The Wire: February 9, 2023

News  /  News


Bills would get tough on auto theft, help farm labor

Bills recently introduced in the Colorado General Assembly would get tougher on auto theft and try to help develop the farm workforce.

Sen. Bob Gardner, R-Colorado Springs, was among those backing Senate Bill 23-097, bipartisan legislation aimed at reducing auto theft. Colorado tops the nation in number of vehicles stolen, according to media reports. In a release, Republican lawmakers noted that 41,225 vehicles were stolen in Colorado in 2022, a 10 percent rise over 2021.

Existing laws classify auto theft by the value of the vehicle; the higher the value, the more serious the crime. SB23-097 would make all auto thefts equal under the law.

House Bill 23-1094 would modify the Agricultural Workforce Development Program to provide additional incentives that would lead to lengthening paid internships to one year, from six months, for interns who seek hands-on training and experience in pursuing a career in agriculture.

House Bill 23-1072 would change the legal definition of “civil defense worker” so those assisting in the local response to disaster emergencies can be paid for their work. 

All these bills enjoy bipartisan support. PZ

Teachers’ union’s Grim outlook

Low pay and heavy workloads are the main reasons educators are leaving their jobs, according to the Colorado Education Association’s 2023 State of Education report released last month. Sixty-three percent of educators said “adequate pay and benefits” would make them feel most valued and respected, according to the report, which includes results from surveys of a portion of CEA’s 39,000 members. But Colorado ranked 49th out of 51 U.S. states and territories for teacher pay in 2022, the National Education Association reported. Compared to college-educated people in other fields, Colorado’s teachers make 35.9 percent less, says the report, citing the Economic Policy Institute.

In an effort to combat the educator shortage, lawmakers are working on a bill to make it easier for out-of-state teachers to get licensed in Colorado and another that would expand state financial aid and loan forgiveness eligibility. GAJ

Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Enters Second Century

Organizers of the 101st annual Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb issued a variety of announcements this week as they kicked off a second century of competitions. 

The 2023 Race to the Clouds event will host a field of over 70 drivers — including 19 rookies — competing for six division prizes. Competitors will utilize a variety of vehicles for the 156-turn, 12.42-mile ascent to the summit of Pikes Peak.

Artistically inclined? PPIHC is seeking entries for the 2023 event’s poster, focusing on the theme “Our 2nd Century – The Climb Continues.” Independent of age, expertise or profession, artists are invited to submit their work for consideration by March 31. Winners will be announced on April 14 and cash prizes will be awarded to the overall winner, chosen by committee, and the People’s Choice Award winner, as determined by fans. This year’s Race to the Clouds hill climb takes place on June 25. For tickets or more information, visit NR

Outdoor rec grants offered

The Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office (OREC) will provide grants of up to $100,000 to cover hiring and staff retention for outdoor recreation industry businesses and nonprofits that can demonstrate economic impacts from the COVID pandemic.

The office, which is part of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, created the Outdoor Recreation Industry Impact Fund that will provide $1.8 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to support payroll needs in the industry.

The new grant program responds to the fact that the outdoor recreation industry “is a huge economic driver in Colorado and an important source of jobs for Coloradans,” OREC Director Conor Hall says. Grant applications must be submitted by Feb. 28. Learn more at JD

Matter of Record

Candidates running for city offices in Colorado Springs’ April 4 election have been interviewed by Sixty35 news magazine Executive Editor Bryan Grossman and members of the League of Women Voters of the Pikes Peak Region. Those interviews can be found on podcasts at

About 295,000 Coloradans would have student debt canceled if the Biden administration’s student loan forgiveness program is enacted. About two-thirds of the 471,000 Colorado residents who applied for loan forgiveness have been approved, according to a White House report released Jan. 27. Biden’s plan calls for forgiveness of up to $20,000 per borrower with incomes less than $125,000. A Republican challenge to the plan will come before the U.S. Supreme Court, which is expected to make a decision soon. 

The Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region is seeking its next executive director. Andy Vick, who had served as ED since 2014, resigned in December 2022. Angela Seals, longtime deputy director of the arts organization, has been the interim director since then. More information:

UCCS launched two new partnerships with Pueblo Community College last week — one creating a pre-college support center for Pueblo middle and high schoolers, and another establishing a new degree pathway for engineering students between the two institutions. It’s particularly aimed at helping diverse, first-generation and military connected students from the Pueblo community. More info can be found at

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