- Associated Press - Thursday, January 12, 2017

DENVER (AP) - The Latest on Gov. John Hickenlooper’s State of the State address (all times local):

11:50 a.m.

Colorado’s health care exchange isn’t going anywhere.

That’s the commitment Thursday from the state’s Democratic governor.

Gov. John Hickenlooper told the state’s 100 lawmakers in his annual state of the state address that he will resist national attempts to roll back the federal health care law that requires everybody to get health insurance.

Hickenlooper says that “the last thing we would want is Congress making all our decisions around health care.”

Hickenlooper says that if Congress repeals the health care law, he’ll push for a replacement plan in Colorado.

That’s a sharp difference from Republicans who control the state Senate. They are calling for a bill to dismantle Colorado’s health insurance exchange by 2019.


11:45 a.m.

Colorado, a pioneer in marijuana legalization, has more work to do on pot.

That’s the word from Gov. John Hickenlooper, who told lawmakers Thursday that loopholes in home grow and caregiver laws have allowed illegal pot grows to flourish.

Hickenlooper said in his annual state of the state address that he wants $6 million to help local police and government agencies detect illegal grows and prosecute those responsible.

He also said the state is spending $7 million to educate youth and parents about underage use.


11:40 a.m.

Gov. John Hickenlooper is asking the leaders of the Democratic-led House and Republican-led Senate to find a way to fund public education without sacrificing other core government services.

Hickenlooper applauded a pledge by House Speaker Crisanta Duran and Senate President Kevin Grantham to finally reach deals this legislative session on roads and housing construction.

But he urged them to also find a way to fully fund K-12 education, which now depends on the vagaries of constitutional funding mechanisms.

The governor noted that property taxes for schools will drop by $170 million this year because of constitutional spending rules.

Hickenlooper delivered his annual state of the state address to all 100 lawmakers Thursday.


11:30 a.m.

Colorado’s Democratic governor says he’s creating an office dedicated to getting high-speed internet to all of the state by 2020.

John Hickenlooper told lawmakers in his annual state of the state address Thursday that only seven in 10 rural households have high speed access.

Hickenlooper says the state of rural internet service is a huge drain on the rural economy - impeding businesses from growing, schools from educating, health clinics from serving patients.

The governor says that fiber optic cables “are today’s power lines for farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses.”


11:25 a.m.

Gov. John Hickenlooper is urging lawmakers to think outside the box when it comes to finding money for roads, rural broadband, public education and health care.

In his annual state of the state address, Hickenlooper didn’t provide specifics on how to tackle $9 billion worth of needed improvements over the next decade for Colorado’s roads.

But he did say Thursday that there isn’t enough in Colorado’s general fund to start the task.

Lawmakers this session have pledged to come up with a transport funding plan - possibly involving increases in certain taxes to fund construction bonds.

The governor welcomed that pledge. He says that “voters are tired of us kicking the can down the road, because they know it’s going to land in a pothole.”


Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper sets his priorities on roads and housing, health care and pot regulation when he addresses the just-convened 2017 Legislature.

Hickenlooper presents his annual state of the state speech to yet another split Legislature on Wednesday.

Hickenlooper has said his goals align with lawmakers’ when it comes to spending more for roads and promoting housing construction in this rapidly-growing state.

But he’s already voiced incredulity at a Republican proposal to shut the state’s health care exchange, which insures more than 200,000 Coloradans.

He’s also called for cracking down on illegal pot sales in a state that legalized recreational marijuana in 2012.

His $28.5 billion budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 has a $500 million deficit that lawmakers must eliminate.

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