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Fracking legislation stalls, another ride service debuts, and more


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Fracking legislation stalls

Legislation that could offer some power to local governments that want to limit fracking has hit a barrier at the Capitol.

Our April 30 news story "The looming rift," originally published by POLITICO, detailed how fracking issues were causing a breach in the state Democratic party. Initiatives aimed for the November ballot would allow voters to give local governments the power to ban fracking. It was thought that legislation to offer more power to local governments could prevent the controversial initiatives from going on the ballot, where many believe they will pass. But, as of press time, it appeared a compromise on such legislation could not be reached, and a bill would not be introduced.

The 2014 legislative session ends Wednesday. In the unlikely event that the Legislature overcomes its challenges and passes a bill, we will provide an update on the IndyBlog on Thursday. — JAS

Little action on pot

House Bill 1361, the Regulation of Marijuana Concentrates bill ("What's inside an ounce," News, April 30), addressing how much marijuana concentrate can be sold, passed the Senate on Tuesday and now heads to the governor's desk. Save for adding the financial appropriation to the text, this bill has been unchanged since it was introduced April 7.

Less intact is House Bill 1366, which originally mandated that all edibles have to be clearly marked, stamped or colored to indicate that they contain marijuana. According to a KRCC-FM report from Bente Birkeland, legislators could not come to an agreement on how to mark edibles. The bill now mandates that the State Licensing Authority bring a board of stakeholders together to discuss how to do so. The bill says this will take place July 1, 2014. This bill also passed the Senate on Tuesday on its way to a signature from the governor.

The state Legislature is showing itself to be resolved to discuss Colorado's growing marijuana industry. However, it doesn't seem to be taking much action. Given that 1361 is a one-time appropriation for study of how to regulate concentrates, 1366 is now just setting up an industry discussion, and the marijuana banking bill, House Bill 1398, is essentially dead, nothing is actually changing for the industry anytime soon. — GS

Changes to open records

Gov. John Hickenlooper has signed a new law that makes changes to the Colorado Open Records Act.

House Bill 1193, which goes into effect July 1, forces all Colorado governments to charge no more than $30 an hour for retrieval of public records, with the first hour free. Governments will also have to post their fee schedules.

Open records, which detail the government's actions, are used often by journalists and citizens. Though previously required to be "reasonable," fees have grown in many areas, making public documents difficult to access. The city of Colorado Springs, for instance, didn't charge for records until 2013. The first 25 pages and two hours of staff time is still free but after that, a requester must pay $20 an hour for staff time and 25 cents per page. — JAS

Another ride service debuts

San Francisco-based Uber, the bigger rival to ride-sharing service Lyft, which launched in Colorado Springs last week, is now serving the Pikes Peak area. "We are so excited to help change the way people move in the city," community manager Ann Lauricello told the Indy in an email.

The original UberBLACK differs from Lyft in that it provides luxury-level town-car service, but the company's UberX, which is the service available locally, is similar to the other service's personal-car model. Both operate through smartphone apps. They even compete for drivers, with Uber offering $500 to those currently motoring for Lyft who make the switch.

Riders can expect to pay a base fare of $2.14 plus $1.57 per mile, 19 cents per minute, and a "safe rides fee" of $1. Lyft charges a "suggested donation" of $1.60 per mile, 30 cents per minute, $1.50 for pickup, and a $1 "trust and safety" fee.

Both will benefit from historic legislation regulating the burgeoning industry, which passed both chambers of the Colorado Legislature last week and only awaits Gov. John Hickenlooper's pen. — BC

Compiled by Bryce Crawford, J. Adrian Stanley and Griffin Swartzell.

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