We didn’t think that Rep. Steve King’s “touchy” anti-public masturbation bill (we’re not going to get to say that very many more times so we are shamelessly milking it, we admit) was a bad idea in the abstract–but the Grand Junction Sentinel, taking a larger view of King’s recent mentions in the news, finds his performance less than exemplary:
When a House Ethics Committee began looking into allegations that state Rep. Steve King improperly intermingled state legislative reimbursement funds and campaign money, the Grand Junction Republican claimed it was a politically motivated attempt to stymie his plans to be elected to the state Senate.
Far be it from us to argue that politics aren’t involved on a committee that, by its very nature, is made up of politicians.
But it appears to us that King is doing his level best to stymie his own election ambitions – or that would be the case if there were anyone challenging King in the Senate District 7 race…
The latest case of King’s creating his own obstacle is his oh-so-critical legislation – a bill that would boost the penalty for masturbating in public from a petty offense to a misdemeanor.
The typical response from most people upon hearing of this piece of legislation is: “Really? Is that a big problem?”
The short answer is: no.
King says the bill is needed to distinguish between those who commit intentionally lewd public sexual acts and those who do something stupid, such as urinate in public.
He also said he was asked to carry the bill by the Colorado District Attorneys Council. However, a spokesman for the council told The Daily Sentinel’s Charles Ashby it wasn’t the state’s prosecutors, but a defense attorneys’ group that is pushing for the change. One local defense attorney said the change is unnecessary, and that it will eliminate judicial discretion available in such cases.
But more than the content itself, the bill goes to the heart of King’s judgment.
In the midst of the worst state budget crisis since the Great Depression, is it really important to carry a bill on public masturbation when there is hardly a public or official clamor for it?
First of all, we’re amazed that King is going around saying that he was asked by the Colorado District Attorney’s Council to run the bill, which apparently isn’t true at all. How shady is that?
Since hackneyed, wanky (last one, sorry), politically counterproductive legislation has been a well-trafficked subject on this blog and elsewhere, it’s tough to argue with the Sentinel. They conclude with more or less an open appeal for someone to challenge King for Josh Penry’s SD-7 seat–with an explicit nod to the local Democratic Party’s newly-energized recruitment effort.
So to our healthy Mesa County community, who’s on the bench in SD-7? And given that this district is about as safely GOP as anyplace in the state, what do you realistically think about Democratic prospects here? As you can imagine, there are Democrats we know who would view the possibility of picking off Josh Penry’s Senate seat as extra-sweet, but the way things look now, we don’t see anything to stop Rep. King introducing deridable bills, and using his campaign funds for “payday loans” in 2011 as Senator King.