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*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website
*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
*How you can help in Colorado:
*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
► Roughly 1 in 4 Americans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, but a similar percentage of people in the United States say that they will NOT get vaccinated, which could threaten the country’s ability to reach herd immunity this summer. COVID-19 hospitalizations are slowly increasing in Colorado, and officials in Jefferson County are moving back to “Level Yellow” because of rising cases. A government building in Elbert County was also recently closed because of a COVID-19 outbreak.
Meanwhile, a wave of infections in the Upper Midwest and Northeastern U.S. has health officials concerned about a potential fourth surge of the pandemic. As The New York Times reports:
Michigan is in tough shape. New cases and hospitalizations there have more than doubled in the last two weeks, and the six metro areas in the United States with the greatest number of new cases relative to their population are all in Michigan.
Several other states in the Upper Midwest, including Minnesota and Illinois, have also reported significant increases in new cases and hospitalizations. And in the Northeast, New York and New Jersey have continued to see elevated case counts.
Illinois is seeing a spike in cases as well. The daily average for new cases there has jumped about 56 percent in the past two weeks, to about 2,832 a day. Hospitalizations have risen about 28 percent from two weeks ago. Wisconsin and North Dakota have also seen their average case counts jump 50 percent or more in the last two weeks.
While new cases, hospitalizations and deaths nationwide have declined from their peaks in January, new infections have increased after plateauing.
A rise in infections around the world is also worrying health officials. The French Open tennis tournament has been delayed as France deals with a new lockdown. In Brazil, COVID-19 deaths surpassed 4,000 in a single day for the first time this week; with a death toll of more than 337,000, Brazil trails only the United States (562,000+) in total COVID-related deaths. Cases are also rising dramatically in India, which is struggling to increase vaccination rates as infections climb.
► All of the far-right candidates seeking seats on the Grand Junction City Council were defeated on Tuesday, a sign that the influence of Trumpism and Lauren Boebert might already be waning in conservative circles. Newly-elected Republican Party Chair Kristi Burton Brown made an unsuccessful last-minute pitch on behalf of these candidates earlier this week.
Voters in Grand Junction also agreed to lift a 10-year moratorium on marijuana dispensaries.
► President Biden is announcing new executive orders on gun safety, as The Washington Post reports:
In the White House Rose Garden, the president is expected to announce new rules on firearms that are assembled at home, which lack serial numbers and are harder to track, among other moves designed to make it harder for unqualified people to obtain dangerous weapons.
Biden also will announce David Chipman as his pick to run the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, although it is unclear how the nominee will fare in an evenly divided Senate. Chipman is a senior adviser to a gun control group founded by former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who was severely injured in a mass shooting in 2011.
As The Denver Post reports, Biden’s announcement includes a regulation on a weapon used in the Boulder King Soopers shootings:
A senior administration official with knowledge of the coming executive orders said Wednesday that by early June, the U.S. Justice Department “will issue a proposed rule to make clear that when a device marketed as a stabilizing brace effectively turns a pistol into a short-barreled rifle, that firearm is subject to the requirements of the National Firearms Act.”
Colorado Newsline notes that the Biden administration will also distribute model “red flag” gun legislation for consideration by state legislatures (Colorado already has a “red flag” law).
► As Denver7 reports, the “Long Bill” has been introduced.
The Colorado Joint Budget Committee has released its appropriations bill, also known as the long bill, earlier than normal this year. Committee members say this year’s budget is more focused on addressing funding inequities in the state.
Here’s more on the happenings at the state legislature:
Lawmakers are considering protections for pregnancies involving surrogates.
Colorado Newsline outlines some new stimulus bills being discussed at the State Capitol.
A new state agency devoted to early childhood education is under consideration.
Discussions are underway on a bill that would require more diversity on state panels.
Legislation that would provide free mental health treatment options for teenagers is moving along.
Colorado is one of 11 states looking to expand the importation of prescription drugs from other countries.
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.
► Governor Jared Polis signed three new bills into law on Wednesday: SB21-070 (County Authority To Register Businesses); HB21-1025 (Nonsubstantive Emails and Open Meetings Law); and HB21-1083 (State Board Assessment Appeals Valuation Adjustment).
► Across the country, Republicans are embracing efforts to disenfranchise voters as a central strategy for trying to remedy recent election losses. Conservative commentators are not even pretending otherwise.
► According to AAA, Coloradans are quickly growing more comfortable with traveling. From a press release:
Nearly half of Coloradans are already comfortable taking a trip, per just-released survey data from AAA. All told, 47 percent of Coloradans are willing to travel – up nearly ten percent from January amid relaxing travel guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and widespread vaccine eligibility.
“We knew from the beginning that the vaccine was the key to restoring travel confidence,” said Skyler McKinley, regional director of public affairs for AAA. “What we didn’t know was just how quickly demand would return. We’re seeing the largest month-over-month bumps in travel inquiries since last March. The bottom line is that if you’re thinking about travel, remember: so is everybody else.”
Fully 25 percent of Coloradans say they’re more comfortable traveling because they’ve received their COVID-19 vaccination, although significantly more (42 percent) say it’s because they’ve become more confident in safety measures, such as mask-wearing and sanitization protocols.
► The head of the National Rifle Association (NRA) is making the organization look even more ridiculous than usual in a federal bankruptcy hearing. From The Washington Post:
Wayne LaPierre, who positioned the National Rifle Association as an uncompromising lobbying powerhouse over the past three decades, admitted Wednesday that he did not disclose free trips he took on a luxury yacht and acknowledged that some top NRA officials were not informed in advance of his plan to seek bankruptcy protection for the group.
Under questioning on the third day of a federal bankruptcy hearing, LaPierre defended his leadership of the gun rights group and the benefits he and his family received from NRA contractors.
But his testimony undercut arguments by NRA lawyers this week that LaPierre has effectively cleaned up ethical and governance problems since 2018, when the organization was first alerted by New York state officials of possible fiscal mismanagement.
Last year, New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) sued the NRA, alleging that LaPierre and three other top officials used the group’s resources for their own personal benefit. She has sought to dissolve the organization.
LaPierre has claimed that he was living part-time on a luxury yacht because of “security concerns.”
► Democratic State Rep. Jeni Arndt was elected Mayor of Ft. Collins.
The Ft. Collins Coloradoan has more on some historic election results this week.
► As the Colorado Springs Independent reports, municipal elections in Colorado’s second-largest city were very good to incumbents.
► The Denver School Board has approved an independent investigation into Board Member Tay Anderson, who was recently accused of sexual assault.
► The Douglas County School Board announced four finalists in its search for a new superintendent.
► Mike Littwin of The Colorado Sun jokingly gives thanks to Trumpland for helping to bring the 2021 Major League Baseball All-Star Game to Denver. Littwin also sees a silver lining in the recent dismissal of Danny Moore as Chair of Colorado’s Independent Congressional Redistricting Committee:
As first reported by 9News, Moore claimed on Facebook that Joe Biden was “elected by the Democrat steal” and suggested, without evidence, of course, that mail-in ballots could have been corrupted by postal workers and/or election officials. He supported the failed string of Trumpian lawsuits claiming voter fraud, and when his posts came to light, Moore went to the familiar fallback position that he was simply trying to “create a broader discussion around political correctness.” In case you think there’s some misunderstanding, he also had posted, as a bonus, COVID conspiracy theories.
The broader-discussion defense makes no sense, of course. I mean, I could say Moore is either a hypocrite or a Trump toady and explain later I simply wanted to create a broader discussion and wasn’t implying that Moore is, in fact, either a hypocrite or a Trump toady.
If you’re looking for hope, though, you’ve come to the right place. The rest of the 12-person commission asked Moore to resign as chair, and when he refused, voted 11-0-1 to remove him. Moore abstained. He is no longer chair, although, for some reason, he is still on the committee.
► Virginia became the first “southern” state to legalize marijuana.
Say What, Now?
► Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) would like you to know that there is NO cultural hill that she won’t try to die upon:
40 years ago Conservatives decided to start punting on all major cultural issues.
We’ve said “don’t die on this hill” so many times that we’ve run out of hills.
Now, every issue is critical to fighting Democrats and neo-Marxism.
— Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) April 7, 2021
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► A MAGA-backed pastor running for Governor in New Jersey lives tax free in a luxury $1.6 million home. Phil Rizzo sold his home to the small Baptist Church that he oversees but still lives in the house in what is known as a property-tax exempt parsonage.
► Republicans are trying to scare other Republicans into donating to the cause by threatening to tell Donald Trump on them:
► As Philip Bump writes for The Washington Post, there is clear data showing that Donald Trump’s media dominance has ended:
In March, most of that attention had already faded away. His Google search interest was lower than at any point since June 2015, as was the amount of time he was seen on cable. The networks were covering him far less, down to the point reached last year when the pandemic overtook Trump in the national attention. Besides that, the average mentions of Trump in March were back to the levels seen in November 2015.
The former president still holds out hope that he will be a powerful force in American politics and culture moving forward. In one of the mostly ignored news releases that have come to replace his beloved tweets, Trump this week promised his supporters that “the best is yet to come!” We can all hope that it is, but it seems increasingly unlikely that Trump will be at the center of events should that come to pass.
Meanwhile, POLITICO reports that major Republican donors gathering in Palm Beach are trying to figure out a way to move forward with as little Trump as possible.
► In the latest episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii try to understand how nothing succeeds like failure within the Colorado Republican Party: