Purplish is CPR News' weekly podcast about state politics, state government, Colorado policy, and political identity. This season the show is hosted by public affairs reporters Bente Birkeland and Andrew Kenney. Each week while the legislature is in session, they'll break down the latest developments, look ahead to what's next, and dive into the bigger picture of what it all means for our not-red, not-blue, still pretty purple state.
Friday afternoons

Latest Episodes

  • Colorado’s capitol is current firmly in the hands of the Democrats, so that means smooth sailing for all their policies right? Yeah, not so much.
    State Reps. Jovan Melton (left to right), Perry Buck and Meg Froelich inform Gov. Jared Polis that the House is ready for business on The first day of the 2020 legislative session. The Colorado State Capitol. Jan. 8, 2020.State Reps. Jovan Melton (left to right), Perry Buck and Meg Froelich inform Gov. Jared Polis that the House is ready for business on The first day of the 2020 legislative session. The Colorado State Capitol. Jan. 8, 2020.
  • A lot has happened, dear podcast listener, since Sam, Bente, and Megan chatted in our final episode last year. Sam decided he needs a break from the grind of politics and moved to the eminently more cheery beat of climate change.
    State Capitol PreviewState Capitol Preview
  • Colorado’s 2019 legislative session is over. The last four months of frantic lawmaking were a test for Democrats, who took complete control of the state Capitol last November. This episode, we look back at everything they were able to achieve — and why arguments over process at times got in the way of their biggest goals. And how Republicans, who lacked the votes to block legislation, found other ways to make their voices heard. The result was a session that showed passing bills isn’t as simple as just having a majority.
    <p>As state Rep. Tom Sullivan looks on, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signs into law HB 1177 Friday, April 12, 2019, making Colorado the 15th state in the country to have a so-called "red flag" gun law. Sullivan was elected in November and was one of the bill’s sponsors. He got involved in politics after his son Alex was killed in the Aurora Theater shooting.</p>
<p>As state Rep. Tom Sullivan looks on, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signs into law HB 1177 Friday, April 12, 2019, making Colorado the 15th state in the country to have a so-called "red flag" gun law. Sullivan was elected in November and was one of the bill’s sponsors. He got involved in politics after his son Alex was killed in the Aurora Theater shooting.</p>
  • Ken Crumb’s story likely sounds familiar. A Front Range resident sees oil and gas drilling in his community. He doesn’t like it and organizes his neighbors to pass a local drilling ban. The thing is, in Ken’s case, this all happened more than 30 years ago. And that community he rallied was Greeley -- not exactly a hotbed of anti-fracking sentiment today. This episode, we look back at perhaps Colorado’s first fractivist. What Ken did ended up limiting local control of oil and gas development. Now, Democratic lawmakers have passed a bill to tilt the scales back in the other direction.
    <p>A lone pump jack in a field south of Dacono, April 2, 2019.</p>
<p>A lone pump jack in a field south of Dacono, April 2, 2019.</p>
  • Colorado is on the verge of becoming the 12th state to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. The plan could someday commit all of Colorado’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who gets the most votes nationwide -- no matter who wins the state.
    <p>A Colorado elector holds a signed vote certificate during the electoral vote at the Capitol in Denver, Monday, Dec. 19, 2016. Colorado's nine Democratic electors cast their votes for Hillary Clinton, who won the state.</p>
<p>A Colorado elector holds a signed vote certificate during the electoral vote at the Capitol in Denver, Monday, Dec. 19, 2016. Colorado's nine Democratic electors cast their votes for Hillary Clinton, who won the state.</p>
  • The last couple months have shown the depths of congressional dysfunction. Many think the problem isn’t so much the people who serve there. It’s a process that funnels all power to party leaders, stifling debate among the ranks. In 1988, Colorado voters recognized a similar issue in their state legislature. The remedy was something called the GAVEL Amendment -- an acronym for Give A Vote To Every Legislator.
  • After eight years as Colorado’s governor, John Hickenlooper appears to be gearing up for a presidential run. On the campaign trail, he’s almost certain to emphasize gun control laws he signed in 2013. He led a purple state as it beat back the gun lobby to pass two controversial measures. But what did he do -- or not do -- to make that happen? And what does the story of those laws say about how Hickenlooper leads? CPR Public Affairs Reporter Bente Birkeland breaks it down. And keep an eye on this podcast feed! It’s where we’ll tell you more about the return of Purplish for the imminent legislative session.
    <p>In this May 30, 2018 file photo Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper speaks at the state Capitol.</p>
<p>In this May 30, 2018 file photo Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper speaks at the state Capitol.</p>
  • Now that ballots have been cast and counted, CPR is trying to figure out what the future holds for Purplish.
    Colorado’s capitol is current firmly in the hands of the Democrats, so that means smooth sailing for all their policies right? Yeah, not so much.Colorado’s capitol is current firmly in the hands of the Democrats, so that means smooth sailing for all their policies right? Yeah, not so much.

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