Afternoon headlines, February 17, 2017

A bill allowing victims of domestic violence, stalking and sexual assault to get out of rental agreements sailed through the House this week with near-unanimous support.

The measure, sponsored by Democratic Rep. Dominique Jackson of Aurora, passed the House this morning on a 61 to 3 vote. It now goes to the Senate, where it will be sponsored by Republican Sen. John Cooke of Greeley, a former sheriff.

The measure would allow those victims to either use a police report or a statement from a medical provider to show to a landlord and to be let out of the lease. State law already allows domestic violence victims to use police reports for getting out of a lease, but victims advocates claim that for some women, going to the police only makes matters worse, and asked that the law be changed to allow medical providers to testify to injuries in a domestic violence, rape or stalking situation.

The three votes against the bill came from Republican Reps. Justin Everett of Littleton, Tim Leonard of Evergreen and Larry Liston of Colorado Springs.
Leonard and Liston did not reply to requests for comment on why they voted no.
Everett told The Colorado Independent that the issue for him is not about domestic violence, which he called “heinous,” but about putting more regulations into state law.

If you want to see the American political divide up close, pull up a chair around noon to the bar of the Main Event, a restaurant in this tiny Eastern Plains town home to U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner.

There, in true swing-state fashion, you’ll find people like Mike Fech, a Democrat and union man who works for a railroad company, debating Republican Bill Heberlein who owns a tavern down the road— a “Trump bar,” he calls it, where a pig skull wearing a turban is mounted on the wall as a sign that his establishment is a “Muslim free zone.”

The Colorado Independent visited Gardner’s hometown as protesters flock to his regional offices in a backlash against Donald Trump and the Republican agenda. Since Trump’s election and a chaotic first three weeks for the White House, Gardner has been getting skewered up and down the Front Range. “Liberal country,” Heberlein calls it. Hundreds protest outside Gardner’s Denver offices each Tuesday, waving signs urging him to vote against Trump’s cabinet nominations, not to repeal the ACA, and to stand up to the new president.

But not in Yuma. In this flat, windswept prairie town with its skyline of white grain silos and water towers, it has been a while since the senator had a town hall. Here, Gardner the native son, a source of hometown pride, is someone separate from Gardner the politician, who just seems to do what politicians do, blow with the wind maybe a little more than he should.
Here, the conversation is all Trump, all the time.

Read The Colorado Independent to hear what some town residents are making of Gardner these days.

Should legal immigrants be police officers in Colorado? Senate Republicans say no, and today passed a bill on straight party lines that would bar legal immigrants who are not yet U.S. citizens from joining state and local law enforcement departments.

However, the bill is expected to be dead on arrival in the Democrat-controlled House.

Sen. Bob Gardner, a Colorado Springs Republican, defended his bill this morning as it neared a final Senate vote. “It ‘is not an anti-immigrant bill,” Gardner said. “This bill is about what it means to be a peace officer, someone who has the authority to carry a concealed weapon without other license, stop you in the dark of night on a lonely road, stop and frisk you on a street, or execute a warrant at your home.”

Sen. Irene Aguilar, a Denver Democrat, blasted the bill as a way to further demonize immigrants under the Trump administration.

“With this presidency, and how immigrants are being spoken about today…I feel like passing this bill would advance this ‘vision’ that immigrants are somehow less.”

For more on these and other local news stories go to

Afternoon headlines are heard on KGNU Monday through Friday at 2.55pm.




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