State Symbols

A Colorado elementary school child's wish to see the western painted turtle become the state reptile came one step closer to fruition yesterday, when the bill passed in the House. So far, Colorado lacks a state reptile (though we do have a dinosaur as our state fossil), but HB08-1017 would give Colorado the new state symbol. The bill will go to the Senate next.

Not counting the state reptile, which has yet to be officially designated, Colorado has fifteen state symbols: a state animal, bird, fish, flower, folk dance, fossil, gemstone, grass, insect, song (2), tartan, tree, mineral, and rock. Find out what each of these are at the Colorado State Archives' State Symbols and Emblems page. This page gives background on each, as well as the story behind Colorado's motto and state seal.

School Safety Resource Center Proposed

Governor Ritter, Senator John Morse and Representative Amy Stephens are sponsoring a bill
that would create a Colorado School Safety Resource Center, to provide statewide expertise in helping to prevent school violence and responding to emergencies. A detailed description of the proposed center is available in a press release from the Governor's Office. The full text of the bill (SB 08-01) is on the General Assembly website.

Other resources on school safety/school violence that may be of interest:

Other resources on safe schools and the prevention of school violence can be accessed through our library catalog, using the keywords "school violence", and "safe schools."


Historic Preservation Tax Credits

For years, many property owners have benefited from receiving state tax credits for restoring historic buildings. This year, the State Legislature is debating HB08-1033 regarding whether to continue to offer these tax incentives. Proponents argue that the tax credit is essential to encouraging property owners to upkeep their buildings, which translates to increased property values for both themselves and their neighbors, and encourages the restoration of old buildings rather than their removal and subsequent rebuilding of new structures. Without these tax credits, many historic structures still stand that otherwise may have been lost. Opponents of the measure, however, argue that the state shouldn't be paying for personal property such as home fix-ups (though the credits do go to public buildings as well as residential.)

The bill is currently in committee and, if it passes, will move to the floor of the house. For more information on tax credits for historic properties, see the following publications:


Live Video of Colorado House Proceedings

The Colorado Legislature has unveiled a new way to stay on top of the activities of the General Assembly. Streaming video is now available for all committee meetings and floor discussions by the Colorado House members. Go to http://www.coloradochannel.net/ for live video feeds of the House floor and review the archives for tapes of past sessions.


Harsh Winters --Starving Deer

The Division of Wildlife has begun a big game 'feeding operation' in the Gunnison Basin. Harsh winter conditions can cause food sources to be covered up and inaccessible to wildlife. The feeding program is focusing primarily on deer. Deer in the Gunnison Basin depend on sage brush for winter feeding, and many of the shrubs are covered by snow. The Division is seeking volunteers to help distribute food in affected areas as well as donations to help fund the effort. For more information about the feeding program and ways to participate, visit the in-depth FAQ on the Division of Wildlife web site.


Terrorism and Citizen Vigilance

Last week someone who was taking videos from the top of Dillon Reservoir was reported to authorities and, fortunately, found to be innocent. Did you know there exists the Colorado Information Analysis Center, funded mainly by federal Homeland Security funds and staffed by state agencies? It serves as a “fusion center” where reports of suspicious activities are analyzed for their potential relationship to terrorist activity. On the CIAC site is a form that you can fill out to report suspicious activity. (Of course you can call 911, as well, for immediate response.) Also included on the site is a list of the types of activities you should report. Videotaping dams is on the list.

The site provides a link to the Colorado Rubicon Team, which will provide free training to public and private groups on a variety of terrorism topics as described in their brochure, Prevention and Preparedness through Partnerships.

For related terrorism titles in the Colorado State Publications Library, search our online catalog.


Ritter's State of the State

Yesterday Governor Ritter gave his annual State of the State address, which you can read here. He addressed topics such as education and healthcare, while also discussing his plans to make state government more accessible to the people of Colorado. To accompany the speech, the Governor's Office also released a new report following up on last year's goals, entitled Fulfilling the Colorado Promise: 2007 First Year Book of Accomplishments.


Colorado Caucus

Now that all the hullabaloo has ended over the Iowa Caucus, life goes on and caucuses are conducted more quietly in the remaining states. The Colorado caucus for presidential candidate selection is scheduled to take place on February 5th this year. The Democratic and Republican Parties will both hold a caucus to poll public preference for their presidential candidates. To learn about the election process, try the following resources:

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