Monday, December 31, 2007


Gov. Bill Ritter today announced appointments to a variety of statewide boards and commissions:

Board of Trustees for Fort Lewis College

Richard G. Ballantine of Durango (reappointed), for a term expiring Dec. 31, 2001.

Board of Trustees for Western State College of Colorado

George H. Delaney of Castle Rock and Linda A. Morton of Littleton for terms expiring Dec. 31, 2011.

State Board of Parole

JoKatherine Holliman Page of Denver.

The State Board of Parole holds hearings and considers applications for parole, and conducts all proceedings involving revocation of parole. It has seven members who serve three-year terms.

Statewide Internet Portal Authority

The Hon. Ron May of Colorado Springs, for a term expiring June 1, 2011.

Energy Impact Assistance Advisory Committee

The Hon. Carl E. Miller of Leadville (reappointed) and Justin T. Clifford of Bayfield for terms expiring Aug. 24, 2011.

The Energy Impact Assistance Advisory Committee reviews the existing and potential impact of the development, processing, or energy conversion of mineral and fuel resources on various areas of the state. The committee then makes recommendations to the Department of Local Affairs to assist impacted areas.

Council of Advisors on Consumer Credit

Jacline L. Harriman of Colorado Springs to fill the vacancy occasioned by the resignation of Brent A. Neiser of Greenwood Village, for a term expiring Sept. 30, 2009.

Artiesha “Tish” L. Maes of Denver, Vincent G. Toenjes of Parker and Jose L. Vasquez of Highlands Ranch, for terms expiring Sept. 30, 2010.

The Council of Advisors on Consumer Credit advises and consults with the assistant attorney general concerning his powers under the consumer credit code. It has nine members who serve three-year terms.

Colorado Scenic and Historic Byways Commission

The Hon. William L. Miller of Cedaredge, Christopher F. Sporl of Littleton, State Sen. Dan Gibbs of Silverthorne and William H. Ulfelder of Denver, for terms expiring Jan. 1, 2010.

Russell George of Rifle, Edward C. Nichols of Denver, Harris Sherman of Denver and Susan Kirkpatrick of Fort Collins, to serve at the pleasure of the Governor.

The Commission works with state and federal agencies, local byway organizations and public and private resources to assist in the development of byway management plans. The Commission also helps coordinate the budgeting process and allocation of federal, state and private funds for the purpose of byway improvement. It has up to 15 members who serve three-year terms.

State Board of Licensed Professional Counselor Examiners

Sherry “Beth” E. Giles of Centennial to fill the vacancy occasioned by the resignation of Jason B. Brinkley of Aurora, for a term expiring Sept. 12, 2010.

The State Board of Licensed Professional Counselor Examiners adopts rules and regulation, conducts examinations, and grants or denies licenses. All complaints are referred to the State Grievance Board.

Colorado Commission for Individuals Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

Kevan Worley of Colorado Springs, Evelyn Tileston of Craig, Dr. Nalin J. Mehta of Golden, Dr. Kara S. Hanson of Aurora and Peter O. Goshia of Longmont, for terms expiring Sept. 1, 2009.

Mark N. Wedgle of Westminster, Barbara Hopke Boyer of Arvada, Scott C. LaBarre of Denver,
David E. Bolin of Broomfield, Sammie McKay of Buena Vista, Julia M. Zanon of Denver, Julie M. Hunter of Denver, and Michelle L. Chacon of Arvada, for terms expiring Sept. 1, 2010.

The Commission was established in 2007 to make recommendations concerning the provision of services to aid individuals who are blind or visually impaired. It has no more than 15 members, who serve up to four-year terms.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Ritter meets with legislators on Capitol Safety


Gov. Bill Ritter will meet with legislative leaders on Wednesday to begin discussions about state Capitol security in the wake of Monday’s shooting.

“We are going to revisit building security and we are going to do so in a thoughtful and prudent way,” Gov. Ritter said. “We aren’t putting any time limits on how long this will take, and in the meantime you will see access limited to the north entrance and the building kept fairly secure. But there are tourists back in the building right now and that’s a good thing to see.”

The Governor said his immediate concern is addressing the needs of Capitol employees. He spoke with two groups of employees Tuesday: about 50 members of his own staff in the morning and a larger group of more than 100 legislative and executive staffers in the afternoon. Victim assistance specialists are being made available to all employees, many of whom were in the Capitol at the time of Monday’s incident.

The Governor encouraged all employees to be mindful of their own needs and to acknowledge that Monday’s events were traumatic. “Our employees will have to deal with the impact and we want to make sure the resources and support networks are in place for them to do that,” he said.

The Governor praised members of his administrative staff and Colorado State Patrol security detail for performing “in a noble and remarkably professional way on Monday.”


Gov. Bill Ritter today directed the Department of Public Safety and Colorado State Patrol to conduct a detailed security audit of the state Capitol. The Governor announced he had asked for the audit after meeting with the legislature’s Executive Committee for about an hour this morning.

“I have directed the Department of Public Safety and its divisions to conduct a threat assessment and a security assessment of the Capitol building’s vulnerabilities, and I’ve asked them to do that with some dispatch,” Gov. Ritter said after the meeting with Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald, House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, Majority Leader Alice Madden and Minority Leader Mike May.

The initial review is expected to take approximately two weeks. The Governor also has asked for a list of possible changes to Capitol security measures. “No decisions have been made, and we will not make any decisions until we see the audit and review the options,” Gov. Ritter said.

Current security measures – access restricted to the north basement entrance with a magnetometer – will remain in place during the review period.

“We continue to encourage folks who want to come to the Capitol to visit as often as they want,” Gov. Ritter said “This is still an open and safe building.”

Ritter talks about asthma

Gov. Bill Ritter today shared his personal experiences with asthma with a group of children who attend National Jewish Medical and Research Center’s Kunsberg School. It was the first time the Governor has talked publicly about his asthma.

The Governor spoke to and then jogged with 32 Kunsberg School students who are participating in the Colorado Kids Marathon Milers Program as part of this coming weekend’s Colfax Marathon activities. The kids, who are living with asthma and other respiratory illnesses, have already run a cumulative 25.2 miles over the past few weeks as part of the training. The final one-mile fun run is scheduled for Saturday.

Gov. Ritter jogged with the children for 15 minutes inside the school’s gymnasium. “You are great to have already run 25 miles,” Gov. Ritter said before the event. “I just want you to know that I also have asthma, but I have been able to manage it and to keep exercising. I bicycle a few times a week. I really applaud you kids for working so hard on this.”

The Governor won a few laughs when he joked: “I’ll run with you, but I don’t think I’ll be able to keep up. If I run slowly, it’s not because of my asthma – it’s because I’m old!”

After jogging with the children, Gov. Ritter encouraged them to “keep exercising, keep taking your medicine and keep doing what you need to do. I really, really admire you.”

Colorado has the second-highest prevalence of asthma of any state in the nation – an estimated 7.1 percent of the population. That amounts to about 250,000 people, including 90,000 children.

The Kunsberg School teaches 60 to 90 children in kindergarten through eighth grade from around the metro area. The school helps children whose education has lagged because of their illnesses get caught up so they can return to traditional classrooms.

Ritter signs sex ed bill, second parent adoption


Gov. Bill Ritter signed 26 bills into law today, including the second-parent adoption and human-sexuality education bills. More than 200 additional bills are pending before the governor, with a deadline of June 4.

The bills signed today and their sponsors:

HB 1019, Carriers Exempt Public Utilities (Rep. Mike Cerbo and Sen. Joan Fitz-Gerald)
HB 1141, Purchase of Metals Record Keeping (Rep. Nancy Todd, Sen. Suzanne Williams)
HB 1156, Disclose Source Residential Water Supply (Rep. Marsha Looper, Sen. Ken Gordon)
HB 1174, Repeal Sunset Concealed Carry Database (Rep. Al White, Sen. Bob Bacon)
HB 1176, Injured Worker Change Select Physician (Rep. Morgan Carroll, Sen. Lois Tochtrop)
HB 1255, Uniform child Abduction Prevention Act (Rep. Anne McGihon, Sen. Gordon)
HB 1266, Uniform Anatomical Gift Act (Rep. McGihon, Sen. Brandon Shaffer)
HB 1285, Timeliness Unemployment Claims Appeals Receipt (Rep. Joe Rice, Sen. Jennifer Veiga)
HB 1289, Compounding Drug Pharmacy (Rep. Buffie McFadyen, Sen. Peter Groff)
HB 1292, Content Standards Human Sexuality (Rep. Nancy Todd, Sen. Sue Windels)
HB 1295, RTD Area (Rep. Paul Weissman, Sen. Stephanie Takis)
HB 1327, Creditor Notice Delinquency Charge (Rep. Amy Stephens, Sen. John Morse)
HB 1330, Second-Parent Adoption (Rep. Alice Madden, Sen. Veiga)
HB 1333, Conservation Dist. Political Subdivisions (Rep. Kathleen Curry, Sen. Gail Schwartz)
HB 1336, Reporting Requirements Repeal (Rep. McGihon, Sen. Bacon)
HB 1337, Farm Products Commodity Handlers (Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg, Sen. Jack Taylor)
HB 1340, Clarifying Changes to Victims’ Rights (Rep. Bob Gardner, Sen. Veiga)
HB 1348, Extend Initial Accreditation Contracts (Rep. Tom Massey, Sen. Windels)
SB 42, M.O.S.T. Program for Military (Sen. Mike Kopp, Rep. Mary Hodge)
SB 62, Motor Carriers Registration Penalty (Sen. Windels, Rep. Ray Rose)
SB 117, Unfair Employment Practices Prevailing Party (Sen. Bacon, Rep. Terrance Carroll)
SB 158, Exempt Assets Debt Collection Bankruptcy (Sen. Betty Boyd, Rep. Cerbo)
SB 208, Audiologists & Hearing Aid Providers (Sen. Schwartz, Rep. Gwyn Green)
SB 209, Council for Excellence in Health Education (Sen. Schwartz, Rep. Rafael Gallegos)
SB 212, Regulation of Drop-in Child Care Facilities (Sen. P. Sandoval, Rep. R. Marshall)
SB 214, CDC Increase Exemption Amounts (Sen. Josh Penry, Rep. Rob Witwer)

With the signing of HB 1330, Colorado becomes the 10th state to allow second-parent adoption either through statute or case law. In 18 other states, second-parent adoption is allowed in certain counties and municipalities.

“From my experience in law enforcement, I know how important it is for children to grow up in a stable environment,” said Gov. Ritter, who served as Denver’s District Attorney for 12 years. “This law gives children in a one-parent family a chance to grow up in a two-parent home. We must do all we can to strengthen families and provide children with as stable an environment as possible. This law will give children a better chance to succeed.”

HB 1292 establishes content standards for human-sexuality courses taught in public schools and as part of teen-pregnancy-prevention and drop-out-prevention programs.

“Preventing unintended pregnancies, especially among teenagers, is important,” Gov. Ritter said. “If a school district and a student so choose, this legislation allows educators to help students develop skills that will enable them to make responsible and healthy decisions, including the teaching of abstinence. This legislation also ensures local school districts have control over what programs they choose to offer to their students.”

Among the groups that support the content standards in HB 1292 are the American Medical Association, the American Public Health Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Colorado Children’s Campaign.


Gov. Bill Ritter joined FPL Energy, Xcel Energy, local officials and about 200 other guests here today to break ground on what will be the nation’s second-largest wind generation facility.

Ritter was joined by Mike O’Sullivan, senior vice president of development at FPL Energy, and Karen Hyde, managing director of Resource Planning and Acquisitions at Xcel Energy.

“Today we are making history,” Gov. Ritter said. “This project will be the largest wind farm in the state and second-largest in the nation. It will have the longest transmission line in the world. Along with our tremendous agricultural crops, Colorado is the 11th windiest and 6th sunniest state in the nation. Our intellectual resources are second-to-none.

“Combined, all of this says that Colorado is well on its way to becoming the renewable energy capital of the country and a leader in the New Energy Economy,” Gov. Ritter added.

O’Sullivan said, “Colorado is taking an important leadership role in the growth of wind energy in the United States. The Peetz Table Wind Energy Center will help the state realize its enormous potential for economic growth through the generation of clean, renewable energy.”

”Xcel Energy continues to add more wind power to our existing system. By purchasing the energy from FPL at this project and from three others, we will reach Colorado’s renewable energy standard seven years early,” said Hyde. “Wind power is a valuable part of our generation mix in Colorado. With the new renewable energy legislation requiring 20 percent of our power come from renewable energy, we feel that it will continue to grow in importance.”

Peetz Table Wind Energy Center Facts:

· Construction of 267 General Electric turbines should be complete by the end of 2007.

· They will generate 400 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 120,000 homes a year.
· Xcel Energy will purchase the energy under a long-term contract.

· FPL Energy is constructing a 78-mile-long transmission line to connect the Peetz Table facility to the power grid at Xcel Energy’s Pawnee substation near Brush. This will be longest power transmission line in the world.

· At the height of construction, the project will employ between 300-350 workers.

· When complete, the Peetz Table Wind Energy Center will have about 20 full-time employees and have a significant positive impact on the local economy.

Ritter appoints Walker to El Paso Bench

Gov. Bill Ritter today announced the appointment of Jonathan L. Walker of Colorado Springs to the El Paso County Court bench in the 4th Judicial District. The appointment fills the vacancy created by the retirement of county court Judge Sylvia Manzanares.

“Jonathan’s many years of work in the legal system make him an excellent choice for the El Paso County Court bench,” Ritter said. “He will serve the citizens of Colorado honorably.”

Walker, 59, currently works for the Office of the State Public Defender handling criminal cases. Prior experience in private practice includes personal-injury and product-liability law, employment and civil litigation, and mediation.

From 2000 to 2003, Walker served on the Domestic Violence Offender Management Board. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan in 1969 and his law degree from Wayne State University in Michigan in 1977. He served in the U.S. Army Special Forces from 1970-73.

The initial term of office for a judicial district judge is a provisional term of approximately two years; thereafter, the incumbent will serve a term of six years if retained by the voters.

Colorado Conservation Voters grade Ritter

Since 1997 the conservation community has issued a legislative scorecard that shows how lawmakers voted on the most important environmental issues of the year. In 2005, Colorado Conservation Voters began issuing a gubernatorial report card that looks at legislation, executive action, and overall leadership when it comes to protecting our environment. What we hope to achieve with these accountability reports is a fair assessment of how our
elected leaders do when it comes to protecting Colorado’s natural resources.
Our goal is to reward leadership taken, and to point out where more is needed.
It will come as a surprise to few that Governor Ritter received high marks from
the conservation community for his first year in office. In fact, the start of the
Ritter Administration marks a sea of change in how conservation issues are
addressed at the executive level in Colorado. Bill Ritter put the New Energy
Economy and wise stewardship of our natural resources front and center in his
campaign for governor. What was refreshing for those who have grown tired of
politicians making bold promises on the campaign trail but falling short when
it comes to governing, is that Gov. Ritter began delivering on these promises
within weeks of coming into office.
While Gov. Ritter starts his administration with a strong grade point average, he did not receive straight A’s this year. His recent comments on the Roan Plateau were an improvement from the plan developed by the Bureau of Land Management, but did not draw the clear line that conservationists, sportsmen, and local elected officials had hoped for regarding protection of this unique and treasured area.
And, while Gov. Ritter is off to a strong start, much work remains to be done.
Two challenges stand out as the most urgent. The first is global warming.
Nobel laureate scientists, many working here in Colorado, have declared that
“warming of the climate system is unequivocal” – fighting words for scientists.
Urgent action is needed at all levels of government, and Colorado should be at
the forefront of this effort. Gov. Ritter’s Climate Action Plan is a good start, but
much of the hard work remains to be done. The secondarea where urgent
action is needed is around the management of oil and gas development in
Colorado. Oil and gas drilling is already reshaping our landscape, and state
experts forecast that 150,000 wells will be drilled in Colorado over the coming three decades. Gov. Ritter has a critical role to play in our work for permanent protection of some truly unique areas. His administration will also set the direction for day-to-day decisions that will determine how we minimize the lasting impacts of drilling on our communities and wildlife.

New Energy Economy A+
Gov. Ritter is serious not only about his commitment to building the New Energy
Economy here at home, but also about the role Colorado can play in moving
our nation towards a more secure future. From small ranching communities on the
Western Slope, to the halls of Congress, Gov. Ritter has laid out his vision and
continues to make the case for economic prosperityand environmental stewardship
throughinvestment in a clean, renewable future. Gov. Ritter has also been
thoughtful about the team he has assembled, appointing several strong
cabinet members and policy advisors with a tremendous depth of knowledge
on clean energy policy.

As a candidate, Bill Ritter promised to create a New Energy Economy in
Colorado “through strong leadership, responsible investment and a clear
vision for the future.”
In his first year as governor, Bill Ritter swiftly delivered.
Gov. Ritter’s top 2007 legislative priority was a measure requiring that 20% of
Colorado’s electricity come from clean, renewable energy sources by 2020.
Governor Ritter’s success in bringing a diverse set of interests to the table, and
ultimately winning the support of long-time renewable opponents such as the
rural electric associations, was crucial to this landmark victory.
Gov. Ritter also stepped up where his predecessor had previously failed;
signing a proposal to widely expand energy efficiency programs for both
electricity and natural gas customers.
Experts estimate that this legislation will cut the growth in new demand
for electricity in half by 2020.
Gov. Ritter issued the Greening State Government Executive Order, ensuring
the state leads the way with strong efficiency improvements. Ritter set strong goals for the reduction of energy consumption in state buildings and vehicles, and called for a 75% reduction
of solid waste.

Balanced Oil and Gas Development A

The number of permits to drill for oil
and gas has increased by 280% over the
past five years. This increased drilling
has resulted in more fragmented wild-
life habitat and increased concerns about
water and air quality. Gov. Ritter lead a
call for more balanced oil and gas devel-
opment during his first year in office.
Gov. Ritter displayed bold leadership
when his administration introduced
landmark legislation to reform the
Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation
Commission. This body is responsible
for determining how drilling operations
occur in Colorado, and, until this year,
had been stacked with oil and gas
industry representatives. Thanks to
Gov. Ritter’s desire to create greater
balance in how oil and gas drilling
occurs, the Commission now includes
experts on public health, wildlife and
the environment in addition to other
important stakeholders. The governor
also signed a measure to give property
owners more rights when drilling occurs
on their land and a measure to use best
management practices for protecting
wildlife habitat against the most harmful
impacts of oil and gas drilling.
The governor has made strong
appointments to the Oil and Gas
Commission. This new commission has
embarked on a critical process that will
create new rules to protect wildlife
habitat and public health. Gov. Ritter
has also appointed leaders to the state
Wildlife Commission with expertise
when it comes to minimizing impacts
of oil and gas development on critical
wildlife habitat. Finally, the Division
of Wildlife has also taken a stronger
stance on behalf of big game and
sage grouse protections in the face
of expanded oil and gas drilling.

The conservation community, landowners,
sportsmen, and local communities have
fought to bring balance to the Colorado
Oil and Gas Conservation Commission for
seventeen years. Gov. Ritter’s leadership
was the difference that made this a reality
in 2007. Enacting strong rules to imple-
ment the letter and the spirit of these
new laws will be a test for the governor’s
leadership in 2008.

Water A-
Ensuring adequate water supplies for
growing communities while protecting
our rivers and streams is one of the
biggest policy challenges in Colorado.
Acknowledging that changing a water
right from one use to another can
result in diminished water quality in
our rivers, Gov. Ritter signed a measure
allowing water courts to protect water
quality. This legislation, which had
failed during seven previous legislative
sessions, is especially valuable in light
of the increasing number of agricul-
tural water rights being converted to
municipal use.
Gov. Ritter signed another measure
to increase the fees industry pays to
the state for water quality programs,
for the state to fund water quality
The governor also supported an expan-
sion of the grants to communities to
create and implement water efficiency
plans. Gov. Ritter and the Department of
Natural Resources demonstrated their
commitment to local water conservation
efforts by making adjustments to free up
the necessary dollars for the program.
The governor has made several strong
appointments to state agencies, boards
and commissions with jurisdiction over
water issues. As additional vacancies on
water boards and commissions occur,
the conservation community encourages
Gov. Ritter to appoint individuals who
will make decisions with the health of
During the campaign, Bill Ritter
embraced the concepts in “Facing Our
Future,” the conservation community’s
blueprint for meeting the water demands
of Colorado’s growing population without
further damaging the state’s already
stressed rivers. Some Front Range
developers and water providers continue
to promote old ideas to divert additional
water from the West Slope to the Front
Range. The time is ripe for Gov. Ritter to
articulate a vision for meeting Colorado’s
growing water needs while protecting and
restoring the state’s rivers and streams.
Strengthening and promoting the state’s
instream flow program is another
important area in 2008.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Lt. Gov. Barbara O'Brien Appoints First Colorado Early Childhood Advisory Team

Lieutenant Governor Barbara O'Brien has appointed 21 people to Colorado's first Early Childhood Councils Advisory Team to help support and strengthen local efforts for children statewide.

The Office of Lt. Gov. Barbara O'Brien, in partnership with the Colorado Department of Human Services, is convening the team, which was created by legislation last year.
"These volunteers will provide advice and support to local early childhood councils to improve and sustain the availability, accessibility, capacity and quality of early childhood services for children and families throughout the state.  There is no more important goal than to make Colorado the best place for families to raise their children," said Lt. Gov. O'Brien.
Local early childhood councils address community issues on early care and education, mental health, health and family support. Local councils are comprised of a combination of public and private stakeholders including parents, service providers, educators, health care professionals, community leaders, and others.
Appointed to the inaugural Early Childhood Councils Advisory Team:
Alfredo Esguerra (Adams County)
Betty Baca (Denver)
Charlotte Pirnat (La Plata County)
Derrick Padilla (Pueblo)
Lisa Poppaw (Larimer County)
Lucinda Burns (Grand/Summit Counties)
Noelle Hause (Weld County)
Pam Walker (Fremont County)
Rose Clement (Logan, Phillips & Sedgwick County)
Sarah Scully (Boulder County)
Sherri Valdez (San Luis Valley)
Tom Gangel (Routt County)
Virginia Howey (Montezuma/Dolores Counties)
Diana Romero Campbell (Denver)
Diane Price (Colorado Springs)
Jennifer Landrum (Denver)
Lisa Merlino (Denver)
Megan Wilson (Denver)
Gladys Wilson (Denver)
Priscilla Logan Queen (Douglas County)
Sudy Opsahl (Denver)
The group is appointed to two-year terms, which begin in January 2008.

Monday, December 24, 2007


Fifty-page booklet lists hundreds of opportunities for Coloradans to get involved
and serve on a statewide board or commission

The new 2008 Colorado Boards and Commissions booklet is now available in hard copy or on-line, describing opportunities for Coloradans to serve on nearly 300 panels that oversee issues ranging from health care to air quality and transportation to the arts.

Gov. Ritter will have an opportunity to appoint thousands of Coloradans to the many boards and commissions that will help determine Colorado’s future.

“These boards offer an ideal opportunity for people all across the state to get involved and make a difference,” Gov. Ritter said. “We need our citizens to be engaged so we can keep making progress in the areas where we already excel and overcome obstacles where we face challenges.”

To view online or download the 2008 Boards and Commissions booklet, click here. The book also contains an application form and instructions on how to submit an application.

The booklet is also available by contacting the Governor’s Office of Boards and Commissions at 303.866.6380, or 136 State Capitol, Denver, CO 80203.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


Gov. Bill Ritter issued the following statement today regarding
yesterday's deaths of John Parr, Sandy Widener and their daughter,
Chase Parr. The Ritter family has been friends with the Parr family
for nearly two decades. Most recently, John Parr served as a
facilitator for Gov. Ritter's Blue Ribbon Transportation Panel.

"There is no way to describe the pain of this terrible, terrible
tragedy," Gov. Ritter said. "This is such a devastating loss for the
entire community on so many levels. John and Sandy made untold
contributions – small, large and every size in between – and touched
untold lives. They were loved by so many people that you can feel the
tears ripple across Colorado today. We will be in mourning for a very
long time."

"Chase and her sister Katy have been an amazing gift to their many
friends. We will do everything we can to comfort Katy and help her
through this. Let us all hold her deep in our hearts and our prayers."

Friday, December 21, 2007


Gov. Bill Ritter, First Lady Jeannie Ritter and Colorado National
Guard Commander H. Michael Edwards have recorded and sent special
holiday video greetings to Colorado Guard troops deployed to the
Middle East and to their families here at home.

"During this holiday season, Colorado is grateful for the unwavering
commitment of you and your families, our citizen-soldiers," Gov.
Ritter in his message. "The call to defend our way of life is not for
the faint of heart. As your commander, I promise to remain committed
to you and your family as you fight this global war on terror."

The Governor and First Lady, whose father is a retired Navy captain,
extended a special thank you to the families, telling them, "You hold
an honored place in our hearts."

Adjutant General Edwards saluted the troops in his holiday greeting,
reminding them, "You are truly patriots and great Americans. We look
forward to your safe return."

More than 600 Colorado Air and Army National Guard troops are
currently deployed to the Middle East, more than at any other time in
recent Colorado history. Some 200 members of the 140th Air National
Guard Wing out of Buckley Air Force Base were deployed on Dec. 4 and
will be spending the holidays overseas.

Gov. Ritter personally visited many National Guard, active-duty and
reserve personnel from Colorado last week during a Pentagon-sponsored
visit to Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Gov. Ritter Praised For Supporting Gas Drilling On Roan

Governor Makes Right Call In Supporting Natural Gas Development On Top
Of Roan Plateau, Says Americans For American Energy

GOLDEN, Co. (Dec. 20, 2007) - Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter announced
today that he supports harvesting clean-burning natural gas in the
U.S. Naval Oil Shale Reserve lands on top of the Roan Plateau. Greg
Schnacke, President and CEO of Americans Energy, said the Governor
made the right decision for Colorado.

"Governor Ritter made the right decision today in saying that he
supports environmentally sound harvest of clean-burning natural gas in
the U.S. Naval Oil Shale Reserve lands on top of the Roan Plateau,"
Schnacke said. "That's a welcome departure from the highly
inflammatory and negative statements made by other Colorado
politicians on this subject."

"The Governor is signaling that he understands that Colorado, and
America, needs to increase our ability to produce American energy and
reduce our dependence on foreign energy through environmentally sound
projects like this one," Schnacke said.

"Governor Ritter also clearly understands that the State stands to
realize billions of dollars of revenue from oil and gas bonus bids and
royalties on this project," Schnacke added. "Half of that money will
make its way to Colorado's education system."

Schnacke said: "Anti-drilling extremists have been lobbying to block
virtually any natural gas harvest in the NOSR lands on the top of the
Roan," Schnacke said. "The Governor appears to be rejecting that
path. I think he recognizes the value of the stakeholder process that
helped to produce this plan, which itself took seven years to complete."

"Colorado is a winner today, and the anti-drilling extremists are
losers, which is a good outcome for our state and for the nation," he

Ritter made his comments at a news conference at the State Capitol.
He said he has "engaged in productive discussions" with the U.S.
Department of the Interior about the development of the NOSR, a small
area on the Roan Plateau in western Colorado, and said he has several
objectives he wants to achieve during continuing conservations with
the federal agency. The Governor's official statement can be seen here.

It appears that the Governor is asking BLM to reconsider its current
restriction of allowing only one operator at a time to work on top of
the plateau, which may result in a higher level of competitive
interest in the project.

Industry estimates say the area contains enough natural gas to heat 4
million homes for the next quarter century.

Recent polls and surveys show wide support among Coloradoans for the
project. A Denver Business Journal reader survey this past week showed
73 percent of respondents were in favor of moving forward with the
BLM management plan to harvest the NOSR's natural gas, with 27 percent

A statewide voter opinion poll, conducted by Hill Research Consultants
in August, showed 60 percent of respondents approved of developing the
NOSR in order to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil imports, with
31 percent opposed and 9 percent unsure.

In addition, 66 percent of respondents to the HRC poll said they would
be "more likely" to support development of the area if tax revenues
from the project were used to fund higher education in Colorado.

The state's three largest newspapers also have expressed support for
the project, with The Denver Post and the Colorado Springs Gazette
saying in the past two weeks that the project should move forward. A
recent report in the Rocky Mountain News also detailed the revenues
that Colorado could gain from ongoing and future oil and gas

Schnacke noted that the oil and gas industry contributes some $23
billion to Colorado each year.


Gov. Bill Ritter announced today that his administration and the U.S.
Department of the Interior are engaged in productive discussions about
the future of the Roan Plateau and will continue the dialogue over the
coming weeks.

"We are making steady progress on what I believe is a uniquely
Colorado solution – a solution that strikes an important balance and
will benefit our environment, economy, communities and energy
industry," Gov. Ritter said. "I'm pleased that Interior is working
with us in reviewing the environmental, economic and technical issues
pertaining to the Roan. I look forward to continuing these discussions
to reach a mutually agreeable means of developing the energy resources
on the Roan while also serving as responsible stewards of Colorado's

"The Roan Plateau is a very special place, and we have only one chance
to get it right," Gov. Ritter said. "The state and federal governments
owe it to present and future generations to do everything we can to
accomplish our goals." Gov. Ritter said he hopes to achieve several
objectives during the ongoing conversations, including:

· Ensuring protection for critical fish and wildlife habitat,
such as by expanding the size of the four wildlife-protection zones,
known as "Areas of Critical Environmental Concern";

· Exploring the concept of phased or incremental leasing to
increase state revenues, better protect the environment and properly
pace future development;

· Achieving sustainable economic prosperity for local
communities and industry;

· Exploring a possible amendment to the 1997 federal Transfer
Act to ensure that the state receives bonus payments from future
leasing on the Roan; and

· Incorporating state-of-the-art technology to minimize
environmental disturbance.

"During this period of discussions with the Interior Department, we
will continue to actively engage all those with a stake in the future
of the Roan Plateau," Gov. Ritter said. "This will include local
officials and community leaders, energy industry representatives,
conservationists, sportsmen, state lawmakers and members of Colorado's
congressional delegation."

Facts about the Roan Plateau

What is the Roan Plateau?

· A federally and privately owned plateau in northwest Colorado about
180 miles west of Denverwith significant recoverable natural gas

· The federally owned portion of the Roan Plateau Planning Area (RPPA)
is 73,602 acres, including surface acres and subsurface mineral rights.

· The federal acreage includes 34,758 acres on top of the Roan and
38,844 acres on the sides and the base.

· The BLM owns 58 percent of the surface of the RPPA and private
entities, including energy companies and ranchers, own the remaining
42 percent.

· The Roan Plateau rises to more than 9,200 feet and is 4,000 feet
higher than the Colorado Riverat its base.

· The Roan includes scenic areas, varied and rich wildlife habitat,
more than 200 miles of roads and thousands of acres without roads.
This includes 157 miles of unpaved roads on the federal land on top of
the Roan.

· The recoverable resources are estimated at 8.9 trillion cubic feet
(TCF), including 4.2 TCF on the top and 4.7 TCF on the cliffs and
below the rim. That is enough natural gas for Colorado's 1.5 million
residential customers for 34 years.

What's happening today on the Roan Plateau?

· There are more than 1,300 producing natural gas wells in the RPPA,
including 10 on private land on the top.

· There are 876 permits to drill new wells, including 161 on the top
and 715 on the bottom.

· On the bottom of the Roan, there are 980 wells on private land and
333 wells on federal land.

What is the federal government's current plan for leasing on the Roan?

· BLM has estimated that under the current plan up to 1,560
wells on 193 well pads would be developed over the next 20 years,
including 210 wells and 13 drilling pads on the top of the Roan.

· The BLM would lease the available acres all at once.

· The BLM said the management plan will protect 51 percent of
the Roan (top, sides and bottom) and allow for recovery of 90 percent
of the natural gas resources.

· Surface disturbances, including well pads and equipment,
would be limited to no more than 350 acres at a time and wells must be
clustered on multi-well pads at least a half mile apart.

· All drilling would be done in phases with well pads
clustered to limit surface disturbance to 1 percent at any time.

· To access the natural gas resources with a minimum of wells,
directional drilling will be used. Directional drilling is currently
used on over 98% of new wells in the Piceance Basin.

· Drilling would not be allowed on slopes with greater than a
20 percent angle.

Geography of the Roan Plateau

· Four "Areas of Critical Environmental Concern" are home to
wildlife such as genetically pure strains of the Colorado River
cutthroat trout, bald and golden eagles, deer, elk, puma, black bear,
peregrine falcon and sage grouse

· The four areas total 21,032 acres:
§ Anvil Points -- 4,955 acres
§ East Fork of Parachute Creek -- 6,571 acres
§ Magpie -- 4,696 acres
§ Trapper/Northwater -- 4,810 acres

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Allard Announces Over $100 Million for Colorado Transportation Projects in Omnibus Bill

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colo.), a member of the
Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation and Housing and
Urban Development, announced today that he has secured over $100 million
for Colorado transportation projects.

"The Omnibus bill includes significant funds for Colorado transportation
projects, including funds to complete the T-REX project and begin
construction on the new West Corridor light rail line," said Allard. "I
am pleased I was able to secure these funds in the conference committee
report, and that they were ultimately in the Omnibus. Additionally,
funds to improve access to the Fitzsimmons campus in Aurora for the
Wadsworth and Highway 128 interchange in Broomfield will make a big
difference to Colorado."

Allard requested the following projects for Colorado:

* $39.2 million for the new West Corridor light rail project line;

* $50.53 million to complete federal funding for the T-REX
* $656,600 for the intersection at I-225 and Colfax Avenue and
17th to improve access to the Fitzsimmons redevelopment project. The
funding will help preliminary engineering and right-of-way acquisition
to assist the interchange construction;
* $588,000 for the Wadsworth & state Highway 128 interchange in
Broomfield, Colorado to relieve peak hour congestion along 120th Avenue,
state Highway 128 and the interchange at US 36.
* $500,000 for the I-70 interchange at the Stapleton
* $3.52 million for the Colorado Transit Coalition;
* $1 million SH 150 (160 to great sand dunes)
* $2.26 million for Fort Carson Gate 20 near I-25 at state Highway
* $1.34 million for US 287 at Lamar (Ports to Plains)
* $490,000 SH 13 WY line south
* $980,000 for US 491 in Montezuma County

Allard opposed the final version of the Omnibus Appropriations bill due
to a controversial measure that prohibited the promulgation of oil shale
development regulations for the Western Slope, which could result in the
millions of dollars being lost for Colorado's rural communities and
school districts.

The final version of the bill now headed to the President to be signed
into law.


Gov. Bill Ritter today announced the appointment of Steven Bruce
Fieldman of Pueblo West to serve as a Pueblo County Court judge in the
10th Judicial District.

Fieldman is currently a deputy district attorney in the 10th Judicial
District, a position he has held since 1993. Prior to serving in the
District Attorney's Office, Fieldman was a volunteer attorney/
paralegal with the Legal Aid Society of San Diego.

He has performed extensive community service worked extensively in the
community, including serving on the boards of Crossroads' Turning
Points and the Senior Resource Development Agency, as well as the
Pueblo Community Health Center Nurse-Family Partnership Program
Advisory Board.

Fieldman is also a member of Pueblo County Domestic Violence Task
Force and the Pueblo CountyDomestic Violence Treatment Center. He
received his bachelor's degree in psychology from ClarkUniversity in
1988 and his law degree from the University of Denver College of Law
in 1992.

The initial term of office is a provisional term of approximately two
years, and then until the second Tuesday in January following the next
general election.

Monday, December 17, 2007



Concerned that high prepayment penalties on mortgage loans will lead
to an additional round of foreclosures in Colorado, Gov. Bill Ritter is
seeking aggressive implementation of the new Mortgage Broker
Registration Act he signed into law in June.

"Colorado continues to struggle with an exceedingly high foreclosure
rate, and my administration is working hard to protect homeowners and
communities," Gov. Ritter said. "Implementing this legislation is one
more important step. Solving this crisis will involve industry and
government working together."

The Mortgage Broker Registration Act includes four mortgage-fraud and
foreclosure-prevention bills signed by Gov. Ritter in June. The bills

· HB 1322 (Marshall/Groff), "Mortgage Fraud Prevention Act"
· SB 85 (Veiga/Massey), "Protect Consumer Real Estate Transactions"
· SB 216 (Veiga/Marshall), "Mortgage Loan Acts Practices"
· SB 203 (Groff/Marshall), "Mortgage Broker Licensing"

Regarding the need for aggressive enforcement of the Mortgage Broker
Registration Act, borrowers are increasingly lured into adjustable
rate mortgage products that initially have very low monthly payments.
When their rates increase, they may find stiff prepayment penalties if
they attempt to pay off their loan by selling their home or
refinancing. Their only option is foreclosure. As a result, Gov.
Ritter requested a solution from Division of Real Estate Director Erin
Toll, who is charged with implementing and enforcing the new law.

Acting on the concerns of Gov. Ritter as well as those of consumer
groups and members of the legislature, Director Toll has issued an
emergency rule restricting prepayment penalties on mortgage loans. The
new rule prohibits prepayment penalties that extend past the
adjustment date of an interest rate, teaser rate or payment rate. The
borrower's payment virtually always significantly increases on the
adjustment date. The rule creates a presumption that a mortgage broker
has violated their duty of good faith to the borrower if they
recommend a loan product with a prepayment penalty that extends beyond
the adjustment date. The rule took effect Friday.

"Prepayment penalties can trap families in no-win situations where
foreclosure becomes the only option," said state Rep. Rosemary
Marshall, who sponsored mortgage-related legislation the past two
years. "I wholeheartedly support the Division of Real Estate's new
rule implementing the mortgage broker legislation I sponsored during
the last session. I believe it will help lenders and consumers keep
their mortgage contracts alive."

Since taking over the Division of Real Estate last year, Director Toll
has made tackling Colorado's mortgage fraud and foreclosure epidemic
the Division's top priority. "Along with our aggressive enforcement
actions against those who participate in unlawful actions that
encourage foreclosures, this is another step to attempt to stem the
wave of foreclosures," she said.

The Division's enforcement actions include imposing permanent license
revocations along with record fines against real estate appraisers and
real estate brokers who engage in activities leading to higher
foreclosure rates.

For more information, visit the Division's website at

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Lt. Gov. Barbara O'Brien Issues Statement on Bush Veto

Lt. Gov. Barbara O'Brien today issued the following statement on President Bush's veto of the SCHP (State Health Insurance Program):
"At this holiday time, President Bush has ignored the needs of millions of children and vetoed spending for the Child Health Plan.
The Colorado Child Health Plan Plus has been hugely successful in enrolling 10,000 children who, over the last year, otherwise would not have had health insurance or access to health care. In addition, we still have about 50,000 more kids and pregnant moms that remain uncovered.
President Bush's veto of the national SCHIP funding undermines those efforts by casting a shadow of uncertainty over the program and putting children's health care at risk.
Both Governor Ritter and I believe a budget should reflect our moral values. To that point, we have pledged to invest in children's health and education, and we urge President Bush to fully fund this program."
CHP+ is Colorado's low-cost health and dental insurance program for uninsured children ages 18 and under from working families that earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but cannot afford private health insurance. CHP+ also offers benefits to pregnant women through the CHP+ Prenatal Care Program. For more information or to download an application, visit

Wednesday, December 12, 2007



Gov. Bill Ritter is in Iraq visiting Colorado National Guard troops at
the invitation of the U.S. Departments of Defense and State, part of a
fact-finding program that allows governors to experience conditions in
the Middle East first-hand.

Gov. Ritter toured and stayed overnight in the International Zone in
Baghdad, and also met with troops from the 332ndExpeditionary Fighter
Squadron, which includes about 225 Colorado National Guard members,
and the 5th Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group, which also includes
Colorado National Guard members. Gov. Ritter visited several military
installations, neighborhoods and a local hospital in Iraq.

"These men and women are serving under very difficult conditions,"
Gov. Ritter said during a conference call fromKuwait this morning.
"But their morale is high and they seem very heartened that I'm here
on their turf, on their territory, to gain a better understanding of
the work they are doing. It's extremely helpful for me, as the
commander in chief of the Colorado National Guard, to be on the ground
to see the conditions they are serving in and how they are making a

Hundreds of Colorado National Guard troops are currently deployed to
Iraq, Kuwait and other areas in the Middle East, more than at any
other time in recent Colorado history. Colorado Air National Guard
members have logged more than 5,000 combat hours and flown more than
500 consecutive combat sorties without failure since 2003.

"The Guard troops I've talked to wanted to convey their love and best
holiday wishes to their families and everyone back home," Gov. Ritter
said. "They also wanted to express their gratitude for everything
their neighbors are doing to help their spouses, from shoveling
sidewalks to helping with chores around the house."

Gov. Ritter is traveling with South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds and Rhode
Island Gov. Donald Carcieri. The trip included meetings with U.S.
military and diplomatic officials such as Gen. David Petraeus, the top
U.S. commander inIraq; Maj. Gen. Dennis Hardy of U.S. Central Command;
Patricia Butenis, the U.S. Embassy's chief of mission in Iraq; the
deputy prime minister of Iraq; and local government leaders as well.
Butenis hosted a dinner for the governors at her residence.

"We really appreciate Gov. Ritter taking the opportunity to visit our
deployed Colorado National Guard men and women," said Colorado
National Guard commander Maj. Gen. H. Michael Edwards. "Although being
deployed over the holidays is difficult for our Guard men and women, I
know it means a lot to them for their governor to make the effort to
visit them in theater. His visit will certainly be a special memory
for our Colorado Guard members."

Gov. Ritter began the week on Monday with briefings by U.S. Defense
Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in
Washington. More than 30 U.S. governors have visited Iraq as part of
the Department of Defense program.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Gov. Bill Ritter today announced appointments to a variety of
statewide boards and commissions:

Health Care Community Board
Randy L. Evetts of Pueblo, Toloa D. Pearl of Westcliffe and Dr. Jack
Berry of Denver, for terms expiring Nov. 20, 2008.

Dr. John M. Westfall of Greenwood Village, Stephen L. Holloway of
Denver and Antonio Prado-Gutierrez ofLittleton, for terms expiring
Nov. 20, 2009.

Lou Ann Wilroy of Denver, Ross A. Brooks of Denver, Jay H. Lee of
Denver and Michael V. Stafford of Wray, for terms expiring Nov. 20,

The 10-member Health Care Community Board was established by Senate
Bill 07-232 to help health-care professionals repay outstanding
education loans in exchange for a commitment to provide health care in
underserved local communities.

Pollution Prevention Advisory Board
(For terms expiring July 1, 2010)
Kai K. Abelkis of Niwot
Janell A. Barrilleaux of Golden
Mary "Meg" Collins of Boulder
Jill E. Cooper of Golden
S. Michelle Edwards of Larkspur
Jamie W. Gaboriau of Littleton
Landon W. Gates of Denver
Darrin J. Henke of Denver
Michael F. Kostrzewa of Fort Collins
Cynthia S. Peterson of Littleton
Margaret W. Staub of Evergreen
Melissa S. Yoder of Denver
Jere W. Zimmerman of Golden
Seth A. Portner of Boulder (ex-officio)
Patrick B. Hamel (ex-officio)

The 15-member Pollution Prevention Advisory Board (plus two ex-officio
members) provides policy guidance and advice for development and
implementation of the Colorado Pollution Prevention Program.

Governor's Council for Physical Fitness
(For terms expiring Sept. 1, 2009)
Cheryl Ames of Arvada
Brandon L. Bailey of Breckenridge
Craig. J. Bannister of Denver
Billie A. Busby of Denver
Stacy J. Fowler of Golden
Julie A. Gabler of Arvada
Michael A. Hashemi of Littleton
Robert Kendrick of Denver
Debora Ridgell of Golden
Jeffrey A. Taylor of Denver
DaVarryl J. Williamson of Aurora

The Governor's Council for Physical Fitness promotes good life-long
health and fitness habits by sponsoring educational and recreational
events statewide.

Colorado Children's Trust Fund Board
Cecil "Bud" H. Lashlee III of Denver, Tara L. Trujillo of Aurora and
Jacalyn M. Reynolds of Sterling, for terms expiring Nov. 7, 2009; and
Holly B. Hedegaard and James Snyder, both of Denver, for terms
expiring at the pleasure of the Governor.

The nine-member Colorado Children's Trust Fund Board provides funding
to programs around the state that focus on the prevention of child
abuse and neglect.

Community Corrections Advisory Council
(For terms expiring at the pleasure of the Governor)
The Hon. Christopher Cross of Centennial
Frank Dubofsky of Boulder
Thomas A. Giacinti of Lakewood
Charles F. Garcia of Denver
Paul M. Isenstadt of Colorado Springs
Jeffrey T. Mannix of Durango
Lawrence "Alex" Marquez of Fort Garland
John M. Riley of Denver
Peter A. Weir of Golden
Ari Zavaras of Denver

The 18-member Community Corrections Advisory Council advises and
assists the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice by analyzing,
identifying and recommendation policy modifications for the community
corrections program.

For more information or to obtain an application to serve on a
Colorado board or commission, contact the Governor's Office of Boards
and Commissions at 303.866.6380,

Monday, December 10, 2007


First Lady Jeannie Ritter will host dozens of Colorado National Guard
families at the Governor's Residence today, sharing holiday cheer
while nearly 600 Colorado National Guard members are currently
activated and deployed.

The First Lady has decorated the Governor's Residence to honor a
variety of faiths, organizations and holidays this season. Today's
visitors will enjoy a Christmas tree that is specially adorned with
military-themed ornaments. The First Lady also will be reading from
the "The Soldiers' Night Before Christmas" book.

Sunday, December 9, 2007


Gov. Bill Ritter issued the following statement this afternoon
following shootings in two Coloradoreligious facilities earlier today:

"Today, Colorado mourns the tragic loss of those killed and injured in
two senseless shootings. Our deepest sympathies go out to the families
of those who were taken from us, and we pray for the speedy recovery
of those who were wounded.

"Violent crimes of any sort are tragic enough, but when innocent
people are killed in a religious facility or a place of worship, we
must voice a collective sense of outrage and demonstrate a renewed
commitment to keeping our communities safe.

"We have activated the Colorado Information Analysis Center, and I
have directed the Department of Public Safety, Colorado State Patrol
and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to provide immediate
assistance to the local and federal agencies investigating the


Thursday, December 6, 2007


Gov. Bill Ritter today announced the appointment of James Tarpey to
the Colorado Public Utilities Commission to fill the remainder of
retiring Commissioner Carl Miller's term. Tarpey, an attorney with
Holland and Hart, has worked in the energy, utility and regulatory
arenas since 1973.

"Jim Tarpey brings vital experience, skills and knowledge to the
important role of a Colorado Public Utilities Commissioner," Gov.
Ritter said. "His expertise extends to the operations of electric,
telecommunications and natural gas utilities as well as to various
issues associated with electric transmission, energy resource
additions and demand side management. He also brings extensive legal
and regulatory experience, and he understands the need to protect
consumers and establish a secure energy future for Colorado. We all
will benefit from his service on the PUC."

Gov. Ritter said he fully intends to re-appoint Tarpey to a full, four-
year term in January 2009.

"I am very pleased Gov. Ritter has appointed me to this position and I
appreciate the associated responsibilities," Tarpey said. "It is
important for Colorado to meet its energy needs in a way that is
responsible both environmentally and economically. The PUC will play a
key role in achieving that goal."

Tarpey earned his bachelor's of business administration degree from
St. John's University in New York in 1965 and his law degree from
Fordham University School of Law in 1968.

His professional experience includes serving as an FBI special agent
(1968 to 1972), an attorney with the Colorado Attorney General's
Office representing the PUC (1973 to 1975), an administrative law
judge for the PUC (1975 to 1977) and an attorney in private practice.
He has worked at Holland and Hart since July 2001.

Miller, 69, had served on the PUC since 2004 after being appointed by
former Gov. Owens. He announced his retirement earlier this week. Gov.
Ritter also soon will be naming a replacement for Polly Page, whose
term on the PUC ends in January. Gov. Ritter appointed the chairman of
the commission, Ron Binz, earlier this year.

The PUC, a division of the Department of Regulatory Agencies, is a
constitutionally recognized commission. It has economic and quality-of-
service regulatory authority over intrastate telecommunication
services; and investor-owned electric, gas and water utilities; as
well as partial regulatory control over municipal utilities and
electric associations.

The PUC also regulates railroad and motor carrier utilities. Under its
jurisdiction are common and contract motor carriers; transportation
operating authorities; and carriers providing intrastate and
interstate transportation services. Finally, the PUC has jurisdiction
over railroad corporations and public railroad-highway grade crossings.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


Gov. Bill Ritter today announced an ambitious package of education
reforms that will enhance student learning, help parents and teachers
make better use of data, increase accountability and allow more
children to succeed in a 21stcentury economy.

"Education is the key to opportunity," Gov. Ritter said during the
opening session of the Colorado Statewide Dropout Summit. "It opens
doors and leads to a better future. While we are a nation of
innovators, we also are a country at risk of falling behind other
countries. Public education helped me get where I am today, and I want
an even better education for my children, for your children and for
every generation that comes after us.

"Today, I stand here with a challenge to you all: Think big, dream
big, raise your expectations, and raise the expectations we place on
our children. They will rise to the occasion."

Gov. Ritter outlined his education reform package on the same day the
Colorado Department of Education released its annual School
Accountability Reports. The reports show that just 11.8 percent of
Colorado's 1,971 regular and alternative schools rated "excellent" in
2006-07, compared with 8.3 percent five years ago.

"We can and should continue to debate whether the SAR is the best
measurement tool available to us," Gov. Ritter said. "Regardless, I am
not satisfied. Nobody can say we are doing the best job possible when
it comes to preparing our kids for a 21st century workforce. If
there's one area where we can not fail, it's how we educate our
children. Principals are working harder, parents are working harder,
and you all are today because you are working harder. But the cold
hard truth is that we need to do things differently in order to do
them better."

During Gov. Ritter's first State of the State Speech in January, he
outlined bold education goals for Colorado, including cutting the high
school dropout rate and achievement gap in half over 10 years, and
doubling the number of college diplomas and certificates awarded to
Colorado students over the same time period.

The reforms outlined today will move Colorado forward in achieving
those goals, Gov. Ritter said. Proposals call for:

· Data and Accountability: Creating a meaningful data and
accountability system that captures information about each student
from the time they enter school to the time they enter the workforce.
Colorado would become only the second state in the country, in
addition to Florida, to align data from the beginning of a child's
education to the end.

· Colorado Counselor Corps: Creating the Colorado Counselor
Corps of 70 new counselors to work in middle and high schools. These
counselors would work directly with students so they stay in school
and are fully prepared for college. Schools or districts would apply
for the funds through the Department of Education. Currently,
Colorado's ratio of students to counselors is 544 to 1 – one of the
worst rates in the country.

· Statewide "Post-Secondary Preparation" Mission: Requesting
that the State Board of Education create a statewide guidance policy
that will establish "post-secondary preparation" as the main purpose
of Colorado's K-12 education system.

· Dropout Rules and K-3 Curriculum, Instruction and
Assessment: Requesting the Board to scrutinize the effectiveness of
current dropout rules and regulations, and abandon those that are
ineffective, and also examine and recommend best practices for
kindergarten through third-grade curriculum, instruction and

· Colorado Preschool Program: Eliminating the current waiting
list for the Colorado Preschool Program, allowing the state to provide
quality pre-school to 3,000 additional eligible children.

· Full-Day Kindergarten: Allowing 22,000 additional children
to attend full-day kindergarten -- if their school districts and their
parents choose to participate. This will be phased in slowly, over six
years, as resources are available.

The reforms are based on the work of Gov. Ritter's P-20 Education
Coordinating Council, which is co-chaired by Lt. Gov. Barbara O'Brien,
Bruce Benson, CEO of Benson Mineral Group, and Joe Garcia, president
of Colorado StateUniversity at Pueblo.

Three of the proposals would be included in the 2008 School Finance
Act, with dollars coming from the State Education Fund:

Full-Day Kindergarten: $25 million in Year 1, slowly increasing to
$100 million over six years.

Colorado Preschool Program: $10.5 million.

Colorado Counselor Corps: $5 million.

Gov. Ritter will propose a K-12 reserve trigger to maintain the long-
term health of the State Education Fund, ensuring that the Fund
remains a rainy day fund for K-12 education as it was always intended
to be.

"Colorado's greatest asset is our children," Gov. Ritter said. "We
know that children who start behind, stay behind. These reforms will
give more children an opportunity to achieve their full potential in a
21st century, globally competitive economy. Enacting these programs
will speak volumes about our commitment to Colorado's children,
because this is not just about today. It's not even about tomorrow.
It's about future generations to come and the kind ofColorado we want
them to inherit."

"Learning and development are like climbing a ladder," Lt. Gov.
O'Brien said. "One starts at the bottom rung, then climbs to the next,
and then to the next. Shaky – or non-existent – rungs make it hard to
successfully reach the next levels. These proposals will begin to
strengthen some of the rungs on the education ladder."

"As a long-time participant in education policy and a co-chair of the
P-20 Council, I am enthusiastic about and personally gratified by Gov.
Ritter's decision to support so many of the P-20 Council's
recommendations," Bruce Benson said. "They represent critical steps in
our collective pursuit of a world-class system of education. It is an
honor to serve the people of Colorado alongside of so many talented
individuals. I look forward to continuing to improve our education
system in 2008."

"We in higher education support Gov. Ritter's approach," said Ray
Baker, chairman of the Colorado Commission on Higher Education. "It's
important that all Coloradans not think that one or two targeted
policies will change outcomes across systems. Comprehensive strategies
and wise investments, like those proposed by Gov. Ritter, are what we

"We have studied the importance of exposing children at the earliest
ages to quality early childhood experiences and we are unanimously
persuaded that early intervention can play a critical role in the
future success of our children," said Gail Klapper, who heads the
Colorado Forum, a consortium of business and civic leaders from around
Colorado. "We are delighted that Gov. Ritter is advocating such a
quality early-childhood and full-day kindergarten experience
forColorado children."

"Providing full-day kindergarten and quality preschool, as well as
improved counseling and mentoring for high schoolers, will improve the
education and lives of thousands of Colorado children," said Lisa
Weil, policy director for Great Education Colorado. "Gov. Ritter and
the P-20 Council deserve our thanks for placing the spotlight where it
belongs, on our kids and their future."

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Colorado PUC Commissioner Carl Miller retires

Gov. Bill Ritter today announced the retirement of Colorado Public Utilities Commissioner Carl Miller, effective Jan. 1. Miller, 69, has served on the Commission since July 1, 2004, and his term would have ended in January 2009.
"On behalf of the people of Colorado, I commend Commissioner Miller for his dedication and commitment to serving the public in a number of capacities for more than 30 years," Gov. Ritter said. "He fulfilled his responsibilities on the PUC with the utmost professionalism and he will be missed. I wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors."
Gov. Ritter said he expects to appoint Miller's replacement soon, as well as a replacement for Commissioner Polly Page, whose term on the PUC ends in January. The chairman of the Commission is Ron Binz, who was appointed by Gov. Ritter earlier this year.
"It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve in your administration, and former Gov. Bill Owens' administration," Miller wrote in a letter to Gov. Ritter. "I am grateful and will forever cherish the opportunities I have had to serve the citizens of Colorado.  I relish my job, but at age 69, it is time to move on and enjoy some leisure activities." Those leisure activities will be shared with Mary Ann, his wife of 43 years, his two daughters and four grandchildren.
Miller is a third-generation Leadville native who served in the U.S. Army (1958-1960) in Germany and worked in underground mining for 27 years. Miller was elected to serve in the Colorado House of Representatives from 1996-2004, as a Lake County Commissioner from 1977-1989, and as chairman and member of the Region 13 Council of Governments from 1981-1989. 
The PUC, a division of the Department of Regulatory Agencies, is a constitutionally recognized commission. It has economic and quality-of-service regulatory authority over intrastate telecommunication services; and investor-owned electric, gas and water utilities; as well as partial regulatory control over municipal utilities and electric associations.
The PUC also regulates railroad and motor carrier utilities. Under its jurisdiction are common and contract motor carriers; transportation operating authorities; and carriers providing intrastate and interstate transportation services. Finally, the PUC has jurisdiction over railroad corporations and public railroad-highway grade crossings.

Colorado Earns More than $122 Million in Royalty Receipts

DENVER – Colorado earned more than $122 Million during Fiscal Year
2007 as part of their share of federal revenues collected by the
Department of the Interior's Minerals Management Service (MMS).
Colorado was one of thirty-four states that earned a total of more
than $1.9 billion during Fiscal Year 2007.

"These revenues from mineral production on federal lands play a
crucial role in many state budgets," said Randall Luthi, MMS
director. "The funds support everything from education to
infrastructure improvements and capital projects."

MMS is the federal bureau within the Department of the Interior
responsible for collecting, auditing and disbursing revenues
associated with mineral leases on federal and American Indian lands.
Disbursements are made to states on a monthly basis from royalties,
rents, bonuses and other revenues collected by MMS.

The $1,972,322,944 distributed to states during the Fiscal Year that
ended Sept. 30, 2007 compares with Fiscal Year 2006 payments to states
that totaled more than $2.2 billion. A preliminary analysis indicates
the slight decline is the result of several factors, including lower
natural gas prices during the fiscal year and a drop in lease sale
bonuses from the previous year, among others.

Fiscal Year 2007 marked the first full year that MMS distributed funds
from geothermal energy production directly to the individual counties
where that production occurs. Luthi noted that the Energy Policy Act
of 2005 mandated that 25 percent of receipts from geothermal energy
production be disbursed directly to counties where that production
occurs, in an effort to increase use of that alternative energy
resource. As part of that mandate, and included in the $1.9 billion
distributed overall, MMS distributed more than $4.3 million to 32
counties in the states of California, Idaho, New Mexico, Nevada,
Oregon and Utah.

During Fiscal Year 2007, the state of Wyoming led all states by
receiving more than $925 million as its share of revenues collected
from mineral production on federal lands within its borders, including
oil, gas and coal production. New Mexico's share was nearly $553
million, while the state of Utah received more than $135 million.
Other energy-producing states sharing revenues included Colorado with
more than $122 million; California with more than $61 million; Montana
with $39.1 million; Louisiana at $24 million; Alaska at $21.7 million;
and Texas, which received approximately $21.6 million in Fiscal Year

The disbursements represent the states' cumulative share of revenues
collected from mineral production on federal lands located within
their borders, and from federal offshore oil and gas tracts adjacent
to their shores. For the majority of onshore federal lands, states
receive 50 percent of the revenues while the other 50 percent goes to
various funds of the U.S. Treasury, including the Reclamation Fund for
water projects. Alaska receives a 90 percent share as prescribed by
the Alaska Statehood Act. States may also receive matching
appropriations from the offshore oil and gas royalty-funded Land and
Water Conservation Fund, the Reclamation Fund, and other special-use

In addition, Texas, Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi with producing
federal offshore tracts adjacent to state waters receive 27 percent of
those mineral royalties. Remaining offshore revenues collected by the
MMS are deposited in various accounts of the U.S. Treasury, with the
majority of those revenues going to the General Fund.

States receiving revenues through Fiscal Year 2007 include:
Alabama $14,173,908.88
Alaska $21,796,671.52
Arizona $41,792.37
Arkansas $8,143,230.86
California $61,240,940.54
Colorado $122,894,226.71
Florida $6,649.38
Idaho $4,729,812.55
Illinois $205,558.80
Indiana $8,046.75
Kansas $1,876,305
Kentucky $714,750.97
Louisiana $24,029,594.03
Michigan $616,971.05
Minnesota $13,126.30
Mississippi $2,226,547.50
Missouri $3,598,352.32
Montana $39,158,279.03
Nebraska $24,176.98
Nevada $7,663,678.82
New Mexico $552,934,465.33
North Dakota $13,775,447.53
Ohio $493,091.99
Oklahoma $6,988,592.26
Oregon $558,122.83
Pennsylvania $55,584.87
South Carolina $277.50
South Dakota $1,007,068.91
Texas $21,667,264.63
Utah $135,429,658.25
Virginia $233,474.14
Washington $366,365.07
West Virginia $389,004.34
Wyoming $925,261,906.81

Total $1,972,322,944.82


Continuing her mental health-care outreach efforts, First Lady Jeannie
Ritter will be visiting several programs in Larimer County on
Wednesday. The day concludes with a keynote speech at the Larimer
County Medical Society's annual dinner. Note: Some of First Lady
Ritter's meetings during the day are closed to press because of
privacy concerns, but she will be available to speak with reporters
before and after those meetings.

Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2007

10 – 10:15 a.m. The First Lady will be available to talk
with reporters prior to a private meeting with the Larimer County
Interagency Oversight Group. Larimer County Mental Health Office, 1250
N. Wilson Ave.,Loveland.

1 – 1:15 p.m. The First Lady will be available to talk
with reporters before a private meeting with Community Mental Health &
Substance Abuse Partnerships. Larimer County Mental Health Office, 525
W. Oak St., Fort Collins.

4 – 4:30 p.m. The First Lady will be visiting the
National Youth Program Using Minibikes Center, 2501 Midpoint Drive,
Fort Collins.

7:45 p.m. The First Lady will be delivering a
keynote address to the Larimer County Medical Society's annual dinner.
Marriott Fort Collins, 350 E. Horsetooth Road.