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*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website
*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
*How you can help in Colorado:
► Here’s the big coronavirus updates of the morning, neatly summarized by The Washington Post:
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered all workers in his state to stay home, except for those in essential services. The move came after California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered 40 million residents to remain at home. The dramatic measures came after confirmed U.S. cases doubled in just two days, in part because of increased testing. “I applaud them, they’re taking very strong, bold steps,” President Trump said…
…The U.S. tax filing deadline has been pushed back from April 15 to July 15. “All taxpayers and businesses will have this additional time to file and make payments without interest or penalties,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Twitter.
Over in Congress, Senate Republicans are pushing to complete a trillion-dollar stimulus relief package by the end of the day. President Trump announced on Friday that he is suspending payments on federally-funded student loans.
► There are some new closures and regulations from late Thursday that you should know about. As 9News reports:
Hair and nail salons, massage studios, tattoo parlors and racetrack betting facilities will be closed through at least April 30, adding to the list of “nonessential services” that already included dining rooms in bars and restaurants, breweries, wineries, gyms, casinos and theaters…
…The order from the Colorado Dept. of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) went into effect Thursday, the same day Gov. Jared Polis banned “non-essential” medical procedures, including surgeries.
A ban on in-restaurant dining was extended until April 30. Also on Thursday, Gov. Jared Polis opened a special health insurance enrollment period. From The Colorado Sun:
The enrollment period for uninsured Coloradans will begin on March 20 and last through April 3. People who need health insurance can buy plans on the state’s Affordable Care Act’s individual exchange — called Connect for Health Colorado — during that span.
Coloradans who have lost their jobs — or who may lose their jobs in the coming weeks — and find themselves without their employer-based coverage are allowed a 60-day window after their employment ends to enroll in an individual health insurance plan. There is no date restriction for people who fall into that category.
► As Blair Miller reports for Denver7, relief for small businesses in Colorado is on the way:
The state of Colorado and city of Denver both on Thursday announced initial economic relief packages to try to help businesses and workers affected by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Gov. Jared Polis announced Thursday that the Small Business Administration had granted disaster relief for small business loans in Colorado under the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program – something he had said he was seeking from the federal government in recent days.
The approval will allow small businesses, nonprofits, agricultural cooperatives and aquaculture enterprises affected by the virus outbreak to seek up to $2 million in low-interest federal loans to pay for debts, payroll and accounts payable, the state said.
But wait, there’s more…
Also Thursday, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said the city was creating an initial relief fund of $4 million to try to help small businesses affected by the outbreak.
The Denver Economic Development and Opportunity (DEDO) will have a program to give qualifying businesses cash grants of up to $7,500 – with prioritization given to the most-impacted industries, like the restaurant industry.
Congressman Jason Crow (D-Aurora) is introducing legislation to make it easier for small businesses to get new loans. The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade is considering diverting incentive funds meant for recruiting new companies to Colorado toward a program that would help current Colorado businesses remain afloat.
► North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr apparently gave dire Coronavirus warnings to a small group of people at a private luncheon in late February, at the same time that he was publicly downplaying the threat. But this is peanuts compared to Burr’s real problem right now, as CNBC reports:
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., is facing questions about his decision to sell between $630,000 and $1.7 million worth of stock one week before global financial markets began a historic slide in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
A second Republican senator, Georgia’s Kelly Loeffler, also sold large amounts of stock in late January and early February, when U.S. markets were hitting all-time highs.
Both Burr and Loeffler have received non-public information about the global spread of coronavirus from Executive Branch officials, who have been briefing senators regularly since at least January.
Read that again or just pause and let it sink in a bit more. At least four Republican Senators — Burr, Loeffler, Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, and Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma — appear to have dumped massive amounts of stock after being briefed on Coronavirus concerns.
Even Fox News talking monkey Tucker Carlson is calling for Sen. Burr to resign immediately. As Greg Sargent writes for The Washington Post, Burr’s insider trading is directly linked to President Trump.
California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein is also being scrutinized for selling a lot of stock in mid-February, though she claims that her assets are all held in a blind trust.
If you’re looking for political news that isn’t about Coronavirus, it’s available right after the jump…
SERIOUSLY, THERE WILL BE NON-CORONAVIRUS NEWS MOMENTARILY…
► Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has generally received high marks for his leadership during the Coronavirus outbreak. As The Washington Post editorial board writes, the response from Governors has been wildly different across the country.
► Polis was interviewed by NBC’s Chuck Todd on Thursday, where he called President Trump “a socialist.”
► As Ian Silverii writes for The Denver Post, we can hope for the best and hold our leaders accountable for mistakes:
I am honestly hoping and praying that the Trump administration handles this as well as is humanly possible. Lives are literally depending on it. This moment does call for something bigger from all of us. However, that does not obligate the people of this country to forget how we got here, nor does it prevent us from holding those who botched the response accountable for their words, their deeds, or their lack thereof.
► As NPR reports, the United States and Mexico are working out details of a partial closure of their shared border. President Trump’s advisers probably just told him that they built his wall.
► The Colorado Springs Independent explains the second big Coronavirus relief package passed by Congress.
► Oh, hey: Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Cortez) is doing a thing.
► Colorado Public Radio has more on Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet (D-Commerce City), the first state lawmaker to test positive for COVID-19:
Michaelson Jenet will be in quarantine for two weeks. It’s not immediately clear what this means for her role at the state legislature. Lawmakers had adjourned until March 30, and possibly longer. But they were scheduled to return to the capitol and take another vote on a potentially extended absence.
In response to news of the diagnosis, House Speaker KC Becker said, “We are all wishing Dafna the best and pulling for her as she fights off this virus. While I cannot speak for every lawmaker, I know that most are doing their best to follow the advice of public health officials and are staying at home.”
Becker said knowing that a member has the virus will factor into conversations about how long the legislature should stay on recess.
► Colorado would soon be rolling out legal sports gambling after the idea was approved by voters last November. The problem, of course, is that there are no sporting events taking place any time soon. Maybe we could place a wager on when the NBA will start playing again?
► The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment is dealing with a surge of unemployment insurance requests the likes of which CDLE has never seen.
► There are plenty of Colorado conservatives who are openly defying rules and regulations meant to slow the spread of Coronavirus. Elsewhere, The Washington Post reports on a bunch of conservatives near Kansas City who are shaking their fists at all of these so-called “precautions”:
► #GetMePPE is trending on Twitter this week as health workers put out the call to address an urgent need of supplies, including face masks. As 9News reports, some nurses are using sewing machines to create more masks.
► You can add Denver Mayor Michael Hancock to the (very) long list of public officials who are not pleased with how President Trump has handled the Coronavirus outbreak.
► The Denver City Council is trying to figure out if it can legally and logistically hold virtual meetings.
► Colorado’s 18th Judicial District is suspending most operations.
HERE IT IS: POLITICAL NEWS THAT IS NOT ABOUT CORONAVIRUS…
► Remember when former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was spending bajillions of dollars on a campaign for the Democratic Presidential nomination and promised to keep his campaign infrastructure in place through November — whether he was the nominee or not? Yeah, not so much.
As NBC News reports, Bloomberg is instead laying off staff and transferring $18 million to the Democratic National Committee:
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is transferring $18 million left in the accounts of his now-defunct presidential campaign to the Democratic National Committee and forgoing, for now, creating his own independent political group to help Democrats in November…
…Bloomberg will also offer to transfer campaign field offices the billionaire’s campaign set up and paid for to local state Democratic Parties as in-kind contributions. His staff, some of which were planning to transfer to work for Bloomberg’s independent entity in six battleground states, are all being laid off. They will be paid through the first week of April and have full benefits through the end of April.
“With this transfer from the Bloomberg campaign, Mayor Bloomberg and his team are making good on their commitment to beating Donald Trump,” DNC Chair Tom Perez said in a statement. “This will help us invest in more organizers across the country to elect the next president and help Democrats win up and down the ballot.”
However, this differs significantly from the message the Bloomberg campaign pushed since his entrance into the presidential race in November. The plan, if not the nominee himself, was to fund a sizable campaign effort through the general election working to elect the Democratic nominee, paying his large staff and keeping a sizable amount of offices open. [Pols emphasis]
► Perennial Republican Congressional candidate Casper Stockham is well on his way to (not) getting elected in every one of Colorado’s seven Congressional districts. As Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:
In a stunning move of musical congressional districts, Republican Casper Stockham on Friday is announcing plans to pull out of his run against Democrat Jason Crow in the Aurora-based 6th Congressional District and instead mount a campaign against Ed Perlmutter in the 7th Congressional District on the other side of the metro area, Colorado Politics has learned.
The switch paves the way for former state GOP chairman Steve House to seek the nomination to take on Crow without having to get past Stockham, who lost two bids against Democrat Diana DeGette in the Denver-based 1st Congressional District in previous years.
Stockham has maintained his residence in Aurora despite his political wanderings. There is no legal requirement that candidates for Congress must live within the district boundaries of the area in which they wish to represent.
Strategically, not much changes for Stockham. He wasn’t going to beat Rep. Jason Crow (D-Aurora) in CO-6 — nor will Republican Steve House — and he’s certainly not going to defeat Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County) in CO-7.
► The Colorado Republican Party has a new communications director.
► You probably won’t be surprised to learn that the Coronavirus outbreak has cratered campaign fundraising efforts.
► We all know what President Trump is doing in calling the Coronavirus “the China virus.”
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► This shouldn’t be a priority, naturally, but who would actually oppose the idea?
Real quick @jaredpolis I know you’re really busy but can we get an emergency declaration requiring people to mute their phones on conference calls, let me know thanks. 😂
— Matt Gray (@matthewogray) March 19, 2020
► Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson may have engaged in insider trading by dumping stocks after getting briefed on looming problems related to the Coronavirus outbreak. But that’s not the only thing that makes Johnson such an enormous dick (yeah, we know; don’t @ us). From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
“I’m not denying what a nasty disease COVID-19 can be, and how it’s obviously devastating to somewhere between 1 and 3.4 percent of the population,” he said.
“But that means 97 to 99 percent will get through this and develop immunities and will be able to move beyond this. But we don’t shut down our economy because tens of thousands of people die on the highways. It’s a risk we accept so we can move about. We don’t shut down our economies because tens of thousands of people die from the common flu,” Johnson said. [Pols emphasis]
► Well played, Monica Lewinsky:
— Monica Lewinsky (@MonicaLewinsky) March 20, 2020
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