CORONADO, Calif. – Four years ago, in the hours after Colorado became one of the first states to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, Gov. John Hickenlooper sounded a cautionary, if humorous, note: “Don’t break out the Cheetos or Goldfish too quickly.”
State voters overwhelmingly approved the measure, and Hickenlooper found himself wrestling with how to implement a law he had opposed.
Now, with other states passing similar measures, the Democrat has settled into an unexpected role — a kind of marijuana counselor to his peers. Governors call him up, he said, to ask for advice on pot.
“You don’t get to choose what your legacy is,” he said.
In the weeks before Californians voted to legalize recreational cannabis last month, Gov. Jerry Brown called Hickenlooper for consultation. Like Hickenlooper, Brown did not endorse the effort.
Read more at Los Angeles Times
Standing alone before a lectern in a downtown Denver hotel ballroom Tuesday night, Gov. John Hickenlooper did what’s been rare in his decade-long political career: offer a concession speech.
“At a certain point you take risk, but then you look at the reward,” said Hickenlooper, a Democrat, as election night ballots revealed a stark statewide rebuke of the $1 billion income tax increase for education that the governor staunchly supported. “And the opportunity to define Colorado as the national model for public education … that reward more than justified the risk of going out there with again — in a difficult year — a tax increase.”
For Hickenlooper, who is vying for a second term in next year’s election, taking political risks has encompassed much of 2013, say some political observers.
Tuesday’s defeat caps off a year in which the governor has been assailed by critics across the aisle as grossly out of touch with the state’s moderate electorate. He backed a package of gun-control bills, supported a measure that doubles renewable-energy standards for rural Coloradans and supported a sweeping elections-reform measure.
Read more at The Denver Post.
Gov. John Hickenlooper has let his fellow Democrats know he has issues with a bill that allows lawmakers to repeal Colorado’s death penalty, mentioning a “veto” as the sponsors say they have the votes to get it passed.
Hickenlooper on Tuesday spoke with House Democrats at their regular caucus luncheon in a building across the street from the Capitol one hour before a committee was scheduled to hear the death-penalty bill.
Rep. Dan Pabon, D-Denver, said it was the first time he has heard the governor use the word “veto.”
“He did not say, ‘I will definitely, undoubtedly with no question veto this,’ ” Pabon said. “But he did say that is something he is bouncing around. He used the ‘v’ word.”
Another Democrat, who asked not to be identified, said Hickenlooper told the caucus, “There are some things we’re going to have to disagree on … and those things we disagree on I’ll have to veto.”
Read more at The Denver Post.
A pair of leading Democratic lawmakers are pushing back on a bill staunchly supported by Gov. John Hickenlooper to repurpose part of an old, rural prison campus as a residential facility for the state’s homeless.
Sen. Pat Steadman of Denver and Rep. Claire Levy of Boulder question both the cost and whether the initiative isn’t more about finding a purpose for the Fort Lyon prison shuttered at Hickenlooper’s request than it is about helping resolve homelessness.
“There’s some real concerns about the conditions and maintenance of the facility,” said Steadman, the chairman of the Joint Budget Committee. “It’s an old facility that’s going to have ongoing costs for years to come.”
Asbestos has been found in the buildings and on the grounds.
Steadman is opposed to the bill, which easily passed the House on Monday. It now goes to the Senate, where it could face a tougher battle.
Facing a budget shortfall two years ago of more than $1 billion, Hickenlooper closed the prison to save the state cash — a move that killed about 200 jobs in Bent County, where poverty rates were hovering near 35 percent.
Read more at The Denver Post