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Colorado's Polka-Dotted Middle Way46:09
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Colorado is pushing a lot of boundaries and buttons lately. On fracking, gun law, marijuana, secession. We catch up with Colorado.

In this Monday, Nov. 18, 2013 photo, gun-control advocates rally against gun violence in front of the state Capitol, in Denver. Gun-control supporters who gathered at the Colorado Capitol on Monday, Nov. 18, 2013 asked the Democratic state Legislature Monday not to revisit last session's gun-control package, which included expanded background checks and a limit on ammunition magazines. (AP)
In this Monday, Nov. 18, 2013 photo, gun-control advocates rally against gun violence in front of the state Capitol, in Denver. Gun-control supporters who gathered at the Colorado Capitol on Monday, Nov. 18, 2013 asked the Democratic state Legislature Monday not to revisit last session's gun-control package, which included expanded background checks and a limit on ammunition magazines. (AP)

The state of Colorado is pushing a lot of boundaries and buttons lately.  Once solidly-red Republican, it’s a state that’s turned purple, blue Democrat, maybe polka dot.  The result is arresting.  A green light for pot.  Gun law reform and hard backlash.  Groundbreaking new rules on fracking, with energy companies on board. A secession movement.  And that’s before we get to epic fire and flood up into the Rockies.  This state goes earthy-crunchy and conservative.  It may be a national laboratory.  This hour On Point:  We're looking at the riveting state of Colorado.
-- Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Laura DiSilverionovelist, former Air Force intelligence officer. (@LauraDiSilverio)

Patty Limerick, Faculty Director and Chair of the Board of the Center of the American West at the University of Colorado, professor of history. (@CenterWest)

John Long, founder and executive director of Biodiesel for Bands, a nonprofit that offers touring musical artists discounts on bio-diesel fuel and touring vehicles.

From Tom's Reading List

The Daily Beast: Colorado’s Strange Secession Vote —  "Eleven of Colorado’s 64 counties want to secede from the state, and there is a referendum on the ballot to that effect. It will, in all likelihood, pass. Only the voters in those 11 counties are voting on the question. Ten are contiguous, in the northeast corner of the state. In their dream world, they say sayonara to Denver and become “North Colorado.” The eleventh county is across the way, in the northwest corner. Since the U.S. Constitution mandates that states be contiguous, Moffat County would just sign up with Wyoming."

The New Yorker: The Middleman — "Colorado is part of a national trend: red states are becoming redder and blue states are becoming bluer. According to the National Journal, an unprecedented thirty-six states are controlled by one party or the other. Activists, frustrated by the partisan gridlock in Washington, are pushing their agendas in state capitals that are dominated by a single party and thus can swiftly move legislation. Two weeks before Hickenlooper signed his gun laws, the Republican governor of South Dakota signed legislation allowing school employees to carry firearms. In April, Kansas passed one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country, while in Democratically controlled New York, Governor Cuomo unveiled a bill to guarantee in state law the protections provided by Roe v. Wade."

The Denver Post: Polis, Hickenlooper disagree on Colorado's fracking regulations --"Polis never took a position on the fracking bans, but Tuesday he said fracking 'is occurring very close to where people live and work and where they raise families. Yet our state doesn't have any meaningful regulation to protect homeowners,' Polis said in a floor debate on a series of energy measures. 'Unfortunately, the fracking rules are overseen by an oil and gas commission that is heavily influenced by the oil and gas industry.'"

This program aired on November 21, 2013.

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