NewsBeat: What's happening now

Bill To Ban Gay Conversion Therapy Moves To State Senate

A bill to ban so-called gay conversion therapy for minors received initial approval in the Colorado House Monday.

A similar effort died last year in the Republican-led Senate. Republicans say it’s not the government’s role to dictate what parents think is best for their kids.

But Democrats argue therapy practices that attempt to change a young person’s sexuality leave lasting harm – including suicide in some cases.

“I will bring this bill as many times as necessary to really make sure we protect the children of Colorado,” said bill sponsor Rep. Paul Rosenthal, D-Denver.

Four other states and the District of Columbia ban the therapy.


Colorado Springs Halfway House Faces Lawsuit Claiming Abuse

Two women say they faced unwanted sexual advances while living at a Colorado Springs halfway house.

The Colorado Springs Gazette reports that according to a federal lawsuit filed against Community Alternatives of El Paso female residents say they felt administrators did not protect them from a sexual predator.

The lawsuit was filed weeks after the man in question, former maintenance worker Joseph Garcia Chapman, pleaded guilty to forcing himself on residents of the halfway house.

CAE is owned by Community Education Centers, a private, nationwide corrections company that contracts with the Colorado Department of Corrections to provide post-conviction supervision and services. A CEC spokesman says the company addressed the claims about Chapman seriously, but declined to comment on the lawsuit, citing ongoing litigation.

Colorado Car 'Puffing' Ban May Be Nearing End

It would be legal to leave cars running unattended — if they have remote-start systems — under a Colorado bill headed to the governor.

The bill updates the state's ban on so-called "puffing," or leaving a car running while the driver is away.

The practice is common on frigid Colorado winter mornings, but can leave the driver with a ticket because "puffing" makes cars vulnerable to theft. Legislative analysts say there are about 50 "puffing" tickets issued per year across Colorado.

The bill exempts car owners with remote-start systems. Drivers would have to keep a keyless start fob out of proximity of the so the vehicle can't be moved.

The measure passed the Senate 33-1 Monday and has already passed the House.

Deputy Killed In Eviction Remembered At Memorial

A sheriff's deputy who was shot and killed while trying to evict a man from a home in a Colorado mountain community is being remembered as brave, compassionate and dedicated to his hometown.

About 4,000 people, including law enforcement officers from around the state, gathered Monday at a memorial service in suburban Denver for Park County Sheriff's Cpl. Nate Carrigan.

Authorities say the 35-year-old Carrigan was killed and two other deputies were wounded on Feb. 24 by 58-year-old Martin Wirth near the town of Bailey, southwest of Denver.

Wirth was a political activist who refused to pay his mortgage and had previous run-ins with police. He also died in the incident.

Carrigan had a fiancee and four stepchildren and coached football and baseball at a high school that he had attended.


Colorado Unemployment Rate Drops To 15-Year Low

Lori Kamlet looks at posted employment opportunites at a Denver Employment office on Friday, July 22, 2011.

(AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

Colorado’s unemployment rate has fallen to 3.2 percent, according to new figures released by the state’s Department of Labor. 

Colorado’s employers added 5,200 jobs from December to January, helping to drop the unemployment rate to a level not seen in 15 years.

State economist Alexandra Hall says Colorado is growing in both high-wage sectors – like business and professional services – and lower-wage ones, like tourism.

"When you have jobs added in higher-earning sectors, that tends to increase demand in leisure and hospitality sectors," Hall said. "Those workers tend to have some money to spend."

And strong job gains have helped offset recent layoffs in the oil and gas sector.

"We certainly, I would say, are in the best place we can possibly be to continue to absorb those changes," Hall said.

Revised numbers put Colorado’s non-farm job growth rate last year at 3.1 percent, a full point higher than the national rate. This is the first time since the late 1990s that job growth has stayed above 3 percent for back-to-back years.


Fort Collins Mulls Condo Defects Regulation

Fort Collins is the latest Colorado city to consider creating its own rules covering construction defects and lawsuits against builders.

The City Council could pass a building ordinance at its meeting Tuesday. It’s aimed at getting more condominiums built in Fort Collins by reducing the risk that builders could be sued by dissatisfied buyers.

Denver and Aurora passed similar laws last year. And like those cities, Fort Collins has a condo shortage says community development director Tom Leeson.

"We’ve had a significant building boom in the last five, six years," Leeson said. "Condos have been absent as part of that development activity."

He said the proposal strikes a balance between encouraging condo development, and addressing the concerns of critics who fear it could leave builders unaccountable for doing shoddy work. Some argue high rents are driving apartment construction over condo building.

Red Flag Warning In Effect For Parts Of Front Range, Eastern Plains

The National Weather Service in Denver has issued a Red Flag warning for high fire danger for the Denver metro area, and portions of Adams, Arapahoe, Douglas and Elbert counties.

The Red Flag warning is in effect from 12 p.m. until 7 p.m. Monday and covers all of southeastern Colorado as well. 

Winds to 25 miles an hour with gusts to 35 miles per hour and humidity as low as 15 percent will create conditions favorable for extreme fire behavior.

Agricultural burning is strongly discouraged Monday.

Gas Prices Back Near $2 A Gallon In Colorado

Retail gasoline prices in Colorado are up more than 9 cents a gallon over the last week, hitting a statewide average of $1.88 on Sunday.

Even though gasoline prices remain lower than one year ago, they’re about 30 cents a gallon higher than they were just last month.

And demand is up. According to, federal data shows that demand for gasoline is now outpacing the 2008 pre-recession levels.

“The price of crude oil has jumped 45 percent in the last month and the national average pump price will soon hit $2 a gallon," said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst with GasBuddy. 

Douglas Bruce Sentenced To Prison For Probation Violation

Former state Rep. Douglas Bruce, who was convicted in 2012 of tax evasion and trying to influence a public servant, was sentenced to at least two years in prison on Friday for violating terms of his probation.

Denver District Judge Sheila Rappaport ruled that Bruce violated his probation because he failed to disclose his financial dealings.

According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, Bruce was defiant and told Rappaport he had no remorse and he said he was not guilty.

Bruce said previously he has been the target of government enforcement because of his role in passing the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights, which sets strict limits on state government taxes and spending.

Feds Pump $1.7M Into Colorado For Opioid Treatment

The federal government is providing $1.7 million to Colorado to help treat opioid use disorders in underserved populations.

The money from the Department of Health and Human Services will expand the number of patients screened and connected to treatment for opioid addiction. Five health centers in the state will get the funding: the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, Denver Health, Metro Community Provider Network, a provider in Fort Lupton and the University of Colorado.

A recent study found drug overdose deaths rose sharply in the last decade across the state.