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Some 150 bills were introduced yesterday by Colorado lawmakers on the first day of the 2004 legislative session. Some of the bills introduced yesterday include bills proposing to reform the Taxpayers Bill of Rights budget limits and Amendment 23 School spending mandates. Another bill would partially restore a property tax exemption for senior homeowners. A bill to make the state Rock Yule Marble, like the kind mined around marble, Colorado, was also introduced. Bills that would define punishments for taking liberties with memorials and headstones, and for stealing newspapers were also introduced. More than 600 bills are expected to be introduced in the next 120 days, during this years' legislative session.
U.S. District Judge Robert E. Blackburn, on December 30th, dismissed a complaint by American Water Development to intervene in a case against Farallon Capital Management, Vaca partners, and Jason Fish, a principal of Farallon and managing member of Vaca Partners. The judge ruled that the lawsuit should be tried in state court instead of in federal court as AWDI's claims in federal court duplicate their state court claims. The lawsuit concerns the foreclosure sale of the 97,000-acre Baca Ranch in May of 2002 and alleged breach of fiduciary duty on the part of Farallon to New Yorker Peter Hornick. Vaca partners are selling the Baca Ranch to the Nature Conservancy who will in turn sell it to the federal government so that it can become part of the new Great Sand Dunes National Park.
Robert Valdez and Ken Torres announced on Tuesday that they would both seek new terms as Las Animas County Commissioners. Valdez, a Democrat represents District 2, and Torres, a Republican represents District 1, both said that they have been prudent managers of public funds and have improved the image of the county. Both men stressed their fiscal austerity and the county's significant financial improvement over the past three years. The county's general fund balance was just under $31,000 when both took office in January of 2001. That balance is now about $650,000. Valdez said that he would eventually like to see that balance become more than $1 million.
Federal and Huerfano County warrants have been issued against William Raney, 44, who lives off of Colorado 69 about 13 miles northwest of Walsenburg. Raney was initially arrested in mid- December on federal weapons charges. He later posted $5,000 bond on the charges and was released but failed to report to a halfway house. After the initial arrest, Raney's trailer was searched and Huerfano County and Pueblo County Sheriff's officers and federal agents found dangerous chemicals, guns and ammunition. The chemicals found are used to make methamphetamine. They were seized and destroyed.
Alamosa City Manager Michael Hackett announced yesterday that the fire at the Rialto Theater apparently originated near a water meter that Alamosa city crews were working to thaw out. Preliminary Colorado Bureau of Investigation reports indicate that the fire began inside a wall near the meter and likely began on Monday evening, December 29th, before the fire was discovered and reported on Tuesday morning. The full report is expected soon and Hackett said that it would be released to the public when it becomes available.