Happy International Women’s Day, everyone! It’s time to 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 a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.
TOP OF MIND TODAY…
► The State Senate is on the verge of grinding to a halt because Republican Senate President Kevin Grantham is completely abdicating responsibility on taking action against members of his caucus accused of sexual harassment. Both the Denver Post and Aurora Sentinel published editorials on Wednesday afternoon that were highly critical of Grantham’s inaction.
► President Trump appears to be wavering on his proposals for imposing strict steel and aluminum tariffs. As the Washington Post explains:
President Trump said Thursday he would soon announce tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, but he said he would be “very flexible” and exempt Canada, Mexico and an unspecified number of other allied nations, including possibly Australia.
Trump’s remarks at a midday Cabinet meeting came as his White House was enveloped in an air of uncertainty over when Trump would effectively launch a trade war with the tariffs and how many countries would be affected by them.
Trump reiterated that the tariffs would be 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum imports, but he promised flexibility in how the government levies them…
…Republican congressional leaders and even some of Trump’s own advisers were scrambling to convince the president to hold off on his announcement and abandon his plan for tariffs, warning of severe domestic economic ramifications and possible retaliation from global trade partners.
► Florida lawmakers approved a mixed bag of changes on gun control, as NBC News reports:
Florida’s House of Representatives on Wednesday voted to approve a gun and school safety bill that would raise the age to buy all firearms to 21 and impose a three-day waiting period for most gun purchases — and potentially put guns into the hands of some educators…
…The bill passed by the Florida House also provides new mental health programs for schools and provisions to keep guns away from people who show signs of mental illness or violent behavior.
The measure also prohibits “bump stocks,” devices which allow semi-automatic firearms to fire faster, and which police said were used in an Oct. 1 mass shooting in Las Vegas that left 58 people dead.
It also would create a so-called guardian program that would let some school employees and teachers carry handguns if they go through law enforcement training and if the school district decides to participate in the program.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott says he is unsure about whether he will sign the legislation because of his disagreement over the provision that would put guns into the hands of teachers and support staff.
► Senator Michael Bennet (D-Denver) is taking a lot of heat from Democrats over his support for legislation that would weaken oversight of the banking industry. Critics say the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act would significantly weaken the Dodd-Frank Act that was passed after the last recession.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► Remember when President Trump declared his support for banning the import of elephant trophies from big game hunting? Yeah, that’s already over, as the Washington Post reports:
It’s always suspicious when a federal agency quietly makes a major policy change and does not put out a news release about it. That’s what the Interior Department did last week.
Handing another win to the National Rifle Association, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service withdrew a ban related to importing elephant trophies from Africa. A March 1 memorandum, written in dense legalese, said the government will now allow hunters to receive permits on “a case-by-case basis” to bring tusks and other body parts back to this country.
This is notable because Trump chastised and then overruled his own political appointees at the department, led by Secretary Ryan Zinke, when they unveiled plans last November to lift restrictions put in place by Barack Obama. The president called the hunting of elephants for sport a “horror show.”
► Victor Mitchell is the third Republican candidate for Governor to submit petition signatures for ballot access.
► The Trump administration is losing top-level staffers at a record pace. Some 35 senior staffers have left the White House since January 20, 2017, leading to an astounding attrition rate of 43%.
► Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the shady relationship between Russia and Donald Trump continues to expand beyond election-related matters.
► Democrat Cary Kennedy is having a good week after a strong performance at Tuesday’s caucuses. The race for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination appears to be largely a two-candidate affair, with Congressman Jared Polis still the prohibitive favorite.
► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is expressing caution in response to reports that North Korea is interested in increasing diplomatic communication with the United States.
► Congressman Scott Tipton (R-Cortez) is promoting the Republican tax plan and President Trump’s proposed tariffs as beneficial to Colorado.
► Republican Polly Lawrence has turned in petition signatures for access to the GOP Primary ballot in the race for Treasurer. Fellow Republican Brian Watson submitted his petitions late last week.
► Republicans in the State Senate killed legislation that sought to prioritize the health and safety of Coloradans in decisions made on oil and gas drilling.
► Pennsylvania Republicans are bracing for an embarrassing loss in a special Congressional election next week.
► Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Nancy Rice announced that she will retire on June 30.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► Denver voters may soon get to vote on legalizing psychedelic mushrooms.
► President Trump is unhappy with press secretary Sarah Sanders because of her responses on Wednesday to reporter questions about a new lawsuit filed by porn star Stormy Daniels related to an alleged affair with Trump.
► Republican gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Coffman really, really, really doesn’t want to talk about abortion on the campaign trail — because she doesn’t have any idea how to answer the question and not lose Republican votes.