UPDATE: CO gov says time to talk gun control

DENVER — Five months after a movie theater massacre in suburban Denver shocked the nation, Colorado’s Gov. John Hickenlooper now says “the time is right” for state lawmakers to consider gun control measures.

The Democratic governor has until now resisted calls to review state gun laws after the shootings in Aurora. Hickenlooper upset some in his party when he said last summer that stricter laws would not have prevented the massacre.

In an interview with The Associated Press Wednesday, Hickenlooper said enough time has passed since the tragedy and that the legislative session in January would be an appropriate time to take up a debate gun control measures.

Here are highlights from Wednesday’s Associated Press interview with Gov. John Hickenlooper.

—On where he stands on repealing the death penalty, if legislation comes up:
“I wrestle with this, right now, on a pretty much daily basis because we are in a position where we have a couple of death row inmates that are going to come up and I haven’t come to a conclusion.”

—On whether his civic engagement initiative, “TBD Colorado,” will result in tax increases:
“I think it’s still premature to say that we’re going to the ballot with a tax increase in 2013, or 2014, or 2015,” he said.

—On Medicaid eligibility under federal health care law, Hickenlooper said he wants lawmakers to look at legislation to control costs to help pay for Medicaid expansion:
“Again, what we’re trying to do is tie it to controlling costs, which we think could happen fairly rapidly. It could easily be in the early stages of the session.”

—On hydraulic fracturing:
“I think we’re going to continue to have issues around oil and gas exploration. We’re trying to deal with that in rulemaking so that there won’t be legislation. I think we’ve made a lot of progress.”

—On fiscal cliff negotiations, Hickenlooper said nearly every area of the state budget would be impacted if no deal is reached, but social services would be hurt most:
“But I think ultimately when you come back, it’s human services, it’s public health, it’s those social services issues. It would be tough.”


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