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


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.


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


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/


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.


Colorado Landscapes

The Colorado Council on the Arts has a new publication featuring landscape paintings by Colorado artists. Filled with beautiful prints, "Masterpieces of Colorado: A Rich Legacy of Landscape Painting", offers biographical information on Colorado artists and discusses how living in our state influenced their art. The paintings in this book will be on display at Denver Public Library February 22 - May 23rd. The book is available to check out from our library, GOV34/20.2/M37/2007 . For more information about the paintings and the exhibitions read the press release from the Colorado Council on the Arts.

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