Compiled by Dana Coffield,
Senior Editor, @danacoffield

Some days things are moving so fast, I feel like I’m hanging on for my professional life. But then I look out the window from my desk on the 14th floor of the historic Petroleum Building and see people dangling from the Capitol cupola and think “Oh. Everything is FINE. I didn’t have to rappel to work today.”

Read on for more details about what’s going on at the golden dome — both literally and figuratively.

Let’s scale this building, shall we?



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The Latest from The Sun


Colorado’s presidential electors don’t have to vote for candidate who wins the state, federal appeals court rules

THIS JUST IN: A 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel in Denver has ruled Colorado’s secretary of state was wrong to stop a so-called “faithless elector” from voting for a presidential candidate other than Hillary Clinton when he was casting his Electoral College ballot in 2016. The major, major decision basically means it doesn’t matter who Coloradans vote for in a presidential election because the state’s electors can back whichever candidate they want. 

>> Jesse Paul explains the future implications for the decision and, yes, it could influence the national popular vote movement.


What are those people doing hanging off of the Colorado Capitol’s gold dome?

A painter rappels from the top of the Colorado Capitol building in Denver on Aug. 16, 2019. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

It’s a big warranty project related to renovations that finished up five years ago. Some of the original work might have involved climbers carrying construction tools, but we couldn’t see that because the building was clad in scaffolding and protective wrap for four years.

>> Jesse Paul found out not just any old dirtbag climber is allowed to swing out from the 18th floor.


John Hickenlooper hasn’t announced a U.S. Senate bid yet, but he’s already reshaping the 2020 race

“Hickenlooper is not special. He’s not a savior. We don’t need him.”

— Andrew Baumann, a pollster with Global Strategy Group, on Democrats taking on Sen. Cory Gardner.

Two otherwise top-line Democrats have dropped out of the race to unseat U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner before they even got in, run off by the whiff of a Hickenlooper candidacy. But others are doubling down on their own potential — even if the former governor has been anointed by party bosses.

>> Jesse Paul and John Frank recap some of the primary field’s survival strategies, including a — checks notes — preemptive poll.


Lobbying spending sets new record in Colorado, as interests shift to influence the Democratic-controlled Capitol

“2019 was one of the most challenging legislative sessions; it’s a tough year for business.”

— Don Knox, who manages the Colorado Lobbyists Association and 22 other associations.

Corporate Colorado spent big during the last legislative session, mostly on the overhaul of oil and gas regulation, a proposed paid family leave law, rules designed to fight climate change and govern health care.

>> Sandra Fish tallied it all up and explains who spent how much to get an edge.


How much does an ER visit cost in Colorado? It depends on where you go.

“We should start to see more (emergency department) visits coded at the highest level if the system is working correctly, because only the sickest patients are seeking care in the ED.”

– Steven Summer, Colorado Hospital Association CEO

Not that people are typically calm enough to be shopping around during a health crisis, but a new analysis by the Center for Improving Value in Health Care suggests it might be worth taking a breath before zooming to the nearest emergency room.

>> John Ingold looked at the analysis, based on the state’s all-payer claims database, and learned that big facilities charges can be assessed before even a Band-Aid is dispensed. And there’s method in that madness.


More from The Sun


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Ben Donnelly walks across the highline he helped rig between two landmark crags above Minturn. (Zach Mahone, Special to The Colorado Sun)


// A small fire started in north Durango after the coal-fired Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad train passed by, though quick-acting residents contained it with garden hoses. Though the cause of this fire is officially unknown, residents are wary of the train after the 53,000-acre 416 fire in 2018 that the federal government says was caused by the train. // Durango Herald, The Colorado Sun

// This story is insane. A Longmont bail bondsman allegedly created a fake “Colorado Public Safety Task Force” and used a fake story about a suicidal man to persuade T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint to hand over real-time GPS data for phones belonging to bail jumpers he was trying to catch. It’s the latest look at a very modern problem: What happens when private companies hold huge amounts of sensitive data and can be tricked with a phone call? // The Daily Beast

// Now this is interesting: CHSAA is giving schools a set of tools to deal with bad prep sports fans that will be familiar to fans of fútbol. The red and yellow card system started at a charter school in Fort Collins. // Greeley Tribune

// President Trump’s chief of staff called the relocation of federal offices (like what is happening to the USDA in Kansas City and the Bureau of Land Management in Grand Junction) a “wonderful way” to shed federal employees. And the latest move by the government in the USDA move is to slash potential buyout payments for employees and give scientists and other employees less time to decide whether they are moving across the country or not. // The Colorado Sun, Government Executive

// Here’s your regular reminder that the Auraria campus — home to Metro State, CU Denver and the Community College of Denver —  displaced a thriving Denver Latino neighborhood. One of the ways to make amends with the displaced was a three-generation scholarship for residents, which is reaching its end for some families. // CPR News

// Speaking of displaced people, Deepan Dutta has a look at Dillon, the town that has completely relocated not once, not twice, but three times in its history. // Summit Daily News

// Stapleton will remain Stapleton, after a vote that was open only to property owners overwhelmingly decided to keep the name despite its namesake’s prominent Ku Klux Klan membership. // Westword

// Back-to-school supplies in Colorado this year:

// GEO Group — the for-profit prison contractor recently rejected by the Denver City Council — is being sued for abandoning parolees at a flooded halfway house during Hurricane Harvey in Houston last year. // Houston Chronicle




Today’s Thing


The Thing:  A reusable hazmat suit.

Why You Might Like It: Plague in the neighboring prairie dog town has sucked some fun out of events over at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park this summer, including the July 4 fireworks and now the annual Labor Day weekend Phish concerts. We propose that instead of refunding the fees related to three days of camping and parking on the vast dirt fields around the stadium in Commerce City, managers heed the advice of our resident Phishhead, Jason Blevins, and hand out protective gear instead. Shakedown Alley, indeed.

Got a thing? Send us an email at and you could be published in a future Sunriser! 



As always, thanks for sticking with us — to the bottom of this newsletter and through our first year of publishing. 

We are highly appreciative of the spiritual and financial support you all have provided and hope you’ll join us for our anniversary party on Sept. 5 at Wynkoop Brewing in Denver’s LoDo. 

Click here for the details. We’d love to see you there. 

See you back here on Friday.


Dana CoffieldSenior Editor

Dana Coffield is Senior Editor and co-founder of The Colorado Sun. She is a Colorado native who became a journalist to try and satiate an endless appetite for knowledge. On the quest, she has worked as an editor and reporter at a variety of publications along the Front Range ranging...