Fun and Facts About the Dead

Graveyards, ghosts, mummies – there is fun and fascination with the dead around October 31st. What is the story about disposing of human remains in Colorado? As far as the State of Colorado is concerned, local ordinances have the final say. A brief summary, Disposition of Remains or Cremains, can be found online on the Vital Records Section of the Department of Public Health and Environment web site.


Referendum K

This November one of the ballot issues will be Referendum K, concerning whether or not the Colorado Attorney General should sue the Federal Government to demand they enforce federal immigration laws. According to Colorado's Legislative Blue Book, which lists pros and cons for each ballot measure, arguments for Referendum K include sending a clear message to Washington that Coloradans want the immigration laws enforced; and arguments against include an increase in taxes to pay for the time/staff involved. The Colorado Legislative Council, which produces the Blue Book each year, also produces a series of publications called "Issue Briefs." Included in this series is Immigration in Colorado: State Impact and Recent Legislation. Available online from our library, this publication describes the impact of illegal immigration on the state's economy.


Economic Development Data Book

Our library just received the Economic Development Data Book, 2006, published by the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. Check it out! This is packed full of figures on Colorado economics, population, employment, technology, taxes, education, recreation, quality of life, utilities, and much more. It has been published every year since 1999, and before that every few years under the title Colorado Facts: Statistics and Comparisons of Key Indicators to Evaluate Colorado’s Economic Climate. Since only the current version is online, past issues are available in hardcopy from our library and from our depository libraries around the state.


Traveling in Colorado

Winter travel in Colorado can be challenging because of the weather extremes and the difference in the topology of the state. The plains can be basking in sunny weather while snow piles up in the mountain areas, or the mountains are enjoying the sunshine while the plains are high winds and blowing snow that forces road closures. Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has a website Road Conditions which gives the condition of the major highways throughout the state, as well as closures, restrictions, construction etc. In addition, there are links to the travel cameras located in various parts of the state. The information is updated and new information comes in. It is an excellent site to bookmark for anyone traveling in the state in any season

Ballot Proposals Regarding School Finance

On the ballot this November are two proposals that deal with school district spending: Amendment 39 and Referendum J. Though closely related they do not depend on one another to pass or fail. Each proposal requires school districts to spend 65% of funds on expenses specifically involving classroom instruction. For example, the 65% can be used on teachers' and librarians' salaries, books, computers, art, music, athletics, and field trips, while expenses such as building maintenance, administration, and school boards do not count toward the 65%. (Referendum J allows support personnel such as principals, counselors, and nurses to fall within the 65% while Amendment 39 does not.) Arguments for these initiatives includes increased funds spent on classroom instruction without increasing taxes, and establishing a statewide standard for spending. Arguments against include whether or not Referendum J is necessary, as, according to the Legislative Council, most school districts already spend approximately 65% on expenses covered by the Referendum; and that Amendment 39 does not take into account the administrators and support staff who do not have direct involvement in the classroom but are essential to the school. For the complete analysis of Amendment 39 and Referendum J, as well as the other 2006 ballot proposals, see the Legislative Council's Blue Book. Additional school finance information can be obtained from our library, including:

-School Finance in Colorado
-Understanding School Finance and Categorical Program Funding
-Financial Policies and Procedures Handbook: Budgeting, Accounting, Reporting, and Investment for Colorado Public School Districts


Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Most of us have some connection to those who have had to fight this dreaded and common cancer. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment provides a great deal of information on this topic. Their Cancer web site takes you to the following 3 programs:

Colorado Women’s Cancer Control Initiative, which strives to reduce breast and cervical cancer among low-income women.

Comprehensive Cancer Program, which leads statewide cancer control efforts.

Colorado Central Cancer Registry, which provides statistics and reports.

Reports on cancer, including breast cancer, are found on all three sites, as well as in our collection, and are searchable in our online catalog.


Audio version of the 2006 Legislative Blue Book

The Colorado Talking Book Library (CTBL) provides free service to Coloradans of all ages who are unable to read standard print material due to visual, physical or learning disabilities whether permanent or temporary. One of the many services CTBL provides for Colorado citizens is recording the Legislative Blue Book every year. The 2006 Blue Book is divided into four different MP3 files to make downloading easier. There are links to the file on both the CTBL web site as well as the Legislative Council website.
If you want to learn more about the services that CTBL provides please check out their web site.


Term Limits and Retention of Judges

This November one of the ballot issues will be Amendment 40, concerning term limits for Supreme Court and appellate judges. This proposal asks voters to decide whether judges should or should not be term limited to four years. Proponents of the measure argue that new judges every four years will add some fresh perspective, while opponents argue that if a judge's performance is satisfactory, why make them leave? (See the 2006 Blue Book for the Legislative Council's official description of the measure).

Also on the ballot, (and unrelated to Amendement 40), voters are asked, as they are annually, to vote on whether particular judges should or should not be retained. The Judicial Performance Commission issues recommendations on whether or not judges should be retained, based on the Commission's evaluation of the judges' performance. According to the Supreme Court's pamphlet entitled "Colorado's Judicial Merit Selection & Retention System," (available in our library), the commission observes the judges and evaluates them based on several points including integrity, knowledge of the law, communication skills, "preparation, attentiveness, and control over judicial proceedings," "docket management and prompt case disposition," "effectiveness in working with participants in the judicial process," and others. To become a judge, a nominee must have been licensed to practice law in Colorado at least 5 years; must be a "qualified elector of the state," and must be under age 72 when their name is submitted for nomination.


Colorado Ballot Proposal Information

At this time Coloradans are receiving the Analysis of the 2006 Ballot Proposals (or “Blue Book”) in the mail. If you miss your copy, you can access it on the Colorado Legislative Council’s site Colorado Ballot Proposal Information. This site also gives background information on the process, history, and the rules that must be followed. Past Blue Books are available as well, in English and in Spanish.

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