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TOP OF MIND TODAY…
► Democrats in the State House are proposing a measure to expel Rep. Steve Lebsock from the legislature. We’ll update this story as more information becomes available.
► DACA recipients in Colorado are optimistic for the first time in months after the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of the Trump administration’s ruling from last fall. The Department of Homeland Security must continue to accept applications for DACA renewals beyond the March 5 date originally targeted as the end of the program.
► The United States Congress consistently polls as one of the most disliked organizations in the entire country. Ladies and gentlemen, your Republican majority:
Republican leaders in both chambers of Congress appear very wary of entering into a gun debate.
The House finishes work for the week this afternoon. The Senate GOP’s fast track effort to move a narrow, but bipartisan background check compliance bill was blocked Monday night, and the balance of the chamber’s week is scheduled to be spent on nomination votes.
Senate lawmakers in both parties are all over the map on what they want (or don’t want) to do.
Bottom line: If the first day back on Capitol Hill for lawmakers since the Parkland shooting was any indication, this time is not, in fact, different when it comes to the gun debate — at least so far.
Meanwhile, House Speaker Paul Ryan says that “We shouldn’t be banning guns for law-abiding citizens.” This is a completely nonsensical statement, since everybody is a law-abiding citizen until they commit a crime.
Change may not come as quickly as some might have hoped…but change is coming.
► As Attorney General Cynthia Coffman continues her quixotic efforts to win the Republican Gubernatorial nomination, she keeps running into more questions than answers.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► President Trump fired off a series of Tweets on Tuesday critical of the investigation into potential collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. As Politico reports, Trump is holding his fire on one person specifically:
One name notably absent from all these outbursts: special counsel Robert Mueller.
While Trump and many of his surrogates raise sharp doubts about other officials at the FBI and the Justice Department, the president holds his tongue about the man who leads the investigation into alleged ties between the Kremlin and his 2016 campaign.
That is no accident, according to interviews with several Trump advisers and members of his legal team, who see little gain in going after Mueller now — especially as Trump’s lawyers try to negotiate the terms of a possible Mueller interview with the president.
► President Trump said on Monday that he definitely would have run into a high school in Parkland, Florida in order to protect students and teachers. Conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin was not impressed:
Lacking a service record of his own, he repeatedly feels compelled to equate military service with other conduct (e.g. sexual promiscuity, military school). He longs to be in the company of military men, but fails to understand the ethos of the American military. (Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis had to talk him out of adopting torture as a policy. He thinks the military wants a parade to show off.) He tries to ingratiate himself with the police by telling them that it is fine to rough up suspects. During the campaign, he said about a protester: “I’d like to punch him in the face.” In office, he called the Kim Jong Un “short and fat” and then made an empty boast that his nuclear button is “bigger” than the North Korean dictator’s nuclear button. His efforts to project manly strength are laughable.
You don’t have to have a medical degree to notice his ocean of insecurity and his need to overcompensate. (“They say X has never been done.” “They say X is the biggest ever.”) And you don’t have to be a political scientist to see that his insatiable need to prove his own worth may lead to international confrontations and domestic dysfunction.
► Here’s Republican state Rep. Phil Covarrubias equating abortion with prostitution.
► Nobody sets out to win a Bronze Medal, but when it comes to submitting petition signatures for ballot access, you really don’t want to be in third place.
► The Colorado Independent reports on a strange story involving the death penalty:
A prominent criminal defense investigator in Colorado is in jail for refusing to testify in a capital case she says is in conflict with her religious beliefs.
Greta Lindecrantz, 67 and a devout Mennonite, had been subpoenaed by 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler’s office to testify in the appeal of her former client, Robert Ray, one of three men on Colorado’s death row. Ray and his co-defendant Sir Mario Owens were convicted and sentenced to death for the 2005 killings of Javad Marshall-Fields and fiancée Vivian Wolfe in Aurora. Ray’s appeal pivots partly on claims that he had inadequate legal representation at his 2009 trial.
Prosecutors hope that testimony from Lindecrantz – a highly respected, veteran investigator who has worked on several death penalty cases and in defense of detainees at Guantanamo Bay – will help them prove that Ray had competent legal defense and prevent his conviction from being overturned.
► A recall effort in La Plata County is related to wacky conspiracy theories about the United Nations taking over the world.
► The New York Times reports on a court case that could have wide-ranging significance for the LGBTQ community:
…a federal appeals court in New York ruled on Monday that a landmark civil rights law bars employers from discriminating against their workers based on sexual orientation.
The decision was a setback for the Justice Department, which under President Trump had unexpectedly interceded in a discrimination lawsuit filed by a sky-diving instructor. The department had argued that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act did not explicitly cover sexual-orientation discrimination in the workplace, a stance that put it at odds with another federal body, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
In rejecting the Justice Department’s argument, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit became the second appeals court to rule recently that the Civil Rights Act, which outlaws bias in the workplace on the basis of “race, color, religion, sex or national origin,” should also be extended to include sexual orientation. A third appellate court in Atlanta has ruled differently.
While gay rights groups hailed the decision on Monday, the ruling could create a scenario in which the issue of gay rights at work will be decided by a Supreme Court that already bears Mr. Trump’s imprint, with his nomination of Justice Neil M. Gorsuch.
► Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter is facing a federal investigation into alleged misuse of campaign funds, and Republican sharks are circling in an effort to take him out in a GOP Primary.
► President Trump met with a gathering of the nation’s Governors on Monday and received an earful regarding his proposal to get more guns into classrooms. As the Washington Post, Trump ended the discussion by doing what he does best: He punted.
As the hour-long discussion wore on, Trump seemed more and more inclined to leave all the specifics and complexities of arming teachers to others. He said the federal government “will help monetarily,” possibly with grants to cover $1,000-a-year bonuses for teachers who pack heat, but that the governors and local districts can tackle everything else. “Just go and do it yourself,” the president said at the end of the meeting. “We will be there to help you no matter what your solution is. But this is largely a state issue.”
► Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch may be the deciding vote on a landmark case related to the collection of union fees.
► It sure would be nice if Climate Change truly wasn’t real — then we wouldn’t have to worry about stories like this from the Washington Post:
The sun won’t rise at the North Pole until March 20, and it’s normally close to the coldest time of year, but an extraordinary and possibly historic thaw swelled over the tip of the planet this weekend. Analyses show that the temperature warmed to the melting point as an enormous storm pumped an intense pulse of heat through the Greenland Sea.
Temperatures may have soared as high as 35 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) at the pole, according to the U.S. Global Forecast System model. While there are no direct measurements of temperature there, Zack Labe, a climate scientist working on his PhD at the University of California at Irvine, confirmed that several independent analyses showed “it was very close to freezing,” which is more than 50 degrees (30 degrees Celsius) above normal…
…Such extreme warm intrusions in the Arctic, once rare, are becoming more routine, research has shown. A study published last July found that since 1980, these events are becoming more frequent, longer-lasting and more intense.
“Previously this was not common,” said lead author of the study Robert Graham, from the Norwegian Polar Institute, in an email. “It happened in four years between 1980-2010, but has now occurred in four out of the last five winters.”
Oh, and there’s this: Winter is dead.
► Colorado Republicans are already backing off of proposed legislation to ban so-called bump stocks.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► President Trump has selected Brad Parscale, the digital media director of his 2016 campaign, to serve as his campaign manager (for now) for his re-election bid.
► Democrat Jason Crow has a 44-39 lead over Republican Rep. Mike Coffman in CD-6, according to results of a new poll. This is the first public poll that has ever shown Coffman trailing a potential opponent.
► It’s time to go, Sen. Randy Baumgardner.