Get More Smarter on Wednesday (February 24)

You had better find your snow boots; the Front Range is looking at a big snowfall later today. 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 an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

The United States surpassed 500,000 deaths from COVID-19 this week, but as The Associated Press reports, good news is on the way:

COVID-19 vaccine makers told Congress on Tuesday to expect a big jump in the delivery of doses over the coming month after a rocky start to inoculations, and the companies insist they will be able to provide enough for most Americans by summer.

By the end of March, Pfizer and Moderna expect to have provided the U.S. government with a total of 220 million vaccine doses, up from the roughly 75 million shipped so far.

“We do believe we’re on track,” Moderna President Stephen Hoge said, outlining ways the company has ramped up production. “We think we’re at a very good spot.”

That’s not counting a third vaccine, from Johnson & Johnson, that’s expected to get a green light from regulators soon. The Biden administration said Tuesday that it expects about 2 million doses of that vaccine to be shipped in the first week, but the company told lawmakers it should provide enough of the single-dose option for 20 million people by the end of March.

Here’s more from CNBC on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine that is believed to be effective with just one dose.

As Meg Wingerter reports for The Denver Post, Coloradans could see more vaccine availability next week:

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment confirmed the state is expecting to move into Phase 1B.3 of its COVID-19 vaccination distribution plan “on or around March 5,” but didn’t offer any details about whether everyone in that phase would be eligible at the same time.

“Providing accurate and accessible information around vaccines and vaccination is a priority for Colorado and we will continue to do so as we prepare for the upcoming phases,” a representative of the state health department wrote in an email.

Gov. Jared Polis has said that a new phase will start when about half of eligible people in the previous phase have received the vaccine.

Check out The Denver Post story for more information on the next round of eligibility for vaccines. CBS4 Denver has more on a recent hearing in Congress about vaccine availability chaired by Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Denver).

Elsewhere, health officials in Jefferson County say they have reached a goal to vaccinate more than 70% of the county’s population of adults over the age of 70.

 

Back in December 2020, Colorado Pols first told you about an unusually-large reimbursement check that Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert wrote to herself in what appeared to be a blatant violation of campaign finance rules. The story has only gotten worse for Boebert since then, and this week her campaign made a clumsy attempt at re-explaining the questionable reimbursement. As Justin Wingerter explains for The Denver Post:

On Monday, Boebert’s campaign filed an amended report to the Federal Election Commission, reiterating that Boebert received $21,200 on Nov. 11 but claiming it was a reimbursement for mileage, travel expenses and hotel stays. Mileage accounted for $17,280 of the reimbursements, the campaign says…

…Boebert’s reimbursements and the Post’s reporting led to complaints this month with the FEC and the Office of Congressional Ethics, neither of which has said it will investigate. Michelle Kuppersmith, executive director of the watchdog group Campaign for Accountability, said Boebert’s amended report does not affect their FEC complaint that was filed Feb. 8.

“These expenses should have been disclosed in her December 3, 2020, report,” Kuppersmith said. “Either she didn’t keep the required mileage logs, or her treasurer didn’t ask for documentation before he reimbursed her for all of these expenses. The Boebert campaign has proven that its FEC reports are unreliable, so the FEC should properly audit the campaign to determine where else they may have failed to comply with the law.”

Colorado Public Radio, Fox 31 News, and Colorado Newsline have more on Boebert’s amended filing, which also claims reimbursements for Uber rides.

 

A State Senate committee killed a legislative attempt by State Sen. Paul Lundeen (R-Monument) that sought to make it MORE difficult to vote in Colorado. Republican Sen. Cleave Simpson of Alamosa joined with Democrats in snuffing out Lundeen’s dumb bill.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

As Promised, More Words…

 

As Jennifer Rubin writes for The Washington Post, it’s time for Congressional leaders to get tougher on their colleagues who waste everyone’s time in Committee hearings:

Republicans have adopted a slothful, unserious and disrespectful attitude toward governing. Democrats cannot make them into serious, conscientious legislators, but the least they can demand is that they observe “some modicum of respect” and avoid deliberate propagandizing on behalf of white supremacists. Given the choice between phony comity and responsible behavior, let’s choose the latter.

 

New Mexico Congresswoman Deb Haaland, President Biden’s nominee for Secretary of Interior, accepted an invitation to visit Grand Junction, which is now the home of the Bureau of Land Management. Colorado Newsline has more on Tuesday’s confirmation hearings for Haaland.

Elsewhere, USA Today is running an Op-Ed from the Udall brothers in support of Haaland’s nomination.

 

 Colorado Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper both voted to approve Tom Vilsack as President Biden’s Secretary of Agriculture. Vilsack held the same job in the Obama administration.

 

As The Washington Post reports, the next battle in the gerrymandering debate is about WHO gets counted when districts are being re-drawn:

In anticipation of redistricting, Republicans are eyeing a new tactic: For decades, states have equalized the numbers of people their districts contain. But the GOP is now pushing to equalize districts’ citizen voting-age populations instead. Under this approach, noncitizens and children would be invisible for remapping purposes. Only adult citizens would count.

Republicans think that by omitting non-adult citizens from districts’ populations, they would slash the representation of minorities and Democrats. Their logic goes like this: At present, many districts with non-White or Democratic legislators have relatively low proportions of adult citizens. So these districts would have to grow in size — and shrink in number — to acquire enough adult citizens to hit their new population targets. Conversely, many districts with White or Republican legislators have higher shares of adult citizens. These districts would shed some of their residents into adjacent districts in a world where adult citizens, not people, had to be equalized. These dispersed voters would tilt their new districts in a conservative direction.

But are these forecasts accurate? Remarkably, no one knows. To date, no academic study has examined the consequences of changing the unit of apportionment from all people to adult citizens only.

It’s more than a little fitting that Republicans pushing this new strategy don’t even know if it actually makes sense.

On the subject of redistricting/reapportionment, Sandra Fish of The Colorado Sun attempts to estimate how population changes in Colorado could drive the makeup of new boundaries; these are just speculative guesses, of course, since there is still SO much information that we don’t yet know about the Census count.

 

As Colorado Newsline reports, Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) is opposing legislation that would benefit much of her district:

…a legislative package that includes two long-anticipated Colorado public lands bills appears headed for swift passage in the House of Representatives — over the objections of the congresswoman who represents the Western Slope district where much of the affected land is located.

First-term Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert told members of a key House committee on Tuesday that she hadn’t been consulted on H.R. 803, the Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act. Introduced by Rep. Diana DeGette, a Democrat from Denver, the latest version of H.R. 803 is a package of eight public lands proposals including the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Economy Act and the Colorado Wilderness Act.

Together, the two bills would establish new or permanent protections for more than 1 million acres of federally-owned land across Colorado, the vast majority of it in Boebert’s 3rd Congressional District. Boebert has consistently opposed both proposals.

It’s pretty silly for Boebert to complain that she was not consulted on a bill that Rep. DeGette first proposed more than two decades ago.

 

The Colorado Times Recorder considers the future political aspirations of former Sen. Cory Gardner.

 

Colorado lawmakers are moving ahead with legislation intended to allow the state to skip standardized testing requirements for 2021. Lawmakers are also considering a bill that would allow alcohol takeout and delivery to continue indefinitely.

 

House Minority Leader Hugh McKean hired a former Trump administration official to be his chief of staff, because of course.

 

The Jefferson County School District, one of Colorado’s largest, will make a decision by the end of the week on a potential return to in-person learning.

 

Some 135,000 Coloradans have tapped into new federal unemployment benefits.

 

POLITICO reports on the first steps of a potentially massive investigation into the January 6 terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol.

 

► Former Leadville Mayor Bud Elliott has died from complications related to COVID-19.

 

Say What, Now?

 

► The word is “fiery,” not “firey,” unless Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert is comparing herself to an Australian firefighter:

 

Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

 

► Colorado Springs City Council Member Jill Gaebler is in trouble for a transphobic social media post.

 

► Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson is an absolute lunatic.

 

► At least you didn’t get this tattoo.

 

 

 

ICYMI

 

► House Democrats passed a COVID relief package despite opposition from the likes of Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert. The COVID stimulus package being promoted by President Biden is one of the most popular pieces of legislation in modern history — and Americans of all political stripes approve of how Biden is handling the pandemic.

 

Don’t miss the latest episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast, Trumplectric Trumpaloo!

 

 

Don’t forget to give Colorado Pols a thumbs up on Facebook and Twitter

 

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7 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. itlduso says:

    TX residents getting screwed by demand based utility bills were using the plan that best protected the environment.  For example, during the summer when electricity demand during the day is high the customer can choose to minimize their use during those peak periods. This plan created incentives to lower peak use and reduce the need for surplus power plants.  Unfortunately, the incompetence?, greed? of TX politicians allowed the utilities to charge up to $9/kwh compared to a normal 10 cents/kwh resulting in thousands of dollars in bills to customers last week alone. 

  2. Diogenesdemar says:

    J F C ?!? . . . 

    South Dakota’s AG charged with 3 misdemeanors in fatal crash 

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/south-dakotas-attorney-general-charged-in-fatal-crash/2021/02/18/a6b7c6d6-7222-11eb-8651-6d3091eac63f_story.html

    . . . "misdemeanors" ?????

  3. MichaelBowman says:

    Xcel Energy setting the pace for our New Energy Economy. This didn’t happen by accident; rural Colorado will be a significant beneficiary from these investments.

    This is fabulous news.  

    Xcel Energy reveals $8 billion power plan in Colorado anchored by renewable energy

    Xcel Energy plans to spend about $8 billion on new power infrastructure in Colorado and beat its goal for 80% carbon dioxide-free electricity by 2030 by adding more large-scale wind and solar power and natural gas.

    “Technology is allowing us to do this with affordability and reliability in mind, but we also know our stakeholders want us to do it. They expect us to address climate change,” he said. “They reward companies that do and, quite frankly, they punish companies that don’t.”

    The outlines of what Xcel Energy intends to build are: 

    • 2,300 megawatts of new wind power
    • 1,600 megawatts of new large-scale solar power farms
    • 400 megawatts of new energy storage, primarily batteries
    • Nearly 1,300 megawatts of new distributed rooftop and community garden solar 
    • Nearly 1,300 megawatts of dispatchable energy, chiefly quick-firing natural gas turbines that will replace expiring contracted power or replace retiring natural gas electrical generation.

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