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Sparks fly, and not at a Rockies game

Springtime in the Rockies is here.

During the week in Denver, when I catch a glimpse out of the Capitol windows, I never know if it will be snowing, raining or if the sun will be shining. Flying home for the weekend, I’m never quite sure if the flight will be more turbulent than usual and in the clouds the whole way or if it’ll be a beautiful scenic tour of Colorado’s still snowy mountains.

Yes, that’s springtime in the mountains!

Besides daffodils blooming and birds singing, one of the best things about this time of year is the return of Rockies’ baseball to Coors Field. Following my team is a nice change of pace from the work week and the Colorado Rockies are off to a great start. Getting to watch an occasional night ballgame in many layers of clothes, topped off with a blanket, gloves and a hat isn’t for everyone, but it’s great fun, especially when we win.

At the Capitol, both chambers of the Legislature have passed the budget bill and it now awaits action by the governor. The governor can veto the budget bill, but it’s more likely that he’ll sign it. However, we’ve only a short break from working through budget challenges as the prediction is for another difficult year in 2012-13.

We’ll get our next quarterly economic forecast in mid-June, which will give us more direction on what’s ahead. The conversation in D.C. about the federal budget obviously affects us significantly as well.

The just-passed budget will have many significant and difficult impacts on the district I represent. Once the session has ended in mid-May and I’m back home, I’ll be traveling around the district to gather information about those impacts. If you or your organization would like to meet to talk about the budget or other issues, please let me know. I’ll also be holding town hall meetings in the district before the next session begins.

Beyond the budget, the controversial bills continue with less than a month to go before the end of the session. These include the eligibility for in-state tuition bill, the merger of the Colorado Division of Wildlife with the state parks department, whether to allow ATVs on public roads and, the big partisan battleground, redistricting.

Redistricting happens every 10 years after a new census is completed and boundaries are redrawn for state and federal districts. The census indicates which districts have lost or gained population and district boundaries are adjusted partially based on keeping an equal number of voters in each district. Other factors are also considered in redrawing the boundaries and that’s what leads to the political battles.

The legislative redistricting committee recently held a series of meetings to gather public input, although, unfortunately, none were held in southwestern Colorado. Now, the question is whether the Legislature as a whole will be able to agree on a map for the new districts. Not as much fun as a Rockies game and the sparks are flying already.

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