Purplish is about Colorado's democracy and the state's political identity. Hosted by Sam Brasch, each episode tells a story about how our state government works and where it might be headed next.

Latest Episodes

  • 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.
  • The midterm election has come and gone. In Colorado, what occurred wasn't a blue wave, it was a blue avalanche. It was a signal so strong that you could wonder if this is even a purple state anymore.
    <p>Governor-elect Jared Polis speaks at the Democratic election night party on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018.</p>
<p>Governor-elect Jared Polis speaks at the Democratic election night party on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018.</p>
  • Colorado boasts some of the highest voter turnout in the country. Seventy percent of eligible adults submitted a ballot in the 2016 election, putting the state fourth in the country for voter turnout. But that still means 30 percent of eligible adults sat it out. Why? Many of the common barriers to voting don’t exist in Colorado. The process is easy. The elections are competitive. So we’re turning to one group that can help with some answers: nonvoters themselves.
    <p>Lynn Torre completes her ballot at a polling center, on state primary election day, in Boulder, Colo., Tuesday, June 28, 2016.</p><p>Lynn Torre completes her ballot at a polling center, on state primary election day, in Boulder, Colo., Tuesday, June 28, 2016.</p>