page with information on closures during the DNC, with maps and suggestions for alternate routes. Just visit http://www.dot.state.co.us/

8.13.2008

Civil Rights

Did you know the State has a Civil Rights office? The Colorado Civil Rights Commission is located within the Department of Regulatory Agencies, and has produced a number of publications dealing with the rights of various groups and individuals in Colorado. Often when we think of civil rights we think of race; but there is much more to civil rights than just skin color. DORA's civil rights division has produced publications on such varied topics as Pregnancy Discrimination; Hospital Billing and Collection Practices: A Formal Inquiry; and A Research-Based Assessment of the Disparity in Educational Achievement Between Black and White Students. Other publications by the Commission include information on job discrimination, housing discrimination, sexual harassment, sex discrimination, segregation, and civil rights law. Some of these publications were done in the 1960s at the height of the Civil Rights movement, and provide an interesting historical perspective.

Any of these items can be checked out from our library. Search "civil rights" in our web catalog. Also be sure to check the Colorado Revised Statutes for Colorado civil rights laws and legislation.

8.08.2008

Primary Election

Are you ready for Tuesday's primary elections? There are some big races this year, including hotly contended races for U.S. House of Representatives, State House and Senate seats, and district attorneys. You can find an official list of all the candidates on the Secretary of State's Election Center webpage, along with other helpful information on the upcoming primary, as well as the general election, voter information, campaign finance, voter registration, initiatives and petitions, and more.

Here are the big primary races this August:

1st Congressional District, Republican primary
2nd Congressional District, Democratic primary
5th Congressional District, Republican primary
6th Congressional District, Republican primary

Colorado Senate District 4, Republican primary
Colorado Senate District 18, Democratic primary
Colorado Senate District 26, Republican primary
Colorado Senate District 35, Democratic primary

Colorado House District 2, Democratic primary
Colorado House District 6, Republican and Democratic primaries
Colorado House District 8, Democratic primary
Colorado House District 9, Democratic primary
Colorado House District 15, Republican primary
Colorado House District 17, Republican Primary
Colorado House District 22, Democratic primary
Colorado House District 24, Democratic primary
Colorado House District 30, Democratic primary
Colorado House District 44, Democratic primary
Colorado House District 45, Republican primary
Colorado House District 48, Republican primary
Colorado House District 57, Republican primary
Colorado House District 62, Democratic primary

District Attorney, District 3, Democratic primary
District Attorney, District 4, Republican primary
District Attorney, District 6, Democratic primary
District Attorney, District 12, Republican primary
District Attorney, District 13, Republican primary
District Attorney, District 18, Republican primary

Races in other districts and for other parties have candidates running unopposed in the primary.

To find out which district you live in, visit the Legislative Council's page, How Do I Find Out What Legislative Districts I Live In?

7.31.2008

Vetoed Bills

Every year, the governor chooses to veto a few of the bills that were passed. A veto occurs when the bill is passed by both House and Senate, is signed by the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate, and is referred to the Governor for his signature -- but if he doesn't like the bill, he has the option to veto it. Curiously, this year, all but one of Governor Ritter's vetos were on bills sponsored by his fellow Democrats. They were also all House Bills. Here are the 2008 bills that were vetoed:

  • HB1032 by Rep. Massey and Sen. Morse, "Concerning a change in payments to pharmacies for certain drugs under Medicaid."
  • HB1150 by Rep. Todd and Sen. Williams, "Concerning a program for providing additional therapies to persons with disabilities who are eligible to receive Medicaid."
  • HB1170 by Rep. Soper and Sen. Tochtrop, "Concerning the regulation of electricians, and making an appropriation therefor."
  • HB1186 by Rep. Solano and Sen. Windels, "Concerning the exception of certain students' scores from calculations of a school's academic performance."
  • HB1208 by Rep. Levy and Sen. Shaffer, "Concerning juveniles against whom charges are directly filed in a district court."
  • HB1406 by Rep. Madden and Sen. Gordon, "Concerning the circulation of initiative and referendum petitions."
  • HB1408 by Rep. Levy and Sen. Veiga, "Concerning the implementation of additional requirements on a corporate income taxpayer to verify the validity of transactions related to real estate investment trusts."

So why were these bills vetoed? They all obviously had a lot of support. To find the governor's reasons for vetoing each of these bills, visit his press releases page. There will be a separate Veto Message for each bill. Veto Messages are letters written by the govenor explaining to Coloradans why he vetoed each bill. You can view all bills and acts, as well as bill histories, House and Senate Journals, and archived video of the House floor debates, on the General Assembly's homepage.

7.30.2008

Student Assessment

The results from the Colorado Student Assessment Program have been released and are available online at http://www.cde.state.co.us/cdeassess/documents/csap/csap_summary.html

The Colorado Department of Education has a new tool called "Colorado's Growth Model", that yields student, school and district comparisons based on longitudinal data. The growth model provides educators with a way to understand how much growth a student made from one year to the next, with a common and consistent means of understanding each student’s progress, regardless of their starting point. Statewide data has been released and can be accessed from the Department of Education web page.

7.24.2008

Eminent Domain

Eminent domain has always been a contentious issue in Colorado, but recently has been even more so due to the fact that RTD is taking over a great deal of personal property for their FasTracks program. Just this week, homeowners in a brand-new condominium development near the Platte River downtown were informed that they would have to leave their homes -- the new development was going to be demolished so that RTD could build a new light rail maintenance facility. Homeowners west of the city are also getting their eviction notices as RTD furthers plans to build its west line to Golden.

Because eminent domain is so controversial, it is important to understand the legal issues of the practice. You can find out more about what the Legislature is doing about eminent domain in Colorado by reading the Legislative Council's short, simple explanation in their fact sheet entitled Eminent Domain Legislation. If you are a property owner whose property has the potential to be acquired by the government through eminent domain, you do have rights. The Colorado Department of Transportation has published a guide for property owners addressing issues of compensation, etc. On a more technical level, CDOT also publishes the Right-of-Way Manual which they describe as providing "guidance in all phases of acquiring, managing and disposing of real property. It is based on federal and state statutes, rules, policies and procedures related to real estate, condemnation, and relocation." The information in the manual is rather technical in nature but provides thorough guidance on government property acquisition procedures, including eminent domain. Be sure, also, to check the Denver newspapers. With all the FasTracks issues, the dailies are full of articles and editorials on the issue.

7.22.2008

Wildfires

The combination of high temperatures and minimal rainfall has dramatically increased the fire danger in most of Colorado. While there isn't much we can do about the weather, there are steps to take in wildfire prevention. Read about creating wildfire defensible zones from the CSU Cooperative Extension. Fire restriction information and fire danger maps can be found on the Department of Emergency Management web site. In-depth fire data is also available through the Colorado division of the Bureau of Land Management, including fire weather forecasts, smoke dispersion forecasts.

If a wildfire starts in your neighborhood, here are some resources to keep you informed:

7.16.2008

Dinosaurs in Colorado

We just received from the Colorado Geological Survey a cd-rom entitled Dinosaurs in Our Backyard. This is an interactive look at Colorado paleontology, focused mostly on the Dinosaur Ridge area in Jefferson County which is full of preserved dinosaur footprints. State agencies have also produced a few other publications readers can use to look for dinosaur fossils. These include Dinosaur Remains in Colorado, produced by the Colorado Historical Society's archaeology office, and the Colorado Geological Survey's Colorado's Dinosaurs; Dinosaur Lake: The Story of the Purgatoire Valley Dinosaur Tracksite Area; and Colorado's Magnificent POGIs [Points of Geological Interest], which includes some information on dinosaur fossil sites.

7.10.2008

Amphibians and Reptiles

Did you know Colorado is home to a variety of frogs, toads, and other amphibians? You can find out all about them in some of the publications available in our library and on the web, including

There are many more, too -- just search our web catalog for more publications you can check out from our library.

7.09.2008

Rafting

Hot summer weather leads people to water and water sports. One of the most popular summer activities is white water rafting. The Colorado Tourism Office is a great source of information on rafting opportunities in Colorado. Rafting safety information can be found on the Colorado State Parks website. If you live for rafting or kayaking, you may be interested in stream flow data available from the Colorado Division of Water Resources. Their database will show peak waterflow and current water level information for Colorado streams and rivers by section.

7.03.2008

Protect your skin

For Fourth of July weekend many of us will be heading outside for picnics, barbecues, or hitting the trails for a hike. Make sure to take along sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat to help protect your skin from the sun. According to the Colorado Department of Public Health, 90% of skin cancers are caused by overexposure to UV radiation. Check out the Sun Safe Colorado prevention strategies website for tips on preventing skin cancer. Statistics and other skin cancer information are available from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

7.01.2008

Garden Butterflies

This is the time of year when yards and gardens are filled with bees, birds, and butterflies. I have seen a number of large yellow butterflies this month, and they look so pretty flitting through the colorful gardens blooming in the summertime. The CSU Cooperative Extension has produced a publication called Attracting Butterflies to the Garden, offering tips on which fruit and flowers are most attractive to butterflies. Using these plants can attract these pretty insects that will make your garden even more colorful.

6.26.2008

Colorado Recipes

You might not expect that a government documents library has any cookbooks, but we do have a few...with a Colorado theme.

One of our cookbooks, the Colorado Catch Cookbook, gives tips and recipes for what to do with that trout you caught or that elk you bagged. In 1963, the Colorado Historical Society also produced a cookbook, Pioneer Potluck: Stories and Recipes of Early Colorado, mixing education with cooking.

In 1988 the Deptartment of Health produced a few recipe books in an effort to encourage Coloradoans to eat healthier. Some of their titles include
  • Recipes for Dry Beans and Peas
  • Recipes with Kix Cereal
  • Recipes for High Calorie Nutritious Foods
Most of the rest of our cookbooks are put out by the CSU Cooperative Extension and, like Colorado Catch and Pioneer Potluck they are mostly Colorado-specific, offering high-altitude baking recipes. Some of the CSU Extension's cookbooks include:
  • Mile High Cakes (mmm!)
  • Cookie Recipes from a Basic Mix for High Altitudes
  • Wheat, Gluten, Egg and Milk Free Recipes for Use at High Altitude and at Sea Level
  • Today's Sourdough at High Altitudes
  • Quick Mixes for High Altitude Baking

6.24.2008

Online Guides to Colorado Architecture

The Colorado Historical Society's website offers some very helpful resources for anyone researching historic architecture in Colorado. Their Online Guides page offers such helpful resources on Colorado architects and builders, historic preservation standards, and A Guide to Colorado's Historic Architecture and Engineering, a helpful guide for identifying Colorado's many architectural styles, forms, and functions. These guides are very user-friendly and not too technical, so anyone can use them.

6.19.2008

Volcanoes in the Western U.S.

Last weekend, on vacation in New Mexico, I visited the Bandalier National Monument and the nearby Valles Caldera National Preserve, a huge, 89,000-acre sunken crater in the Jemez Mountains, a volcanic mountain range. There hasn't been any volcanic activity for many thousands of years, so today the area is a just a very scenic mountain valley -- but since it is a sunken volcano, it is unlike any other mountain valley I'd ever seen before, with very little vegetation and little "hills" of hardened magma. Upon my return to work this week, coincidentally reviewing our Colorado Geological Survey collection, I was surprised to run across a "field trip guide" to the Jemez Mountains and Valles Caldera. This document, though unfortunately not online, is available for checkout from our library and offers tourists an easy-to-understand guide to this very scenic and fascinating area. CGS has also published a number of other "field trip guides" to interesting geological sites in Colorado and nearby states. Search "field trip guide" in our web catalog for more titles.

Volcanoes and volcanic areas are not uncommon in the western U.S. Of course everyone is familiar with Mt. St. Helens in Washington, which erupted in 1980 and a few years ago was the subject of speculation that it might erupt again before long. Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming is also a volcanic region (hence the geysers) that geologists say has the potential to erupt at any time. For more information on U.S. volcanoes, check out another publication available from our library, Volcano Hazard in the United States: A Research Assessment by Richard A. Warrick.

6.16.2008

Ozone

As we move into the summer season, sunny skies and high temperatures can also be accompanied by high concentrations of ozone. In fact, this afternoon there is an ozone alert for the western areas of Denver and Boulder. Basic facts on ozone can be found on OzoneAware.org, a site created by the Regional Air Quality Council.

The Air Pollution Control Division of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has a lot of useful resources on their website. There is a real-time map of conditions from air monitoring sites around the state, a variety of air quality reports -- including data by monitoring site, parameter (temperature, carbon monoxide, ozone, etc.), and tracking air quality over time. Information on ozone alerts and tips for individuals on the prevention of ozone can be found here as well.

Additional resources can be found by searching the State Publications Library catalog using the keywords "ozone" or "air quality."

6.11.2008

Taxpayer Accountabiity Report

This month the Colorado State Treasurer's Office has published the second annual Taxpayer Accountability Report. This report, aimed at the general public, gives the reader information in plain, simple language regarding state tax revenue, including information on TABOR, Referendum C, education funding, consumer spending, and more, illustrated with simple charts and diagrams. The most recent report is available online via the State Treasurer's website.

6.10.2008

West Nile Virus

Summer is here and that means that soon mosquitos will be out in full force. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has begun its state-wide surveillance program for mosquito-borne viruses. Mosquitoes are collected to determine abundance, and some are tested for the presence of West Nile Virus.

Tips for decreasing exposure to mosquitoes:

  • Limit outside activity around dawn and dusk (when mosquitoes feed)
  • Apply insect repellant
  • Try to eliminate standing water on your property, and change water in birdbaths or wading pools at least once a week
More facts and tips are available in a brochure from the CDPHE.

If you are curious about how many human cases were found last year, and the results of animal testing and surveillance, the information can be found on the CDPHE website.

You can also call the Colorado West Nile Virus Hotline: 1-877-462-2911

Additional information can be found on the "Fight the Bite" website from the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

6.05.2008

Water Quality

Water is an important part of our daily lives. We die without it, and can get sick if chemicals or bacteria infiltrate our water sources. The Water Quality Control Division of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has recently released "Status of Water Quality in Colorado - 2008", an assessment of water quality throughout the state. The report identifies pollution sources, and also evaluates water for recreational uses and propagation of aquatic life ("fishability"). You can look up a stream or creek in your area to learn about pollution issues. This study comes out every two years -- if you are interested in comparing changes in our water resources over time, we have reports going back to 1978 at the State Publications Library.

For more information on Colorado's water resources, try the following websites:

6.02.2008

Information for Telecommunications Consumers

The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies has issued a number of short fact sheets for consumers regarding many of the questions that frequently arise regarding telecommunications and telephone service. These consumer fact sheets are available from the State Publications Library, and include easy-to-understand tips and answers on subjects such as

and more. Search our web catalog for additional information on Colorado telecommunications regulatory and consumer information.

5.30.2008

Rocky Mountain Arsenal

The Colorado Attorney General, John W. Suthers, announced yesterday that a settlement has been reached on a claim for natural resource damages at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Superfund site. The suit was filed in 1983 against Shell Oil and the U.S. Army. The details are available in a press release from the AG's office.

The Rocky Mountain Arsenal pages from the Hazardous Materials and Waster Management Division of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment are a good resource for an overview of conditions at the arsenal. There is a short history, a description of environmental concerns and remediation process, and the final report from the Medical Monitoring Program.

We have several reports of interest at the Colorado State Publications Library:

  • Analysis of diagnosed vs. expected cancer cases for the northeast Denver Metropolitan
  • Area in the vicinity of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, 1979-1996
  • The Rocky Mountain Arsenal pilot exposure study
  • The Rocky Mountain Arsenal wildlife viewing recreation analysis and recommendations
  • Natural resource damage assessment plan for the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, 2007

Other titles can be found in our library catalog using the search terms "rocky mountain arsenal."

5.28.2008

Zebra Mussels

The nice spring weather means people are starting to head out to the lakes with their boats. This year, however, boaters are required to undergo inspections of their boats to prevent the spread of this invasive species, which is not native to Colorado. (Zebra mussels spread by attaching themselves to the bottoms of boats). So far the mussels have been found in Lake Pueblo State Park and authorities are working hard to keep them confined to that lake and protect against their spread to other Colorado lakes. This year the State Legislature even passed SB 266 which allows authorities to inspect boats and other watercraft for these mussels. The state says it could cost millions of dollars to control them if they spread.

For more information on zebra mussels, visit the Colorado Division of Wildlife's Zebra and Quagga Mussels page, which includes tips for boaters, how to identify zebra mussels, and streaming videos concerning mussel contamination and inspection.

5.22.2008

Demographic Information Maps

The Colorado Dept. of Local Affairs' Demography Section has added a new page to their website, the Thematic Map Gallery. This very interesting site offers a variety of demographic maps. These include historical maps illustrating population back to 1880 as well as "night sky maps" that illustrate the clusters of light at nighttime that indicate areas of greater or lesser population. There are also a variety of maps based on information from the 2000 census, and maps forecasting population change all the way to 2030.

5.16.2008

Financial Literacy

This past session the General Assembly passed HB08-1168, "Concerning financial literacy in kindergarten-through-twelfth grade education." This bill requires revision of the state's model content standards to include "financial literacy," meaning, teaching kids about money and finances. A previous bill, HB04-1360, required that the State Board of Education create a resource bank of materials pertaining to financial literacy. Though it is still partly under construction, this resource bank can be found online on the Colorado Dept. of Education's website or also through the State Publications Library's web catalog. The resource bank includes model curricula, math and economics textbooks, and links to financial institutions offering educational resources.

5.13.2008

Visitation Rights

We have recently received a new guide on visitation rights for parents called: "A Parent's Guide to Visitation: How to Establish and Enforce Parenting Time" from the Colorado Department of Human Services, Division of Child Support Enforcement. The guide gives information about getting a parenting time order, and lists other resources available on child support issues. The guide is available on the Internet, and also available in print for lending from the State Publications Library, or from a depository library in your area.

Additional information is available on the "Community Resources" website, which has information on how child support works, worksheets to calculate child support, along with tips on parenting.

For links to resources on parenting from other state agencies, see the parenting section of our "Focus on the Children" subject guide.

5.08.2008

Planning your Colorado Summer Vacation

It's getting to be that time when people are planning their summer vacations. CoSPL has in our collection the official state vacation guides from the Colorado tourism office; these are also online at http://www.colorado.com/. We also have a number of guidebooks on Colorado's scenic/historic byways.

Planning a hiking or camping trip? Or just need some directions on how to get where you're going? Check out CoSPL's many maps including State Parks trails maps; fishing maps; and highway maps highlighting sights of interest.

Also, for some fun summer reading on the plane or in the car, CoSPL also has some great historical books on Colorado travels and destinations, including Colorado: A Summer Trip, by Bayard Taylor, who visited Colorado in the mid-nineteenth century. Other Colorado traveling books include

  • The Western San Juan Mountains
  • Colorado's Sangre de Cristo Mountains
  • Discover Colorado: Colorado's Scenic and Historic Byways
  • Colorado Outdoors Getaways (video)
  • Colorado 12, Scenic Highway of Legends
  • Colorado Mini-Tours
  • Scenic Trips into Colorado Geology
  • Fly Fishing Colorado (DVD)
  • Bent's Fort on the Arkansas
  • The Georgetown Loop: A Capsule History and Guide
  • El Pueblo Museum: A Capsule History and Guide
  • This Blue Hollow: Estes Park, the Early Years
  • Colorado Byways: A Guide Through Scenic and Historic Landscapes
  • Mesa Verde National Park: Shadows of the Centuries
  • Colorado Museums and Historic Sites
  • Exploring Colorado State Parks
  • Rocky Mountain National Park: A History
  • America's Switzerland: Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park

5.05.2008

Recidivism - What Works

An interesting report has just been issued on efforts to reduce recidivism (repeat offenders) and what effect incarceration has on crime. "What Works: Effective Recidivism Reduction and Risk-Focused Prevention Programs," (PS7/2.2/R24/2008) was prepared for the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice by the RKC Group in February, 2008. The report examines educational and vocational programming, substance abuse treatment, drug courts, sex offender treatment, cognitive-behavioral programs, and others. Each approach is evaluated by evidence-based data on a national and state (Colorado) level. The report is available for loan from the State Publications Library, and also available online. (large file: 5MB)

The team at the Institutional Library Services unit of the Colorado State Library has produced a great DVD that describes basic library functions and how library resources can help prisoners and ex-offenders alike. It's called "Out for Life: How your library can help," and is available for loan from our library. (ED3/140.2/L62/2007 )

You may also want to check out the "Recidivism Fact Sheet" from the Office of State Planning and Budgeting, which gives statistics for recidivism in Colorado, along with estimates on the impact it has on the Colorado economy.

4.30.2008

History of the General Assembly

Just one week remains until the close of another Legislative session. Colorado's General Assembly has an interesting history and our library is one of the best places to find out about it. Here are a few resources for those researching the history of Colorado's Legislature:

  • John Straayer's classic The Colorado General Assembly takes a look at the processes and procedures of the state legislature. However, the first edition was published in 1990 and the second edition in 2000, so though not entirely up-to-date, it is a helpful source on twentieth century legislative history.
  • Presidents and Speakers of the Colorado General Assembly is available from our library. This fun little book gives short biographies, with photos, on all of the Legislature's Speakers of the House and Presidents of the Senate from 1876 to 1980.
  • Directory of Colorado State Government is available in our library for every year since 1979. This directory lists all the major players not just in the Legislature but also in the state agencies as well.
  • The official Legislative directories published each year are known as the "Pink Books" because they are, well, pink. Our library owns these back to 1972. These give a listing of all the Legislators, the committees they sit on, their personal occupations, contact information, spouse's name, and seating charts for the House and Senate chambers.
  • House and Senate Journals are the ultimate source for researching what passed and who sponsored it. Our library has nearly every year's journals going back to statehood.
  • Legislative Council Research Reports are in-depth reports on the Legislature's committees of reference. This series, begun in the 1950s, are all available at our library and also available online via our webpge.

There are numerous other resources for researching Colorado's legislative history, so search our web catalog or contact the library for more information.

4.24.2008

Landlord/Tenant Rights

Yesterday HB08-1356 passed out of the House and will make its way to the Senate. HB1356 gives protections to tenants whose landlords fail to make necessary repairs to their buildings rendering the units unsafe or even uninhabitable for the tenants. With the passage of HB1356 tenants will be able to take their landlords to court for failing to make repairs or other safeguards.
Proponents of the bill argue that this will give more rights to persons at low socioeconomic levels who often are stuck living in poor conditions; with this bill, poorer persons will have options. Opponents of the bill say that it will increase the amount of litigation and will result in landlords going to court frequently over small matters.

The State Publications Library has a variety of publications regarding landlords and tenants, including Landlord - Tenant Rights.

4.21.2008

Earth Day

April 22nd is Earth Day. Around the nation, events are being held to educate people about environmental issues. To find out about activities going on Colorado visit the Calendar of Earth Day events from the Governor's Energy Office, along with the Colorado State Parks Earth Day page.

There are many resources on environmental issues from Colorado state agencies:

4.17.2008

New Report on Child Fatalities

On Tuesday the Colorado Department of Human Services released a report on child fatalities and maltreatment, investigating the deaths of 13 children. The report says that social worker negligence may have been a factor in the lack of investigation into the childrens' deaths, and recommends more thorough documentation by case workers. You can read the report here; also, a Channel 7 tv news story summarized the reports findings, which you can view here. The report will be cataloged by CoSPL in the next few days, and then will be accessible through our website.

4.15.2008

Tax Day

Today is the last day to file income tax returns, and many folks are scrambling for forms and tax information. Most forms are available online: Colorado forms are available from the Colorado Department of Revenue, and Federal Forms can be found at http://www.irs.gov/.

If you're having trouble with your state taxes, the Division of Taxation has an online support site with frequently asked tax questions. To speed things up, you can file your state taxes online.

For last minute filers, there is a list of post offices and drop-off site with special/late hours put together by the Rocky Mountain News.

For fun, take a look at the Delinquent Taxpayer page. Individuals and businesses that have owed more than $20,000 for over six months are on the list. The list can be searched or browsed by names of individuals or businesses. It's interesting to see how many people ignore state law.

4.10.2008

Political Campaigns

This is the season when political campaigning really gets going, and 2008 is a major election year for both national and state elections. Many state legislators are term-limited and won't be returning next year, leading to a whole new crop of candidates campaigning for their seats; or, term-limited legislators may run for other offices (such as Representatives running for the Senate). Campaigns for local (e.g. city) offices will be numerous this year as well. Because the primaries are in August, some candidates have already begun campaigning; there are already some ads on tv. As spring moves into summer, campaign season will really get into full swing.

So what does a political candidate need to know? A candidate must work closely with the Secretary of State's Office, and their website has a webpage especially for candidates with all the forms and information needed for a campaign, including the Colorado campaign manual.

The Secretary of State's website also offers information on campaign finance, always an important topic for candidates

Finally, two bills have been introduced -- and passed -- this Legislative session regarding campaign finance: HB08-1041 (Concerning the enforcement of legal requirements pertaining to campaign finance) and HB08-1233 (Concerning the manner by which campaign contributions from a limited liability company are to be attributed among the members of the company for purposes of Colorado law governing campaign finance).

4.07.2008

Worried about the economy?

There has been a lot of doom and gloom in reports on the economy in the news lately. Some say that a recession is coming, and others think it may just be media hype. You can form your own opinion by reading the forecasts, and viewing the numbers in these recent reports from Colorado state agencies.

Colorado Business Economic Outlook 2008 by the Leeds School of Business, University of Colorado at Boulder, provides a summary of the 2007 economy, a forecast for 2008, and industry specific data analysis and insight into the key factors influencing each sector. Straight-forward and concise, these articles give a good overview of the state economy. Available in print from the Colorado State Publications Library (and coming soon to depository libraries across the state).

Colorado Economic Development Data Book, from the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. A good source for statistics and information on the economy with sections on the economic base, population and demographics, employment, technology, taxes, education, cost of living/quality of life, tourism and transportation. Available in print from our library (GOV34/10.2/EC2/2007).

Focus Colorado: Economic and Revenue Forecast, 2007-2012, from the Colorado Legislative Council. Available in print at CoSPL (GA4.17).

4.04.2008

Safety Clauses

Those who are following the Legislature may be wondering about Rep. Douglas Bruce and his well-publicized and generally unsuccessful crusade against safety clauses. Bruce argues that many bills carry the clauses that are not necessary for the "immediate peace, health and safety" of Coloradans. So exactly what is a safety clause? Safety clauses move forward the date in which a new law takes effect. You can read about them, and why or why not the use of them is necessary or unnecessary in different situations, in a fact sheet prepared by the Office of Legislative Legal Services titled Use of Safety Clauses. Although the memo is written for members of the General Assembly, it provides helpful information for anyone wondering about the use of these clauses and why Bruce is taking them on.

3.28.2008

Oil and Gas

There has been a lot of discussion lately in the news and in the community about the possibility of a ballot measure that will increase the severance taxes oil and gas companies pay for the value of natural resources that are extracted from properties in the state of Colorado. What are severance taxes, and what would an increase mean to the oil and gas industry? These questions and more are answered in a fact sheet put out by the Office of State Planning and Budgeting, "The Oil and Gas Industry in Colorado". The Oil and Gas Conservation Commission also has useful information on their "Frequently Requested Data" page.

Additional resources available through the State Publications Library and on the Internet that may be of interest:

3.25.2008

Colorado's Budget

The Colorado budget bill known as the "Long Bill" was introduced yesterday. This is the annual bill presented by the Joint Budget Committee that is the state's budget. The bill alternates each year between introduction in the House and the Senate; this year it is being introduced first in the House, which is debating it most of this week, and then it will move to the Senate later this week or early next week. Next year's bill will be introduced in the Senate.

A copy of this year's bill can be checked out from our library, or you can view it online. (To access the online version, find House Bill 08-1375 and click on the bill number. A screen will appear with the bill divided into sections for download.)

When the bill is signed into law, which usually happens in April, a copy of that will be available for checkout as well. We also have copies of all of the previous Long Bills and Long Bill Acts back to the 1970s, available for checkout.

3.20.2008

Salmonella

A recent outbreak of salmonella in Alamosa has caused officials from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to issue an advisory for residents not to drink the tap water.
Salmonella is a bacterium that can cause an intestinal illness in people and animals. Information on salmonella can be found on the Public Health and Environment website, and from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

UPDATE: For the latest information on the situation in Alamosa, consult the "Situation Reports" from the State Emergency Operations Center and the City of Alamosa website.

3.17.2008

Punishing Drunk Drivers

This past Friday HB08-1194 passed through the House Appropriations Committee and will now go on to a full vote of the House. HB1194 would, if passed, require convicted drunk drivers to install an interlock device in their car for nine months following the conviction. The measure would also increase fees for reinstatement of drivers licenses. The goal is to deter drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol. Under current law, a first-time offender loses their license for a period of months, and the more DUIs, the longer their license is revoked. However, it is well known that many of these offenders continue to drive, though now without a license. By the passage of HB1194, the period of license revocation would be shortened so that the offender is free to drive legally -- provided they have the ignition interlock device in their car. The interlock device measures a driver's blood alcohol content by blowing into a tube. If the driver has a high BAC, the car will not start. Additionally, periodic random tests are required while the car is in operation to insure drivers to not imbibe while driving. Supporters of the bill believe that this is a way for offenders to drive legally, while possibly teaching new habits about driving while drunk, and making the roads safer for everyone.

The Colorado Office of Legislative Legal Services, which provides legal interpretation and writing of bills, prepared a fact sheet on Colorado's current drunk driving laws, which you can view here. You can also search our catalog using the keyword "drunk driving" for many other documents on state drunk driving laws.

3.11.2008

Wine Country

Did you know that there is a state agency that focuses solely on wine and grapes in Colorado?

The mission of the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board is to encourage and promote scientific research about wine, growing vines, and wine-making; to market wine and wine grapes produced in Colorado; and serve as a resource for the Colorado wine industry. They recently hired an official state enologist to travel the state and work as a consultant with winery owners to help solve problems, and serve as an educator and fount of information.

If you like wine, and are curious about what Colorado has to offer, visit the board's website: http://www.coloradowine.com/.

They have a quarterly newsletter that highlights Colorado wines and wineries, along with information about wine-tasting events around the state. There are also maps and brochures on wine tours in Colorado. Maybe this weekend you can follow a Colorado Wine Trail, and spend the day visiting wineries on the Front Range, Rocky Mountains, Grand Valley, or West Elks regions.

Colorado Film

One of the best ways to promote tourism in our state is to encourage its use as a location for movie and television filming. The state maintains a website, http://www.coloradofilm.org/, with all the information on filming in Colorado, including links to the annual Colorado Production Resource Guide, a directory of locations and film personnel as well as listing recent film projects. Colorado continues to promote filming, as yesterday a bill was introduced in the state legislature to encourage filming activities in the state. HB08-1355 would, if passed, create a new film and television office within the governor's economic development office to further promote Colorado as a film location.

3.05.2008

New Fly Fishing Video

The Colorado Division of Wildlife has just released a brand-new DVD, Fly Fishing Colorado. The two-hour video travels to some of the great fishing spots around the state. According to the CDOW website, the video offers "a comprehensive look at year-round fly fishing opportunities...with...recommended destinations, fly fishing techniques, major insect hatches, and proven fly patterns. " See http://wildlife.state.co.us/NewsMedia/ for more information.

2.27.2008

Back to Paper Ballots?

Rumor has it that members of the General Assembly are ready to introduce a bill that will require the use of paper ballots in the 2008 elections. Concerns have been raised about voting procedures for the presidential elections since Secretary Coffman decertified many of the electronic voting machines used in counties across the state. A letter from Governor Ritter to the County Clerks of Colorado describes the paper ballot bill and issues surrounding the 2008 presidential election. The bill has yet to be introduced.

Governor Ritter recently signed a bill: HB08-1155, which gives the secretary of state flexibility in considering new testing and security measures that might correct voting machine deficiencies. Last week, Secretary Coffman announced that several machines would be given certification on the condition that deficiencies and security problems be addressed. Visit the Secretary of State's website for more information on elections, and the voting machine certification process.

UPDATE: The bill was introduced before the legislature on February 27th (after I posted this entry). The text of the bill is available on the General Assembly homepage:
http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics/clics2008a/csl.nsf/fsbillcont/2F55C45F452F9CA9872573990075D442?Open&file=189_01.pdf SLH, 2/28/08

2.22.2008

Sunday Liquor Sales

After a 40 year ban, liquor store owners might get to start selling on Sundays if SB08-082 passes. And it looks like it will--yesterday the bill easily passed second reading in the Senate and is expected to pass third reading as well--then it is on to the House. Passage of the bill could potentially mean increasing store owners' revenues 8-12 percent, according to the Rocky Mountain News. The Colorado Department of Revenue tracks liquor sales revenues and taxes. You can view their monthly report here, or at our library.

2.20.2008

Health Care Reform

Governor Ritter has recently announced his new plan for health care reform which focuses on children's health and system-wide efficiencies. Highlights of his 'Building Blocks for Health Care Reform' are available in this press release from the Governor's Office.

Part of his plan is based on recommendations from the Blue Ribbon Commission for Healthcare Reform which were presented before the General Assembly on January 31st. The final report is available from the commission web site.

The governor also hopes to increase Child Health Plan Plus and Medicaid coverage for Colorado. More information on Child Helath Plan Plus is available at: http://www.chcpf.state.co.us/HCPF/titlexxi/cbhpindex.asp

In support of the governor's health care reform initiatives, the General Assembly passed
Senate Joint Resolution 08-008 on February 18, which resolves that the members of the General Assembly, will strive to ensure that by the year 2010, all children in Colorado will have access to health care coverage through insurance or public programs that ensure access to a medical home providing appropriate and affordable health services.

On the same day, HB1341 was introduced 'concerning an increase in the state sales and use tax on retail sales of alcohol beverages to provide funding for the children's basic health plan.'

For a list of other bills on health care proposed by members of the legislature this session, search and sort through current bills on the General Assembly web
page.

2.14.2008

Going out into the storm

Why do people ignore storm warnings, and drive in blizzard-like conditions?The Natural Hazards Center of the University of Colorado at Boulder has issued an interesting report evaluating the public response to winter storm warnings the day of the big winter storm, December 20, 2006. The study investigates how many people decided to stay home based on weather forecasts versus observations of current conditions, and evaluates how decisions are made related to driving under hazardous conditions. "Quick Response Report: Evaluation of Winter Storm Warnings: A Case Study of the Colorado Front Range December 20-21, 2006, Winter Storm" is available online, http://www.colorado.edu/hazards/research/qr/qr192/qr192.html

The Natural Hazards Center is a great place to find information on emergency planning and disaster preparedness. Take some time to browse their website: http://www.colorado.edu/hazards/

2.12.2008

Centralizing State IT

The Governor's new plan to centralize state information technologies has been getting a lot of press lately, with SB08-155 being formally introduced yesterday. This bill would centralize the information technology structures of the various departments into being overseen by one office, which proponents say will lessen problems associated with the use of a wide variety of systems.

You can also read about state information technologies in the Information Technology Strategic Plan 2006-2009, available online from our library.

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