Happy Bill of Rights Day! Catch up on your Colorado politics news while you wait in line to see the new Star Wars movie. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.
TOP OF MIND TODAY…
► Evergreen Republican lawmaker Tim Leonard is still sitting in jail in Jefferson County…and House Republicans are still sitting on their hands. As the Colorado Springs Gazette reports:
Republican leadership in the state House of Representatives is still withholding comment beyond a statement issued last week about one of its members jailed Friday for contempt of court in a divorce dispute…
…Reached for a response Tuesday to Hullinghorst’s remarks, House GOP Communications Director Joel Malecka said the House Republican leadership regards the incident as a personal matter and that no further statements would be forthcoming. [Pols emphasis]
Leonard was just elected to his first full term in the legislature after being appointed by a Republican vacancy committee last January; now he is the first sitting legislator to serve time in jail in at least 40 years. This is indeed a personal matter…for the more than 50,000 voters in HD-25 who cast a ballot in November.
► Repealing Obamacare could lead to a national disaster. As CNN reports:
Sylvia Mathews Burwell, President Barack Obama’s secretary of Health and Human Services, told CNN Wednesday that dismantling the Affordable Care Act will hit millions of Americans’ healthcare coverage, result in a spike in premiums and unleash widespread uncertainty across the insurance market…
…”If there is repeal, there would be chaos,” Burwell said in an interview at a diner in Newark, New Jersey. “If your child is on your policy ’til 26, and it’s repealed, that goes away. If you have a pre-existing condition — asthma, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, any of those things — you could be kept off of insurance if you had to make a move or a transition or were unemployed for a portion of time.”
She added: “The 20 million folks who have gotten insurance — that would go away too.”
That 20 million figure is the estimated net increase of individuals insured through Obamacare. Many policy experts agree with Burwell that the law, now almost seven years old, is so massive and complicated that rolling it back would inevitably be a messy and disruptive process. [Pols emphasis]
Never fear! Congressional Republicans are totally maybe possibly going to come up with an idea to replace Obamacare at some point after they gut the healthcare law. But in the meantime, yay chaos!
► The U.S. Federal Reserve is trying to protect against Donald Trump making inflation great again. From Politico:
The U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday raised interest rates for only the second time in a decade with the prospect of as many as three more increases to come in 2017.
Central bank chair Janet Yellen suggested that she and her colleagues would keep their eyes on Trump’s plans for steep tax cuts and infrastructure spending, with the Fed poised to hike faster if the president-elect and the Republican Congress start pumping massive amounts of cash into the economy…
…The emerging Trump-versus-Yellen battle is in large part based on completely opposite views of the current U.S. economy.
The Fed sees unemployment at just 4.6 percent, a third-quarter growth rate of 3 percent and rising wages as signals that the economy is close to overheating. The central bank wants to bump rates back up to more normal levels over the coming years to prevent crippling inflation. [Pols emphasis]
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► The “House Freedom Caucus” is a collaboration of far right-wing-minded Members of Congress that includes Colorado Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) among its ranks. The group apparently met with President-elect Donald Trump to suggest a list of 232 regulations that a new administration could repeal immediately. As the Washington Post explains, the bulk of the list is about trying to erase pretty much everything that President Obama accomplished in the last eight years:
The list, shared by Rep. Mark Meadows’s office, includes President George W. Bush’s order restricting access to executive branch papers and Federal Aviation Administration regulations that limit overland supersonic flights. The rationale for repealing that last regulation, in its entirety: “Make Sonic Boom Again.”…
…Trump has not commented on the regulations presented to him, but some — such as getting rid of climate change as a factor in international dealmaking — were part of his campaign.
“Make Sonic Boom Again.” Taxpayers are spending real money on salaries for people to come up with this crap. Some day you’ll tell your grandkids about a time in American history when Republicans didn’t just make giant lists of things to oppose.
► As the Associated Press reports,
public lands opponents conservatives are hoping to have found a kindred spirit in Donald Trump:
The president-elect has pledged to honor Theodore Roosevelt’s tradition of conservation in the West, with its expansive deserts, snow-capped mountain ranges and red rock canyons. But he has also said he will “unleash” energy production there and has railed against “faceless, nameless bureaucrats” in land-management agencies…
…How far the Trump administration will go is unclear. But those who have long dreamed of overthrowing a system they consider tantamount to colonialism say the time is now.
► The Colorado Republican Party is really hoping you’ll just go ahead and forget about that whole #NeverTrump thing.
► Colorado Democrats and local activists are pushing President Obama to help protect innocent civilians in a rapidly-devolving crisis in Aleppo, Syria.
► We’re still waiting to see if President-elect Donald Trump has an Interior Secretary choice who will also accept the job. Two of the most recent Interior Secretaries have been from Colorado — former state Attorneys General Ken Salazar and Gale Norton, respectively — but it does not appear that our state will again be represented in the top job at Interior (sorry, Bob Beauprez).
► Marianne Goodland of the Colorado Independent takes account of some of the biggest spenders in the 2016 election cycle in Colorado. Big Tobacco and Big Oil spent big coin in Colorado on a handful of ballot measures.
► President-elect Donald Trump selected a Romney for a top political job after all. From the Washington Post:
Donald Trump’s announcement last night that he’s chosen Ronna Romney McDaniel to become the next chair of the Republican National Committee is a big victory for Reince Priebus.
The elevation of the Michigan GOP state chair will allow the incoming White House chief of staff to maintain tacit control of the committee which he has led for six years.
You can officially add “RNC Chair” to the list of jobs that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has been denied despite being one of Trump’s earliest high-profile endorsers.
► The Colorado State Board of Education has appointed Katy Anthes as Colorado’s education commissioner. Anthes had been serving in an “interim” role since May after then-commissioner Rich Crandall resigned after just four months on the job.
► There are less than 10 shopping days until Christmas, which is considerably longer than you have to purchase health insurance for 2017. The first deadline of the open enrollment period for health insurance is at midnight tonight.
► North Carolina legislators are mad that Republican Gov. Pat McCrory lost his re-election bid to Democrat Roy Cooper, so they’re trying to kneecap the incoming administration before it can even begin. From Politico:
North Carolina Gov.-elect Roy Cooper, a Democrat, on Thursday threatened to sue North Carolina’s GOP-dominated state Legislature over the Republicans’ push to sharply limit gubernatorial powers before Cooper takes office.
“If I believe these measures are unconstitutional, they will see me in court and they don’t have a good track record there,” Cooper, currently the state attorney general, said at a news conference. Cooper said the Legislature was pushing to pass major changes to the state’s laws “in the dark of night with little debate.” The new bills are being considered as part of a special session originally convened to consider disaster relief…
…The legislation proposed by Republicans would reduce the number of state government employees Cooper can hire and fire at will from 1,500 to 300, strip the governor of the power to appoint trustees to the University of North Carolina and give it to the General Assembly, and require Senate confirmation for Cabinet appointments. Another proposal would shift control of one state office from the governor to the lieutenant governor — who will still be a Republican next year.
Cooper won November’s election by just over 10,000 votes. Outgoing GOP Gov. Pat McCrory and other Republicans tried to fight the outcome in court, raising claims of widespread voter fraud that local election boards rejected. McCrory conceded earlier this month after a protracted fight over the results.
Another classy move from a Republican legislature that created North Carolina’s disastrous “bathroom bill.”
► Donald Trump’s Twitter Account, which may or may not be making autonomous decisions about the free world, is again ranting and raving about the horrible, no-good people who dare to practice journalism in this country:
Has anyone looked at the really poor numbers of @VanityFair Magazine. Way down, big trouble, dead! Graydon Carter, no talent, will be out!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 15, 2016
Ladies and gentlemen, your next President of the United States!
► The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission has approved a controversial plan to euthanize mountain lions and bears for the sin of killing mule deer for food. Stupid animals should learn to become vegetarians!
OTHER LINKS YOU SHOULD CLICK
► Even Colorado Springs wants to “de-Bruce” and find a way around TABOR.
► Oh, good: Donald Trump’s choice for Treasury Secretary is intimately familiar with the practice of “widow foreclosure.”
► Enjoy the weather today and tomorrow before the temperature plummets to single digits on Saturday.