Monday, November 4, 2013

Becker takes oath

Newly-appointed legislator K.C. Becker of Boulder took the oath of office and became a member of the General Assembly on Monday morning.

Becker was sworn in by chief justice Michael Bender before an audience of her family and several legislators.

The newest member of the House of Representatives will leave her seat on the Boulder City Council. An attorney, Becker once worked for the U.S. Department of Interior.

Former Rep. Claire Levy, D-Boulder, resigned the District 13 seat to take a position as executive director of the Colorado Center on Law and Policy. Levy was in her last term as a state representative, having been first elected in Nov. 2006.

Photo courtesy Democratic Caucus, Colorado House of Representatives

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Becker to replace Levy

Boulder city council member K.C. Becker has been chosen by a House District 13 vacancy committee to replace Rep. Claire Levy, D-Boulder.

Levy, who was first elected to the General Assembly in Nov. 2006, leaves office Oct. 31 to become executive director of a Denver-based non-profit organization.

Becker, 43, will be sworn in within a few days of Levy's departure.

The Colorado Statesman has a detailed report on Becker's appointment.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Hood is next Colorado supreme court justice

William Hood III, a Denver district court judge, has been chosen to succeed chief justice Michael Bender as a member of the state's highest court.

Gov. John Hickenlooper made the announcement Friday.

Hood, 50, has been a judge for about six years. Before assuming the bench he was in private practice and worked as a prosecutor in the 18th judicial district.

The new justice will have to stand for retention in the 2014 election. If retained, he'll serve a ten year term commencing in January 2015.

Hickenlooper's decision means that district judge David Prince of El Paso county and Colorado court of appeals judge John Dailey will have to await another vacancy on the state's highest court before trying again for promotion.

Justice Nancy E. Rice will take over as chief justice when Bender retires on Jan. 7, 2014.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Chief justice Bender to retire Jan. 7

Colorado will need a new supreme court chief justice early in 2014, and the state's Supreme Court Nominating Commission is to meet Oct. 8 and 9 to begin the process of choosing his replacement as a member of the high bench.

The incumbent, Michael Bender, will reach the age of 72 on Jan. 7. That is the state's mandatory retirement age for judges.

The Supreme Court Nominating Commission will provide Gov. John Hickenlooper with three candidates to take his seat.

Bender was appointed to the supreme court by former Gov. Roy Romer in 1997. He was selected to replace Mary Mullarkey as chief justice in 2010.

During his career as a practicing lawyer Bender worked as a public defender, for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and in private practice. He has also taught law at the University of Denver.

The chief justice of the state supreme court is the administrator of a justice system that has a budget in excess of $400 million and more than 3,600 employees.

Colorado's state courts are staffed by 332 judges.

Hickenlooper has appointed one justice to the court since assuming office in Jan. 2011. Brian Boatwright, a former Jefferson County district court judge, was selected to replace justice Alex Martinez in Nov. 2011.

Members of the Supreme Court Nominating Commission are  The members of the nominating commission for the Supreme Court Nominating Commission are Richard Holme and Sr. Alicia CuarĂ³n of the First Congressional District, Lamar Sims and Ann Hendrickson of the Second Congressional District, Kim Childs and Mary Stengel of the Third Congressional District, Scott Johnson and Ira Paulin of the Fourth Congressional District, Richard Celeste and Eric Hall of the Fifth Congressional District, April Jones and Bruce Alexander of the Sixth Congressional District, Charles Tingle and Olivia Mendoza of the Seventh Congressional District, and at-large member Dorothy Decker.

Applicants for the appointment were required to submit necessary documentation to the commission by Sept. 3.

Photo courtesy Colorado Judicial Branch.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Levy to leave legislature

Rep. Claire Levy, D-Boulder, will soon leave the General Assembly.

Levy, who was first elected in 2006 and is now the speaker pro tempore of the House of Representatives, announced Sept. 12 that she will become executive director of the Colorado Center for Law and Policy.

The veteran lawmaker has played a key role in many debates since taking the oath of office for the first time in Jan. 2007, including in those relating to renewable energy, juvenile justice, and fiscal affairs. She is a member of the Joint Budget Committee.

A Democratic Party vacancy committee will choose her replacement.

Levy's district encompasses Clear Creek, Gilpin, Grand, and Jackson counties in addition to a significant portion of Boulder county.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

New senators Herpin, Rivera to take office during first week of October

The two Republicans chosen to replace recalled senators John Morse, D-Colorado Springs, and Angela Giron, D-Pueblo, will be sworn in Oct. 3.

Bernie Herpin, a former Colorado Springs city council member, and George Rivera, a retired law enforcement officer and former deputy chief of the Pueblo police department, are the beneficiaries of the state's first-ever legislative recall elections.

In Morse's district, which includes areas in western El Paso county and central and southern Colorado Springs, the recall election was a low turnout affair. Less than 25 percent of the voters in Senate district 11 voted in the Sept. 9 election; Morse lost his quest to retain his seat by less than 400 votes out of more than 17,000 cast.

Giron's race in Senate district 3 was not nearly as close, with about 56 percent of voters supporting her recall, and turnout was higher than in Morse's district with about 36 percent of voters participating in the election.

Advocates for generally unrestricted access to firearms spearheaded the effort to recall Morse and Giron in the aftermath of a package of modest gun bills enacted into law last spring. Those measures included limits on magazine capacity, closed certain background check loopholes, and a requirement that applicants for concealed carry permits pay the necessary fee.

The Democrats will continue to control the state senate during the 2014 legislative session. They'll have 18 members of the body, while the Republican party will have 17 members.

The question of who will succeed Morse as senate president will be resolved after Herpin and Rivera are sworn in. Possible contenders are president pro tempore Lucia Guzman of Denver and majority leader Morgan Carroll of Aurora.

Herpin and Rivera will have to stand in the November 2014 election if they wish to hold the seats beyond the first week of January 2015, which is when the next General Assembly begins.

Morse's district is about evenly divided between Democrats, Republicans, and unaffiliated voters.

Morse, a former paramedic and Fountain police chief, was first elected in 2006 and then again in the strong Republican year of 2010. Term limits would have forced Morse from office in January 2015.

Giron's district has significantly more registered Democrats than Republicans.

Giron, 53, was first elected in Nov. 2010.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Supreme Court rejects attack on state school finance system

The state supreme court has turned aside a constitutional attack on Colorado's public school financing system.

In a 4-2 decision announced Tuesday, the court held that the method established by the School Finance Act is "thorough and uniform," as required by article IX of the state constitution, and that appropriate local control is guaranteed.

Justice Nancy Rice wrote the majority opinion, which was joined by justices Brian Boatwright, Nathan Coats, and Allison Eid.

Chief Justice Michael Bender and Justice Gregory Hobbs dissented.

Education News Colorado has a thorough report on the decision in State v. Lobato.