Wake-Up Call: Pray as you go in the Senate today

State Senate President Peter Groff will be heading to Washington, D.C. after this legislative session ends to take a job in the Department of Education pushing faith-based programs. But first, he's keeping the faith that the state's $17.9 billion budget bill will be approved by the Senate today.

The most recent efforts to fill a $500 million shortfall involve a proposed raid on the coffers of Pinnacol, the quasi-public company that provides worker's comp insurance. Pinnacol has been putting up a fight, with a PR campaign that includes a full-page ad in the Denver Post esterday and a rally at the Capitol today. And even if Senate Majority Leader Brandon Shaffer is successful in his efforts to balance the budget with the aid of Pinnacol (whether Pinnacol's board, all appointed by the governor, wants to help out or or not), it's just a one-time fix. But in these dark days, when the federal government is pouring billions into allegedly independent insurance companies, to have a government-subsizided company shoring up the Colorado budget is a refreshing departure.

Besides the upcoming show at the State Capitol today, there are plenty of other opportunities to see government in action:

From 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 14, the city will hold a Denver Strategic Parking Plan information session at the Wellington Webb building. For more info, go to www.Denvergov.org/SPP. From 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 15, the first of two hearings on the future of the 16th Street Mall will be held at the Colorado History Museum, 1300 Broadway. Learn more at www.downtowndenver.com. The stretch of pavement being considered at a town-hall meeting in Glenwood Springs from 3:30 to 5 p.m. April 15 is considerably longer than the 25-year-old mall: "Connecting Transportation to the Clean Energy Economy" will take a long, hard look at I-70. Get details by e-mailing info@i70solutions.org.

Former Colorado Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Love Kourlis will discuss "Judicial Selection: The Search for Stable Ground," at the third annual Colorado Judicial Institute Membership Breakfast from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. Thursday, April 16 at the University Club. For information, e-mail cynthia@coloradojudicialinstitute.org. Also at 7:30 a.m. April 16, the Downtown Denver Partnership hosts a panel on "Your Ticket to the Business of Sports" at the Denver Athletic Club. More info is available at www.downtowndenver.com.

From 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 18, Denver city councilman Rick Garcia will host his spring community forum for District One constituents at North High. The focus will be rezoning -- and you can see the results of previous zoning efforts during Doors Open Denver, with more than eighty open houses across the city April 18-19. For a complete list, go to www.denvergov.org/doorsopendenver.

Finally, at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, April 19, the Columbine Memorial Foundation will host a candlelight vigil in Clement Park. The ten-year anniversary of the shootings at Columbine High School is Monday, April 20.

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