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► Coronavirus news!
Governor Jared Polis is “thrilled” at the news of a potential third COVID-19 vaccine, this one from Johnson & Johnson.
As The New York Times reports, COVID rates at nursing homes across the country are declining much faster than in other populations.
► Congresswoman Deb Haaland, President Biden’s nominee for Interior Secretary, has committed to visiting Grand Junction, the new home of the Bureau of Land Management. As Justin Wingerter reports for The Denver Post:
Haaland told Democratic Sen. John Hickenlooper on Tuesday that she will visit Grand Junction as she weighs whether to keep the headquarters there or return it to Washington, D.C.
“I will look forward to consulting more on this issue with you and I understand that we absolutely need to make sure that the staff members are — that we have a full team there at BLM,” Haaland said during a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing.
After years of bipartisan lobbying by Colorado politicians and Grand Junction business groups, the Department of the Interior announced in July 2019 that it would move its headquarters to the Western Slope city and expand its presence at other non-D.C. offices, including one in Lakewood.
About 87% of the agency’s D.C.-based employees quit in response and environmental groups accused then-President Donald Trump of dismantling the agency that oversees the nation’s public lands. Hickenlooper and Sen. Michael Bennet, also a Democrat, have long supported the headquarters move and both said Wednesday that they welcome Haaland’s visit.
► What’s going on at the State Capitol? Glad you asked…
The Colorado Sun reports on efforts in the state legislature to give sexual assault survivors more time to file suit against their abusers.
Westword takes note of four ridiculous pro-gun measures being introduced by Republican lawmakers.
Fox 31 Denver looks at legislation meant to hold careless drivers more accountable.
CBS4 Denver reports on legislation that would ban the use of high school mascots that may be insensitive to indigenous populations. CBS4 Denver also reports on a plan to create a “Health Service Reserve Corps” modeled after the National Guard.
Denver7 reports on three bills related to “woofs” in Colorado.
More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…
As Promised, More Words…
► Colorado lawmakers are working on legislation that would opt students out of state-issued standardized tests this year, but there’s a catch. From The Denver Post:
If the bill passes, Colorado would still need a waiver from federal education officials to be able to forgo the tests. Biden administration officials this week said they expect states to issue assessments to evaluate and support students where they’ve fallen behind during the pandemic.
Rico Munn, superintendent of Aurora Public Schools, supports suspending standardized tests due to the toll on both staff and students.
“You essentially stop instruction for period of time in order to do all the testing and all protocols. We’ve lost a lot of instruction time and we place a higher value on that,” Munn said. “Everyone is pretty clear that standardized testing increases stress in a school environment. What our kids are clearly telling us is they already feel a significant amount of stress… When you compare that against the data we would expect to get, it don’t seem that it’s worth the tradeoffs.”
► Colorado Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper are both backing legislation to overhaul the nation’s immigration rules and regulations.
► You know things are going poorly with the Republican Party when one of its leaders has to deliver a speech suggesting that the GOP go ahead and NOT align itself with white supremacists.
► According to research from AAA, Americans aren’t yet ready to embrace self-driving cars. From a press release:
The long-promised, fully automated car of the future will get here eventually, although lukewarm consumer sentiment will present significant adoption challenges for automakers and tech companies. That’s the takeaway from AAA’s annual automated vehicle survey, which found that 54 percent of Americans are afraid to ride in a self-driving vehicle, while 32 percent say they’re unsure about the technology – roughly unchanged from last year’s results.
“As with any new technology, the roll-out of a fully self-driving fleet requires consumer trust, buy-in, and interest,” said Skyler McKinley, regional director of public affairs for AAA. “We’re just not seeing that yet, although our research is clear that people are ready to embrace new vehicle technology if they think it will make driving safer.”
► Former Denver elections head Amber McReynolds has been nominated by President Biden to join the Board of Governors at the U.S. Postal Service, in what is a key step toward the eventual dismissal of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.
► Congresswoman Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) is upset that nobody asked her opinion about public lands legislation that Democrats have been attempting to pass for 20 years.
► Boebert’s former campaign manager says that the freshman Representative is actually entitled to MORE mileage reimbursement money than the more than $22,000 she has already claimed from her campaign coffers.
The Grand Junction Sentinel, meanwhile, follows up on news that Boebert’s campaign filed adjustments to its original campaign finance report that included Boebert’s big check:
Instead of showing a single mileage reimbursement of $21,199, the revised report shows she was paid $17,280 for mileage, $866 for cab rides between Sept. 27 and Nov. 7, $2,152 for hotel stays and $3,053 for an unknown “travel reimbursement.”
That totals to $23,351.
Those reimbursements don’t include the $1,059 she gave herself for mileage in March, the $7,918 she received in September for undisclosed reasons, or the $714 she paid herself for Uber costs while in Washington, D.C., between Nov. 24 and Dec. 31.
Altogether, Boebert reimbursed herself more than $32,000, according to her campaign finance filings with the Federal Election Commission.
As we noted back in December when Colorado Pols first reported Boebert’s unusual reimbursements, this is a TON of money compared to her predecessor, former Rep. Scott Tipton.
► Since we’re on the subject of Qaucus Members, Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene found another way to be a spectacular asshole. As The Washington Post reports:
After a contentious debate on the Equality Act, which would extend civil rights protections to the LGBTQ community, Rep. Marie Newman (D-Ill.) on Wednesday raised a transgender pride flag outside her office — which happens to sit directly across from the office of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), one of the bill’s most vocal opponents.
“Our neighbor, [Greene], tried to block the Equality Act because she believes prohibiting discrimination against trans Americans is ‘disgusting, immoral, and evil,’” Newman, who has a transgender daughter, wrote on Twitter with a video of her hanging the flag. “Thought we’d put up our Transgender flag so she can look at it every time she opens her door.”
Greene, who lost her committee memberships by promoting false and extremist claims, quickly responded with her own video mocking Newman’s earlier tweet as she hung up a poster that said: “There are TWO genders: Male & Female. Trust The Science!”
There’s no truth to the rumor that Greene also built a fort out of cardboard boxes so that she can hide in her office from the mean equality people.
► Colorado Newsline looks at the lobbying efforts to move legislation to improve America’s transportation infrastructure.
► Congressman Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) is pushing legislation that would add three new federal trial judges to the bench in Colorado.
► As 9News reports, family and friends of a man charged in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol are shocked that the man they know turned out to be a violent lunatic.
► Xcel Energy says it will cut greenhouse gas emissions by 85% by the year 2030.
► The editorial board of The Washington Post warns of Republican efforts across the country to make it HARDER to vote in future elections:
Unable to persuade a majority of voters to vote for their presidential standard-bearer or Senate candidates in some key races, many have decided that instead of trying to compete in a free and fair vote they will make the contest less free and less fair. Republican state lawmakers are introducing voter-suppression bills all over the country. But ground zero is Georgia, where former president Donald Trump and two Republican Senate incumbents unexpectedly lost.
Two monstrous election bills emerged in the Georgia state legislature this week. One, in the state Senate, would end no-excuse absentee voting. Only Georgians who meet specific criteria, such as being over 65, could cast mail-in ballots. Even if they have a valid excuse, the bill would require voters to find witnesses to sign their absentee ballots, and voters would have to attach photocopies of their IDs, making the process vastly more difficult…
…Congress must step in, requiring that states run federal elections in a convenient, open and fair manner. That includes absentee-ballot policies based in reality, ample early voting, smart post-election audits and an end to partisan gerrymandering. Democrats have a bill — H.R. 1 — that would do this and more. It must be a top priority this session.
► The University of Colorado-Boulder says it will offer “even more in-person experience” this fall. We have no idea what that means.
Say What, Now?
► Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) is mostly worried about states that don’t rhyme with “Molorado”:
Breaking 🚨 I’m calling on @HHSGov to investigate Gov. Cuomo’s nursing home coverup scandal. It is clear that Gov. Cuomo is purposely falsifying nursing home deaths to avoid political backlash. We need a full and public accounting of his admin’s actions. Read below: https://t.co/iqMi2s27fy
— Rep. Doug Lamborn (@RepDLamborn) February 25, 2021
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► Republicans looking for someone to back in 2024 have a choice: Trump, Trump, or Trump?
► This Republican State Representative from Ohio is (still) a big believer in the idea that the coronavirus is not as big of a deal as it has been made out to be:
GOP State Rep. Diane Grendell says about Amish people in Ohio dying of COVID-19: “They’ve culled the herd, so to speak”
Grendell is one of Ohio’s biggest critics of coronavirus mitigation efforts pic.twitter.com/ve03Z5DZF5
— Tyler Buchanan (@Tylerjoelb) February 24, 2021
► Australia passed a new law that requires Internet giants like Google and Facebook to actually pay money for local news content.