KUNC

As Sen. Faith Winter pushes forward a bill to create a paid family leave program, she's thinking of employees who are stuck at work during some of the most challenging moments of their lives.

"We have cancer patients who are skipping their second round of chemotherapy because they can't afford to lose their paycheck," Winter said Monday. "And there's a heartbreaking story of a woman who took her dad off life support in a break room instead of being by her father's side."

The Colorado Senate narrowly passed a contentious gun control bill on Thursday that would allow police to temporarily take away someone's firearms.

The extreme risk protection order proposal would give law enforcement the ability to take the weapons away if a judge determines their owner poses a risk to themselves or others.

Democrats in the Colorado Senate advanced a gun control bill late Friday evening despite fierce opposition from Republicans.

The extreme risk protection order bill would allow police to take away someone’s firearm if a judge determines they pose a significant risk to themselves or others.

The legislation is now one vote in the Senate away from heading to Governor Jared Polis’ desk.

Jobs in Colorado are changing. As early as next year, nearly three out of four will require some type of advanced degree. That's prompted the Colorado Department of Higher Education to create a plan for helping residents attend and graduate from a postsecondary institution.

About 100 people gathered outside the Greeley Chamber of Commerce on Friday to protest a bill that could tighten regulations on the oil and gas industry.  

“It’s just kind of sneaky,” Weld County resident Jolene Luster said about the bill. “We don’t understand it and it’s going to affect a lot of people. And we need to make sure that it doesn’t go through.

Colorado lawmakers are now more than halfway through the legislative session, and they’ve debated at length over oil and gas regulations and how the state votes for presidents.

But one issue has been notably absent so far from the agenda: Transportation funding.

It’s been four months since voters rejected two tax measures that would have provided billions of dollars worth of funding for the state’s roads and bridges.

After days of fierce partisanship at the state Capitol, Democrats in the Colorado Senate advanced a bill Wednesday that will give local governments more control over oil and gas drilling operations.

But as the bill heads over to the House for more debate, there are signs it will undergo some more changes in the coming days.

Multiple road closures have crippled Colorado's interstate system, with blizzard conditions shutting down large sections of I-25, I-76 and US-287 as a major winter storm officially called a "bomb cyclone" sweeps through Colorado. Wind gusts of 80 mph have been reported at Denver International Airport.

A bill making its way through the state Legislature is challenging several long-standing practices within Colorado's oil and gas industry, including "forced" or "statutory" pooling.

That's when companies can drill in a certain area without consent from all associated mineral right owners. The practice has been around for decades, but is facing fresh criticism as Colorado's population balloons and oil and gas development creeps closer to neighborhoods north of Denver.

A study in the medical journal BMJ found a strong association between the strength of a state’s gun laws and its rate of mass shootings.

Paul Reeping is an epidemiologist with Columbia University and first author on the paper. He says researchers had already looked at the relationship between gun laws and outcomes like suicide or homicide.

In this week's Colorado Edition, we look at the prospects for Colorado’s former governor as he enters the 2020 presidential race, talk civil discourse with 1A host Joshua Johnson and get a peek behind shed door of Nederland's most famous frozen resident.

On the eve of what could be one of the  most important speeches of his political career, former Gov. John Hickenlooper stopped by the Wynkoop Brewing Co. talk to reporters about craft beer, politics and why he thinks he’s the best democrat to take on Donald Trump.

On this week's Colorado Edition, we've got two stories about what's brewing in Colorado's beer scene (hint: there's something new and something very, very old). Plus, we take a closer look at the "skills gap" that could be holding the state economy back and meet a dance troupe that believes anyone and everyone can take part in the performing arts.

Updated at 10:57 a.m.

Former two-term Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper announced his 2020 presidential bid in an online video on Monday, pitching himself as the centrist antidote to a dysfunctional, divided Washington.

He joins an already crowded field of Democratic contenders including senators Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand and Bernie Sanders.

Noelle Cerone has noticed a disturbing trend at her high school situated in the mountains just north of Steamboat Springs.

“I know a lot of kids who have changed over time because they have gotten addicted to the nicotine in vape pens,” the Steamboat Mountain School junior wrote this week in a letter to state lawmakers.

Inside a Denver bottling plant, Keith Villa watches as rows and rows of 10-ounce silver bottles whisk by, all filled with a golden-colored Belgian-style ale called Grainwave.

It looks and tastes like beer. But instead of alcohol, there's 5 milligrams of THC mixed inside. That's the psychoactive compound in marijuana that gets you high.

Updated at 1:55 p.m., Feb. 26, 2019:

As a measles outbreak continues in Washington state, a congressional hearing Wednesday will discuss the preventable disease, now considered to be a “growing public health threat.”

Several states are considering legislation to encourage higher rates of childhood vaccines. The response in our region is mixed.

KUNC's Colorado Edition: Snow, Wind And Fire

Feb 22, 2019

On this week's Colorado Edition, we take a look at the impact of wildfire risk on home insurance, dive into the science behind cloud seeding and hear a review of the film Arctic.

Colorado teens vape more than teens in any other state studied by federal researchers and at twice the rate of the national average. That's according to federal research on vaporizers, or e-cigarettes, and it leads health experts to warn that teens either misunderstand or underestimate the risks.

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser is planning to join at least 10 other states in a lawsuit that will try to stop President Donald Trump from using an emergency declaration to build a border wall.

On Monday afternoon, Weiser was the lead speaker at a protest against the emergency declaration held at the state Capitol.

Populations are declining in more than  one-third of rural counties across the country. Colorado’s counties are bucking the trend, thanks to a number of factors identified by researchers in, a study published earlier this month.

A few months ago, John Parker retired and moved into a salmon-colored log house on a mountain called Tungsten in unincorporated Boulder County.

"Just to get a little piece of heaven, get away from the madding crowd," he says.

Inside, a wood-fired stove fills the house with heat and a low hum. Outside, the snow feels like thick, gritty icing. The wind barrels up a slope, gathering snow into a glittery stream. When the glitter stream meets the house, it curves around and hugs it, piling up around the back steps. It does not feel like the time to think about wildfires. But if that same wind was carrying embers instead of snow, those would follow the same path and instead of glittering, that pile by the back door would be glowing.

On an unseasonably warm February day, Travis Kauffman headed out around noon for a run in the foothills outside Fort Collins, wearing shorts and a fleece pullover.

Within two hours, he'd emerge from the woods — clothes tattered, body blood-smeared, but alive.

The story of how he came face-to-face with a juvenile mountain lion and not only survived, but killed the animal that attacked him, soon became the stuff of legend. It's the type of story that feeds the impulses of internet commenters and quickly embeds itself in local folklore, like a Wild West tall tale come to life.

Longmont resident Ingrid Moore went to the state Capitol on Tuesday carrying a stack of maps she said illustrates why Colorado should change the way it chooses U.S. presidents.

"Over 57 percent of all the 2016 campaign events were held in just four states," she said as lawmakers on the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee reviewed the map. "Virtually all campaign events ... were held in just 12 states. And those 12 states just have 30 percent of the population."

The Colorado Office of Behavioral Health received a federal grant in April 2017 to address the state's growing opioid crisis. That year, 560 Coloradans died from opioid overdoses. KUNC's Stephanie Daniel spoke to director Robert Werthwein, director of the state agency, about their addiction, prevention and treatment efforts.

Colorado lawmakers are once again debating a bill to ban so-called conversion therapy for youth in the state. The practice seeks to change a gay or non-straight person's sexual orientation to heterosexual. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry has said the practice does not work, can be harmful, and furthermore, that variations in sexual orientation and gender expression are normal.

Lawmakers in Colorado say they're seeing a growing number of cases where patients visit a hospital in their insurance network but unknowingly get treated by an out-of-network specialist or surgeon.

Then the patients get sent a surprise bill, and the worrying starts.

Senators from across the country and on both sides of the aisle have introduced a bill to tackle a problematic illness of deer, elk and moose.

It's called chronic wasting disease. Like so-called "mad cow," it’s a prion disease, meaning that it is not caused by viruses or bacteria, but instead by aberrant proteins in the nervous system.

The Colorado trail runner who killed a mountain lion with his bare hands did exactly what he should have, according to David Baron. The Boulder-based science writer is the author of the book, “The Beast in the Garden,” about the growing clash between people and wild animals.

“With a mountain lion, you do not want to play dead,” Baron said. “If a mountain lion attacks you, it’s not because it’s defending its kittens. It’s not because it feels threatened, unless you maybe cornered it. If a mountain lion attacks you, almost always it’s because that lion, on that day, has decided that you look like prey.”

Archaeologists studying a prehistoric site in Golden, Colorado, have found that people lived there thousands of years earlier than previously thought.

The site is called “Magic Mountain” after an amusement park that used to own the land back when excavations started in the 1950s.

Archaeologists like Mark Mitchell knew that people, likely nomadic hunter-gatherers, had lived and camped at the site for much of the last 5,000 years. 

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