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Monthly Archives: Feb 2016

Colorado lobbying law offers murky picture of influence on politics

Joey Bunch (Denver Post)-

Colorado’s system for telling the public who is spending money to shape state policy amounts to a complicated honor system the average concerned citizen would struggle to untangle. The nonpartisan Center for Public Integrity last year deemed Colorado “largely sleaze-free” but dinged the state for its lack of transparency on lobbyists.

Attempts to strengthen disclosure at the legislature haven’t been effective, and state officials say there isn’t enough money to make improvements.

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Court: Colorado’s GOP’s creation of super PAC was legal

James Anderson (Associated Press)-

A super PAC created by Colorado’s Republican Party to accept unlimited campaign contributions is legal as long as it doesn’t coordinate with the party, a state court said in an opinion released Thursday.

The Colorado Court of Appeals found that nothing in Colorado or federal law prevented the state GOP in 2014 from creating an independent spending committee that isn’t subject to spending limits that apply to political parties.

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Database records bill dies, but stakeholders hope to work on a compromise

Jeffrey Roberts (Freedom of Information Coalition)-

Opposition from a state agency and several local governments Wednesday doomed proposed legislation intended to modernize Colorado’s open-records law by requiring that public records kept in database formats be available to the public in similar formats.

The demise of SB 16-037, however, won’t end efforts to address long-standing problems with access to digital records under the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA). One of the bill’s opponents, the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office, has agreed to convene a stakeholders’ group to work on a possible compromise.

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At the State Capitol: Colorado Open Records Act

Peter Strescino (The Pueblo Chieftain)-

Members of the Senate State , Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee voted on a party line against legislation to modernize the Colorado Open Records Act, meant to bolster public access to government records.

State Sen. John Kefalas, D-Colo., said his SB37 would address taxpayers’ access digital formats. The bill would have boosted this access by requiring records custodians to provide records in machine-readable digital formats if the records are currently kept in that manner, ensuring that citizens have more helpful access to government records, Kefalas said.

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No ‘smoking gun’ in Glendale

Peter Jones (The Villager)-

A recreational-marijuana store called the Smokin’ Gun is smoldering at the center of the latest controversy to hit Glendale, but the elected leader says his fingerprints won’t be found.

Mayor Mike Dunafon disputes a complaint from the nonprofit, Colorado Ethics Watch, which accuses the city leader of not appropriately recusing himself last year from a City Council vote approving Smokin’ Gun, a new pot-retail outlet owned by his now-wife.

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Colorado’s newest pot shop tied to strip club and mayor

Kristen Wyatt (Associated Press)-

Colorado’s newest pot shop has some wondering whether strippers and weed are too closely aligned on a busy highway just east of downtown Denver.

The Smokin Gun Apothecary opened on a site formerly occupied by the Denver area’s best known strip club, Shotgun Willie’s. The strip club hasn’t gone away — it’s moved just across the parking lot, testing ethical and potentially legal issues about the state’s growing legal recreational pot industry.

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Anadarko appoints “brand ambassadors” to fight off drilling bans

Jennifer Oldman (Bloomberg Business)-

Windsor High School junior Kamille Hocking worried a dozen oil wells on her family’s 132-acre Colorado homestead might sicken them. Then, Rebecca Johnson, an Anadarko Petroleum Corp. engineer, used a blender in her chemistry class to show the interaction of swirling frack sand, city water and friction reducer.

“We heard a lot of stories about how it could get into the water and pollute the land,” said Hocking, who is 16. “I’m going to tell my parents that fracking fluid only makes cracks in the rock the size of a hair that the sand gets into and holds open.”

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Ethics complaint filed for Glendale mayor’s vote regarding wife’s marijuana dispensary

Brendaliss Gonzalez (Denver Channel)- Colorado Ethics Watch claims the mayor had a financial interest when he cast the vote.

According to the city council minutes taken at the meeting on Feb. of 2015, Mayor Mike Dunafon originally recused himself from the vote concerning granting the approval to open the Smokin’ Gun Apothecary next to Shotgun Willie’s, a strip club also owned by the mayor’s wife.

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Ethics complaint filed against Glendale mayor for pot shop vote

Carlos Illescas (Denver Post)- Colorado Ethics Watch has filed a complaint with the city of Glendale, asking that the City Council censure Mayor Mike Dunafon after he voted to approve a plan for a new recreational marijuana store owned by his now-wife.

His wife, Debbie Matthews, is majority owner of the Smokin Gun, a recreational marijuana store on Colorado Boulevard that is scheduled to open as soon as next week.

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Ethics Watch Files Complaint Against Glendale Mayor

On Friday, Colorado Ethics Watch filed a complaint with the Glendale City Council against Mayor Mike Dunafon. The complaint alleges that on February 3, 2015, Mayor Dunafon cast the tie-breaking vote to approve a site development plan and special use permit for a marijuana retail store owned by his wife – after having first recused himself due to the conflict of interest. The complaint also alleges that Dunafon voted to approve a liquor license renewal for a bar owned by his wife in April, 2015.

“The City of Glendale should not be run for the benefit of Mayor Dunafon and his family,” said Luis Toro, Director of Colorado Ethics Watch. “We are calling upon the City Council to pass a resolution of censure so that nothing like this happens again.”

Glendale is a home rule city with an ethics code vesting authority in the City Council to hear ethics complaints against Glendale officials, including the Mayor and City Council members themselves.

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