Your job ends on Friday and you have to move out of your house; kind of a weird way to end eight years as President. 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…
► Donald Trump can replace the “-elect” from his title on Friday when he is inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States. Meanwhile, officials in Washington D.C., Colorado, and across the country are preparing for a weekend of protests and marches. As the Denver Post reports:
Thousands of Coloradans plan to make the nearly 1,700-mile trek to the nation’s capital for the Women’s March on Washington; more are expected to attend sister marches in Denver and across the state.
Hailing from all walks of life, and marching for a variety of causes, several participants said it was their wish that the demonstrations help weave together the spectrum of activists looking to oppose Trump over the next four years.
“Marches make a difference. Activism makes a difference. If you don’t like what’s happening in Washington, then get involved,” said Polly Baca, a former Colorado state lawmaker who participated in the 1963 March on Washington.
While many Democratic elected officials are skipping Trump’s inauguration, Colorado Democrats such as Rep. Jared Polis (D-Boulder) and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver) are planning on attending Trump’s big day on Friday. Perhaps Polis and Bennet just want to see if the band “3 Doors Down” really is still alive.
► Governor John Hickenlooper wants Colorado lawmakers to consider a couple of proposals designed to raise more money for public education. As Brian Eason reports for the Denver Post:
Gov. John Hickenlooper on Tuesday asked Colorado lawmakers for a 50 percent increase in sales taxes on recreational marijuana starting July 1 to send an additional $42 million to public schools.
The Democrat wants to increase the recreation sales tax on pot to 12 percent effective July 1, the same day the levy is scheduled to fall to 8 percent. The current tax rate is 10 percent.
The move is part of his plan to fill a $135 million shortfall in school funding caused by a constitutional provision that mandates a cut in residential property taxes — a primary source of money for local classrooms.
In addition, Hickenlooper proposed to cut the senior homestead property tax exemption in half, freeing another $68 million for schools. The shift would allow seniors to claim a tax break on the first $100,000 in their home value, rather than the first $200,000 allowed in current law.
Republican legislators are instinctively opposed to doing anything that would increase revenue while they wait for the Free Market Fairy to fix all of our problems.
► Tennessee Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander is all but carrying Betsy DeVos across the finish line as she seeks to secure approval as Donald Trump’s Secretary of Education:
After postponing the secretary of education nominee’s hearing for a week, the chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (known as HELP) rescheduled it for last night at the very unusual time of 5 p.m. (It then started 15 minutes late.)…
…Despite howls of protest from every Democrat on the committee, Alexander allowed each member to ask five minutes of questions. He permitted just one round of questioning, compared to the three rounds that Rex Tillerson and Jeff Sessions faced last week. Most committees also give members 10 minutes per round, not five…
…Furthermore, Alexander scheduled DeVos’s grilling before the U.S. Office of Government Ethics has even completed a review of her potential conflicts of interest. Eight years ago, Republicans insisted that every Barack Obama nominee be cleared by the OGE before a hearing was held.
As the Washington Post reports, DeVos made a number of very strange statements in her first confirmation hearing on Tuesday.
Elsewhere, Senate Republicans may be rubber-stamping Trump’s cabinet picks, but they aren’t in any hurry to complete their work; Trump will begin his first term as President on Friday with less than half of his proposed cabinet approved for work by the Senate.
Get even more smarter after the jump… (more…)