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► The decision by Major League Baseball to move the 2021 All-Star Game to Denver — a reaction to draconian voting restrictions recently passed by the Georgia legislature — has been a major topic of discussion nationwide. On Tuesday, media outlets both local and national pushed back against odd Republican efforts to paint Colorado voting laws as more restrictive than those of Georgia. As The Denver Post reports:
Last week, Major League Baseball made it clear that voting rights were at the core of the decision to move the All-Star Game out of Georgia. But Tuesday’s official MLB release about the July 13 game moving to Denver did not discuss voting or get political in the least bit, with Commissioner Rob Manfred saying he appreciated the Colorado Rockies’, Denver’s and the state’s “flexibility and enthusiasm to deliver a first-class event for our game and the region.”
Gov. Jared Polis also ducked questions about Colorado’s election laws on Tuesday morning, but Denver Mayor Michael Hancock didn’t shy away from politics in an interview with The Denver Post. He said moving the game and all related festivities in Denver and at and Coors Field is a direct result of Colorado’s inclusive and accessible voting system that’s often referred to as the gold standard in the U.S.
“This is a cautionary tale for any state, any city who wants to restrict access to one’s rights to vote,” Hancock said. “For every action, there’s going to be a reaction.”
He added: “Even in a partisan environment we still make sure that nothing trumps full access to the ballot box. Voting is the heartbeat of democracy … You lean in and make it more inclusive. You don’t restrict.”
► Senate Bill 21-078, which requires Coloradans to do more in reporting lost or stolen firearms to law enforcement authorities, is on its way to the desk of Gov. Jared Polis after winning final approval in the State Senate. We have more on the legislation here.
► There are a lot of lessons to be learned from the ouster of Republican Danny Moore as the chair of Colorado’s Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission, including the apparent fact that many Colorado Republicans still believe — despite no evidence — that the 2020 election was fraudulent.
► As Colorado Public Radio reports, lawmakers are looking at a new discussion surrounding this year’s debate on the state budget:
Colorado lawmakers are about to begin the annual process of debating and finalizing the next state budget, and the difference from last year’s budget couldn’t be more extreme.
The state has billions of additional dollars to spend, in stark contrast to the previous year when the pandemic forced the state to cut more than $3 billion. The legislature’s bipartisan Joint Budget Committee introduced its agreed-upon spending plan to the full Senate this week, after working on it through months of negotiations and public hearings.
The budget totals almost $12 billion in discretionary spending, an increase of $1.2 billion, or 11 percent, over the current General Fund spending levels.
The Colorado Sun outlines eight things to know about the “long bill” in 2021.
More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…
And Now, More Words…
► Here’s more on what’s happening at the state legislature this week:
Colorado Newsline reports on a proposal for “behavioral health recovery” in Colorado.
Lawmakers are considering ideas for restricting the use of solitary confinement in Colorado prisons.
Colorado Democrats killed a bill that sought to lesson interactions between police officers and students over concerns about potential unintended consequences of the legislation.
Legislation dealing with changes to child custody battles has been introduced in the State House.
The Colorado Springs Independent summarizes some notable examples of new and pending legislation.
► As The Washington Post reports, former cabinet officials in the Trump administration are now finding it difficult to get high-profile jobs:
Headhunters and other corporate advisers say the calculus for executives at most large, publicly traded companies is simple. Trump — the only president to be impeached twice, the second time on a charge he incited the mob that assaulted the Capitol in an attempt to overturn the presidential election results — left office with a majority of Americans strongly disapproving of his job performance. He remains a lightning rod for controversy and faces ongoing legal exposure from civil lawsuits and criminal investigations. Offering a board seat to anyone in his inner orbit risks inviting a revolt from customers, employees or shareholders.
“Boards don’t need trouble or criticism,” one headhunter said. “If you want to stay away from all that potential tarnish, that’s easy: You just don’t go near it.”
► Senator Michael Bennet is pushing to help get more Veterans access to the COVID-19 vaccine. Senator John Hickenlooper, meanwhile, is promoting efforts to help live music venues recover from economic troubles related to the pandemic.
► Every day seems to bring new revelations about problems for Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, who is being investigated for a potential relationship with a 17-year-old girl. As The New York Times reports, Gaetz sought a blanket pardon from former President Trump before The Big Orange Guy left the White House:
Gaetz privately asked the White House for blanket pre-emptive pardons for himself and unidentified congressional allies for any crimes they may have committed, according to two people told of the discussions.
Around that time, Mr. Gaetz was also publicly calling for broad pardons from Mr. Trump to thwart what he termed the “bloodlust” of their political opponents. But Justice Department investigators had begun questioning Mr. Gaetz’s associates about his conduct, including whether he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old that violated sex trafficking laws, in an inquiry that grew out of the case of an indicted associate in Florida.
It was unclear whether Mr. Gaetz or the White House knew at the time about the inquiry, or who else he sought pardons for. Mr. Gaetz did not tell White House aides that he was under investigation for potential sex trafficking violations when he made the request. But top White House lawyers and officials viewed the request for a pre-emptive pardon as a nonstarter that would set a bad precedent, the people said.
Gaetz’s situation also changes the perception of a particularly odd position he took while serving as a state lawmaker in Florida. From The Washington Post:
When Florida legislators passed a bill aimed at preventing people from sharing sexually explicit photos of their ex-partners online, then-state Rep. Matt Gaetz cast one of just two House votes against it.
Six years later, with the now-congressman accused of having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and sharing photographs of nude women with fellow lawmakers, the sponsor of the Florida legislation says Gaetz opposed it because he believed recipients of such images could use them however they wanted.
Tom Goodson, a Republican who retired from the Florida state House in 2018, told the Orlando Sentinel on Monday that Gaetz was the leading opponent of the nonconsensual pornography bill he spent years trying to pass. He described a meeting in which Gaetz said that if a person gives an intimate photo to a romantic partner, the image becomes the property of the recipient.
Gaetz has been the subject of recent stories alleging that he regularly shared nude photos of women while on the House Floor in Congress.
► Westword updates the latest news on lawsuits filed by Denver-based Dominion Voting Services against entities such as Fox News for spreading disinformation about their role in the 2020 election.
► State Rep. Janet Rich will run for the State Senate in 2022.
► According to a new study from the Colorado School of Public Health at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, 1 in 5 high school students in Colorado say that they have easy access to a handgun.
► COVID-19 deaths among seniors in Colorado have plummeted thanks to increasing rates of vaccinations.
► The Colorado Sun examines what is and is not allowed in the context of discussions about potentially compelling people to get COVID-19 vaccinations.
► Westword looks at how Broomfield is working to safeguard residents from the harmful effects of oil and gas extraction operations.
Say What, Now?
► Colorado Republican Party Chair Kristi Burton Brown thinks Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is the gold standard of governors:
Florida Dems come to the defense of @GovRonDeSantis against @60Minutes’ provably false accusations. DeSantis worked in a bi-partisan, effective manner to ensure seniors and other vulnerable populations in #Florida had access to vaccines. THIS is how you govern. #RepublicansCare https://t.co/8Abcm6LGuQ
— KBBColorado (@ColoradoKbb) April 6, 2021
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► At least Scott Gessler is not the Chair of the Colorado Republican Party.
► Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wants corporations to stop having opinions…but to keep writing checks to politicians.
► Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene reportedly raised $3.2 MILLION in the first quarter of 2021.
► Don’t miss this bonus episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast, in which we try to understand how nothing succeeds like failure within the Colorado Republican Party: