Bach wants stormwater changes, undocumented to get licenses, more 


Initiatives make cut, but ...

Backers of eight proposed ballot initiatives turned in signatures before the Colorado Secretary of State's Monday deadline. Among them were four fracking initiatives, two for and two against. But that doesn't mean any of them will be on your November ballot.

Gov. John Hickenlooper reportedly has brokered a last-minute deal with U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, who was the main force behind the two anti-fracking initiatives. Polis agreed to withdraw his support for his initiatives, and ask that they be withdrawn from ballot consideration, assuming supporters of the pro-fracking initiatives did the same. As of press time, it appeared all parties were on board.

In exchange, Hickenlooper is putting together an 18-member commission to make recommendations to the Colorado Legislature on changes to law that would benefit both the oil and gas industry and citizens worried about safety.

Meanwhile, another initiative by pro-lifers attempting to define fetuses as human beings has been approved for the ballot (Initiative 5), as has an initiative that would allow slot machines, card games, roulette and craps at horse tracks, and use revenues to fund K-12 education (Initiative 135).

The Secretary of State's Office must decide by Sept. 3 whether the remaining initiatives that met Monday's deadline have enough valid signatures to make the ballot. They are Initiative 124, designed to create greater transparency in school board meetings, and Initiative 48, which would require labeling of genetically modified foods (see "Oh no, GMO," News, July 9). — JAS

Bach seeks drainage change

In a four-page letter to City Council dated July 31, Mayor Steve Bach outlines changes he wants made to the proposed intergovernmental agreement that would create the Pikes Peak Regional Drainage Authority.

These changes are essential, he writes, "in order for me to support this IGA." They relate to:

• Board representation. The IGA calls for six of 11 PPRDA board members to represent the city: Five would be appointed by Council and the mayor, and the mayor himself would serve. Bach wants authority to designate his chief of staff in his place; the other appointees should be "residents of our City with professional expertise in stormwater related matters."

• Project priorities. Instead of allowing the PPRDA board to determine project order and funding, Bach says city projects' order and funding should be decided by the city through the annual budget process.

• Flood emergencies. The IGA leaves decisions about response and cost to the PPRDA board. Bach says the "City's executive" (the mayor) is uniquely positioned to respond to emergencies; a majority of city representatives to the PPRDA board, not the full board, should have authority to decide how to respond, and at what cost, he says.

• Fees. Bach wants the proposed rates for property owners included in a ballot question, and he doesn't want rates for nonprofits, including churches, to be lower than for other property owners. Making exceptions, he says, might not withstand a court test.

Council is slated to consider the IGA at its Tuesday, Aug. 12 meeting. — PZ

Undocumented get licenses

As part of the Colorado Road and Community Safety Act, people who are not lawfully present in the U.S. now can get a Colorado driver's license. The key: They must show proof of residence in the state as well as other documents, including tax information, and sign an affidavit related to their residency here. They must also have valid ID from their country of origin.

Five Department of Motor Vehicles offices in the state are taking part in the program, selected to cover the state. The Colorado Springs office is at 2446 N. Union Blvd.

Also, anyone temporarily lawfully present — an El Paso County press release names foreign students and workers as examples — can apply for an ID with proof of lawful presence, from any state DMV location.

The licenses can't be used as federal ID, to vote or to get public benefits, and will be marked as such. Other rules and restrictions are covered by the state Department of Revenue in a FAQs document at tiny.cc/u9j3jx.

The act was signed in June 2013, but did not come into effect until last Friday. — GS


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