Friday, December 12, 2008

House Minority Leader May Says He'll Retire

Rep. Mike May, R-Parker, said today he will retire from the legislature to focus on his hotel business.

May, the minority leader, was reelected by a wide margin in November.

“It has truly been an honor serving in the legislature, and serving as the Republican Leader these last few years,” May said. “However, as the owner of a company, I have an obligation to the families that work for me. It has become increasingly difficult to balance my duties at the statehouse with those of keeping my business running in these difficult economic times. This decision was one of the hardest I have ever had to make, but I wouldn’t have made it if I didn’t think it was the right decision.”

The House Republican caucus will elect a new leader before the legislative session begins Jan. 7.

Contenders for the minority leader post are expected to include assistant minority leader David Balmer of Centennial, caucus chair Amy Stephens of Monument and minority whip Cory Gardner of Yuma.

Gov. Bill Ritter congratulated May on his service.

“I greatly appreciate Mike May’s service to the legislature and to the people of Colorado," Ritter said in a written statement. "We didn’t always agree on the issues, but I respect him and wish him and his business nothing but success in the future.”

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ritter Gives Obama Stimulus Suggestions

Gov. Bill Ritter has offered President-elect Barack Obama a list of suggestions for stimulus spending in Colorado next year, asking that the new administration in Washington, DC focus on transportation projects and energy infrastructure.

The governor included his ideas in a letter sent to Obama Dec. 9. Ritter specifically mentioned 112 highway projects costing $1.1 billion; 23 aviation projects costing $113 million; and 22 transit projects costing $144 million.

Ritter also asked Obama to push Congress to appropriate about $90 million to the U.S. Department of Energy's State Energy Program grants and to create a $10 billion energy retrofit program that would cover all types of structures. Ritter also suggested increases to the Energy Efficiency and Conservation block grant program, the federal fund that pays for weatherization projects and assistance to utilities to pay for transmission projects. He also recommended a variety of tax changes aimed at encouraging investment and research into renewable energy sources and facilities, including "clean coal" research.

"Colorado and the nation face significant economic challenges,” Ritter said. “But these challenges also create enormous opportunities. Colorado’s successes at building a New Energy Economy and creating new jobs can be a model for the nation. Through wise infrastructure investments, we can create jobs and hasten economic recovery in the short-term, and put the nation on a long-term path for growth that will allow us to compete and succeed on a global economic stage.”

Obama is expected to ask Congress for a large fiscal stimulus bill, possibly approaching as much as $ 1 trillion, shortly after his inauguration as President Jan. 20, 2009.

Soper, Court Vow to Push Mandatory CO Monitor Legislation

Two Democratic members of the House are promising to introduce a bill requiring all new homes and existing homes put up for sale have carbon monoxide monitors installed.

Rep. John Soper, D-Thornton, and Rep.-elect Lois Court, D-Denver, said at a news conference today that the recent deaths of Parker and Caroline Lofgren and their children Owen and Sophie due to carbon monoxide poisoning at a west slope cabin motivated their efforts.

“So many Coloradans knew and loved the Lofgrens and are so devastated by their deaths,” Court said. “I think the Lofgrens would be happy to see their community mobilized to prevent such a tragedy from ever happening again.”

The proposed legislation, which would be similar to one considered by the General Assembly in the 2008 session, would be called the "Lofgren Family Home Safety Act."

The Lofgren family lived in the district of outgoing House speaker Andrew Romanoff, D-Denver. Court was elected to replace the term-limited Romanoff in November.