Bente Birkeland

Bente Birkeland has been reporting on state legislative issues for KUNC and Rocky Mountain Community Radio since 2006. Originally, from Minnesota, Bente likes to hike and ski in her spare time. She keeps track of state politics throughout the year but is especially busy during the annual legislative session from January through early May.

 

The death penalty, and whether to repeal it, is likely to be one of the weightiest topics Colorado's legislature will debate this session and advocates believe this is the best chance they've had in years to abolish it. It's on the legislative agenda across the country and California's Gov. Gavin Newsom last week put a moratorium on the death penalty.

Democrats, who are pushing for the repeal, hold the majority in the Colorado statehouse.

The four Democratic candidates vying to replace Gov. John Hickenlooper recently discussed everything from transportation and education to fixing the state's budget in a debate this week.

Senate President Kevin Grantham, R-Canon City, said in a letter that sexual harassment allegations by a former intern against Sen. Jack Tate, R-Centennial, do not amount to sexual harassment.

“I have determined that corrective action based on this complaint is unwarranted, and that this investigation is therefore concluded,” stated Grantham.  He noted that Tate has participated in a mandatory sexual harassment training for legislators and staff, and a voluntary seminar with the Majority Caucus. 

More than 100 Senate staff, aides and interns have been warned against speaking to journalists about workplace issues, including sexual harassment, and the trainings aimed at preventing it.

At issue are two emails obtained from Senate sources that say it is a violation of the chamber's policies for workers to grant interviews to reporters. A third email, sent directly to us by the top Senate administrator, asked us to tell members of other news organizations not to approach aides and interns for interviews, but rather to speak with communications secretaries. We didn't act on that request because it's not our role to direct the reporting of other news organizations. 

Daderot / Creative Commons

The environment at the Colorado State Capitol has been turbulent over the past few months as sexual harassment allegations have surfaced against several legislators.

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