We Have Had More Mass Shootings Than Days of the Year

On Thursday evening, eight people were killed in a mass shooting at a FedEx distribution facility in Indianapolis. Take a look at this graphic from CNN, which shows the location of 45 mass shootings (in which 4 or more people are wounded or killed) that have taken place since March 16th:

That’s 45 mass shootings in the past month ALONE. The United States has suffered through 147 mass shootings thus far in 2021. We haven’t had that many DAYS in 2021.

 

That’s right — we are AVERAGING more than one mass shooting per day in 2021. Forget, for a moment, about your opinion on the second amendment. Nobody could look at the graphics above and just shrug. This is weird.

Now, here’s the other strange thing about America’s mass shooting epidemic: Americans by and large WANT to see more gun safety measures approved by lawmakers. Check out these findings from a Quinnipiac University poll that was released on Thursday, April 15:

A majority of Americans (54 – 42 percent) support stricter gun laws in a Quinnipiac University national poll of adults released today. Democrats support stricter gun laws 91 – 8 percent. Republicans oppose these laws 74 – 22 percent, and independents oppose them 51 – 44 percent.

When you break down the numbers into specific policy proposals, the data remains clear:

♦ 89% of Americans support requiring background checks for all gun buyers;

♦ 74% of Americans support so-called “red flag” laws;

♦ 52% of Americans support a nationwide ban on assault weapons;

♦ 51% of Americans support a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines;

♦ 45% of Americans believe that gun violence in this country is a “crisis.”

The reason that Congress hasn’t taken action to address gun violence in this country is NOT because Americans don’t approve of these policy changes.

As we’ve noted before in this space, the only way to make real change on the issue of gun violence is to elect more people who are willing to make those changes.

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Get More Smarter on Friday (April 16)

Happy World Voice Day. Please yell out responsibly. Let’s Get More Smarter; 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 an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

The Indianapolis Star reports on yet another mass shooting in the United States, this one at a FedEx distribution site in Indianapolis:

Officers arrived to a “chaotic and active” crime scene, according to IMPD Deputy Chief of Investigations Craig McCartt.

Eight people, plus the suspected gunman, were found dead in and around the facility. It’s believed the shooter died by suicide shortly before police arrived.

McCartt said at a Friday morning news conference that the shooter arrived at the building and began “randomly” firing in the parking lot — with no confrontation or argument before the shooting started. He then went inside the building and continued shooting. Four people were found dead outside and four were found dead inside.

 

► Republican State Rep. Ron Hanks, the “Insurrectionist Man of Mystery,” continues to press his case as the biggest asshole in the Colorado legislature. Hanks attempted to give lawmakers a history lesson on Thursday and warmed up with a really tasteless joke. From 9News:

Hanks (R-Penrose) falsely alleged that the three-fifths compromise was not “impugning anybody’s humanity” while debating a civics education bill on the House floor Thursday.

“The three-fifths compromise, of course, was an effort by non-slave states … to try and reduce the amount of representation that the slave states had,” Hanks said. “It was not impugning anybody’s humanity.”

This comment was preceded by another where he referenced being mistakenly called up as Rep. Mike Lynch (R-Wellington).

“Being called Mr. Lynch might be a good thing for what I’m about to say … no, just kidding,” Hanks said.

Hanks’ ridiculous comments earned him national headlines.

 

Let’s check in on more state legislative news:

The House of Representatives approved the annual state budget bill despite a few mindless protests from Republican lawmakers.

A bill that would reduce sentencing requirements for felony murder convictions is on its way to the desk of Gov. Jared Polis. On Thursday, Gov. Polis signed into law a bill that allows victims of child sexual abuse more time to bring civil lawsuits against perpetrators.

Lawmakers are considering making significant changes to admission requirements for colleges and universities.

A new law will give formerly incarcerated people with firefighting experience more opportunities to return to the firefighting profession.

Legislation that would have required ski resorts to provide more transparency about injuries on the slopes died in committee.

Pueblo County is opposing a proposal to speed up the process of reducing harmful emissions in Colorado.

Dave Perry of The Aurora Sentinel voices support for the “Colorado Option” healthcare plan being debated in the state legislature.

 

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel confirms a story first reported here at Colorado Pols about former Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese withdrawing her name from consideration as Mesa County Attorney…which probably has something to do with the fact that Pugliese wants to run for Secretary of State and now lives in Colorado Springs.

 

 Republican Qaucus leaders were the ONLY two Members of Congress to vote NO on a routine reauthorization of the nation’s bone marrow registry and umbilical cord blood used in bone marrow transplants. Republican Reps. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene represented the “2” in the 415-2 vote in favor of H.R. 941.

 

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

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415-2: The “Q-Some Twosome” Stand Alone

Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives held votes on a variety of bills ahead of getting out of town for the weekend. Colorado Public Radio’s Caitlyn Kim followed the action via Twitter yesterday: one fully expected party-line vote, others nearly unanimous, and a few others where Colorado Republican freshman Rep. Lauren Boebert was part of a much smaller minority bloc:

Reps. Marjorie Taylor-Greene, Lauren Boebert.

In particular, pretty much everyone in America is scratching their heads over Boebert’s vote against H.R. 941, the TRANSPLANT Act, a routine reauthorization of the nation’s bone marrow registry and umbilical cord blood. The only two members of the House who voted against this legislation were Reps. Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia–the first time these two controversial representatives have ever stood alone in opposition to any piece of legislation since being sworn into Congress.

So…what happened? Newsweek has the only explanation we’ve seen from either representative:

In a statement, Rep. Greene’s spokesman Nick Dyer said: “Nothing in this bill prevents the funding of aborted fetal tissue by taxpayers. It opens the door for the NIH to use this bill to research the remains of babies who were murdered in the womb.”

“This bill added hundreds of millions of dollars to the national debt, while not receiving a CBO score or going through the committee process,” Rep. Boebert added.

Funny how these objections were not a problem for the other anti-abortion fiscal hawk Republicans in the House who voted for the bill! Which would be, you know, all of them.

After that, it would be nice to hear an explanation from Boebert for being on the wrong side of a 413-8 vote to protect seniors from scams, or 406-10 to similarly protect Native Americans? It’s not like Boebert was just mindlessly mashing the “no” button last night, having cast a few “yes” votes for microloans and a couple other uncontroversial bills. Presumably there was some thought put into these votes, and Boebert’s constituents deserve an explanation as to what that thought was.

During his time in Congress, Rep. Tom Tancredo established a reputation for extremely controversial votes against overwhelmingly popular legislation, being for example one of only 11 members of the U.S. House to vote against relief funds following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The dopamine hit from the attention this kind of controversy brings is a powerful stimulant for those unable to distinguish from good and bad attention–but as Tancredo learned the hard way, all he was doing in the long run was buying himself a ticket to irrelevance. Voters quickly tire of this pointless contrarianism, especially when it’s about issues that matter to real people.

The devastating ads these votes just provided the content for will prove it someday, don’t worry.

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Get More Smarter on Not Tax Day (April 15)

For most people, tax day this year is on May 17th. Let’s Get More Smarter; 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 an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

The defense rested its case in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is accused of murder in the May 2020 killing of George Floyd. As The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports:

Derek Chauvin said in court Thursday that he will not testify in his murder trial shortly before the defense said it has completed its case.

“I will invoke my Fifth Amendment privilege” to not risk making any self-incriminating statements in Hennepin County District Court, where the fired Minneapolis police officer is charged with killing George Floyd late last spring in Minneapolis…

…Chauvin’s declaration came during a series of questions from his attorney, Eric Nelson, and outside the presence of the jury.

Nelson and Chauvin were seated at the defense table as the defendant held a cordless microphone and had his voice heard for the first time on the record during the trial.

Closing arguments in the Chauvin trial could begin as soon as Monday.

 

► You don’t need us to tell you that red states and blue states are very different. But as The Associated Press reports, one significant difference is bad for your health:

With coronavirus shots now in the arms of nearly half of American adults, the parts of the U.S. that are excelling and those that are struggling with vaccinations are starting to look like the nation’s political map: deeply divided between red and blue states.

Out in front is New Hampshire, where 65% of the population age 18 and older has received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Following close behind are New Mexico, Connecticut, Maine and Massachusetts at 55% or greater. All have a history of voting Democratic and supported President Joe Biden in the 2020 election.

Meanwhile, at the bottom are five states where fewer than 40% have rolled up their sleeves for a shot. Four of them — Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Tennessee — lean Republican and voted for Donald Trump last fall. The fifth is Georgia, which has a Republican governor and supported GOP presidential candidates for nearly three decades before narrowly backing Biden.

 

The Douglas County Board of Commissioners are not doctors, but they are pretending to know more about the COVID-19 pandemic than the so-called “experts.” That’s not good news for the rest of us, which is why others are speaking out.

 

Let’s check in on state legislative news:

The State House of Representatives gave preliminary approval to the new state budget proposal.

Fox 31 News reports on opposition to proposed legislation seeking to reduce Colorado’s jail population.

Colorado lawmakers are freezing tuition rates at community colleges.

The Associated Press reports on legislative efforts to improve maternal care for minority women.

Lawmakers are considering legislation to improve health benefits for legislative aides.

The State Senate approved legislation that would allow undocumented immigrants to receive professional licenses in Colorado.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

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The GMS Podcast: Q*Bert Conquers the Spirit World

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast


 

Catch up on previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Hit us up at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn

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Bennet, Hickenlooper Back Paid Sick Leave Legislation

Sens. Michael Bennet, John Hickenlooper.

Both of Colorado’s U.S. Senators have signed onto the “Health Families Act,” the latest version of federal legislation that seeks to require employers to provide paid sick leave for workers. From a press release:

U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet joined 36 of their Senate colleagues to introduce the Healthy Families Act, paid sick days legislation to help keep workers, communities and our economy healthy. The bill is similar to a new Colorado state law expanding paid sick leave to all employees.

Today, one in four workers still do not have access to paid sick days. For these 32 million private sector workers—who are disproportionately women and people of color—getting sick or having to care for a sick loved one means having to choose between losing a paycheck or going into work sick and risking the health of their colleagues and their community. This inequity isn’t just bad for workers—it’s bad for our public health and our economy too, especially in the midst of a pandemic. Recent studies show that requiring employers to provide paid sick days reduces the spread of flu-like illnesses and reduces emergency room visits by 1.3 million annually, saving $1.1 billion a year. Another study showed that the emergency paid leave provision passed in 2020 helped slow the spread of COVID-19 by roughly 15,000 cases per day

…The Healthy Families Act would allow workers at businesses with at least 15 employees to earn up to 56 hours, or seven days, of paid sick leave each year. This would allow workers to stay home when they are sick or to care for a sick family member—as well as to seek preventive medical care, or seek assistance related to domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault. Businesses that already provide paid sick leave would not have to change their current policies, as long as they meet the minimum standards of the Healthy Families Act.

Congressional Democrats have tried for years to pass legislation requiring some sort of paid leave for workers, which has left states to do much of the heavy lifting on an issue that has become increasingly important in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Colorado lawmakers passed legislation last year that requires all but the smallest businesses in the state to provide paid sick leave to employees. This week, New Mexico lawmakers became the 10th state to add some sort of paid family and sick leave requirements.

A national family leave program is still critically important for the rest of the country. Just this week, State Senators in Texas approved legislation that BANS cities and counties from requiring businesses to provide paid sick leave to employees.

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (April 14)

There are 254 shopping days until Christmas. Let’s Get More Smarter; 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 an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

More details are emerging on Tuesday’s big news that the United States will make a complete withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan. From The New York Times:

President Biden, frustrated in his efforts to end America’s “Forever War” a decade ago, will announce on Wednesday a Sept. 11 deadline for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan after 20 years, a move that immediately triggered similar action among the country’s NATO allies…

…In the hours leading up to Mr. Biden’s afternoon announcement at the White House, foreign and defense ministers met at NATO headquarters in Brussels to discuss “a safe, deliberate and coordinated withdrawal of our forces from Afghanistan,” as the American secretary of state, Antony J. Blinken, told them on Wednesday.

The ministers, many of them attending the Wednesday meeting virtually, are expected to formally back the American withdrawal date in keeping with the alliance’s mantra “in together and out together.”

As The Denver Post reports, Members of Colorado’s Congressional delegation voiced agreement with the decision.

 

The Durango Herald editorial board endorses the “Colorado Option” health care bill, which was finally introduced in a State House committee on Friday. From the Herald:

Coloradans – and especially rural Southwest Coloradans – are in trouble when it comes to health care costs. Before the pandemic, about 11.2% of people in Southwest Colorado couldn’t afford medical insurance, compared to 6.5% for the entire state. Because workers who lost their jobs in 2020 likely also lost insurance, that 11.2% is certainly higher now.

According to the Colorado Health Access Survey, even those with medical insurance in Colorado report skipping doctor visits when ill, struggling to pay medical bills and being unable to pay for rent, utilities, food and other necessities at times because of medical bills…

Some aspects of the health care industry work very well, as evidenced during the pandemic. But that doesn’t change what we know to be true: We have to find solutions that make health care more accessible and affordable for all Coloradans.

HB 1232 likely is not perfect, but it’s a big step in the right direction – and a signal to the health care industry that the time has come for change. [Pols emphasis]

Click here for more on the arguments and policy details.

In related news, Colorado’s Connect for Health insurance marketplace is seeing a record number of signups.

 

The Denver Post reports on efforts to make it more difficult for perpetrators of domestic violence to gain access to a firearm:

Colorado law since 2013 has required most people who are charged with domestic violence to relinquish their guns, but prosecutors and court officials acknowledge it’s loosely enforced, sometimes not at all.

Lawmakers got their first look Tuesday at a bill, HB21-1255, that would strengthen compliance, which state analysts say affects thousands per year.

Already, Democrats who control the Colorado legislature have sent two gun bills to Gov. Jared Polis to sign, which he is expected to do soon. One requires secure storage of firearms and the other mandates that lost or stolen firearms be reported, both of which were in the works before the mass shooting at a Boulder King Soopers last month.

Attorney General Phil Weiser told lawmakers during a hearing that they must pass this third piece of gun legislation, because domestic violence is a crisis in Colorado, citing a statistic that of the 70 domestic violence-related deaths in 2019, two-thirds were due to a gun.

Elsewhere in state legislative news:

The Colorado Sun is tracking the status of legislation dealing with the spending of stimulus funds.

The “long bill” — also known as the annual state budget bill — will be the major topic of discussion in the State House today.

Colorado Newsline discusses legislative efforts to improve long-standing maternal health disparities.

Legislation to reform Colorado’s felony murder sentencing is headed to the desk of Gov. Jared Polis, as is a bill to expand Colorado’s ability to import prescription drugs from other countries.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

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White House Gives Colorado C- Grade On Infrastructure

Photo by the Colorado Department of Transportation.

Colorado Newsline’s Laura Olson reports:

In the next phase of President Joe Biden’s sales pitch for his $2 trillion infrastructure package, his administration is framing its argument around the mounting, unmet needs in states as it seeks to build public support for another massive spending bill. Democrats are also hitting back at criticisms from congressional Republicans that the mammoth package goes too far beyond the road-and-bridge projects typically associated with infrastructure.

The White House released a set of state-by-state breakdowns on Monday detailing the number of bridges in severe disrepair, increased commuting times due to lack of investment in transit, and growing costs related to ensuring that drinking water systems are safe and clean, as well as funding in the proposal intended to tackle those problems.

Democrats in addition contend that child care and care for older adults and those with disabilities are critical for supporting the country’s economy and overall well-being, along with access to high-speed internet.

How does Colorado score? Check out our state’s individual report and see–not great:

ROADS AND BRIDGES: In Colorado there are 481 bridges and over 3,600 miles of highway in poor condition. Since 2011, commute times have increased by 9.3% in Colorado and on average, each driver pays $651 per year in costs due to driving on roads in need of repair. The American Jobs Plan will devote more than $600 billion to transform our nations’ transportation infrastructure and make it more resilient, including $115 billion repairing roads and bridges.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: Coloradans who take public transportation spend an extra 74.6% of their time commuting and non-White households are 1.8 times more likely to commute via public transportation. 12% of trains and other transit vehicles in the state are past useful life. The American Jobs Plan will modernize public transit with an $85 billion investment…

It should be noted in fairness that few states did well in this scoring of infrastructure needs, with most states either at a C or below or unranked entirely due to being well below the standard. As of now, the principal Republican objection to the American Jobs Act is that it’s an “infrastructure bill” that doesn’t spend enough on what Republicans are calling “traditional” infrastructure like roads and bridges. But in every respect, from broadband to clean water to child care, this bill is about the underpinnings of economic success in the modern era–and that broader definition of “infrastructure” is one Democrats hope and believe Americans will get behind. And make no mistake: the amount proposed for old-fashioned transportation infrastructure is historic all by itself.

In short, the American Jobs Act is a transformative investment that Coloradans will see everywhere. Colorado is doing our part with a new statewide transportation plan, and this bill is an opportunity to scale up from the bare minimum to meeting something closer to the state’s long-term need.

In 2021, potholes and creaky bridges are just the beginning.

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Get More Smarter on Monday (April 12)

Happy Birthday, David Letterman. Let’s Get More Smarter; 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 an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

As The Denver Post reports, Colorado is officially in the “fourth wave” of the COVID-19 pandemic:

Colorado is now experiencing a fourth wave of COVID-19 as infections and hospitalizations rise, but the increasing level of vaccination should make it less severe than the deadly spike late last fall, state officials said Friday.

Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations have risen most in people younger than 50, who are less likely to have been vaccinated, state epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy said. It’s good news that the vaccine is protecting older people, who are most vulnerable to severe symptoms, but younger people need to keep up precautions until they get the shot, she said.

“This fourth wave is going to look different,” she said during a news briefing with Gov. Jared Polis.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported 454 people were hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 as of Friday afternoon. It was the highest total since Feb. 18.

 

► Corporate backlash to Republican efforts aimed at restricting voter rights is apparently growing. As The Washington Post reports:

More than 100 chief executives and corporate leaders gathered online Saturday to discuss taking new action to combat the controversial state voting bills being considered across the country, including the one recently signed into law in Georgia.

Executives from major airlines, retailers and manufacturers — plus at least one NFL owner — talked about potential ways to show they opposed the legislation, including by halting donations to politicians who support the bills and even delaying investments in states that pass the restrictive measures, according to four people who were on the call, including one of the organizers, Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a Yale management professor.

While no final steps were agreed upon, the meeting represents an aggressive dialing up of corporate America’s stand against controversial voting measures nationwide, a sign that their opposition to the laws didn’t end with the fight against the Georgia legislation passed in March.

As CNN reports, last week’s threats against corporations from Republican politicians appear to have backfired:

The virtual meeting with CEOs from a cross-section of industries underscores the growing tensions between the business community and Republicans in the wake of former President Donald Trump’s efforts to sow doubts about the legitimacy of the 2020 election.

The Zoom call took place despite threats of reprisal from former President Donald Trump, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and state lawmakers in Georgia.

“It was a defiant stand against those politicians trying to silence them,” Yale professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld told CNN Business.

Sonnenfeld helped organize the event, along with the Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism and the Leadership Now Project.

 
The “Colorado Option” health care bill was finally introduced in a State House committee on Friday. After several hours of discussion, a vote was delayed until Tuesday to allow for continued negotiations with the health care industry. As Colorado Newsline reports:

Just after 10 p.m., the committee voted to delay a vote on the bill until Tuesday to allow for more negotiations on possible amendments.

“The plan was to go ahead and vote on it (Friday), but there was significant progress made during the hearing,” said Rep. Susan Lontine, the Denver Democrat who chairs the House committee. She referred to conversations that took place Friday between the sponsors and some organizations representing health care providers.

The two-phase legislation would establish a possible path to the Colorado Option, envisioned as a lower-cost, nonprofit-managed health insurance plan sold on Colorado’s individual and small group markets. The Colorado Option would only become available starting in 2025 if private insurance carriers failed to meet voluntary targets in phase one of HB-1232.

Click here for more on the arguments and policy details.

 

Elsewhere in state legislative news:

As discussions continue around the state budget, Axios reports that the word of the month is “equity.”

The Colorado Sun reports on the status of a proposal to establish a Front Range passenger train system.

As Colorado Public Radio explains, legislation about improving Colorado’s roads and bridges intentionally leaves out funding for RTD.

The Denver Post updates on the status of composting grandma.

Lawmakers are debating a potential loosening of Colorado’s liquor sales laws.

CBS4 Denver reports on progress toward creating a prescription drug affordability board.

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel previews the legislative week ahead.

 

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

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Get More Smarter on Friday (April 9)

Today is the 99th day of the year; 2021 starts to look really old tomorrow. Let’s Get More Smarter; 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 an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

As Bruce Finley reports for The Denver Post, Colorado officials are taking new steps to prepare for what they expect will be another bad wildfire season:

Facing a worsening wildfire predicament, Colorado leaders on Thursday braced for more big burns and declared they’re shifting state strategy and millions of taxpayer dollars toward early detection and aggressive rapid response to squelch flames before they spread.

More aerial assets including a $24 million helicopter, prepositioning of air tankers that haul water and fire-snuffing slurry, and increased teamwork among local, state and federal agencies have placed Colorado in what officials described as an unprecedented state of readiness.

“Colorado used to talk about a fire season. It is now a year-round phenomenon,” Gov. Jared Polis said after a meeting of federal and state authorities, referring to the impacts of climate change…

…The core “wildfire season” in the state has increased by 78 days since the 1970s, officials said, with fires breaking out even in freezing temperatures. And human population expansion into burn zones — Polis pointed to some 300,000 houses built in woods requiring “perimeter defense” against wildfire — increasingly constrains what land managers can do.

 
► The Public Option is in the House!

The public option bill had been delayed in attempt to find compromise with hospitals.

 

► As Colorado Public Radio reports, efforts to push an assault weapons ban in Colorado have stalled as key allies ponder a different approach:

Any major push to pass an assault-style weapon’s ban in Colorado is looking increasingly less likely, with the legislature’s highest-profile advocate for stricter gun laws saying now isn’t the time.

“It diverts all of the attention,” said Democratic Rep. Tom Sullivan of Centennial.

Instead, Sullivan wants to focus efforts on policies he believes would be more effective at preventing gun violence. Technology, he said, can circumvent bans on specific types of weapons…

…Democratic Gov. Jared Polis told CPR’s Colorado Matters that he is not focused on the type of firearm that was used in the massacre. Instead, Polis would like Colorado to strengthen universal background checks.

Elsewhere in state legislative news:

The Denver Post looks at how lawmakers plan to allocate funds from an unexpected budget surplus. As Marianne Goodland reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman, the State Senate approved a proposed budget in a preliminary vote.

Lawmakers are advancing legislation to better fund mental health and substance abuse programs.

Denver7 reports on legislation to better protect children from domestic abuse.

A bill in the State Senate seeks to require more transparency from ski resorts on injuries suffered on the slopes

Alex Burness of The Denver Post reports on legislative efforts to deal with death threats toward lawmakers.

 

 

The Associated Press reports on President Biden’s Thursday announcement on actions his administration is taking to promote gun safety:

President Joe Biden put on a modest White House ceremony Thursday to announce a half-dozen executive actions to combat what he called an “epidemic and an international embarrassment” of gun violence in America.

But he said much more is needed. And while Biden had proposed the most ambitious gun-control agenda of any modern presidential candidate, his moves underscored his limited power to act alone on guns with difficult politics impeding legislative action on Capitol Hill.

Biden’s new steps include a move to crack down on “ghost guns,” homemade firearms that lack serial numbers used to trace them and are often purchased without a background check. He’s also moving to tighten regulations on pistol-stabilizing braces like the one used in Boulder, Colorado, in a shooting last month that left 10 dead.

As CBS4 Denver reports, Colorado Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) was with Biden at the White House for Thursday’s announcement.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

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The Get More Smarter Podcast: All-Stars and A-Holes

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, that guy we talked about last week (Danny Moore) who was the Chair of the Congressional Redistricting Commission…he got shelled; Colorado is getting some All-Stars because of our awesome non-racist voting systems; we have more reasons for another edition of “Legislating with Crayons“; there is yet another recall scam going after one of the most popular Governors in the country; and we check in again with “The Boebert Report.”

Also, we all got our shots! Well, the first of them, anyway.

Catch up on previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Hit us up at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (April 8)

Happy birthday, Buddha! Let’s Get More Smarter; 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 an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

Roughly 1 in 4 Americans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, but a similar percentage of people in the United States say that they will NOT get vaccinated, which could threaten the country’s ability to reach herd immunity this summer. COVID-19 hospitalizations are slowly increasing in Colorado, and officials in Jefferson County are moving back to “Level Yellow” because of rising cases. A government building in Elbert County was also recently closed because of a COVID-19 outbreak.

Meanwhile, a wave of infections in the Upper Midwest and Northeastern U.S. has health officials concerned about a potential fourth surge of the pandemic. As The New York Times reports:

Michigan is in tough shape. New cases and hospitalizations there have more than doubled in the last two weeks, and the six metro areas in the United States with the greatest number of new cases relative to their population are all in Michigan.

Several other states in the Upper Midwest, including Minnesota and Illinois, have also reported significant increases in new cases and hospitalizations. And in the Northeast, New York and New Jersey have continued to see elevated case counts.

Illinois is seeing a spike in cases as well. The daily average for new cases there has jumped about 56 percent in the past two weeks, to about 2,832 a day. Hospitalizations have risen about 28 percent from two weeks ago. Wisconsin and North Dakota have also seen their average case counts jump 50 percent or more in the last two weeks.

While new cases, hospitalizations and deaths nationwide have declined from their peaks in January, new infections have increased after plateauing.

A rise in infections around the world is also worrying health officials. The French Open tennis tournament has been delayed as France deals with a new lockdown. In Brazil, COVID-19 deaths surpassed 4,000 in a single day for the first time this week; with a death toll of more than 337,000, Brazil trails only the United States (562,000+) in total COVID-related deaths. Cases are also rising dramatically in India, which is struggling to increase vaccination rates as infections climb.

 

All of the far-right candidates seeking seats on the Grand Junction City Council were defeated on Tuesday, a sign that the influence of Trumpism and Lauren Boebert might already be waning in conservative circles. Newly-elected Republican Party Chair Kristi Burton Brown made an unsuccessful last-minute pitch on behalf of these candidates earlier this week.

Voters in Grand Junction also agreed to lift a 10-year moratorium on marijuana dispensaries.

 

President Biden is announcing new executive orders on gun safety, as The Washington Post reports:

In the White House Rose Garden, the president is expected to announce new rules on firearms that are assembled at home, which lack serial numbers and are harder to track, among other moves designed to make it harder for unqualified people to obtain dangerous weapons.

Biden also will announce David Chipman as his pick to run the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, although it is unclear how the nominee will fare in an evenly divided Senate. Chipman is a senior adviser to a gun control group founded by former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who was severely injured in a mass shooting in 2011.

As The Denver Post reports, Biden’s announcement includes a regulation on a weapon used in the Boulder King Soopers shootings:

A senior administration official with knowledge of the coming executive orders said Wednesday that by early June, the U.S. Justice Department “will issue a proposed rule to make clear that when a device marketed as a stabilizing brace effectively turns a pistol into a short-barreled rifle, that firearm is subject to the requirements of the National Firearms Act.”

Colorado Newsline notes that the Biden administration will also distribute model “red flag” gun legislation for consideration by state legislatures (Colorado already has a “red flag” law).

 

As Denver7 reports, the “Long Bill” has been introduced.

The Colorado Joint Budget Committee has released its appropriations bill, also known as the long bill, earlier than normal this year. Committee members say this year’s budget is more focused on addressing funding inequities in the state.

Here’s more on the happenings at the state legislature:

Lawmakers are considering protections for pregnancies involving surrogates.

Colorado Newsline outlines some new stimulus bills being discussed at the State Capitol.

A new state agency devoted to early childhood education is under consideration.

Discussions are underway on a bill that would require more diversity on state panels.

Legislation that would provide free mental health treatment options for teenagers is moving along.

Colorado is one of 11 states looking to expand the importation of prescription drugs from other countries.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (April 7)

Happy National Beer Day. Please celebrate responsibly. Let’s Get More Smarter; 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 an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

The decision by Major League Baseball to move the 2021 All-Star Game to Denver — a reaction to draconian voting restrictions recently passed by the Georgia legislature — has been a major topic of discussion nationwide. On Tuesday, media outlets both local and national pushed back against odd Republican efforts to paint Colorado voting laws as more restrictive than those of Georgia. As The Denver Post reports:

Last week, Major League Baseball made it clear that voting rights were at the core of the decision to move the All-Star Game out of Georgia. But Tuesday’s official MLB release about the July 13 game moving to Denver did not discuss voting or get political in the least bit, with Commissioner Rob Manfred saying he appreciated the Colorado Rockies’, Denver’s and the state’s “flexibility and enthusiasm to deliver a first-class event for our game and the region.”

Gov. Jared Polis also ducked questions about Colorado’s election laws on Tuesday morning, but Denver Mayor Michael Hancock didn’t shy away from politics in an interview with The Denver Post. He said moving the game and all related festivities in Denver and at and Coors Field is a direct result of Colorado’s inclusive and accessible voting system that’s often referred to as the gold standard in the U.S.

“This is a cautionary tale for any state, any city who wants to restrict access to one’s rights to vote,” Hancock said. “For every action, there’s going to be a reaction.”

He added: “Even in a partisan environment we still make sure that nothing trumps full access to the ballot box. Voting is the heartbeat of democracy … You lean in and make it more inclusive. You don’t restrict.”

 

► Senate Bill 21-078, which requires Coloradans to do more in reporting lost or stolen firearms to law enforcement authorities, is on its way to the desk of Gov. Jared Polis after winning final approval in the State Senate. We have more on the legislation here.

 

There are a lot of lessons to be learned from the ouster of Republican Danny Moore as the chair of Colorado’s Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission, including the apparent fact that many Colorado Republicans still believe — despite no evidence — that the 2020 election was fraudulent.

 

► As Colorado Public Radio reports, lawmakers are looking at a new discussion surrounding this year’s debate on the state budget:

Colorado lawmakers are about to begin the annual process of debating and finalizing the next state budget, and the difference from last year’s budget couldn’t be more extreme.

The state has billions of additional dollars to spend, in stark contrast to the previous year when the pandemic forced the state to cut more than $3 billion. The legislature’s bipartisan Joint Budget Committee introduced its agreed-upon spending plan to the full Senate this week, after working on it through months of negotiations and public hearings.

The budget totals almost $12 billion in discretionary spending, an increase of $1.2 billion, or 11 percent, over the current General Fund spending levels.

The Colorado Sun outlines eight things to know about the “long bill” in 2021.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

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The Real Lesson Of Chairman Danny Moore’s Ouster

Danny Moore of the Colorado Redistricting Commission

Yesterday afternoon, Colorado’s Congressional Redistricting Commission voted to 11-0 to remove Republican Danny Moore from his position as chairman of the commission, with Moore himself abstaining. This vote came just a few days after a news story disclosing Moore’s history of second-guessing the results of the 2020 presidential election, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic as the “China virus,” and alleging that a shooting last year in Denver involving an armed security guard working for a local TV station was a “setup confrontation.”

As 9NEWS reports, Moore’s fellow commissioners rejected his protestations that the attacks on him were somehow racially motivated, or that he was merely offering these allegations about the 2020 elections for “debate”–meaning his colleagues shouldn’t consider them reflective of Moore’s judgement:

During the meeting, Moore suggested his demotion and the media reports about his posts stem from racism. Other members disagreed.

“This has nothing to do with the color of anyone’s skin in terms of how we operate as a commission,” commissioner Simon Tafoya, a Democrat, said…

“Had I known that you felt this belief with respect to the election having been stolen, I would not have supported your candidacy of chairman of this commission,” commissioner Lori Smith Schell, who is unaffiliated, said in the meeting. [Pols emphasis]

AP reporting via the Grand Junction Sentinel makes the point well:

Commissioner Lori Smith Schell said she would not have supported Moore as chair had she known about the social media posts, but supported allowing him to remain as a commissioner.

“Your race is not an issue in this discussion … your belief that the last presidential election was stolen, and the last Colorado election was tainted … are what is at issue,” Schell said.

The scrutiny came as the newly appointed commission faces months-long delays in receiving U.S. Census data that are threatening to derail the high-stakes redistricting process ahead of the 2022 election. It also injects partisan controversy into the commission, which was billed as a way to tame the politics around the redistricting process. [Pols emphasis]

The immediate problem with Danny Moore continuing as chairman of the redistricting commission seems to be that he had lost the trust of the rest of the commissioners, including fellow Republicans, by blindsiding them with his history of questioning election results and embracing unfounded, socially repellent conspiracy theories. That the commission supported allowing Moore to remain as a regular member acknowledges the simple fact that Moore is far from alone in those beliefs, however baseless they may be. Moore’s misguided views on the election are unfortunately the view of a majority of Republicans, and for that reason he must be considered representative of Republicans. As a board member of the Leadership Program of the Rockies, Moore is in regular contact with the highest echelons of Republican leadership in the state.

Obviously, if belief in these bogus conspiracy theories is disqualifying from serving as the chairman of the state’s congressional redistricting commission, it’s not a great look for Republicans even if Moore is allowed to remain as a member. But at a certain level, we’re forced to acknowledge that finding Republicans who don’t believe these fictional narratives may not be easy–and those who pass this litmus test might not look, for good or ill, like what the Republican Party has become.

No commission can solve these larger fundamental problems. They can only work around them.

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Get More Smarter on Monday (April 5)

Happy Singmogil. Please celebrate responsibly. Let’s Get More Smarter; 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 an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

Health experts continue to warn that we could be nearing another surge in the COVID-19 pandemic. As CNN explains:

The highly contagious B.1.1.7 variant has fueled an alarming rise in Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations in parts of Europe. And experts worry the US could be next if Americans don’t double down on safety measures until more people are vaccinated.

What’s worse, experts say, is that the variant is changing the pandemic’s playbook and could spell trouble for younger groups that haven’t yet been vaccinated.

As The Washington Post reports, an increase in infections is particularly worrisome in India:

India on Sunday reported more than 100,000 new cases of the coronavirus, a grim measure achieved by only the United States and briefly Brazil, and a sign that the infections in the nation of 1.3 billion could be spinning out of control.

India, which has one of the world’s largest vaccine-manufacturing capacities, is immunizing citizens at a rate of 2 million a day but has not made significant headway, with just 5 percent of the population having received a first dose. India is also slowing down its vaccine exports in the face of domestic demand, with potentially dire consequences for other countries.

Experts believe that changes in behavior, waning immunity from prior infections and the spread of new variants are all contributing to the dramatic rise in cases.

Here in Colorado, Gov. Jared Polis extended a statewide mask order for another month at the request of local health officials.

On the subject of COVID-19 vaccinations, we still don’t know if Republican members of Colorado’s Congressional delegation have received their vaccines.

 

The Denver Post reports on an influx of federal money coming to Colorado:

Over the next 13 months, nearly $2 billion will move from the federal treasury to the bank accounts of Colorado’s counties, cities and towns — a redistribution of tax dollars that experts and officials say is without parallel in modern American history.

“The sheer amount of money that is flowing is unprecedented,” said John Swartout, the executive director of Colorado Counties Inc., a membership association for city and county officials. “There’s been nothing like it.”

For Colorado’s local governments, the money represents an opportunity they have never had and may not get again soon. It’s a chance to fill holes in budgets and bridges, to address decades-long addictions and afflictions, to build up and better their towns.

The money comes from the American Rescue Plan Act, the $1.9 trillion stimulus and COVID-19 relief package that passed Congress last month without a single Republican vote and was signed into law by President Joe Biden.

 

► Let’s get some updates on the State Legislature, which will begin to tackle “The Long Bill” (the state budget) this week…

Lawmakers are looking for ways to expand access to birth control via Medicaid.

Police accountability will be a hot topic in the next few weeks.

As Colorado Public Radio reports, some gun owners want lawmakers to know that they oppose an Assault Weapons Ban that doesn’t exist.

The Pueblo Chieftain reports on legislative efforts to address a shortage of child care options in Colorado.

The Colorado Sun reports on a proposal to pay school board members for their time.

Here’s more from The Denver Post on the plastic bag ban discussion.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

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Georgia Paying Economic Price for Voting Restrictions

This is for you, Georgia

As The Hill newspaper reports, corporations and business executives are growing louder in their condemnation of a sweeping rollback of voting rights in Georgia that was signed into law by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp in March:

Georgia lawmakers are on defense as prominent companies and business executives have come out in opposition to legislation signed into law by Gov. Brian Kemp (R) that has been criticized as an effort to stifle minority voters.

Georgia-based Coca-Cola and Delta on Wednesday joined a growing number of corporations this week criticizing the omnibus bill, S.B. 202.

Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey called the new measures “unacceptable” and “a step backwards,” while Delta CEO Ed Bastian said the bill “includes provisions that will make it harder for many underrepresented voters, particularly Black voters, to exercise their constitutional right to elect their representatives.”

Major League Baseball announced today that it will move the 2021 All-Star Game out of Atlanta in protest of the draconian voter restrictions passed by the Georgia legislature, which include making it illegal to distribute food or water to people standing in line at polling places. Losing the All-Star game will cost Georgia tens of millions of dollars in economic impact from tourism and other events related to the mid-summer classic.

Republicans across the country have been trying to make it harder to vote in various states — including Colorado — as a response to losing the 2020 Presidential election. Many of these Republicans insist that voting reforms are necessary in order to “restore public faith in elections” — which is a ridiculous canard based on their own lies about nonexistent 2020 voter fraud.

Georgia Republicans are thus far digging in against criticism of their voter suppression efforts, but corporate blowback in this state should help Democrats in the U.S. Senate as they work to pass nationwide voter protections included in the “For the People Act.”

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Happy Easter from Doug Lamborn…Or Something

MONDAY UPDATE: Lamborn finally finished his 4-part Tweet on Sunday, though the entire exercise was largely just repeating most of the first Tweet three more times.

—–

Brick Tamland and Doug Lamborn

Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) is not universally regarded as someone whom you might classify as a deep thinker.

Since first winning election in 2006, Lamborn has spent most of his time in Congress just being a general weirdo. Our favorite Lamborn story is from 2017, when he became obsessed with removing and hiding a particular painting that had been hanging on the wall at the U.S. Capitol building.

Occasionally Lamborn will draft nonsensical legislation when he isn’t busy repeating absurd conspiracy theories or stammering out comments that are wholly inappropriate. Fellow Republicans in Colorado generally try to keep a distance from Lamborn so as not to get wounded by debris when he pulls a Mr. Magoo and sets off a political tripwire or accidentally violates his security clearance.

It is with this background information that we present a recent Lamborn Tweet that is probably (maybe) meant to be an Easter weekend greeting:


Don’t bother looking for the other three messages as indicated by the “(1/4)” note at the beginning of the Tweet above. They don’t exist as of this writing. All in all, this is perfectly on-brand for Lamborn.

Anyhoo, have a Good Friday and a Happy Easter, everyone!

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The Get More Smarter Podcast: Nothing Succeeds Like Failure

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii discuss the Colorado Republican Party’s historically unsuccessful new leadership team; the election fraud truther on the Colorado Independent Redistricting Commission; infrastructure week (for real this time); and another segment of “Legislating With Crayons,” in which Republicans unwittingly make the case for a new media literacy bill.

Catch up on previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Hit us up at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn

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Get More Smarter on April Fool’s Day (April 1)

This is the only day in 2021 where it will make sense that Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert is in Congress. Let’s Get More Smarter; 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 an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

► President Biden on Wednesday revealed details on his massive infrastructure plan, further signaling a new era of ambitious action from the federal government.
“It is not a plan that tinkers around the edges,” said Biden in a speech outside Pittsburgh. “It is a once-in-a-generation investment in America.”

Via The New York Times (3/31/21)

 

CBS4 Denver takes a look at what Biden’s infrastructure plan could mean for Colorado.

 

► As POLITICO reports, Democrat Kerry Donovan, a State Senator from Vail, raised more than $614,000 in just 55 days for her campaign to take on Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) in 2022. This is a YUGE number and solidifies Donovan as the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination in CO-03. Ernest Luning of the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman reports that Donovan’s fundraising total actually exceeds $700k.

But perhaps the most interesting note in that POLITICO story is from Illinois, where incumbent Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger raised $1.1 million DESPITE having voted to impeach former President Trump.

 

► Republican Danny Moore, the chairperson of Colorado’s Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission, is a lizard man from outer space. We don’t know if that’s true or not, but we’re following Moore’s logic that you can say anything you want so long as you couch it as an “opinion.”

 

► It’s a story that would otherwise be perfect for April Fool’s Day: A group of Republicans in Colorado is organizing yet another pointless effort to recall Gov. Jared Polis.

 

► It might be Spring Break for you, but not for the state legislature…

Lawmakers are preparing for the big annual budget battle. As The Denver Post reports, a 3% wage increase for state employees is among the suggestions being discussed.

Officials are debating a change to the state’s foster care system that would allow people to remain in foster care until the age of 21.

Republicans tried and failed to filibuster legislation focused on transgender rights, because that’s what they do.

Denver7 reports on efforts to limit the use of ketamine by first responders. The proposal is part of a broader package of law enforcement reforms expected in the legislature.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

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Let’s “Spark a Conversation” About Danny Moore

Danny Moore

This is Danny Moore. He is a Republican from Centennial, and the recently-elected Chairperson of the Colorado Independent Congressional Redistricting Committee. 9News reported on Monday that Moore “is an election-rigging conspiracy theorist,” which is odd. Evan Wyloge of the Colorado Springs Gazette followed up with another story today in which Moore makes no apologies for saying ridiculous crap:

In the months following the 2020 election, Moore, one of the congressional redistricting commission’s four Republican members and now the commission’s chairman, published posts and comments questioning the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, calling it “the Democrat steal” and repeating the untrue assertion that President Joe Biden did not get more votes than former President Donald Trump.

Moore insists that he is not a conspiracy theorist; he just happens to be someone who regularly repeats conspiracy theories aloud. This is sort of like claiming that you are not a thief even though you spend a lot of time stealing things that don’t belong to you.

Danny Moore believes that the 2020 Presidential election was fraudulent. Danny Moore does not think that more than 80 million Americans really voted for Joe Biden in 2020. Danny Moore believes that the news media has been exaggerating the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic since the very beginning. You used to be able to read these comments on Moore’s Facebook page, but Moore apparently decided in the last day or two that he should make his page private.

Danny Moore believes that he can say anything he wants and lie with impunity by hiding behind the excuse that he is entitled to his own opinion. “I don’t know if those things are true or not, but in my circle we share these things between us and we debate these things,” he told the Gazette. Way to stand up for your convictions, Danny.

With that in mind, here is our opinion of some other things that we should debate about Danny Moore:

♦ Danny Moore does not believe that the earth is round; he thinks it is a square.

♦ Danny Moore became fabulously wealthy by selling used Q-tips to indigent people in Latin America.

♦ Danny Moore was once engaged to be married to a jar of pickles (Vlasic, reportedly).

♦ Danny Moore has an inside-out penis.

♦ Danny Moore eats live squirrels for breakfast twice a week.

Now, look, we don’t KNOW if these things are true or not. We’re just throwing it out there for discussion. If Danny Moore is not a lizard man from outer space, then he should prove it and put the matter to bed once and for all.

We should note that Moore is no stranger to Colorado politics. He sits on the Board of Directors of the Leadership Program of the Rockies, the right-wing training ground directed by well-known conservative names such as Bob Schaffer, Mark Hillman, and Alex Cranberg. University of Colorado Regent Heidi Ganahl, the only remaining statewide Republican elected official in Colorado, is a former board member. It’s fair to say that Moore’s political “opinions” are probably pretty similar, which would be fine if Moore had the courage to defend those opinions instead of answering every question with a variation of, “who really knows?” 

If Moore does not even attempt to support his his own thoughts with factual arguments, then we should be concerned about whether he’ll pay any attention to truth on the redistricting commission. Is Census data just someone else’s opinion of population changes? Maybe Moore has a different “opinion” about how many people live in Denver.

Look, Danny Moore has every right to make an ass of himself on any number of topics. But the other members of the redistricting commission don’t have to let him make a fool out of them, too.

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (March 31)

Today is the last day of the Q1 fundraising period for most elected officials and candidates. If you’ve opened your email in the last few days, you probably already knew this. Let’s Get More Smarter; 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 an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

What time is it? Infrastructure time!

As The New York Times reports:

President Biden will unveil an infrastructure plan on Wednesday whose $2 trillion price tag would translate into 20,000 miles of rebuilt roads, repairs to the 10 most economically important bridges in the country, the elimination of lead pipes and service lines from the nation’s water supplies and a long list of other projects intended to create millions of jobs in the short run and strengthen American competitiveness in the long run.

Biden administration officials said the proposal, which they detailed in a 25-page briefing paper and which Mr. Biden will discuss in an afternoon speech in Pittsburgh, would also accelerate the fight against climate change by hastening the shift to new, cleaner energy sources, and would help promote racial equity in the economy…

…the scale of the proposal underscores how fully Mr. Biden has embraced the opportunity to use federal spending to address longstanding social and economic challenges in a way not seen in half a century. Officials said that, if approved, the spending in the plan would end decades of stagnation in federal investment in research and infrastructure — and would return government investment in those areas, as a share of the economy, to its highest levels since the 1960s.

The Washington Post has more on how Biden’s proposal breaks down into specific buckets, from highways and road maintenance to boosting U.S. manufacturing and fixing problems with the electric grid and clean drinking water systems.

 

► To vaccinate, or to vacillate? As Colorado Newsline reports, many Members of Congress are still not vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus:

Members of Congress were among the first people in the U.S. to have access to the sought-after COVID-19 vaccine when the initial doses became available in December.

Three months later, a States Newsroom survey across 22 states — making up a large swath of Congress — found at least 155 members of the U.S. House and Senate have been vaccinated, based on a tally of responses from their offices and other public statements. Most, but not all, are Democrats, even as pollsters find greater hesitancy and even disinterest among Republicans in the broader U.S. adult population when it comes to the vaccine.

At least 14 legislators say they have not been vaccinated, either because they have been waiting to do so or because they don’t plan to at all. All but but one are Republicans. Dozens of others among the 237 surveyed declined to share their vaccination status.

Colorado Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-Denver) has been vaccinated (twice) and has publicly acknowledged as much. Yet many elected officials, most of them Republicans, have avoided vaccines despite the obvious risks:

With the average age for House members at 58 and senators averaging 64, many lawmakers also were at increased risk of severe complications or even death if they contracted the virus. (One member of Congress, Rep. Ron Wright (R-Texas) died in February after being diagnosed with COVID-19, and Luke Letlow, who was elected to represent a Louisiana district in December, passed away from complications of the virus before he could be sworn in.)

As for Colorado’s Congressional delegation, all six Democrats have been fully vaccinated. On the Republican side, Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) has said he will not get the vaccine. Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) said in December that she didn’t need to get the vaccine, though her office did not confirm one way or the other. Likewise, Colorado Newsline could not confirm if Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) had been vaccinated or planned on being vaccinated (Lamborn also tested positive for COVID-19 in November 2020).

Since we’re on the subject of COVID-19 and public officials…

 

► Republican Danny Moore, the chairperson of Colorado’s Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission, is a full-on believer that the 2020 Presidential election was fraudulent. Maybe he’s not the best person to be leading a redistricting commission. Evan Wyloge has more on this story for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman.

 

► It might be Spring Break for you, but not for the state legislature…

Governor Jared Polis does not agree with parts of a proposed bill that seeks to implement more specific markers for greenhouse gas emissions restrictions. The Colorado Sun has more on the discussion.

Colorado is poised to become the first state to offer public housing benefits to people regardless of their immigration status. Meanwhile, a bill to create an immigration legal defense fund is advancing in the State House.

Marianne Goodland reports on a legislation regarding actuarial review of health benefit mandates, which is a phrase we only partially understand.

Legislation is moving along that seeks to ensure that county commissioner districts are accurately redrawn every 10 years.

A bill ending the statute of limitations on lawsuits for child sex abusers has made it out of the legislature and is on the way to the desk of Gov. Polis.

The Colorado Springs Independent takes a look at several new and pending pieces of legislation.

State lawmakers have halted a proposal to build a fence around parts of the State Capitol.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

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Boebert Bestie Matt Gaetz To Bail From Congress?

UPDATE: Or not, as the New York Times reports:

Representative Matt Gaetz, Republican of Florida and a close ally of former President Donald J. Trump, is being investigated by the Justice Department over whether he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and paid for her to travel with him, according to three people briefed on the matter.

Investigators are examining whether Mr. Gaetz violated federal sex trafficking laws, the people said. A variety of federal statutes make it illegal to induce someone under 18 to travel over state lines to engage in sex in exchange for money or something of value. The Justice Department regularly prosecutes such cases, and offenders often receive severe sentences.

Somebody inform “QAnon,” their “pedo” may finally have been located.

—–

Reps. Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert (R).

That’s the rumor going around via Axios:

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) has privately told confidants he’s seriously considering not seeking re-election and possibly leaving Congress early for a job at Newsmax, three sources with direct knowledge of the talks tell Axios.

Why it matters: Gaetz is a provocative figure on the right who’s attracted attention by being a fierce defender of former President Trump. The Republican also represents a politically potent district on the Florida panhandle.

Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, as readers know, struck up a fast friendship with freshman Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado on account of their very similar platform of low-information MAGA red meat boisterously shoveled in heaping quantities for consumption by an adoring social/conservative media audience. They also both have what can be best described as a strained relationship with reality.

Gaetz is the kind of politico for whom mouthpiece afforded by serving in Congress is very much an end unto itself, and especially serving in the minority party the actual day-to-day work of serving in Congress just isn’t very satisfying. It’s a bug we could easily see Boebert herself catching in the event 2022 starts to look inconvenient–either from a Republican primary, a Democratic challenger, or any number of other wrinkles that have cropped up in Boebert’s brief tumultuous time in the spotlight.

As for Rep. Gaetz, we wish his face made for radio all the best on television.

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Redistricting Chair is an Election Fraud Truther

Colorado’s new Independent Redistricting Commissions are made up of a mix of Democrats, Republicans, and Unaffiliated voters, which is what Colorado voters approved when they green-lighted Amendments Y&Z in 2018.

When the Congressional Redistricting Committee met for the first time earlier this month, Centennial Republican Danny Moore was elected by his fellow commissioners as Chair of the committee. But as 9News reports, Moore is an odd choice to be this group’s leader.

Why? Because Danny Moore thinks that the 2020 Presidential election was fraudulent. Check out this 9News story from Monday, in which anchor Kyle Clark says “Danny Moore is an election rigging conspiracy theorist”:

Take a look at this screenshot of one of Moore’s Facebook commentaries on the election (note the date as January 7):

Via 9News (3/29/21)

 

Moore responded to questions in an interview with 9News by relying on the ridiculous trope that he is “just trying to spark a conversation” by regularly claiming that the 2020 Presidential election was illegitimate. Before he was elected Chair of the committee, our understanding is that Moore did NOT indicate to his fellow commissioners that he believed the election to be fraudulent. That seems like a pretty relevant piece of information.

You could argue as to whether someone who believes the election was not legitimate should even BE on the redistricting commission, but it seems pretty obvious that this person should not be the group’s leader.

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Get More Smarter on Monday (March 29)

It’s a beautiful day today. Tomorrow, maybe not so much. Let’s Get More Smarter; 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 an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

As The Washington Post reports, health officials are starting to sound the alarm about a new phase of the COVID-19 pandemic:

A day after the United States surpassed 30 million coronavirus cases, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday gave a heartfelt warning, her voice at times near breaking, about the ongoing rise in infections.

“I’m going to lose the script and I’m going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom,” Rochelle Walensky said at a White House news briefing Monday. “We have so much to look forward to, so much promise and potential of where we are and so much reason for hope. But right now, I’m scared.”…

…The recent U.S. seven-day average, at just under 60,000 daily cases, is a 10 percent increase vs. the prior seven-day period. Hospitalizations have risen, too. The seven-day average death rate, which typically lags behind cases and hospitalizations, increased by 3 percent, Walensky said.

The news isn’t all bad, fortunately: Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are proving to be 90% effective in real-world studies.

In related news, many top health officials from the Trump administration are now openly discussing how badly the administration failed in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Brett Giroir, Trump’s coronavirus testing czar, told CNN, “When we said there were millions of tests available, there weren’t, right? There were components of the test available, but not the full meal deal.”

 

► Here in Colorado, Gov. Jared Polis is providing new updates on our COVID-19 response. Jefferson County is seeing a worrying uptick in COVID-19 cases. As Westword explains, there is a real risk that Colorado could have to move back to more restrictions in order to keep the virus at bay, even though more Coloradans are starting to get vaccinated.

 

► Colorado Republicans selected Kristi Burton Brown to be their new Party Chairperson. Brown held off former Secretary of State Scott Gessler in a marathon voting process that required three ballots to reach a majority. As we explain in a separate post, this was not a good ending for “The Honey Badger.”

 

► It might be Spring Break for you, but not for the state legislature…

As Colorado Newsline reports, lawmakers are considering making permanent changes to the criminal justice system after a significant drop in jail populations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Colorado Times Recorder looks at Democratic efforts to kill the inevitable GOP anti-abortion bills that pop up every legislative session. In a separate story, The Times Recorder fact checks a silly pharmaceutical industry claim that efforts to limit drug prices in Colorado would violate federal law.

Lawmakers are considering a bill that would essentially require businesses in Colorado to accept cash — something that many retailers started to refuse during the pandemic.

The Colorado Sun reports on HB-1189, which seeks to increase monitoring of toxic emissions.

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel updates on the progress of legislation that would remove the statute of limitations for filing civil cases against alleged sexual abusers.

Federal officials have given Colorado approval to move ahead with a state legislative proposal to conduct modified CMAS testing this year.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

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Get More Smarter on Friday (March 26)

It might actually start to FEEL like Spring later this weekend. Let’s Get More Smarter; 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 an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law new voting rules that significantly restrict voter access and prohibit allowing people to bring water to someone standing in line to vote. This is part of a broad effort around the country by Republicans to make it harder for non-Republican voters to cast a ballot. As The Washington Post reports:

The measure is one of the first major voting bills to pass as dozens of state legislatures consider restrictions on how ballots are cast and counted in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election, when President Donald Trump attacked without evidence the integrity of election results in six states he lost, including Georgia.

The new law imposes new identification requirements for those casting ballots by mail; curtails the use of drop boxes for absentee ballots; allows electors to challenge the eligibility of an unlimited number of voters and requires counties to hold hearings on such challenges within 10 days; makes it a crime for third-party groups to hand out food and water to voters standing in line; blocks the use of mobile voting vans, as Fulton County did last year after purchasing two vehicles at a cost of more than $700,000; and prevents local governments from directly accepting grants from the private sector.

The 95-page law also strips authority from the secretary of state, making him a nonvoting member of the State Election Board, and allows lawmakers to initiate takeovers of local election boards — measures that critics said could allow partisan appointees to slow down or block election certification or target heavily Democratic jurisdictions, many of which are in the Atlanta area and are home to the state’s highest concentrations of Black and Brown voters.

The measure, backed by Republicans, sailed out of the state House and Senate on party-line votes in a single afternoon.

As Greg Sargent writes for The Washington Post, Republicans seeking to roll back voting rights are relying on a false narrative that they created themselves:

Republicans are deeply concerned about voter fraud because their voters believe the 2020 election was stolen from them, we are told, and Republicans merely want to restore their confidence in future elections.

This claim is absolutely central to the massive new wave of GOP voter suppression efforts — and utterly, insultingly preposterous to its core. Yet because we hear it constantly, it regularly skates past without even being remarked upon.

But it’s nonsense, and it should be called out as such every single time.

The Republican assault on voting rights is getting even more absurd in Missouri, where state lawmakers are trying to pretend that a ballot measure approved in 2020 with 53% of the vote didn’t win by enough votes for them to proceed with funding the measure.

Elsewhere, Vox.com wonders if Republicans understand that they are cutting off their own nose to spite Democrats.

 

The Denver Post has more on efforts led by Congressman Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) to convince President Biden to sign an executive order banning the importation of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Neguse’s efforts are spurred by Monday’s shooting at a King Soopers in Boulder.

Meanwhile, 9News reports that the suspected Boulder shooter did pass a background check when he purchased the weapon allegedly used to kill 10 people. The gun safety advocacy group Moms Demand Action held a vigil for victims on Thursday.

 

► As The New York Times reports, some far-right extremists who promoted the false “stop the steal” Presidential election narrative have found a new battle:

Although negative reactions have been relatively rare, the numbers are used by many extremist groups to try to bolster a rash of false and alarmist disinformation in articles and videos with titles like “Covid-19 Vaccines Are Weapons of Mass Destruction — and Could Wipe out the Human Race” or “Doctors and Nurses Giving the Covid-19 Vaccine Will be Tried as War Criminals.”

If the so-called Stop the Steal movement appeared to be chasing a lost cause once President Biden was inaugurated, its supporters among extremist organizations are now adopting a new agenda from the anti-vaccination campaign to try to undermine the government.

Bashing of the safety and efficacy of vaccines is occurring in chat rooms frequented by all manner of right-wing groups including the Proud Boys; the Boogaloo movement, a loose affiliation known for wanting to spark a second Civil War; and various paramilitary organizations.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

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