Judge Denies Suthers’ Attempt To Stop Boulder Marriages

UPDATE #6: Pueblo Clerk Gilbert "Bo" Ortiz confirms, his office will begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples tomorrow morning.

Pueblo County acknowledges marriage equality and will begin issuing licenses at 8 am tomorrow.


UPDATE #5: GOP Attorney General John Suthers announces his intention to keep fighting, with an appeal of today's ruling denying an injunction against Boulder County to the Colorado Supreme Court:

“It is the view of the Attorney General’s Office that the uncertainty that has been created by these recent Colorado court rulings as to the propriety of county clerks issuing same-sex marriage licenses prior to final resolution of the issue, cries out for resolution by the state’s highest court. It is paramount that we have statewide uniformity on this issue and avoid the confusion caused by differing county-by-county interpretations of whether same-sex marriage is currently recognized. Therefore, we will act swiftly in an attempt to prevent a legal patchwork quilt from forming.”


UPDATE #4: Correcting our previous report, Pueblo County Clerk Gilbert "Bo" Ortiz has not yet made a decision on issuing same-sex marriage licenses. His office is reviewing today's ruling now. We'll update soon.


UPDATE #3: Rep. Diana DeGette of Denver celebrates as her city begins issuing same-sex marriage licenses:

“Debra Johnson has acted quickly and decisively after today’s court ruling, and I fully support her efforts to offer marriage licenses to every Denver couple who wants to make that commitment. Marriage is challenging yet rewarding, and everyone deserves to have their relationship recognized under the law.

“Personally, I’ve dusted off my Universal Life Minister’s card and look forward to helping couples start their married lives together.”


UPDATE #2: Outgoing House Speaker Mark Ferrandino:

“Today’s ruling is another step towards legal same-sex marriage in Colorado,” Speaker Ferrandino said. “It is time for Attorney General Suthers to stop blocking loving LGBTQ couples from being protected equally under the law.” 

Judge Hartman’s ruling follows yesterday’s decision by Adams County District Court Judge C. Scott Crabtree ruling Colorado’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. 

“This ruling comes just one day after Colorado’s same-sex marriage ban was ruled unconstitutional,” Speaker Ferrandino said. “Together these two decisions prove that same-sex marriage is inevitable and continuing to argue against it in court is a waste of taxpayer dollars.”


UPDATE: In response to today's court ruling, Denver Clerk Deb Johnson has announced her office will begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses at noon today. Pueblo Clerk Gilbert "Bo" Ortiz announces his office will begin issuing same-sex licenses tomorrow morning is reviewing today's ruling as well to determine how to proceed (see update above).

With that, the proverbial wall is really coming down.


Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall.

Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall.

As the Denver Post's Jordan Steffen reports, a huge, if still qualified win today for Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall in her fight against Colorado Attorney General John Suthers to continue issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples:

A judge on Thursday said he would allow Boulder's clerk to continue issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, rejecting a request from Attorney General John Suthers to issue an injunction.

Boulder County Clerk and Recorder Hillary Hall's office has issued more than 100 licenses to gay couples since the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a Utah ban on same-sex marriages.

Boulder District Court Judge Andrew Hartman said in an order issued Thursday that the AG's office did not meet its burden in proving that Hall's decision to issue the licenses creates any kind of harm for the couples or the state.

A key portion of Judge Andrew Hartman's ruling notes that the ultimate validity of same-sex marriages performed by Clerk Hall's office rest on undecided legal questions about her actions. This decision denies the Attorney General's request for a preliminary injunction, ruling that the state did not make the case that Hall's issuing of same-sex marriage licenses amounted to "irreparable harm."

The State is asking this Court for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against the actions of an elected government official. As such, the State must meet a high burden at this early stage in the litigation. For the reasons set forth below, the State has not met its burden and the Court DENIES the motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. 

As a temporary measure to protect all those affected by this case, the Court adopts the Boulder County Clerk and Recorder’s recommendation and ORDERS that the Boulder County Clerk and Recorder identify all same-sex marriages and convey the information as part of its routine monthly reporting of nuptials to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Welfare, Center for Health and Environmental Information and Services, as well as to the Boulder County Vital Records Office in order to reduce any risk of irreparable harm. The Boulder County Clerk and Recorder shall forward the information prospectively and has up to and including July 17, 2014 to supply information on past same-sex marriages. These offices shall keep the information confidential.

In addition, as a temporary measure to protect same-sex couples, the Court further adopts the Boulder County Clerk and Recorder’s recommendation and ORDERS that Clerk Hall provide reasonable notice to prospective and past recipients of same-sex marriage licenses that the validity of their marriages is dependent upon whether a court would find that Clerk Hall had authority to issue same-sex marriage licenses.

Despite that qualifier, no question that this is a major validation for Clerk Hall against Suthers–who appears increasingly isolated in his crusade against the inevitable. Democratic AG candidate Don Quick, who has championed overturning Colorado's Amendment 43 in his campaign, looks highly prescient, while opponent and current chief deputy AG Cynthia Coffman inherits Suthers' baggage on the issue. With same-sex marriage bans falling across the nation, Colorado was falling behind the curve largely thanks to our obstinate right-wing Attorney General–until Hillary Hall decided to make her stand.

Whatever happens next, today Clerk Hall is a true hero to this cause.

Same-Sex Marriage Ban Appears Headed For Dustbin of History

John Suthers, Don Quick.

John Suthers, Don Quick.

​​As the Denver Post's Jordan Steffen reported from Adams County Court in Brighton yesterday:

The Colorado attorney general's office defended the state's ban on gay marriage on Monday, arguing that 15 state and federal judges who have struck down similar measures in other states were wrong.

But the judge hearing the case mocked the state's argument that Colorado's ban on same-sex marriage protects the "nature of marriage" and the ability to produce children…

"They all got it wrong?" Crabtree asked. "What am I supposed to do then when presented with this? Just punt?"

With same-sex marriage bans being ruled unconstitutional across the nation in rapid succession, Republican Colorado Attorney General John Suthers' stubborn insistence on defending Amendment 43, the same-sex marriage ban in the Colorado constitution, is becoming much harder to defend politically. The wisdom of Democratic AG candidate Don Quick in calling out Suthers early and loudly for continuing to defend Amendment 43 is becoming more apparent:

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers has faced criticism for his decision to defend the ban. Attorneys general have declined to defend against similar lawsuits in several other states.

That criticism of Suthers naturally extends to his chief deputy AG Cynthia Coffman, who is the Republican nominee to succeed him. Every day the AG's office continues what is in all probability a futile effort to defend Colorado's same-sex marriage ban, they surrender moral and political high ground to Cynthia Coffman's Democratic opponent. The only real division on the issue of marriage equality today is within the Republican Party.

Bottom line: the days of remaining on the wrong side of this issue as a viable candidate for office–especially statewide office in Colorado–are numbered.

Audio: Did Suthers Just Dis Walker Stapleton?

An unintentionally hilarious quote from outgoing Attorney General John Suthers, interviewed this week on Colorado Public Radio:

JOHN SUTHERS: You know, if you can't handle the heat, and your sole objective in life is to cater to your political base, run for Treasurer, [Pols emphasis] run for something else but don't run for Attorney General.

Hey, wait a minute! We know somebody who resembles that remark.


Present treasurers excluded, right? Or not? Suthers is pretty careful about his choice of words, folks…

Suthers: Bob Beauprez For Governor

FOX 31's Eli Stokols, noted for the record:

Looking to build momentum one week after announcing his campaign, GOP gubernatorial hopeful Bob Beauprez announced Monday that he’s won the endorsement of the most senior Republican officeholder in the state, Attorney General John Suthers.

“There is no question in my mind, as I look at the Republican field for Governor at this point in time, he is far and away the best candidate,” Suthers said in a web video released by the Beauprez campaign Monday morning…

Suthers, who is term-limited as Attorney General, also hinted at Beauprez’s ability to raise the money needed to run a competitive campaign.

The word we hear is John Suthers' endorsement of late GOP gubernatorial primary entrant Bob Beauprez has as much to do with Suthers' negative opinion of Secretary of State Scott Gessler as any honest estimate of Beauprez's viability. It's worth remembering, as Gessler is fond of pointing out these days, that Suthers won his statewide election in 2006, the same year Bob Beauprez was handed an historic 17-point defeat by Democrat Bill Ritter–undercutting the claim by Beauprez since then that 2006 just wasn't "a good Republican year." If Suthers' experience is any guide, 2006 was mostly a bad year for Republicans named Bob Beauprez.

With that said, after bearing witness to Scott Gessler's antics for the last three years as Suthers has, we would find it very difficult to endorse him for higher office either. So maybe there's that.

AG Candidate Quick Calls Out Suthers on Marriage Equality

John Suthers, Don Quick.

John Suthers, Don Quick.

AP's Ivan Moreno reports via the Fort Collins Coloradoan:

The Democratic candidate for Colorado attorney general says the state’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage violates the constitutional rights of gay couples and that the law shouldn’t be defended.

Don Quick made the comments Tuesday morning, putting the issue into the spotlight in the state’s attorney general race months before voters head to the polls. Quick, the former Adams County district attorney and former deputy state attorney general, emphasized that those positions have a responsibility to defend state laws regardless of whether the officeholder agrees with them.

“But in extraordinary circumstances, extraordinary circumstances, when a Colorado law intentionally violates fundamental rights of its citizens, it’s the attorney general’s job to step up and stop that law,” Quick said.

As the Denver Post's Tom McGhee reports, outgoing GOP Attorney General John Suthers has a newly defensive response to the question of defending Colorado's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, in contrast to much less equivocal justifications in the past:

Suthers' spokeswoman Carolyn Tyler said that her boss has little choice but to defend Colorado's Amendment 43, which defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman. It was approved by voters in 2006.

"The attorney general has an obligation to defend state laws until they are determined to be unconstitutional by the highest court, regardless of whether or not that puts the attorney general on the wrong side of history," Tyler said. [Pols emphasis]

Even an indirect acknowledgement that continue to defend the state's same-sex marriage ban places Suthers "on the wrong side of history" could be seen as a win for equality supporters. In a Washington Post guest opinion earlier this month, Suthers further explains his reasons for continuing to defend Colorado's ban on same-sex marriage–again, with no mention of his longstanding personal opposition to gay marriage:


Journalists Should Have Corrected Caldara’s Declaration that AG Letter Proves him Innocent

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Jon Caldara.

Jon Caldara.

Much of the media coverage of the Colorado Attorney General's decision not to prosecute Jon Caldara, President of the libertarian/conservative Independence Institute, for voter fraud featured a quote from Caldara that the Attorney General's non-action proved his innocence.

For example, there's this memorable Caldara quote from The Denver Post's Lynn Bartels' story: "I told you what I did was legal," Caldara said Thursday, adding "neener-neener-neener."

Bartels and others reported that the AG's letter did not "condone" Caldara's stunt, but no journalist corrected Caldara's mistaken belief that AG letter is proof of his innocence.

While the letter did say there is "arguable ambiguity within some of the new legislation," and Caldara should not be brought to trial, it certainly did not say Caldara's actions were legal, and reporters should have said so categorically.

I asked Luis Toro, Director of Colorado Ethics Watch, for his comments on whether the Colorado Attorney General's letter was proof of Caldara's innocence.

Toro: The AG’s office did not declare Caldara innocent. The prosecutor correctly noted the ethical obligations of a prosecutor when making a charging decision. These include an obligation not to file charges without sufficient evidence to support a conviction. Evidence that could raise reasonable doubt included signing a lease at an address in the district, changing his driver’s license to the Colorado Springs address, and actually staying at the address where he claimed to reside when he voted through Election Day. Caldara’s lawyering up and extensive preparation to raise reasonable doubt only proves that gaming the system is not as easy as he pretends. His attempt to prove that anyone in Colorado can show up anywhere on Election Day, claim to reside in a district, and legally vote ended up proving the opposite…"

The real reason not to charge is, in the prosecutor’s words, Caldara’s “choreographed actions that were designed by him to create a record that he used to support his stated intention that at least on September 7, 2013 through September 10, 2013 he was an El Paso County resident and thus was permitted to be a registered elector.” Caldara only proved that without elaborate “choreographed actions” and top-notch legal representation, someone who shows up on Election Day and falsely claims residence in a given district will be charged and convicted.


Jon Caldara Skates on Fraud Charge: “Neener-Neener-Neener”

UPDATE: Colorado Ethics Watch director Luis Toro releases a statement:

"Considering the incredible amount of resources spent in a futile attempt to prove that voter fraud exists in Colorado and is perpetrated by non-citizens, it is a shame that the Attorney General's office has elected not to prosecute Jon Caldara for his highly-public vote in the El Paso County special election while maintaining a Boulder home to which he quickly returned after the election. Nothing increases cynicism in government more than the specter of a highly-lawyered, wealthy individual getting away with something that would be treated as a crime if committed by almost anyone else.

"Those who care about election integrity can take some comfort, though. Caldara's elaborate ruse, including signing a temporary lease in an effort to create the appearance of being a Colorado Springs resident, actually showed how difficult it is to vote in a different district by claiming a new residence without running afoul of Colorado's criminal law against false statements of residency while voting. While Caldara may walk, we fully expect the Attorney General to prosecute vigorously those who foolishly followed his example without all the careful staging that enabled Caldara's lawyers to suggest the existence of reasonable doubt. In the end, Caldara proved only that there is nothing wrong with Colorado's election laws that can't be solved by a dedicated prosecutor enforcing the law as written."


Jon Caldara.

Jon Caldara.

As the Denver Post's Lynn Bartels reports, Jon Caldara of the conservative Independence Institute will face no criminal charges, closing a three-month investigation by the Attorney General's office into his registering to vote in the El Paso County Senate District 11 recall election despite longtime residence in Boulder:

First Attorney General Robert Shapiro concluded in a letter to Caldara that there is "arguable ambiguity within some of the new legislation," which makes same-day voter registration legal in Colorado.

But the letter also made clear that Attorney General John Suthers office doesn't condone Caldara's behavior, the "legitimacy" of his living arrangement in Colorado Springs was "suspicious" and it was questionable that he ever intended to become an El Paso County resident.

"I told you what I did was legal," Caldara said Thursday, adding "neener-neener-neener."

He said the legislature, which convenes Wednesday, must address the problem of same-day voter registration. Otherwise he predicted "a Great Voter Migration of 2014." Republicans and Democrats could "move" from safe districts into swing seats where their votes could make a difference, Caldara said.

Asked about the attorney general office's comments questioning his sincerity in moving, Caldara said, "The law is not about how they feel. The law is about my intention that they have to prove or disprove. I followed the law."

Watchdog group Colorado Ethics Watch was quick to respond via Twitter:

We haven't seen any other statements yet on the Attorney General's decision (see CEW's updated statement above), but we've already heard complaints that Republican Suthers' office is showing blatant partisan favoritism to well-known conservative troublemaker Caldara with this decision. It's tough to speculate without seeing the full letter from the AG's office, but these remarks about "suspicion" over Caldara's "intent" to relocate to Colorado Springs strike us as willfully ignorant of Caldara's stated intentions. Caldara's original press release announcing his plan to register to vote in SD-11 made it obvious he never had any intention of relocating to Colorado Springs, and was always intending to cheat the system. After the recall election, Caldara made a callous joke out of massive floods then impacting the state by using them as his excuse to "make Boulder his permanent home" after all.

As for those of you who thought Caldara, via this stunt to "legally" commit vote fraud or his excuses afterward, had finally gone too far this time? Today you have your answer.


Suthers Wants To Shut Down The Sheriffs


As the Grand Junction Sentinel's Charles Ashby reports:

The 55 Colorado sheriffs who filed a lawsuit against the state over two new gun-control laws don’t have standing to sue, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said…

“I know the sheriffs are asserting that they have the ability to assert the citizens’ Second Amendment rights, but they haven’t historically asserted other constitutional rights,” Suthers told The Daily Sentinel. “The sheriffs don’t file suits to protect your Fourth Amendment rights, your Fifth, Sixth and Eighth Amendment rights.” [Pols emphasis]

Still, removing the sheriffs won’t stop the suit from going forward, Suthers said.

“There’s plenty of other (plaintiffs), such as the gun shops, that clearly have standing,” he said.

The lawsuit against the two central pieces of gun safety legislation passed this year, House Bills 1224 and 1229 limiting magazine capacity and requiring background checks for most transfers of firearms, has been publicly fronted by Colorado county sheriffs ever since it was filed. Prior to that, the same county sheriffs very publicly opposed the bills during their debate in the legislature. The Independence Institute, whose research director Dave Kopel is the lead attorney in the lawsuit, has employed the sheriffs and the lawsuit as a fundraising vehicle, presumably with great success. At least one county sheriff, John Cooke of Weld County, has already used this campaign as a springboard to a run for a state senate seat.

An "agreement" a few weeks ago on the enforcement of House Bill 1224's magazine limits, essentially the same terms originally defined by Attorney General John Suthers after the legislation passed, has more or less reduced the scope of the suit to simple Second Amendment constitutionality. Colorado is not the first state to have passed either a magazine capacity limit or universal background checks, and legal experts we've talked to say the chances of this case even being heard by a high court are not all that great. That means the political (see: recalls) and PR value of the suit (see: magazine cover above) is, and always was, its principal reason for existence.

We can't imagine the sheriffs will be pleased if fellow Republican Suthers cuts them out of the action.

Cynthia Coffman Enters AG Race, but Where’s Waller?

Cynthia Coffman

PHOTO CREDIT: Colorado Statesman

Republican Cynthia Coffman has formally entered the race for Attorney General, joining Democrat Don Quick as only the second official candidate for 2014. From The Denver Post:

In her announcement, Coffman said she would campaign on protecting water rights; fighting the “federal government oversteps” on states rights protected by the 10th Amendment; and maintainin “the integrity of our criminal justice system” that she says “has been diminished by a flawed corrections system and unenforced death penalty.”

Cynthia Coffman has spent the last eight years working under current Attorney General John Suthers, who is term-limited in 2014. If she is on the ballot for the General Election, she will join husband Mike Coffman, the incumbent congressman from CD-6, in a rare husband-wife ballot combination.

Mark Waller, Attorney General Candidate

Hey, remember that time some people said I might run for Attorney General? Heh. That was cool.

Coffman's formal entry into the AG race is not unexpected, but it raises interesting questions about who (if anyone) might join her among fellow Republicans. By announcing her candidacy now, Coffman will have to file a brief fundraising report for the final weeks of June; this is one of the main reasons candidates rarely announce their intentions before the end of a fundraising period, because it's better to report on a full three months of raising money.

Perhaps Coffman announced early in order to get ahead of other potential candidates. Will 2010 Senate candidate and current Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck still entertain thoughts of entering the race? And what of House Minority Leader Mark Waller?

Back in April, Waller was being discussed as the potential Republican frontrunner for Attorney General. Perhaps the Democrats' unprecedented success in the 2013 legislative session put a serious dent in Waller's plans, but whatever the reason, he has gone from being near the top of the list to essentially an afterthought at this point.


BREAKING: Major, Misreported Developments In Gun Lawsuit

Colorado journalists

Colorado journalists “report” on House Bill 1224 (acorn courtesy Jon Caldara).

Yesterday, apparently under the radar of most local media, Gov. John Hickenlooper filed a motion in federal District Court requesting an injunction legally binding the enforcement of House Bill 1224, the bill restricting ammunition capacity to 15 rounds, to the technical guidance on the new law issued by the Attorney General a few weeks ago. Here's the key portion of the proposed injunction from Hickenlooper's attorneys:

The Technical Guidance is an “official written interpretation” of HB13-1224. It has been adopted by the Governor and the Colorado Department of Public Safety. Official written interpretations of criminal laws are binding and create an affirmative defense for individuals charged under those laws. See Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-1-504(2)(c) (providing an affirmative defense to criminal prosecutions contrary to “official written interpretation of the statute or law relating to the offense, made or issued by a public servant, agency, or body legally charged or empowered with the responsibility of administering, enforcing, or interpreting” it).

Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 65(d), the Court hereby issues a preliminary injunction binding the Governor, and any of his officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys,to the conclusions of the Technical Guidance as the official interpretation of the chief executive and chief legal officers of the State of Colorado. [Pols emphasis]

Here's the full text of Hickenlooper's proposed injunction, along with his motion for the injunction.

What this means pending the court's approval, as supporters on House Bill 1224 have long insisted would be the case, is that the new law will be interpreted under this order in the reasonable manner specified by Republican Attorney General John Suthers in his guidance when it takes effect at the beginning of next month. It means that the law will not "outlaw all magazines" as gun lobbyists and opponents like Dave Kopel and his boss Jon Caldara claimed and virally spread. Kopel actually admitted this development was a possibility at the bottom of a story by 9NEWS a few weeks ago:

David Kopel, the lawyer suing the state over HB-1224, says the technical guidance does not change the suit because the guidance can always be changed and constitutional concerns remain over having vague language on the books.

He did concede that the court may decide to adopt the guidance or set down other clarifications of the law in its ruling. [Pols emphasis]

That's exactly what's happening, folks. Yesterday's proposed order also requests a ruling from the Colorado Supreme Court on the major components of the magazine limit law. What we will then have, assuming their answers are consistent with this guidance, is ironclad assurance that the extreme interpretations of House Bill 1224 promoted by opponents will never be what is enforced as law. All of which would severely discredit the manufactured outrage over the passage of this bill, which was principally based on such misinformation.

And that's good, because those interpretations were always ridiculous, and only had credibility so far as a lazy, and in some cases willingly complicit media gave it to them.


BREAKING: Sky Will NOT Fall When Magazine Bill Takes Effect

Late this afternoon, the office of Colorado Attorney General John Suthers released a long-awaited technical guidance letter prepared for the Department of Public Safety on the implementation of House Bill 1224, the magazine limit bill. This technical guidance was requested by Gov. John Hickenlooper at the signing of HB-1224 into law, following the many objections raised by opponents of the legislation that the bill would "ban all magazines," or at least all magazines "with a removable baseplate" or other design feature that could hypothetically allow them to be expanded beyond the legal maximum of 15 rounds.

As we have reassured our readers over and over, but unfortunately local media has failed to clarify for an anxious and misinformed public–even helping spread baseless speculation–that is not going to happen.

Definition of "Large Capacity Magazine"

Under House Bill 1224, the term "large capacity magazine" is defined, in part, as follows: "a fixed or detachable magazine, box, drum, feed strip, or similar device capable of accepting, or that is designed to be readily converted to accept, more than fifteen rounds of ammunition."

The phrase "designed to be readily converted to accept more than fifteen rounds of ammunition" has prompted questions regarding the scope of the definition, particularly because some ammunition magazines include features, such as removable baseplates, that can be removed and replaced, or otherwise altered, so that the magazine accepts more than fifteen rounds.

The term "designed," when used as a modifier, denotes a feature that meets a specific function. This suggests that design features that fulfill more than one function, and whose function is not specifically to increase the capacity of a magazine, do not fall under the definition. The features of a magazine must be judged objectively to determine whether they were "designed to be readily converted to accept more than fifteen rounds."

Under this reading of the definition, a magazine that accepts fifteen or fewer rounds is not a "large capacity magazine" simply because it includes a removable baseplate which may be replaced with one that allows the magazine to accept additional rounds. [Pols emphasis] On many magazines, that design feature is included specifically to permit cleaning and maintenance. Of course, a magazine whose baseplate is replaced with one that does, in fact, allow the magazine to accept more than fifteen rounds would be a "large capacity magazine" under House Bill 1224.

Here's the full text of the memo, which also explains the meaning of the "continuous possession" language in the bill–and again, the plain interpretation of the bill does not lead to the wild unforeseen consequences Republican opponents insisted would be the result. With both of these provisions but particularly the language on whether magazines were "designed to be readily converted," it is obvious now that opponents like Jon Caldara of the Independence Institute were not telling the truth when they claimed that House Bill 1224 would mean "almost all guns in Colorado will never be able to get a magazine again." It means that every reporter who uncritically reprinted this lie now needs to write another story explaining how that wasn't true.

And folks, we're not going to forget this. The amount of misinformation spread about this legislation by opponents, and too often subsidized by reporters dismayingly willing to trade long-term credibility for short-term scoops, was totally unacceptable and needs to be called out. A lowly political blog should not be the only media source telling the public the truth about this bill, but that really does seem to be what happened in this case.

The people of Colorado deserved better. And we hope they finally get it now.

Waller AG Talk Growing Louder

The man who relieved us all of Rep. Doug Bruce.

The man who relieved us of Rep. Doug Bruce.

A notable footnote in FOX 31's Eli Stokols' story about attempts by GOP House Minority Leader Mark Waller to bring a few House Republicans in support of this year's budget bill–which no Republican Senator backed.

After all 15 Senate Republicans voted against the budget last week, prompting strong criticism from Sen. Pat Steadman, D-Denver, who sits on the Joint Budget Committee and, a few days later, from the Denver Post editorial board, which echoed Steadman’s complaint that Republicans, after voting mostly in favor of budgets that had to be balanced the last few years with transfers and other gimmicks, refused to support a more measured, but expensive budget this year.

Unlike Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman, R-Colorado Springs, who complained that the budget increases spending across the board, House Minority Leader Mark Waller, R-Colorado Springs, appears to be more concerned with the optics of his entire 28-member caucus voting against the bill, especially after seeing the criticism leveled at Cadman’s caucus…

Waller, who is almost certain to run for Attorney General last year, [Pols emphasis] would like to be able to demonstrate that he leads a group of lawmakers who are pragmatic and responsible; and helping forge a bipartisan budget compromise would help him make that case.

Rep. Waller's name has been floated as a potential candidate for Attorney General in 2014 a few times, but particularly with the sidelining of Weld County DA Ken Buck as he battles cancer, Waller could very easily become the GOP's presumptive nominee in this race if he gets in. Working hard to build his reputation as a better partner and good-faith negotiator than his predecessor Frank McNulty, an upcoming bid for AG would provide some perspective for this and a few other statesmanlike actions from Waller this year.

Incumbent AG John Suthers was appointed to the job before being elected in 2006. The solid wins he enjoyed were partly due to that, and a good campaign organization to push him through to relatively easy re-election in 2010. Waller will have neither advantage, of course, and next year's open race for attorney general could be the one Democrats have been waiting for to take this office back.

John Suthers, Meet The Wrong Side of History

The Denver Post's Allison Sherry reported moments ago:

Colorado’s Republican Attorney General John Suthers signed onto a brief that urges the Supreme Court to uphold California’s Proposition 8, which bans gay marriage.

Reports Sherry, Attorney General John Suthers claims to be taking this action in defense of Colorado's Amendment 43, passed in 2006 amending our state's constitution to define marriage as "between one man and one woman." Since the passage of Amendment 43 nearly seven years ago, public opinion in this state (and the party affiliation of the state's chief executive) have shifted solidly in support of equality for gays and lesbians. Just last week, Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the Colorado Civil Union Act into law in an historic ceremony at the History Colorado Center.

But today, John Suthers' discordant act against the same equality most of the state is celebrating? To say it stands out in ugly relief, a mark against him any time this man ever aspires to higher office, is an understatement.

Whaddya Complainin’ About Now?

The Colorado Attorney General's office announced today its list of the Top 2012 Consumer Complaints. From a press release:

To mark the beginning of National Consumer Protection Week, the Consumer Protection Section of the Colorado Attorney General’s Office today unveiled its list of the top ten consumer complaints of 2012. During the 2012 calendar year, Colorado consumers filed 7,911 complaints with the Office of the Attorney General — an almost 10 percent increase over 2011’s total of 7,297 complaints.

We've included the chart of the Top 10 complaints, as compiled by the Attorney General's Office, after the jump. See how many you can guess before you click to read the results…