Almost all of the weatherpeople say snowpocalypse is coming on Friday, which probably means it’s going to rain a little. Let’s 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 an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.
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► The Washington Post digs deep into Republican efforts to roll back voting access across the country:
The GOP’s national push to enact hundreds of new election restrictions could strain every available method of voting for tens of millions of Americans, potentially amounting to the most sweeping contraction of ballot access in the United States since the end of Reconstruction, when Southern states curtailed the voting rights of formerly enslaved Black men, a Washington Post analysis has found.
In 43 states across the country, Republican lawmakers have proposed at least 250 laws that would limit mail, early in-person and Election Day voting with such constraints as stricter ID requirements, limited hours or narrower eligibility to vote absentee, according to data compiled as of Feb. 19 by the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice. Even more proposals have been introduced since then.
Proponents say the provisions are necessary to shore up public confidence in the integrity of elections after the 2020 presidential contest, when then-President Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of election fraud convinced millions of his supporters that the results were rigged against him.
But in most cases, Republicans are proposing solutions in states where elections ran smoothly, including in many with results that Trump and his allies did not contest or allege to be tainted by fraud. The measures are likely to disproportionately affect those in cities and Black voters in particular, who overwhelmingly vote Democratic — laying bare, critics say, the GOP’s true intent: gaining electoral advantage.
The 2022 Republican Party: If you can’t beat ’em, cheat ’em.
► The House of Representatives on Wednesday gave final approval to President Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus plan. As The New York Times explains, the measure is expected to be a big boost for the American middle class:
The economic relief plan that is headed to President Biden’s desk has been billed as the United States’ most ambitious antipoverty initiative in a generation. But inside the $1.9 trillion package, there are plenty of perks for the middle class, too.
Whether they are direct stimulus payments, an array of tax benefits or an expansion of the Affordable Care Act, the bill will bring a big economic lift to middle-income families.
Congresswoman Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) was the lone voice on the American Rescue Plan for Colorado Republicans, offering up a confounding opposition speech on the House floor. This came only after Boebert and Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) joined with Republican colleagues in a silly attempt to adjourn at 10:07 in the morning.
Not a single Republican voted in support of the ARP. As Chris Cillizza explains for CNN, this is really not good politics for the GOP:
Republicans are in a political bind. They stand uniformly opposed to a bill that the American people really like. And they clearly have no real reason for their stance other than the unstated one: They weren’t consulted enough and didn’t want to give Biden a big win in his first 50 days in office.
That’s not a politically defensible position. But its the position Republicans find themselves in at the moment.
Meanwhile, Vice President Kamala Harris will visit Denver next week to promote the ARP.
► Let’s check in on the state legislature, where Republican lawmakers seem more interested in playing games over masks than anything else…
Colorado Newsline reports on a massive state stimulus package announced on Wednesday:
The $700 million COVID-19 recovery plan includes several elements of a stimulus proposal Polis released in the fall — housing assistance; shovel-ready infrastructure projects; workforce and economic development; rural broadband investments; and additional relief for small businesses.
Over the past year, Colorado’s economy fared better than legislators on the Joint Budget Committee expected last June when they cut $3 billion in state spending. So legislators from both parties and the governor’s office want to use some of the extra general fund money to help the state recover from the pandemic-driven economic downturn.
As Alex Burness reports for The Denver Post, the current legislative session could see the biggest changes to marijuana laws in Colorado since weed was first legalized in 2014.
The State Senate passed a bill regarding the reporting of lost or stolen firearms.
Legislation to remove a prohibition preventing municipalities from creating their own affordable housing regulations is moving forward.
The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports on a measure to fund out-of-school education initiatives.
► Nearly five years after being snubbed by Senate Republicans as Barack Obama’s final Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland was finally confirmed by the U.S. Senate…as Attorney General.
More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…
And Now, More Words…
► Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal is calling on The House Committee on Ethics and The Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert for her role in instigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. capitol.
Elsewhere, Westword provides its regular update on the comings and goings of Q*Bert.
► Union leaders are thanking Colorado Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper for supporting an effort to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour.
► Remember: Donald Trump didn’t normally wander into the Oval Office until after 11:00 am each day.
Mark Meadows Says Trump Was More Focused at 1 AM in the Morning than Biden is at 1 PM https://t.co/AcKxuumKz2
— #TuckFrump (@realTuckFrumper) March 11, 2021
► As Colorado Newsline reports, Interior Secretary nominee Deb Haaland will likely win Senate approval in the coming days.
► Colorado and Oregon are asking the FDA to approve a plan for “vaccine pooling” to make better use of COVID-19 vaccine supplies.
► Casper Stockham tries to explain to Westword why he should be the next person to lead the Colorado Republican Party.
► As Judith Kohler reports for The Denver Post, regulators gonna regulate:
With Colorado’s costs of keeping the heat and lights on during February’s deep freeze expected to exceed $1 billion, state regulators took a look Wednesday at how utilities prepared and how they can blunt the impact on customers of the extreme weather that’s happening more frequently.
The Colorado Public Utilities Commission is investigating how the utilities it regulates, including Xcel Energy-Colorado and Black Hills Energy, responded to the frigid weather Feb. 13-16 that sent demand for electricity and heat and natural gas prices soaring. In their weekly meeting, members questioned whether the companies could have cut costs by purchasing gas sooner in the week.
The PUC also considered whether companies could have cut demand by being clear how severe the situation was and asking customers to reduce use.
While Colorado didn’t suffer the kind of problems that left millions in Texas without power for days, utilities paid sky-high prices for natural gas as companies across a big part of the country scrambled to meet demand. Those costs will ultimately be passed onto customers.
► Here’s some good news:
Colorado has successfully vaccinated:
➡️ 74% of Coloradans 70 and over
➡️ 59% of Coloradans 65-69
➡️ 90% of K-12 educators pic.twitter.com/rsuu6jAqxW
— Governor Jared Polis (@GovofCO) March 10, 2021
► A Minnesota judge reinstated a third degree murder charge for former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is on trial for the killing of George Floyd last May.
► Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins are mad at each other.
► Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post previews President Biden’s primetime address scheduled for this evening.
► The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill regarding universal background checks for firearm purchases.
► Here’s another reason never to visit Oklahoma. As The Huffington Post reports:
The Republican-majority Oklahoma state House passed a bill on Wednesday that would grant immunity to drivers who “unintentionally” run over protesters.
In an early morning vote along party lines, with 79 votes in favor and 18 against, state lawmakers approved legislation that would remove criminal or civil liability for any driver who “unintentionally” injures or kills someone while “fleeing from a riot,” as long as they have a “reasonable belief” that fleeing would protect themselves from harm.
So, it’s cool to run over protestors with your car in Oklahoma?
Say What, Now?
► Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley) puts some words together in no particular order:
The only thing bipartisan about this legislation was the opposition to it. https://t.co/JiQJQEbw0D
— Congressman Ken Buck (@RepKenBuck) March 10, 2021
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► Fox 31 Denver reports on what sounds like a fairly pointless “demonstration” by maskless, gun-toting nuts in Greeley.
► POLITICO tries to understand why many politicians are complete assholes.
► Will Republicans ever figure out that Donald Trump is just using them to finance his own lifestyle?
Yeah, probably not.
► Colorado House Republicans have a “doxxer caucus.”
► Check out the latest episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast and our new feature, “Legislating With Crayons.”
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