Depart Dudley, For KBB Never Knew Ye

Colorado GOP chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown in 2021.

The conclusion of this year’s historically productive session of the Colorado General Assembly was marred, as readers know, by a failed attempt by the hard right wing of the House Republican minority to remove Minority Leader Hugh McKean from his position immediately following adjournment. Freshman Rep. “RagingRon Hanks led the rhetorical assault on McKean, but as the Denver Post’s Alex Burness explains, the same old factional split with which the House GOP started out the session is what’s driving the ongoing conflict:

To the 24 caucus members gathered, Hanks complained they were ineffective, unwilling to fight the Democrats in the majority and generally rudderless. He called for the ousting of the caucus leader, Loveland Rep. Hugh McKean. Over about 45 minutes, the Republicans snapped at one another, cursed, fought over the basic rules of how the meeting should be run — all in front of the media and House GOP staffers.

Recall that McKean became the leader because the caucus decided to move on from former leader and current Rep. Patrick Neville of Castle Rock, who has a record of going after his own colleagues and has been accused by former and sitting Republican lawmakers of mismanaging campaign funds.

The pro-Neville faction, of which Hanks is a part, appears to be even more out of power than a year ago. Other than Lauren Boebert, the far-right, no-compromise culture-war stuff just hasn’t worked on voters, which is one big reason the Colorado GOP is out of power…

Yesterday afternoon, Colorado Republican Party chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown weighed in with a statement co-signed by almost all of the House Republicans who voted 15-8 against ousting McKean, calling out infamous “no compromise” gun-rights organization Rocky Mountain Gun Owners by name in a turnabout that makes the head spin:

Together with Representatives Baisley, Bradfield, Carver, Catlin, Geitner, Holtorf, Larson, Lynch, McKean, Pelton, Pico, Rich, Soper, Van Beber, Will, and Woog, the Colorado GOP urges our fellow Republicans to dismiss false accusations that any member of our House caucus is anti-gun. Every Republican elected to our State House is an ardent supporter of the Second Amendment and will continue to defend each Coloradan’s constitutional right to defend themselves and their families.

This session, Democrats shamefully voted to endanger Coloradans’ concealed carry permits and take away their right to self-defense. Rocky Mountain Gun Owners should join in defending lawful gun owners against the real opponents of the Second Amendment — the Democrats.

Kristi Burton Brown’s public rebuke of RMGO is especially noteworthy since just two years ago in 2019, KBB and RMGO were allies in the disastrous failed recall campaign against Rep. Tom Sullivan of Centennial. The hubris of the Sullivan recall helped break the back of the larger campaign mounted by Republicans following the 2019 legislative session to target vulnerable lawmakers and Gov. Jared Polis for recall campaigns, but it didn’t hurt KBB personally as she ascended to the post of party chairwoman. If anything, the failed recall gave KBB some juice with the conservative grassroots.

Despite the fact that McKean survived the attempt to remove him from his Minority Leader post, the underlying conflict between the “suits” wing of the Republican Party and the activist base who the Neville clan still very much aspires to speak for is not going away. Rep. Lauren Boebert’s low-information big-MAGA energy helped propel KBB past her opposition for party chairwoman, but since then KBB has gone off-message in some troubling ways for conservatives: suggesting that a focus on abortion doesn’t win elections, that there’s no “loyalty test” to former President Donald Trump in today’s Republican Party, and now siding with the corporate wing of the party over her erstwhile RMGO allies.

All we can say is that either KBB has learned a lesson, or she’s about to.

Because this isn’t over, and RMGO has never once in our experience gone away quietly.

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The Get More Smarter Podcast: Stop Trying to Make “Gerrymandering” Happen

This week on Episode #77 of The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii explain why Republicans aren’t going to get “Gerrymandering” to stick in Colorado; we bid farewell to Donald Trump’s sad blog; and we revisit two popular segments in “Legislating With Crayons” and “The Boebert Report.”

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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Winners and Losers from Historic Legislative Session

House Speaker Alec Garnett and Senate President Leroy Garcia on opening day (2/17/21)

Democrats brought an end on Tuesday to an historic legislative session that included landmark bills on pandemic recovery, health care, and transportation infrastructure.

With the 2021 session officially in the books, here is our look at the Winners and Losers from the last couple of months…

If you don’t want to read ahead, the TL;DR version is this: “Winners” include basically all living people in Colorado. Actually, it even includes some dead people, considering the passage of a bill that allows for human composting.

 

 

WINNERS

 

People Who Live and Breathe in Colorado

As John Frank of Axios wrote on June 4, “This is the most significant legislative session in years.”

If you could say only one thing about the 2021 legislative session, this would be it.

Via The Denver Post

 

Democrats kicked off the year with an ambitious list of policy goals — and even added to it in response to events — and they checked off damn near every single one of them

♦ Jump-starting Colorado’s economic recovery post-COVID

♦ Saving people money on health care

♦ Reducing the cost of prescription drugs

♦ Much-needed transportation infrastructure funding

♦ Real solutions for combatting Climate Change

♦ Gun safety

♦ Tax reform

Democrats were even able to craft an historic state budget that includes $800 million in economic stimulus funding, $480 million for K-12 education, and $1.5 billion set aside in the state reserve fund.

From transportation funding to tax reform, we could list off dozens of significant bills passed in 2021, but instead check out this press release from Democrats in the legislature.

(more…)

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House Republicans Trying to Oust Minority Leader

UPDATE: Seriously, just look at this…

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Shortly after the Colorado lawmakers concluded the 2021 session, House Republicans including Rep. Ron Hanks and Rep. Dave Williams initiated a challenge to House Minority Leader Hugh McKean.

Very brave of them to wait until after the end of the legislative session.

Alex Burness of The Denver Post is following this raging dumpster fire live on Twitter:

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In 2021, Colorado GOP Obstruction Games #Failed Bigly

“Raging” Rep. Ron Hanks (R).

In today’s Unaffiliated newsletter from the Colorado Sun, which we highly recommend subscribing to if you don’t already, Colorado House Republican lawmakers including ex-House Minority Leader Patrick Neville complain bitterly that the obstruction tactics which had in previous years resulted in some amount of negotiation from majority Democrats–or failing that, at least some base-pleasing headlines about Republicans slowing progress to a crawl–didn’t work in the 2021 legislative session most likely wrapping up today.

This year under new House Minority Leader Hugh McKean, the “performative obstruction” fell flat:

“It seems like when we’ve done it, there hasn’t been a sense of purpose behind it. There’s been no objective,” Neville, the former House minority leader, said of the delay tactics.

First-year Reps. Richard Holtorf of Akron and Ron Hanks of Fremont County were among the Republican representatives who most readily deployed the delay measures. They asked for bills to be read at length and delivered long floor speeches, keeping Democrats, and their fellow Republicans, at the Capitol late into the night.

But even Holtorf admits he didn’t accomplish much. [Pols emphasis] On Friday, Republicans — led by Holtorf, who spoke at great length and detail about cows giving birth — stretched debate over a bill to expand labor rights for agricultural workers until about 11 p.m. The payoff was a few “soft amendments,” Holtorf said.

Tension became high enough between the hard-right members of the GOP minority and Leader McKean that Rep. Ron Hanks threatened to break McKean’s neck over continuing a then-nine hour filibuster against a business property tax bill. It is interesting to note that the obstruction campaign in the House has been spearheaded by two of the most embarrassing freshman members of the GOP House minority. But as today’s Unaffiliated continues, it wasn’t just far-right Reps. Richard Holtorf and Hanks getting burned by ill-advised obstruction tactics:

Even Rep. Colin Larson, a more moderate Republican from Littleton who is well-regarded by Democrats, jumped in on the delay tactics at one point, slowly reading aloud a legal opinion related to a Democratic bill to cut tax breaks for the wealthy and expand tax credits benefiting working families…

He thought Democrats might take it to heart if a moderate member of the GOP launched a mini filibuster. But instead of winning concessions, Larson lost the respect of some of his Democratic colleagues, they say. [Pols emphasis]

It’s a huge contrast from the 2019 session of the Colorado General Assembly, which ended with Republicans at least rhetorically fired up and preparing to launch a round of (failed) recall attempts against targets of opportunity in the legislature and Gov. Jared Polis. This year, Colorado Democrats have enjoyed the most productive legislative session since at least 2013, while Republicans have simply been too mired in infighting and confusion to mount anything like that level of opposition.

As the old saying goes, “the minority gets their say, and the majority gets their way.”

This year, the GOP minority couldn’t even get out of its own way enough to have their say.

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The Big Lie is Still the Only Truth for Republicans

Not Donald Trump at work in The Oval Office.

It has been 216 days since the last Presidential election…unless you are a Republican candidate for public office in 2022. Republican politicians exist in an alternate reality from everyone else; they can’t discuss the future because they’re still obsessed with re-writing the past. For them, the Big Lie is still the only truth that matters.

As The New York Times explains:

Across the country, a rising class of Republican challengers has embraced the fiction that the 2020 election was illegitimate, marred by fraud and inconsistencies. Aggressively pushing Mr. Trump’s baseless claims that he was robbed of re-election, these candidates represent the next generation of aspiring G.O.P. leaders, who would bring to Congress the real possibility that the party’s assault on the legitimacy of elections, a bedrock principle of American democracy, could continue through the 2024 contests.

Dozens of Republican candidates have sown doubts about the election as they seek to join the ranks of the 147 Republicans in Congress who voted against certifying President Biden’s victory. There are degrees of denial: Some bluntly declare they must repair a rigged system that produced a flawed result, while others speak in the language of “election integrity,” promoting Republican re-examinations of the vote counts in Arizona and Georgia and backing new voting restrictions introduced by Republicans in battleground states.

They are united by a near-universal reluctance to state outright that Mr. Biden is the legitimately elected leader of the country… 

…But Republicans’ unwavering fealty to the voter fraud myth underscores an emerging dynamic of party politics: To build a campaign in the modern G.O.P., most candidates must embrace — or at least not openly deny — conspiracy theories and election lies, and they must commit to a mission of imposing greater voting restrictions and making it easier to challenge or even overturn an election’s results. The prevalence of such candidates in the nascent stages of the party primaries highlights how Mr. Trump’s willingness to embrace far-flung falsehoods has elevated fringe ideas to the mainstream of his party. [Pols emphasis]

Multiple news outlets — including the Times — reported last week that former President Trump remains completely consumed by the idea that the 2020 election was somehow stolen from him. These aren’t just the bitter ramblings of a fragile ego; Trump actually believes that he is going to end up back in the White House within a matter of months. As Charles Cooke of the conservative National Journal writes:

I can attest, from speaking to an array of different sources, that Donald Trump does indeed believe quite genuinely that he — along with former senators David Perdue and Martha McSally — will be “reinstated” to office this summer after “audits” of the 2020 elections in Arizona, Georgia, and a handful of other states have been completed. [Pols emphasis] I can attest, too, that Trump is trying hard to recruit journalists, politicians, and other influential figures to promulgate this belief — not as a fundraising tool or an infantile bit of trolling or a trial balloon, but as a fact…

…The scale of Trump’s delusion is quite startling. This is not merely an eccentric interpretation of the facts or an interesting foible, nor is it an irrelevant example of anguished post-presidency chatter. It is a rejection of reality, a rejection of law, and, ultimately, a rejection of the entire system of American government.

Cool pants

As Cooke continues, even if there were irrefutable proof that the 2020 election was rigged against Trump, there is absolutely nothing that can change the fact that Joe Biden is the current President of the United States.

None of this apparently matters to many Republicans, who continue to insist that their ideal 2022 candidates look and act like Trump. This is a real problem for the GOP, because the majority of Americans prefer to see 2022 candidates who are as ideologically different from Trump as possible. This devotion to The Big Lie also prevents Republicans from even pondering their next steps. As The Associated Press reports:

Republicans are fighting to seize control of Congress. Just don’t ask what they’d do if they win.

Look no further for evidence of the GOP’s muddled governing agenda than battleground North Carolina, where party leaders packed into a convention hall Saturday night to cheer former President Donald Trump. Even with a high-stakes U.S. Senate election looming, the Republicans there were united not by any consistent set of conservative policies or principles, but by Trump’s groundless grievances about the 2020 election and his attacks against critics in both parties…

…“I’m unaware of a GOP agenda. I would love to see one,” said Texas-based conservative activist and former tea party leader Mark Meckler. [Pols emphasis]

How do Republicans in Colorado move forward in 2022 when they are so chained to 2020? How can someone like Heidi Ganahl seek the GOP nomination for Governor when she risks losing the support of her base just by answering the question, “Is Joe Biden the President?”

Insisting that Biden is not really the President might still work for the likes of Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) or Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs), but it’s not going to win much support outside of deep-red districts. Colorado will gain an eighth Congressional seat in 2022; it’s likely that the winner of an eventual GOP Primary will be someone who declares that 2020 never happened. Good luck explaining that in a General Election.

There’s an old saying about how those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat the same mistakes in the future. This still applies even if you pretend the past never happened.

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Get More Smarter on Friday (June 4)

The Denver Nuggets have advanced to Round 2 of the Western Conference Playoffs after dispatching the Portland Trailblazers on Thursday; Game One is scheduled for Monday evening in Phoenix. 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

As The Washington Post reports, Congressional Democrats unveiled an ambitious new transportation funding plan:

Democrats on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee unveiled a $547 billion transportation funding package Friday that would ramp up spending on rail and transit, while encouraging states to repair existing roads rather than build new ones.

The biggest chunk of the bill is $343 billion for road and bridge construction, as well as highway safety, a boost of more than 50 percent over the last transportation bill Congress passed in 2015. It also calls for $109 billion for transit and $95 billion for rail — including a tripling of funding to Amtrak.

Rep. Peter A. DeFazio (D-Ore.), chairman of the committee, said the proposed legislation embodies a core piece of President Biden’s infrastructure plans, “seizing this once-in-a-generation opportunity to move our transportation planning out of the 1950s and toward our clean energy future.”

 

As The Associated Press reports, COVID-19 is still very much a danger to Coloradans — particularly those who refuse to get vaccinated:

About 500 people remain hospitalized in Colorado with COVID-19 even though the pandemic seems to be receding, and health officials say almost all of the patients share a common trait: They’re unvaccinated.

“We’ve taken a deep look at this,” Dr. JP Valin, chief clinical officer at SCL Health, told Colorado Public Radio. “Ninety-five percent of the patients who have been hospitalized since February are unvaccinated.”

After more than a year of dealing with the pandemic, the near-constant churn of unvaccinated patients is wearing on front-line doctors and nurses, and their frustration arises in part because at least some of the cases may have been avoidable.

“We are tired,” said Dr. Sandeep Vijan of Parkview Medical Center in Pueblo. “We’ve been doing this for a year. We are emotionally tired; tired of seeing people die. We are physically tired.”

The CDC is again encouraging teenagers to get vaccinated quickly.

Get your damn shot, people. Help our first responders out.

 

The 2021 legislative session needs to end by June 12, though lawmakers are hoping to gavel out sometime next week. In the meantime, Democrats keep passing major pieces of legislation that will positively impact nearly everyone in Colorado. Here’s what’s happening in the last few days of the session…

Women in the Colorado legislature are focusing their efforts on ending discrimination in the workplace, as The Denver Post reports. CBS4 Denver has more on how Sen. Faith Winter is working on sexual harassment changes that are guided in part by her own experiences.

House Bill 1325 seeks to provide more resources for the education of higher-needs students.

As Colorado Public Radio reports, legislative Democrats think they have reached a deal with Gov. Jared Polis that will allow a significant climate change bill to move forward.

A massive transportation funding bill is on its way to the desk of Gov. Polis.

Legislation that allows local governments to make their own gun control measures is headed to the desk of Gov. Polis. It will be joined by a bill that prevents HOAs from getting all up in your business, and legislation that bans the use of Native American mascots.

Fox 31 reports on the passage of five economic stimulus bills.

Marianne Goodland of the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman reports on the progress of a late bill dealing with property tax changes.

Westword has the latest on potential changes related to Colorado’s legal marijuana industry.

 

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

 

(more…)

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Chalk Up Another ‘W’ for Colorado Democrats

As Jon Murray reports for The Denver Post reports, Democrats in the state legislature have approved another hugely-important piece of legislation:

A massive $5.4 billion transportation package that would charge a new set of road-user fees to fix highways, expand transit and supercharge electric vehicles will land soon on Colorado Gov. Jared Polis’ desk.

The House’s approval of Senate Bill 260 on Wednesday marked the latest green light on a remarkably smooth journey for the biggest, most complicated transportation-funding bill ever attempted by state lawmakers. [Pols emphasis] It includes serious money both for road improvements, including much of the Colorado Department of Transportation’s 10-year priority project plan, and initiatives to address climate change and accelerate the transition from gas-guzzlers to cleaner vehicles.

The 41-24 vote was strictly along party lines, reflecting strong opposition from Republicans to a half-dozen proposed fees and the wide scope of the bill.

No House Republicans voted in support of the transportation bill, which is both predictable and idiotic on their part. Republicans are refusing to support all sorts of popular bills, from lowering health care premiums and reducing the cost of prescription drugs, to stimulus bills that will help Colorado recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

It would have made a lot more strategic sense for Republicans to participate in some of these discussions and then take some credit for the good things that became law. Instead, what are Republican candidates going to say to voters in 18 months? Democrats wanted to fix your roads, help small businesses, and make health care more affordable, and we tried to stop them!!!

One of the main reasons that Republicans lost power in Colorado was because they had no idea what to do with majority control when they had it. Voters booted Republicans because they didn’t do anything. Now that they are in the minority, the GOP strategy for winning back those voters is…to not do anything.

It is theoretically possible to knock down a building by repeatedly banging your forehead against the wall. Colorado Republicans will surely let us know when this works.

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Colorado: On The Front Line Of Abortion Rights

A story yesterday from Jennifer Brown at the Colorado Sun worth reading in full discusses the growing number of women seeking abortions in Colorado as states across the nation pass restrictions up to and including outright challenges to the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling establishing abortion rights nationwide:

The number of women receiving financial help from a Colorado fund that pays for abortions is climbing as other states continue to enact abortion restrictions and bans.

The fund, managed by the nonprofit abortion rights group Cobalt, helped 20 times as many women last year compared with four years ago, according to fund data provided to The Colorado Sun. And it spent $204,000 helping pay for abortions and travel compared with less than $6,000 in 2017…

The dramatic jump in fund activity comes as numerous other states pass laws restricting abortion, including so-called “heartbeat” laws that prohibit abortion after a heartbeat is detected. A medical exam can detect a heartbeat as early as six weeks into pregnancy, before some women know they are pregnant.

In recent years, Republican-controlled state legislatures have passed literally hundreds of new laws imposing restrictions on abortion care ranging from the merely tedious to major violations of privacy for both doctors and patients. The “heartbeat” abortion ban laws are being passed to serve as vehicles for challenges to Roe v. Wade before the post-Trump 6-3 conservative U.S. Supreme Court majority. The Court will hear arguments on Mississippi’s 15-week abortion limit law this fall, and a significant weakening or even overturning of Roe v. Wade is a very likely outcome.

Here in Colorado, abortion rights have been upheld repeatedly in statewide votes on abortion ban measures as well as legislative defeats of Republican attempts to criminalize and hamstring abortion rights. In 2020, a 22-week abortion ban was shot down by Colorado voters 59-41%. In a post-Roe America, Colorado can be expected to remain a haven for abortion care with increasing numbers of “reproductive refugees” making the trek to Colorado for procedures they can’t get in their home states.

Despite the sense of safety that comes from well-padded Democratic majorities in the Colorado legislature, abortion rights activists warn every year that the reproductive freedom we take for granted here is only one election away from jeopardy. Once Colorado becomes an island of accessibility surrounded by red states who will shut down abortion rights the moment they legally can, the responsibility to protect those rights–and the reactionary pressure to undo them–will only grow.

One thing’s for sure. Abortion isn’t going away as a major political issue in Colorado. We will be dealing with the impacts of decisions at the federal level, as well as the unfulfilled desire by local Republicans to match their colleagues’ “success” in other states, past any horizon we can see today.

If you’re of the substantial class of politicians and pundits who hates talking about abortion because you find it unpleasant or too divisive for polite company, the next few years are going to be rough.

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (June 1)

One year ago today, then-President Trump ordered peaceful protestors to be tear-gassed so that he could do a photo op with an upside-down Bible. 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

Texas Democrats did their part in trying to stop the latest Republican effort to severely restrict voting rights. Now they’re calling on Congress to join the battle, as The Washington Post reports:

Texas Democrats who defeated a Republican effort to pass a suite of new voting restrictions with a dramatic late-night walkout from the state House chamber on Sunday have a message for President Biden and his allies in Congress: If we can protect voting rights, you can, too.

The surprise move by roughly 60 Democratic lawmakers headed off the expected passage of S.B. 7, a voting measure that would have been one of the most stringent in the nation, by denying Republicans a required quorum and forcing them to abruptly adjourn without taking a vote.

The coordinated walkout just after 10:30 p.m. Central time jolted the national debate on voting rights, putting the spotlight on Democratic-backed federal legislation that has been stalled in the Senate all spring, even as state Republicans move to enact new voting rules…

…Republicans control every branch of Texas government and hold firm majorities in both the House and Senate. While Gov. Greg Abbott (R) vowed late Sunday to bring the voting measure back at a special legislative session for redistricting later this year — and threatened to defund the legislature in a tweet on Monday — the walkout represented an unmistakable and shocking defeat for Republican leaders who had assumed the bill would pass ahead of the House’s midnight deadline to finish its 2021 business.

 

We’ve seen and heard the conspiracy theories — including from the “MyPillow Guy” — but this is the first time we’ve seen a real reporter confirming that Donald Trump actually buys into this crap. As Maggie Haberman reports for The New York Times, Trump apparently REALLY BELIEVES that he will be “reinstated” as President in August.

 

The Denver Post reports on changes to health restrictions related to COVID-19:

Planners of large indoor events will no longer need the state’s approval to host more than 500 people according to a public health order issued Monday by Colorado’s state health department.

The amended order from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment goes into effect on Tuesday as transmission of COVID-19 and hospitalizations due to the disease level off. The order is scheduled to expire July 1.

“Individuals are encouraged to remain at least 6 feet away from non-household contacts, wash their hands, and wear a face covering to reduce the likelihood of disease transmission,” the order states. “As we continue to combat COVID-19 in our communities, continuing some limited requirements to mitigate disease spread remain appropriate.”

In related news, you may want to double-check that your name is included for a $1 million COVID vaccination award drawing.

 

Let’s catch you up on state legislative news…

Colorado Public Radio looks at how Democrats are moving forward with important new programs for Coloradans.

Colorado could become just the third state in the country to pass a data privacy law.

A bill that would give Colorado more power in restricting charter schools was voted down in a committee hearing.

Denver7 ponders what might happen to the 200 bills still on the legislative calendar with less than two weeks left in the 2021 session.

Republican lawmakers call vaccine requirements “discrimination,” because of course they do.

Democrats are working on legislation that could cut the cost of prescription drugs by as much as 40% in Colorado. This includes a bill that would fix a hole in Colorado’s insulin price cap.

Lawmakers are pushing ahead with a bill that would tell HOAs to stop being so damn bossy.

 

 

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

 

(more…)

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The House GOP Rebellion Isn’t About Any One Vote

House Minority Leader Hugh McKean (R-Loveland)

Colorado Public Radio’s Bente Birkeland follows up on a story we’ve been watching develop over the last week and a half, renewed infighting among the Colorado House Republican Minority after a mistaken vote by House Minority Leader Hugh McKean in favor of legislation to tighten background check requirements for gun sales.

McKean, as we discussed in this space ten days ago, immediately tried to take back his fat-fingered misvote, which wouldn’t have affected passage of the bill, but Democrats refused to allow it with Majority Leader Daneya Esgar shading McKean gloriously: “I understand and appreciate your situation, and will take this moment to remind us all that on third readings, we really should have our computers closed and our phones down and paying attention.”

Every bit as noteworthy is the pummeling McKean received after this mistaken vote from his putative allies at Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, who despite knowing the vote was a mistake tore into McKean in a message to their devoted supporters calling for McKean to immediately step down as Minority Leader.

And that’s where Birkeland picks up the story:

The political fallout for McKean was swift. The pro-Second Amendment group Rocky Mountain Gun Owners — which already opposed McKean’s leadership role — immediately put messages on social media about his quote “anti-gun” vote and asked him to step down.

“In my opinion, there’s two things that drove him to do this,” said the group’s head, Taylor Rhodes in a Facebook video. “Either A, it truly was a mistake and he’s incompetent or B, it was truly showing his true colors.”

Jim Pfaff, the former chief of staff for the Republican House Caucus who stepped down when McKean took over the leadership, called him a “gun-grabber” on Facebook, and said he sides with the radical left…

Not only has the vote caused McKean problems politically and within his fractured caucus, but he also said it hasn’t helped the already tense relationship between Republicans and Democrats in the House.

So if by this point you’re thinking to yourself that this is being milked for all it’s worth and then some, you’re not alone. By any objective measure the castigation of McKean over this immediately acknowledged mistake has absurdly exceeded the scope of the offense.

So what’s really happening here? Simple: it’s the Colorado Republican Party’s civil war raging on.

McKean took over as House Minority Leader last November after his predecessor Rep. Pat Neville declined to run again citing division in the caucus over his continued leadership. First in 2018 and recovering no ground in the 2020 elections, Neville led the GOP House Minority to historic defeat while managing to alienate just about everyone–from the press to many fellow Republicans–with self-immolating rhetorical grandstands and downright thuggishness.

Despite these failures, Neville retains considerable support on the hard right side of the House Minority, who remain as belligerent as ever and want nothing to do with Republicans proposing a change of course to win back independent voters who decide elections in this state. Incidents like Rep. Ron Hanks’ recent threat to break McKean’s neck for pulling the plug on parliamentary obstruction tactics signal the ongoing tension between the hard right faction of the caucus and McKean’s leadership. Neville personally joined in the opportunistic bashing of McKean over his mistaken vote on AM radio.

In the end, the vote McKean is reaping the proverbial whirlwind over is just a pretext. What this is really all about is internal frustration by Republicans over their severe losses in recent elections in Colorado. This deep dissatisfaction is very difficult for even new leadership to manage, especially when the old leadership doesn’t understand how they helped create the problem. At the same time, there’s really nothing McKean can do to energize Republicans after inheriting the smallest minority in decades.

And so the cycle of Colorado Republicans eating their own continues with no end in sight.

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The Get More Smarter Podcast: Legislating With Lunatics

Rep. Ron Hanks (R-Crazytown)

This week on Episode #76 of The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii try to understand what it means that so many Republicans think Donald Trump is still President; we explain why Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) is full of crap; and we hear firsthand why Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) will have a hard time making a case for re-election. Also, our popular segment “Legislating With Crayons” gets its own mini-segment called “Legislating With Lunatics.”

This episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast won’t get you all the way through your Memorial Day Weekend road trip, but it’s a start…

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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Republican Claims of Gerrymandering Ring Hollow in Colorado

If you can’t beat ‘em, cheat ‘em! This is the Republican motto for the 2022 election, born out of “The Big Lie” that all good little Republican boys and girls are expected to endorse in order to avoid the wrath of Donald Trump and get around having to admit that the GOP lost both the White House and the U.S. Senate in 2020. 

Confronting your failures and assessing your shortcomings is an uncomfortable undertaking. Expanding your outreach to appeal to a broader swath of voters is difficult work. Adjusting policy positions to appeal to said voters requires engaging in arduous conversations. Preventing far-right candidates from winning Republican Primary Elections, and becoming liabilities in a General Election, demands a lot of organizing and planning. 

Republicans could reject Trumpism and try to understand what Americans actually want, but they seem to have come to the conclusion that it is easier and more comfortable to change the rules than to alter the way they play the game. 

“There is a very real probability that 2018 will be known as the election when it became apparent that the Republican Party no longer has the voter registration numbers to be competitive in Colorado.”

 — Post-2018 election memo from Republican polling firm Magellan Strategies

This is why Republicans are instead focused on trying to make it harder for people to vote in 2022. It’s working in states like Georgia and Texas, but not in Colorado. So the next step in our state is for the GOP to construct a different boogeyman: Gerrymandering.

Gerrymandering is a very real and very legitimate issue in American politics. As The New York Times examined in 2019, gerrymandering is particularly egregious in some pockets of the United States:

Currently, rigged maps tend to be most prevalent, and most tilted, in states under Republican control. That is in part because Republicans did exceptionally well in the 2010 elections, giving the party far wider control of state legislatures, which oversaw redistricting after the 2010 census. The national Republican Party had poured money and expertise into state legislative races with the specific aim of gaining control over redistricting; the Democratic Party had not.

Many political scientists consider the House maps in Republican-controlled states like North Carolina, Michigan, Ohio and Texas to have the most pronounced partisan slants. (Pennsylvania was also on the list until its map was redrawn last year.) Among Democratic-held states, Maryland, Illinois and — to some observers — California are regarded as the most tilted. Illinois is especially notable for its “pizza slice” division of metropolitan Chicago, using generous helpings of urban Democrats to offset the heavily Republican suburbs in district after district.

In Colorado, gerrymandering has not been nearly as big of a problem…unless you listen to a small but loud cadre of Republicans who are desperately trying to build a false narrative to convince members of Colorado’s Independent Redistricting Commissions that new district lines must be particularly helpful for the GOP in order to make up for the fact that they can no longer figure out how to win elections.

 

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (May 27)

Governor Polis has ordered flags to be flown at half staff in remembrance of eight people killed during yet another mass shooting — this time in San Jose, California. 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

President Biden is proposing a whopper of a federal budget, as Jim Tankersley reports for The New York Times:

President Biden will propose a $6 trillion budget on Friday that would take the United States to its highest sustained levels of federal spending since World War II, while running deficits above $1.3 trillion throughout the next decade.

Documents obtained by The New York Times show that Mr. Biden’s first budget request as president calls for the federal government to spend $6 trillion in the 2022 fiscal year, and for total spending to rise to $8.2 trillion by 2031. The growth is driven by Mr. Biden’s two-part agenda to upgrade the nation’s infrastructure and substantially expand the social safety net, contained in his American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan, along with other planned increases in discretionary spending.

The proposal shows the sweep of Mr. Biden’s ambitions to wield government power to help more Americans attain the comforts of a middle-class life and to lift U.S. industry to better compete globally in an economy the administration believes will be dominated by a race to reduce energy emissions and combat climate change.

Mr. Biden’s plan to fund his agenda by raising taxes on corporations and high earners would begin to shrink budget deficits in the 2030s. Administration officials have said the jobs and families plans would be fully offset by tax increases over the course of 15 years, which the budget request backs up.

 

Congressman Jason Crow (D-Aurora) is speaking out (again) about Republican efforts to ignore the January 6 insurrection. Via Talking Points Memo:

Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO), who served as an impeachment manager in the first impeachment of ex-President Donald Trump, warned on Wednesday night that failing to investigate the Capitol insurrection that Trump incited would be dangerous.

“We have a domestic terror movement in America,” the Democrat told CNN. “It has been enabled, it has been furthered, it has been legitimized by leaders at the highest levels of our country, starting with Donald Trump. That’s the sad reality.”

“If we are not honest about what it is we’re dealing with, if we’re not honest about the dangers of that movement, we will not address it in a way that we need to and we will be at risk,” he continued.

The Democrat asserted that the House’s bill to create a bipartisan commission to study the insurrection is “not just an exercise in history and making sure that the history books accurately reflect on January 6.”

“We have a current problem we have to address and we have to be honest about that and we have to do what is necessary to keep ourselves safe,” he said.

Crow could be referring to any number of Republicans, but his comments seem particularly well-suited for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. As Dana Milbank explains for The Washington Post:

The Senate minority leader told Republican colleagues that they should oppose the creation of a Jan. 6 commission, no matter how it is structured, because it “could hurt the party’s midterm election message,” as Politico’s Burgess Everett reported.

And so, as early as Thursday, McConnell will use the filibuster to thwart a bipartisan effort to prevent further attacks on the U.S. government by domestic terrorists — because he thinks it’s good politics for Republicans…

…McConnell, asked this month about the ouster of Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) from GOP leadership, and whether he was concerned that many Republicans believe Donald Trump’s election lie, replied, twice: “One hundred percent of my focus is on stopping this new administration.”  [Pols emphasis] True to his word, McConnell has blocked everything — even if it means undercutting Republican negotiators.

Performative obstruction is the Republican brand.

 

Is it any wonder that Republicans and Americans want very different things in 2022 and 2024? At least some Republicans are privately worried that Donald Trump really will attempt to run for President again in 2024.

 

The artist formerly known as “The Colorado Option” is on the verge of passing through the legislature after a few more tweaks. As Colorado Public Radio reports:

A proposal to create a new government-backed insurance plan passed another significant hurdle as Democrats voted to advance the “Colorado Option” through the state Senate on Wednesday.

The approval means that the bill is nearly guaranteed to become law. Once it’s in effect, new health insurance plans would be offered on the individual and small-group markets. That includes up to 15 percent of the state’s population, including hundreds of thousands who don’t have insurance right now. It would not directly affect employer-provided insurance…

…Democrats claim that the bill could lower insurance premiums 15 percent by 2025, allowing more people to afford a new insurance plan that is also designed to lower out-of-pocket costs. The bill would force insurance companies to sell the Colorado plan across the state, and it would allow the state to regulate the price of medical services to achieve those savings. Instead of a true “public option,” it’s more like a public-private option.

You may call it whatever you’d like; the bottom line is that the bill will cut health care premiums by at least 15% for Coloradans.

Here are a few more updates on news from the state legislature as Sine Die draws ever closer…

Legislation that limits the ability of emergency responders to use the drug ketamine is heading to the desk of Gov. Jared Polis.

Republicans who make opposing abortion their central tenet are trying to derail a bill that seeks to provide better maternal care services for women.

Colorado Public Radio reports on the latest iteration of a bill seeking to reform sentencing and prison populations in Colorado.

Legislation to speed up the process of bond hearings is nearing the finish line.

A bill to fund early childhood education made it out of a committee hearing.

Governor Polis signed a bill that ends a requirement for colleges in Colorado to use ACT or SAT scores as a guideline for admitting new students. The bill also ends “legacy admissions” for higher education institutions in the state.

 

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

 

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Republicans, Americans Want Different Things

New polling data released today by Quinnipiac University crystallizes the problem Republicans face in 2022 (and 2024). From a Quinnipiac press release:

As candidates begin to enter races for the 2022 mid-term elections, more than 8 in 10 Republicans (85 percent) say they would prefer to see candidates running for elected office that mostly agree with Donald Trump, according to a Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pea-ack) University national poll of adults released today. Overall, a majority of Americans (53 – 39 percent) say they would prefer to see candidates running for elected office that mostly disagree with Trump.

Asked whether they would like to see Trump run for president in 2024, Republicans say 66 – 30 percent they would. Overall, two-thirds of Americans (66 – 30 percent) say they do not want to see him run.

As Quinnipiac polling analyst Tim Malloy notes:

“The numbers fly in the face of any predictions that Donald Trump’s political future is in decline. By a substantial majority, Republicans: (1) believe the election was stolen from him, (2) want Trump to run again, and (3), if they can’t vote for Trump, prefer someone who agrees with him.”

These poll numbers are certainly good news for Donald Trump, but not so much for the Republican Party in general. Republicans overwhelmingly say they want to see a continuation of Trumpism in 2022, but the majority of everyone else is horrified at this thought. In short, this means that Republicans are more likely to nominate extremist candidates for office in 2022 who are not well-equipped to appeal to voters in a General Election.

This same trend is even more apparent when looking ahead to 2024:

Asked whether they would like to see Trump run for president in 2024, Republicans say 66 – 30 percent they would. Overall, two-thirds of Americans (66 – 30 percent) say they do not want to see him run.

Two-thirds of Americans DO NOT WANT MORE TRUMP. Yet here in Colorado, recently-elected State GOP Chair Kristi Burton Brown says that the Republican Party is “never” going back to the pre-Trump days.

Republicans have made it clear that they are determined to give America more of what it doesn’t want. This is not a political strategy that we would ever suggest, but what do we know?

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As Promised, Federal Aid Rights Colorado’s Fiscal Ship

Gov. Jared Polis (D).

Colorado Newsline’s Moe Clark reports on plans announced yesterday by Gov. Jared Polis and the Democratic majority leadership in the General Assembly to spend almost $4 billion in federal assistance coming to the state as a result of the American Rescue Plan passed soon after President Joe Biden took office:

Colorado Democratic leaders and lawmakers gathered on the steps of the state Capitol on Monday morning to unveil their preliminary plan for how to distribute $3.8 billion in federal stimulus funds from the American Rescue Plan passed by Congress…

State lawmakers will decide how to allocate approximately $2 billion of the allotment by June 12, the current end date for the 2021 legislative session.

More details will be released on where those funds will be allocated once state lawmakers introduce their forthcoming stimulus bill (or bills). These bills will go through the typical legislative process, meaning there will be multiple opportunities for members of the public to give input on the proposals.

Lawmakers plan to convene an interim committee during the summer and fall to determine how the remaining $1.8 billion will be spent. Lawmakers will then vote on the proposals during the 2022 legislative session.

During the acrimonious election-year debate last fall over a second round of economic relief legislation to help the country make it through the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the biggest sticking points for Republicans in Congress was aid to state and local governments. Although state and local governments were some of the hardest hit by revenue declines during the pandemic, and in many cases like Colorado have severe limits on the ability to borrow money to cover shortfalls, Republicans chose to vilify “wasteful” state and local governments and fiercely opposed what became known as the “blue state bailout.”

Then as readers know there was an election–actually a couple of elections–after which it became possible to pass the American Rescue Plan without any Republican support. The $3.8 billion in federal stimulus funds Colorado now gets to use to close the budget shortfall created by the pandemic as well as make new investments in housing, education, healthcare, and infrastructure is all money that Republicans in Congress, including Colorado’s three Republicans, did not want the state of Colorado to receive. And by refusing to even request funding for projects in their districts which have in many cases been waiting for years due to political objections to the process, Colorado Republicans are short-changing their constituents even more.

Federal pandemic aid won’t last forever, of course, and there will still be hard fiscal questions for Colorado to answer once this relief money has come and gone. But in the end, the good these investments will do will speak louder than the objections.

And voters, in the clearest terms possible, know who to thank.

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Republican State Rep. Threatens to Kill Caucus Leader

GOP Rep. Ron Hanks, House Minority Leader Hugh McKean.

It is not specifically against House rules to threaten to kill a fellow lawmaker.

This is one of the takeaways from an incredible story via Marianne Goodland of the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman. The bigger point: House Minority Leader Hugh McKean might be the most impotent legislative “leader” we’ve seen in decades in Colorado.

As Goodland reports, tempers got heated on Friday evening during a strategy session within the House Republican caucus. The GOP had spent the previous nine hours staging a “filibuster” of sorts against House Bill 1312, which involves raising the exemption for business personal property taxes through an increased tax on insurers, oil and gas companies, and the coal industry.

Ultimately House Republicans agreed to return to the House floor for continued debate, but this decision did not go over well with Rep. Ron Hanks (R-Cañon City), one of the GOP’s most prominent lunatics and someone who was literally right there in Washington D.C. during the January 6 insurrection. As Goodland reports for Colorado Politics:

…when the caucus returned to the House floor, sources said Hanks told McKean he would “break your neck.” As of Monday morning, Hanks had not apologized. [Pols emphasis]

“I have no comment on any conversations I may or may not have had within the Republican Caucus,” Hanks told Colorado Politics on Monday.

At least five other lawmakers in the Republican caucus, in addition to Hanks and McKean, heard the threat. Rep. Terri Carver of Colorado Springs stepped in to referee, said Rep. Matt Soper of Delta, one of the GOP witnesses.

Rep. “Raging” Ron Hanks.

Goodland notes that Hanks’ threat “doesn’t appear to violate any rules of the House,” although lawmakers probably never thought it necessary to explicitly prohibit making death threats against another legislator.

And what did Minority Leader McKean do about this disgusting display from one of his caucus members?

Nothing.

Again, from Goodland:

On Monday morning, McKean told Colorado Politics that “I don’t think the occasional times that tempers get a little frayed on the floor” matters as much as “what we do as a group.”

He declined to comment on Hanks’ exact words or whether Hanks had apologized for his threat.

On one hand, it’s not entirely surprising that McKean would shrivel up in response to Hanks’ threatening behavior; this is the same McKean, after all, who doesn’t even have the courage to speak out against colleagues who insist on regularly making racist comments on the House floor.

McKean has been an absolute disaster as House Minority Leader, a position he earned in November following another tough election full of GOP losses. Earlier in the legislative session, McKean promised that opposing a health care plan seeking to lower premiums for Coloradans by 20% would be “the hill we die on.” This was a weird line to draw in the sand, particularly when you consider that McKean doesn’t have the votes to come anywhere close to making good on such a promise.

McKean’s incompetence as House Minority Leader has been almost amusing if you aren’t interested in Republicans being successful, but this interaction with Hanks is different. It’s sad to watch such an impotent, bungling mess staggering around the State Capitol.

McKean spent much of last week complaining about being denied a “do-over” after he says he mistakenly voted YES on a bill that would make it harder for people convicted of a violent crime to legally purchase a gun in Colorado — an error that earned him the wrath of some Republican colleagues and the firearm enthusiasts at Rocky Mountain Gun Owners. We’ve even heard rumors of an attempt to oust McKean from leadership altogether, though a vote of “no confidence” on McKean’s leadership would be fairly redundant.

As for HB-1312, it passed out of the House on a party-line vote on Saturday and will next be taken up in the State Senate.

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Get More Smarter on Monday (May 24)

The end is near…for the 2020-21 school year, that is. 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

Colorado officials are announcing plans for spending $3.8 billion in federal stimulus money. As Alex Burness writes for The Denver Post:

Colorado’s top Democrats, both state and congressional, assembled on the steps of the State Capitol Building on Monday morning to explain their plan. About $2 billion will be allocated in the coming weeks, while the remainder will be spent next session.

“We don’t need to passively look toward better days,” Gov. Jared Polis said. “We have to actively bring them into existence.”

Some of the bigger spending proposals include $1 billion to fortify the state budget via K-12 spending; $817 million on COVID-19 recovery and relief; roughly $550 million to “build housing supply” and “remove barriers to increase housing affordability and address homelessness”; approximately $550 million to address mental and behavioral health; and $414 million for “shovel-ready” transportation, infrastructure, parks and agricultural projects.

 

Carrot or stick? Governor Jared Polis chose the carrot as his preferred method for encouraging more Coloradans to get back to work. In related news, Colorado’s most recent unemployment numbers are about the same as they were in March.

 

 The number of COVID-19 outbreaks in Colorado fell last week for the first time since late March. In an effort to get more Coloradans vaccinated, the state appears to be leaning toward implementing a lottery-type sweepstakes that has proven popular in Ohio.

 

Time is running out on the 2021 legislative session, and Republicans are working hard to waste every last minute. Here’s more on what’s happening in state legislative news:

Colorado Public Radio examines discussions underway around a big climate change bill in the legislature — particularly how it pertains to a ginormous coal plant in Pueblo.

Governor Jared Polis will sign the following bills on Monday: HB21-1099 (Policies And Procedures To Identify Domestic Abuse); HB21-1212 (Diversity Of Governor’s Appointments To Boards); HB21-1056 (Cost Thresholds For Public Project Bidding Requirements); and HB21-1186 (Regional Transportation District Operation).

Colorado Newsline looks at changes to legislation attempting to “de-populate” Colorado’s prison system.

CBS4 Denver takes credit for legislation dealing with regulations in assisted living centers.

Westword is tracking the progress of all the weed bills.

 

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

 

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The Get More Smarter Podcast: The Big Lie is The Only Truth

This week on Episode #75 of The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii discuss why “The Big Lie” is The Only Truth for Republicans. We also preview the remaining few weeks in the 2021 state legislative session; find a reason to discuss Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs); and consider the prospects of the most likely Republican candidate for…something in 2022.

But the big news this week is the return of “Canadian Jason Bane,” who tells us whether or not he might move back to the United States now that Donald Trump is no longer President.

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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Republican Lawmakers Call Their One Play

As Jesse Paul of The Colorado Sun noted this morning on Twitter:

 

This is not new territory for Republican lawmakers in Colorado, whose primary goal in every legislative session is simply to stop anything from ever being accomplished.

They tried it in 2019.

They tried it in 2020.

They’re trying it again in 2021.

Does this strategy actually work? Republicans seem to think it does, but opinions vary on whether this results in anything more than lengthening the day for lawmakers and journalists. It might be more effective now than it was in 2019, when Republicans opened the legislative session by demanding that the entire daily journal be read aloud.

The more important question is about why Republicans even want to be elected to the legislature in the first place when this is consistently their go-to strategy. There are a lot of other ways you could spend your day doing nothing (you can trust us on this one).

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Get More Smarter on Friday (May 21)

On this day in 2017, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus performed for the final time. 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

Colorado is seeing a rise in the number of younger people hospitalized because of COVID-19, which is why officials such as Gov. Jared Polis are making a renewed push to promote vaccinations. Westword takes a closer look at Colorado’s vaccination numbers, particularly among younger residents.

Colorado Public Radio has more on the shift toward targeting a younger demographic.

In related news, the World Health Organization says that worldwide deaths from COVID-19 could actually be triple the current number. The W.H.O. estimates as many as 8 million people have now died from the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) is not like most people. You see, most people would not repeat something that is quite obviously false without pausing to consider the plausibility of their statement. This week, Boebert claimed in an interview on something called Real America’s Voice that Texas has not seen a single COVID-19 death since dropping mask restrictions two months ago. Thousands of people have died from COVID-19 in Texas in the last two months, which is something that would not surprise 99% of the people reading this sentence.

 

Let’s get caught up on more news from the state legislature, which has just a few weeks left in the 2021 session…

The Denver Post looks at some of the big bills that still have progress to make before the end of the legislative session.

The Associated Press reports on proposed legislation that would study the response of law enforcement officials during police protests.

Denver7 reports on the latest discussions over a big health care savings bill.

Democrats are pushing a bill that would require ballot measures seeking to raise or lower taxes to clearly explain the programs that would be effected by fiscal changes.

Colorado Newsline reports on the consistent progress of legislation seeking to give more rights to agricultural workers.

 

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

 

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GOP Stands for ‘Bland Milquetoast,’ Says Neville in Response to Minority Leader McKean’s Voting Error

(With friends like these… – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Patrick Neville (R).

On a Colorado talk radio show Tuesday, former GOP House Minority Leader Patrick Neville (R-Castle Rock) lambasted a bill that would modify background check requirements for firearm purchases, exchanges, and transfers.

And at the same time, he took a swipe at his successor and rival, Rep. Hugh McKean (R-Loveland), who won his leadership position last year by proposing a shift away from the intra-party divisiveness and far-right positions that characterized Neville’s tenure.

McKean had mistakenly cast a ‘yes’ vote for the gun-safety bill when it cleared the Colorado House Monday.

In his interview with Peter Boyles on KNUS, Neville did not miss his opportunity to attack McKean early on, with a comment that highlighted his lingering animosity from the contentious legislative leadership campaigns in November:

“You know, I’m not going to do exactly like he did to me, … and issue a press release and say he doesn’t fit the values of the party. But it did happen. … One of the most controversial bills we’ve dealt with all year, of course. … I spent a lot of time on it. And then yesterday, our minority leader accidentally voted for the bill.”

Presumably, Neville was referring to a press release from McKean in December admonishing Neville for “reprisal” in doxxing Denver Post reporter Conrad Swanson over an article about Neville’s leadership of the House GOP caucus, his handling of a House fund, charges of nepotism involving his brother Joe Neville, and a losing electoral record among GOP legislative campaigns.

McKean characterized Neville’s reprisal as “not acceptable and does not represent the values we, as Republicans, hold.”

In his interview with Boyles on Tuesday, Neville seemed to admit that the doxxing incident had been a mistake on his part, though he doubled down on his actions at the time when he came under criticism.

An email to Neville requesting clarification on this statement, and seeking comment for this post, was not immediately returned. This post will be updated with any response received.

Later in their on-air discussion, Boyles and Neville drift to the perennial topic of how the Colorado Republican Party can make a comeback in Colorado.

Neville identifies the need for strong, principled messaging and caucus unity among GOP legislators in order gain the trust and confidence of voters:

“The Republican Party hasn’t really stood for anything other than basically bland milquetoast,” said Neville. “And because of that, the voters don’t trust us. And then you see where it’s happening right now. We’ve got to have some intra-party discipline on some things.”

Neville illustrated his point by calling out state Sen. Kevin Priola (R-Adams County) for diverging from his caucus to support Senate Bill 21-260, a transportation-fee bill to fund infrastructure investment, despite an initiative passed last fall to apply TABOR restrictions to fees enacted by the legislature.

Neville also called out deceased former U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) for having undermined the repeal of Obamacare by voting with Democrats in 2018.

Neville wasn’t the only Colorado conservative to hammer McKean following his mistaken vote on Monday.

Late Monday afternoon, following his mistaken vote for the gun bill, McKean was criticized in an email blast from Neville’s longtime ally, Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, a hardline group, founded by Dudley Brown, that opposes all gun-safety measures, including background checks.

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (May 20)

For some of you, the end of the 2020-21 school year is just one week away. 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

It has been 198 days since Election Day in 2020. So much time has passed since the 2020 election that we are much closer to November 2021 than we are to 2020. But as The Washington Post reports, the concept of time is irrelevant if you are a true believer in The Big Lie:

At a public meeting last week in Cheboygan County, Mich., a lawyer from Detroit told county commissioners that the voting machines they used in 2020 could “flip” votes and throw an election. She offered to send in a “forensic team,” at no charge to the county, to inspect ballots and scanners.

In Windham, N.H., supporters of former president Donald Trump showed up to a town meeting this month chanting “Stop the Steal!” and demanding that officials choose their preferred auditor to scrutinize a 400-vote discrepancy in a state representative race.

And at a board of supervisors meeting May 4 in San Luis Obispo County, on California’s Central Coast, scores of residents questioned whether election machines had properly counted their votes, with many demanding a “forensic audit.”

The ramifications of Trump’s ceaseless attacks on the 2020 election are increasingly visible throughout the country: In emails, phone calls and public meetings, his supporters are questioning how their elections are administered and pressing public officials to revisit the vote count — wrongly insisting that Trump won the presidential race.

Why are Trumpians only concerned about the 2020 election? If time isn’t relevant, then why not demand a recount of Barack Obama’s 2008 victory? Hell, Jimmy Carter in 1976 — let’s start that one all over again!

Americans voted. Your guy lost. No matter how many times you count the ballots, your guy will have still lost. Move on.

 

Fighting continues to rage in Israel, though as The Associated Press reports, there is some hope for a cease-fire:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pushed back against calls from the U.S. to wind down the Gaza offensive, appearing determined to inflict maximum damage on Hamas in a war that could help save his political career. Still, officials close to the negotiations say they expect a truce to be announced in the next 24 hours…

…With hundreds already killed in the worst fighting since Israel and Hamas’ 2014 war, U.S. President Joe Biden told Israel on Wednesday that he expected “a significant de-escalation today on the path to a cease-fire” — but Netanyahu pushed back, saying he was “determined to continue this operation until its aim is met.” It marked the first public rift between the two close allies since the fighting began and poses a difficult test of the U.S.-Israel relationship early in Biden’s presidency.

Still, an Egyptian intelligence official said a cease-fire was likely late Thursday or early Friday, after the U.S. appeal bolstered Cairo’s own efforts to halt the fighting. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the delicate talks.

 

As The Colorado Sun reports, the artist formerly known as the “Colorado Option” is still moving along through the state legislature:

The bill would require the state to create a standard health insurance plan that companies would be required to offer at rates eventually 18% less than the plans they currently offer. If the 18% price reduction targets aren’t met by 2025, the state could dictate prices that hospitals and doctors charge to patients covered by the standard plan. The bill would require hospitals and doctors to accept the plan, resulting in fines and possible sanction on their licenses if they do not.

The goal is to make coverage cheaper for several hundred thousand Coloradans and also to chip away at Democrats’ long-held goal of reducing the underlying costs of health care.

Insurance companies are countering that they already have extremely thin profit margins — an argument that nobody with a functioning brain actually believes. It’s hard to believe that when you consider that Colorado Hospitals have the highest profit margins in the entire country.

 

Let’s get caught up on more news from the state legislature, which has just a few weeks left in the 2021 session…

The Colorado Times Recorder reports on bipartisan legislation dealing with information sharing between ICE and state agencies.

Colorado Newsline looks at potential new restrictions for medical marijuana patients.

The State House advanced legislation seeking to fund a transition program for coal miners.

Charles Ashby of The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports on the latest regarding a bill that would alter the timing of bond hearings.

Colorado could become just the second state in the country to cap prices for insulin.

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (May 19)

Happy Hepatitis Testing Day…and good luck. 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

The Associated Press reports on landmark legislation approved by Congress to address the issue of hate crimes against Asian Americans:

Congress approved legislation Tuesday intended to curtail a striking rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, sending President Joe Biden a bipartisan denunciation of the spate of brutal attacks that have proliferated during coronavirus pandemic.

“In the midst of a deadly pandemic, our nation has witnessed a horrific rise in violent, racist attacks against Asian Americans,” said U.S. Rep. Jason Crow, D-Aurora in a statement. “Across Colorado and the country, our AAPI neighbors, loved ones, and friends are living in fear of being targeted with racial slurs, physical intimidation, and deadly violence. Today’s bipartisan vote sends a strong message of solidarity with the AAPI community that hate will not be tolerated.”

The measure was approved by every member of the Colorado congressional delegation except Colorado GOP Congressperson Lauren Boebert, of Rifle. [Pols emphasis]

The bill, which the House passed on a 364-62 vote, will expedite the review of hate crimes at the Justice Department and make grants available to help local law enforcement agencies improve their investigation, identification and reporting of incidents driven by bias, which often go underreported. It previously passed the Senate 94-1 in April after lawmakers reached a compromise. Biden has said he will sign it.

The highlighted point above bears repeating: Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert WAS THE ONLY MEMBER OF COLORADO’S CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION to oppose the anti-hate crime legislation.

BTW, Tuesday was National AAPI Day Against Bullying + Hate Day.

 

University of Colorado President Mark Kennedy will get a $1.3 million compensation package for resigning from his job leading the state’s flagship university system. As The Denver Post explains:

The agreement outlining the details of Kennedy’s departure from the university presidency after two years on the job passed on an 8-1 vote, with Regent Heidi Ganahl, an at-large Republican, voting against the deal.

At the end of the virtual meeting, Kennedy wished the university system well and said he will continue to support CU.Wednesday’s special board meeting began with an hour-long private executive session followed by a motion presented by Regent Chance Hill, R-Colorado Springs, which asked the board to vote to allow Kennedy to carry out his original employment contract, which, if not renewed, would have ended in the summer of 2022.

Hill’s motion failed on a 3-6 vote with Hill, Ganahl and Sue Sharkey, R-Castle Rock, voting in favor.

Discussion around Kennedy’s departure included Republican regents arguing that CU was hostile toward conservatives. Kennedy, a former GOP congressman, was hired in 2019 on a split, party-line vote by the board, which was controlled by Republicans at the time.

No doubt $1.3 million will make a guy feel a lot better about people being mean to him. But the real treasure of this story is this unbelievably ridiculous statement from CU Regent Heidi Ganahl, who really hopes you don’t blame her for Kennedy when she runs for Governor:

Ganahl said: “I don’t think we should trouble ourselves with the illusion that Mark Kennedy’s firing was a great failing or fundamental error in leadership. Mark Kennedy is being fired for the high crime of not being a Democrat or left-wing academic to a new board majority who many days forget they serve the students of CU and not the (Democratic National Committee). In this case, their need to grind partisan axes will cost taxpayers and students millions of dollars.”

 

As Westword notes, Colorado may now be the #1 COVID-19 hotspot in the entire world. The good news: Infections and hospitalizations continue to drop.

 

Let’s get caught up on more news from the state legislature, which has just a few weeks left in the 2021 session…

State Rep. Dylan Roberts writes an Op-Ed for Vail Daily about some notable legislation making its way through the legislature.

Colorado Public Radio looks at whether Colorado can expand highways while also meeting Climate goals.

Charles Ashby of The Grand Junction Sentinel reports on the progress of a major transportation funding bill.

The Associated Press reports on legislation intended to protect women’s rights while incarcerated.

Senate Democrats approved a bill that will allow local municipalities to make their own gun safety laws.

Governor Jared Polis signed legislation on Tuesday that makes it illegal to doxx health care workers.

Search and rescue teams in Colorado are asking the legislature for more resources to do their thing.

Denver7 reports on a bill we’ll call “marijuana potency 2.0.”

 

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

 

(more…)

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Gun Nuts Vow To Destroy GOP House Leader

House Minority Leader Hugh McKean.

FOX 31 reports on the passage yesterday in the Colorado House of new gun safety bills introduced in response to the mass shooting at a Boulder supermarket in March, including a bill banning gun purchases for five years for those convicted of a range of violent misdemeanor crimes that might have prevented the Boulder shooter from obtaining the assault rifle used in that crime:

Monday was a busy day over at the capitol as lawmakers tackled gun control, mental health and police accountability all in day.

Bill HB21-1298 expands background requirements for firearm transfers. A person convicted of specific violent misdemeanor offenses, like sexual assault, cruelty to animals and child abuse, would be prohibited from buying firearms for five years. The vote was 42-21 in favor of the bill.

“Colorado is showing that we can do so much more than offer thoughts and prayers in the wake of mass shootings,” said bill sponsor Rep. Judy Amabile, D-Boulder.

Public radio reporter Scott Franz took note of a miscue from GOP House Minority Leader Hugh McKean, after McKean apparently fat-fingered the “yes” button on the background check bill he meant to oppose:

Dudley Brown of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners.

But Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, the powerful “no compromise” gun rights group with a long history of backstabbing fellow Republicans who show even the slightest sign of reasonableness on the issue, isn’t buying McKean’s claim that his “yes” vote was accidental–sending out an email blast to their supporters yesterday afternoon after the vote so loaded with vitriol against McKean it’s about to pop:

[T]he vote just came in for HB21-1298, a bill expanding our already extensive background checks, and it looks like the Colorado GOP has a snake in its ranks.

House Minority Leader, Rep. Hugh McKean, voted YES on expanding Colorado background checks to purchase a firearm. This reprehensible bill infringes our Second Amendment and slaps law-abiding citizens in the face.

A RINO (Republican in Name Only) like Rep. McKean should NOT hold a leadership position in the Colorado Republican Party!

I urge you to call his office TODAY and DEMAND he step down from his leadership role…

Our SuperPAC will UNLEASH any and all available resources to get him out of office in the next election cycle so we can vote in a real Republican that will support the Second Amendment.

It’s unlikely that RMGO is not aware that McKean tried to take back a vote he claims was cast erroneously. They just don’t trust him, and retain enough enmity after their close legislative ally Rep. Patrick Neville was replaced by McKean last November that they don’t care to inform their members about this little detail.

Neville may have gotten the axe after two consecutive disastrous election cycles for Colorado House Republicans, but the Neville/RMGO faction within the Colorado Republican Party is alive and well–and still in control of the state party apparatus under longtime friend of RMGO Kristi Burton Brown. Attacking fellow Republicans has always been what RMGO does best–and with the deep waters closing over GOP general election hopes in Colorado, their fight once again is turning inward.

If you’re a Democrat, make some popcorn and enjoy the show. This is great news.

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