Time Machine Tuesday: Highway Beautification Act of 1965

The Highway Beautification Act, signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson on October 22, 1965, charged states with controlling outdoor advertising -- particularly billboards -- along interstates and federally-funded highways.  In response to the Act, over the next several years, Colorado passed several state laws that would control outdoor advertising adjacent to highways, as well as other beautification measures such as control of of junkyards located alongside highways. 

Colorado had enacted controls on roadside advertising as early as 1937, but following 1965's Highway Beautification Act, the Colorado Legislature passed Senate Bill 6 in 1966, "prohibit[ing] the erection of advertising devices adjacent to the interstate and primary highway systems of this state."  Eventually, legislation allowed for some advertising in urban areas; special permits from the Colorado Department of Transportation; and other exceptions.  Colorado's laws, viewable in digital form via the Colorado Session Laws, include some exceptions added in 1967; the issue of political campaign signs in 1970; 1971 laws regarding permits and exceptions; and further updates to the law in 1979

Today, the Highway Beautification Act is still on the books, and violations of the Act can result of loss of federal funding for the state.  For information on how this half-century-old legislation still applies today, see the Colorado Department of Transportation's Outdoor Advertising Program Reference Guide and Outdoor Advertising Manual, both published in 2015 and available for viewing from our library.

The Highway Beautification Act came in response to scenes like this one in 1950s Missouri.  Photo courtesy National Archives and Records Administration.


Marijuana Taxes

How much money is Colorado receiving from taxation of retail marijuana?  And where does the money go?

The Colorado Department of Revenue provides answers to the first question.  Their Marijuana Tax Data webpage includes monthly sales tax collection by county, a data archive, and total number of taxes, fees, and licenses in Colorado.  They also have a Quick Answers page that covers marijuana tax information such as retailer and grower/manufacturer requirements, taxes for infused products (edibles), excise tax information, and medical vs. retail marijuana taxation information.  More in-depth information, including copies of marijuana-related statutes, can be found at their Legal Research webpage.

The Colorado Legislative Council has recently published an Issue Brief to answer the second question.  Distribution of Marijuana Tax Revenue is a quick, easy-to-understand overview of where the marijuana tax money goes.  Check our library's web catalog for more info and for new publications as the laws continue to change.


Ride Sharing, Taxi, and Limo Driver Regulations

A growing number of drivers are making extra money through transportation network companies (TNCs), also commonly known as ride sharing (Uber, Lyft, etc.)  TNCs use smartphone networks to connect drivers and passengers.  Even with the growing popularity of ride sharing, traditional taxicabs and limo services continue to thrive, especially in large cities and at airports.  If you are looking at becoming a TNC, taxi, or limo driver, there are different regulations for each that you should know about.  All three are overseen by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC).

TNC drivers differ from taxi and limo drivers because they can work however much or little they want; it is not their primary occupation.  However, the state still has regulations for drivers.  Drivers must pass a medical exam, and their vehicles must go through an annual inspection.  Information and forms for drivers are available at the PUC's TNC webpage.  This website also includes some consumer information, including how to file a complaint about a TNC driver.

Taxicabs, shuttles, etc. fall into the category the PUC refers to as "common carriers."  There are a number of medical forms and auto inspection documents that must be filed in order to qualify as a driver.  Furthermore, taxi drivers must submit fingerprints for background checks.  Vehicle, driver, business, fingerprint, tariff, and complaint information can be found at the PUC's common carrier webpage.  This page also links to a database where you can search registered permits.  Common carriers are required to display their permit number on their vehicle.

Limousine drivers are also required to submit fingerprints, medical forms, and driver inspection information.  There are some differences in regulations from taxicab drivers because many limo drivers are self-employed.  Limos fall under the PUC category of "limited regulation carriers." For a carrier information packet, forms, and other information see the PUC's limited regulation carrier webpage.


Time Machine Tuesday: Davis Waite and the City Hall War

Davis Waite.
Colorado's only third-party governor, Davis Waite, was elected in 1892 as a member of the Populist Party.  In the era of progressive reforms and worker unrest, Populists advocated "an eight-hour workday, employees' liability legislation, a child labor law, and state operation of coal mines."1 Populism swept Colorado that year, with 57% of Colorado voters backing Populist presidential candidate James Weaver.  In addition to electing Waite as governor, Colorado also sent thirty-nine Populists to the State Legislature. Waite is often remembered for the nickname given him by his opponents -- "Bloody Bridles" Waite.  The sobriquet came from one of Waite's speeches, where he declared that it was "better that blood should flow to the horses' bridles, than our national liberties be destroyed."  

The Populists' day was short, however.  The following year, 1893, Colorado and the nation suffered an enormous financial panic that left as many as 45,000 Coloradans out of work.  In the 1894 election (at that time governors served two-year terms), Waite was easily unseated by Republican Albert W. McIntire, who decried Waite's support of labor unions and progressive reforms.  The nail in the coffin of Waite's governorship, however, was what has come to be known as the City Hall War.

At that time, the governor had the authority to appoint members of the Denver Fire and Police Board, which had been created by the Legislature in 1891.  When two of Waite's appointees did not, in his opinion, do enough to suppress vice in Denver, he ordered them to step down.  Disagreeing with the governor about their effectiveness, the two appointees refused to resign and barricaded themselves inside City Hall.  In response, Waite ordered the Colorado militia to forcibly remove the two men.  County sheriffs and Denver police, along with a contingent of shady characters led by Soapy Smith, posted armed guards at the building to protect the board members.  Everyone wondered which side would fire first.  Fortunately, it never came to that.  A group of leading Denver citizens, including newspaperman William Byers and railroad baron David Moffat, convinced Waite to take the matter to the state Supreme Court instead.  The court ruled that while the governor did have the authority to remove the board members, he did not have the authority to order in the National Guard for that purpose.  In the end, the incident brought embarrassment to the city and crushed Waite's popularity.

In his final address as governor, available online from our library, Waite had no apologies for his actions in the City Hall War, claiming that his appointees had profited from blackmail.  "This practice of blackmail has been by no means confined to the city of Denver...it prevails in New York, Chicago, St. Louis, and nearly all the principal cities of the country, to such an extent that municipal corruption has become a national disgrace."  (It was around this same time that Theodore Roosevelt began instituting reforms in his role as police commissioner in New York).  Waite defended his actions by saying -- in his customary hyperbole -- that "I had rather die a thousand deaths than to allow a single prerogative that constitutionally belongs to my office, to be taken away while I am governor."  Waite's narrative of the City Hall War, on pages 45-51 of the address, provides a fascinating firsthand  account of the incident.  Waite's letter to the Colorado National Guard is also reprinted in the document:  "I can enforce the laws, but not without great bloodshed.  As governor of the state I call on you to assist me in preserving order and preventing bloodshed."

Crowds wait outside the Denver City Hall (14th and Larimer) waiting to see what will happen.
The document also contains the inaugural address of the new governor, Albert McIntire:  "On assuming the duties of the chief executive office of the state, it cannot be out of place for me to call attention to the meaning and intention of the people...that the law is to be impartially administered and enforced, regardless of so-called class, condition or party affiliation; and that the supremacy of the law is to be maintained at all hazards" -- a direct jab at his predecessor.

For more governor's speeches and other resources, search our online catalog.

1 Abbott, Carl, Stephen J. Leonard, and Thomas J. Noel, Colorado:  A History of the Centennial State, University Press of Colorado, 2005.  Available for checkout from the State Publications Library.

Photos courtesy Colorado State Archives and Denver Public Library Western History Department.


Pet/Animal Cancer Awareness

Many people are not aware that animals can get cancer, too.  So, November 2016 has been designated National Pet Cancer Awareness Month.  You can learn about pet cancer from Colorado State University's Flint Animal Cancer Center.  Information from the Center, which is part of the university's College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, includes their Top 10 Warning Signs of Cancer in Pet Animals.  Every pet owner should read and remember these signs, especially as their pets age.

The Center focuses on animal cancer research, but also provides animal hospice and emotional support for their humans.  Also part of CSU's veterinary medicine program is the Argus Institute, which provides counseling and support services relating to pet loss.  Their booklets What Now?  Support for You and Your Companion Animal and Making Decisions When Your Companion Animal is Sick are available for checkout from our library.

For further information, visit CSU's veterinary medicine homepage or search our library's online catalog.


Charter Schools

If you are looking for information about establishing and administering a charter school, or are a parent considering charter schools for your children, our library collection contains numerous resources that can help you make informed decisions and get the answers you need.  Unless otherwise noted, all of the following publications are from the Colorado Department of Education (CDE).

For information on starting and running a charter school, first see CDE's Charter Schools GuidebookFor more detailed information, selected resources on establishment administration include:
Information for parents:
General information, statistics, and data:


Time Machine Tuesday: Oil Shale

In 1921 the Colorado Geological Survey published a bulletin entitled Oil Shales of ColoradoAccording to the report, Pennsylvania and nearby states dominated the petroleum extraction industry in the mid-nineteenth century, but as drilling declined at the same time that demand increased, Colorado and other western and mid-western states looked to Scotland and France, who had all the while been experimenting with oil shale.

What is oil shale?  Oil shale is oil that is produced by distillation of sedimentary rock.  For an easy-to-understand explanation, see the Colorado Geological Survey's 2004 RockTalk publication about "black gold."

Oil shale production, Colorado, 1918.
Looking back to 1921, however, it was clear that with the increase in automobile production and sales, more oil would be needed.  The recent war had also caused increased demand.  "When the ever-increasing demand is taken into consideration," writes report author R.D. George, "it is evident that the time is not far distant when a part of the supply will again come from the distillation of shales.  When that time comes Colorado will unquestionably take a prominent place."

Did George accurately predict the future of oil shale?  In some ways, yes -- oil shale continues to be experimented with in Colorado.  However, as stated in the above-referenced RockTalk article, although oil shale has enormous potential, "the United States is not using this apparently vast resource to any significant extent, and it may not be able to do so in the near future."  Why?  Processing is very expensive, says the article, and not always environmentally friendly:  "...at present, the economical way to mine it appears to be surface- or strip-mining with its associated land disturbance.  Most of the richest oil shale is located in areas of the western United States that are chronically short of water, making revegetation after strip-mining difficult."  The water shortage is another problem, as oil shale production requires significant amounts of water.  Economics are also a factor, as described in the article.

Despite its challenges, oil shale development has a significant role in the history of Colorado resource extraction.  Check out the 1921 publication and others from our library to learn more about the history of oil shale in Colorado.

Photo courtesy U.S. Geological Survey.


Colorado Water Law for Non-Lawyers

One of the most frequently checked-out books in our library's collection is Colorado Water Law for Non-Lawyers, by P. Andrew Jones and Tom Cech (University Press of Colorado, 2009).  As implied in the title, it provides a succinct, easy-to-understand overview of Colorado's complex water laws.  "Drawing on geography and history, the authors explore the flashpoints and water wars that have shaped Colorado's present system of water allocation and management.  They also address how this system, developed in the mid-1800s, is standing up to current tests..."  --from the publisher

You can find many, many resources on water and water law in our library's collection, including this and other books from the University Press, as well as from Colorado State University's Colorado Water Institute; the Colorado Department of Natural Resource's Division of Water Resources and Colorado Water Conservation Board; the University of Colorado's Natural Resources Law Center; the Colorado Attorney General; and many more.  Search our library's web catalog for resources. 


Adoption Resources

November has been declared National Adoption Month, to bring awareness to the thousands of children awaiting adoption, as well as to recognize and celebrate those families that have brought adopted children into their home. 

If you are considering becoming an adoptive parent, it can be difficult to know where and how to begin the process.  There are legal requirements to understand, and decisions to be made about types of adoption (international, private, or through the foster care system).  Luckily, the Colorado Department of Human Services has put together a helpful website to launch potential adoptive parents on their journey.  The Colorado Foster Care and Adoption website includes such helpful pages as How to Start the Adoption Process in Colorado; the Colorado Heart Gallery, which profiles Colorado children awaiting adoption; information on counseling, training, and adoption events; information on becoming a foster parent; profiles of Colorado adoptive families; kinship care; local and national resources and links; and much more.

Our library also has numerous publications that can help prospective parents navigate the adoption process, or for researchers looking for information and statistics about adoption in Colorado:
If you are an adult who was adopted, and are in need of your birth certificate, adoption certificate, or other legal information, or are interested in connecting with your birth parents or siblings, visit the Colorado Vital Records Office's Adoption website.

For more resources, search our library's online catalog.


Time Machine Tuesday: A Governor's View of Colorado Political History

This Election Day, as history is being made in our state, let's step back and take a look at the first fifty years of Colorado politics.

Early governors, from History of Colorado.
In 1927, the State Historical and Natural History Society of Colorado (later the Colorado Historical Society, and now History Colorado) issued an illustrated five-volume History of Colorado.  (All five volumes are available digitally from our library).  Edited by James Baker and LeRoy Hafen -- still considered to be one of the most significant Colorado historians -- the five detailed volumes examine nearly every aspect of our state's history, including Indians and early white settlement; government; industry and economics; geology and geography; mining, agriculture, and industry; forestry and natural resources; transportation; law; medicine; the military; "woman's contribution;" education; religion; and arts and culture.  Volumes 4 and 5 present biographies of important Coloradans (or, likely, some who paid to be included).

The section on Colorado politics can be found in in Volume 3.  It covers in detail Colorado's achievement of statehood through the post-WWI period.  Discussed are some of the more controversial elections of governors and U.S. Senators, as well as strife between Democrats and Republicans, and the influence of the mining industry on Colorado politics.  What sets it apart from other histories of Colorado politics, however, is that it was authored by a former Colorado governor.

Charles S. Thomas, a Democrat, served as Governor of Colorado from 1899 to 1901 -- when Colorado was recovering from the Crash of 1893.  Originally from Georgia, Thomas earned a law degree from the University of Michigan in 1871 and moved to Denver soon after, setting up practice as a mining attorney.  He became Denver City Attorney in 1875 and later, in private practice, partnered with future U.S. Senator Thomas M. Patterson.  Charles S. Thomas was elected governor in 1898 and then went on to serve as U.S. Senator from 1913 to 1921.  He died in 1934.

For more election history and information on Colorado elected officials, search our library's online catalog.


Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP)

Colorado Parks and Wildlife issues a Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) every five years.  The current plan, issued in 2014, covers Colorado recreation planning, funding, and grants for 2014-2018.  According to the Colorado Parks & Wildlife website,

Every five years, each state updates their SCORP plan to remain eligible for stateside LWCF dollars, which are administered by the National Park Service (NPS). The Colorado State Trails Program, within Colorado Parks and Wildlife, is charged with distributing these grants to projects that align with SCORP priorities, particularly local and regional trail projects.

In our library you can view previous Colorado SCORPs back to the 1960s, as well as other Colorado recreation plans such as the Colorado State Parks Five-Year Strategic Plan, 2005-2009The 2003 and 2008 SCORPs are available online; the others can be checked out from our library.


2016 Wildfires -- Disaster Recovery

Junkins Fire.
Were you affected by the recent Junkins Fire, Beulah Hill Fire, or Hayden Pass Fire?  The Governor has declared a disaster emergency for each of these wildfires.  Of the three recent fires, the Junkins Fire was the most destructive, destroying nine homes and nine other structures.  And with the recent warm, dry weather, there is potential for more fires.

Following Colorado's September 2013 flood disaster, the Governor established the Colorado Resiliency & Recovery Office.  Their website, coloradounited.com, offers helpful resources for Coloradans affected by all types of disasters, including the recent wildfires.  In the Recovery section of the website, you can find information on temporary housing and rebuilding your home; FEMA assistance, insurance, and other financial information for individuals and businesses; mental health counseling; legal assistance; and much more.  The website is also a helpful resource for obtaining information on disaster mitigation.  Coloradans can also visit readycolorado.com to learn about preparedness.  The Colorado Resiliency & Recovery Office is also working with local governments to streamline disaster mitigation, response and recovery services.  Check out coloradounited.com to see what is happening in your community, and how you can get involved.

Junkins Fire photo courtesy Colorado Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Management.


Time Machine Tuesday: Dr. Florence Sabin

At the Statuary Hall at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., each state commemorates two of their greatest citizens.  The 100 statues include politicians, war heroes, explorers, artists, inventors, and other notables from all periods of U.S. history.  Among them is Colorado's contribution* -- and one of only nine women in the Hall -- Dr. Florence Rena Sabin.

Originally from Central City, Colorado, Dr. Sabin (1871-1953) was among the first handful of women to attend the medical school at Johns Hopkins University.  In 1917, she became a professor at Johns Hopkins, and during the 1920s and 1930s held many prestigious positions in national medical associations.  Dr. Sabin's passion was medical research, particularly on tuberculosis, which was widespread in America in the early 20th century.  In 1938, after retiring from the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, Dr. Sabin returned to Colorado, where she worked closely with governors and legislators to develop significant health laws for the state.  Appointed Denver's Manager of Health and Charities in 1947, Dr. Sabin employed new techniques such as x-ray technology in fighting tuberculosis, which reduced the city's tuberculosis rate by half.

Recent Levels of Known Tuberculosis in Colorado, a 1957 report from the Colorado State Department of Public Health, explained Dr. Sabin's work in Colorado and her contribution to the reduction of the state's tuberculosis rate.  The report quotes Dr. Sabin as saying -- at age 77 -- "It seems to me imperative that we find out the zones of high incidence of this disease and start a ten year program to correct present conditions."  She only lived five more years, but in that time "enthusiastically sponsored...and helped to implement" the program, with significant success.  (See pages 5-7 of the 1957 report).

The statue of Dr. Sabin was placed in the U.S. Capitol in 1959.  Click here to read the Colorado Senate's Joint Resolution for the dedication of the statue.  Dr. Sabin's ashes are housed in a book-shaped urn in the mausoleum at Denver's Fairmount Cemetery.

*Colorado's second statue is Apollo 13 astronaut Jack Swigert.

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