Today is the 73rd anniversary of VE Day. 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…
► It’s (Primary) Election Day in several states. Voters will make some important choices today in Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio, and West Virginia.
In West Virginia, ex-con coal baron Don Blankenship might be surging at the right time. If Blankenship is able to win a three-way race for the Republican Senate nomination, re-election will get a whole lot easier for Democratic Sen. Joe Minchin (and the 2018 cycle will get a lot worse for Sen. Cory Gardner, chair of the NRSC).
In Ohio, Republican candidates are jockeying for the right to take on incumbent Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown in November. Also in Ohio, former Congressman and Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich tries to resurrect his political career with a victory in the Democratic gubernatorial primary.
Republicans in Indiana are fighting a nasty battle to challenge Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly, who is widely considered to be among the most vulnerable incumbents of 2018.
And in North Carolina…there are some moderately-interesting primary races for a couple of Congressional seats.
► The 2018 legislative session in Colorado comes to a close on Wednesday. In the meantime, lawmakers are rushing to complete work on several important pieces of legislation, including a transportation and infrastructure bill that was the first Senate bill introduced this year (SB-1). Blair Miller of Denver7 explains the transportation compromise:
According to the chamber leaders, the amended bill would put $495 million in General Fund money into transportation projects this year, and an additional $150 million next year.
The state would then send $50 million in General Fund money each of the following years.
The amended version also would ask state voters to approve a $2.3 billion transportation bonding measure in 2019, which the lawmakers say would be paid off by the General Fund appropriations. The funds would be split: 70 percent would go to state highway projects, 15 percent to local road projects, and another 15 percent would go to transit “multi-modal” projects.
The maximum estimated repayment could amount to $3.25 billion when combined with transportation money passed during last year’s session.
A contentious measure that would have allowed Colorado judges to order the seizure of guns from people considered a “significant risk” to themselves or others was rejected Monday night by Republicans in a GOP-controlled state Senate panel.
The measure’s demise comes after it cleared the Democratic-controlled House on Friday night by a 37-23 vote — with only two Republicans voting “aye.” One of those was Assistant House Minority Leader Cole Wist, R-Centennial, a prime sponsor of the legislation along with Assistant House Majority Leader Alec Garnett, D-Denver.
Despite its legislative failure, the “Red Flag” bill will likely reverberate for months as candidates for major office in Colorado are asked to give their opinions on the proposal.
► President Trump is expected to squash a waiver of sanctions against Iran, a key part of the United States’ participation in a controversial 2015 deal with Iran over its nuclear weapon pursuits. From the Washington Post:
The decision follows the failure of last-ditch efforts by the three European signatories to the agreement to convince Trump that his concerns about “flaws” in the 2015 accord could be addressed without violating its terms or ending it altogether.
While the deal itself contains no provisions for withdrawal, Iran has threatened to reactivate its nuclear program if the United States reneges on any of its obligations under the pact’s terms.
France and Germany, whose leaders visited Washington in recent weeks to appeal to Trump, have warned that nullification of the agreement could lead to all-out war in the Middle East. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, in Washington on Monday, said that as far as he knows, the administration has no clear “Plan B” for what to do next.
The New York Times reports that Trump has already informed French President Emmanuel Macron of his intentions to essentially scuttle the Iran deal.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► As CNN reports, President Trump is flustered with the media adventures of his newest attorney, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani:
Trump has grown irritated by Giuliani’s performances and the headaches he has caused as contradictory statements between the two flash across the chyrons on his screen.
The President was initially pleased with his new attorney’s brashness, but that has steadily eroded as the parade of interviews has continued. Trump was irked by Giuliani’s interview on ABC News Sunday, particularly the clip of Giuliani refusing to rule out him pleading the Fifth Amendment, which has since played on a near-constant loop on cable television.
► The real problem with PERA is not being addressed by lawmakers this year: The hundreds of millions of dollars in fees collected by Wall Street advisors for pushing investments that have drastically underperformed compared to benchmarks.
► Democratic Attorney General candidate Brad Levin appears to have used up the last of his appeals in hopes of getting his name on the June Primary ballot. From Ernest Luning of the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:
The Colorado Supreme Court declined to review motions filed late last week by Democratic attorney general candidate Brad Levin, who asked the court to takes steps to put him on the June primary ballot despite earlier rulings that he didn’t gather enough petition signatures.
Levin argued that signature verification methods employed by Secretary of State Wayne Williams and his staff unjustly excluded thousands of signatures, enough to keep the Denver attorney short of the 10,500 valid signatures required to qualify for the primary.
Levin also challenged Colorado’s petition process on constitutional grounds in earlier lawsuits but didn’t appeal those claims after a Denver District Court judge dismissed the cases last week.
The high court’s ruling leaves two Democrats in the primary — Phil Weiser, a former dean of the University of Colorado Law School, and state Rep. Joe Salazar, D-Thornton.
Levin was the only major-office candidate in Colorado this year to fail to make the Primary ballot despite legal appeals — though Levin’s arguments never made much sense.
► Colorado is essentially the guinea pig when it comes to state legalization of marijuana. As Matt Laslo reports for Colorado Public Radio and the Durango Herald, that distinction comes with a good deal of myth-making.
► Colorado lawmakers passed legislation giving additional protections to mineral rights owners in relation to a practice known as “forced pooling.”
► The Republican-controlled state Senate killed legislation intended to give local municipalities the ability to set their own minimum wage standards.
► Two bills dealing with redistricting changes are on their way to the desk of Gov. John Hickenlooper.
► Former White House economic adviser Gary Cohn is much happier now that he is no longer working for President Trump.
► Gina Haspel will face a Senate hearing on Wednesday as she seeks confirmation to become the new Director of the CIA.
► Marshall Zelinger of 9News breaks down the average teacher salary in each of Colorado’s school districts.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► Why President Trump’s legal strategy is like a monkey throwing poop at the wall.