There are 254 shopping days until Christmas. 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.
*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
President Biden, frustrated in his efforts to end America’s “Forever War” a decade ago, will announce on Wednesday a Sept. 11 deadline for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan after 20 years, a move that immediately triggered similar action among the country’s NATO allies…
…In the hours leading up to Mr. Biden’s afternoon announcement at the White House, foreign and defense ministers met at NATO headquarters in Brussels to discuss “a safe, deliberate and coordinated withdrawal of our forces from Afghanistan,” as the American secretary of state, Antony J. Blinken, told them on Wednesday.
The ministers, many of them attending the Wednesday meeting virtually, are expected to formally back the American withdrawal date in keeping with the alliance’s mantra “in together and out together.”
As The Denver Post reports, Members of Colorado’s Congressional delegation voiced agreement with the decision.
Coloradans – and especially rural Southwest Coloradans – are in trouble when it comes to health care costs. Before the pandemic, about 11.2% of people in Southwest Colorado couldn’t afford medical insurance, compared to 6.5% for the entire state. Because workers who lost their jobs in 2020 likely also lost insurance, that 11.2% is certainly higher now.
According to the Colorado Health Access Survey, even those with medical insurance in Colorado report skipping doctor visits when ill, struggling to pay medical bills and being unable to pay for rent, utilities, food and other necessities at times because of medical bills…
…Some aspects of the health care industry work very well, as evidenced during the pandemic. But that doesn’t change what we know to be true: We have to find solutions that make health care more accessible and affordable for all Coloradans.
HB 1232 likely is not perfect, but it’s a big step in the right direction – and a signal to the health care industry that the time has come for change. [Pols emphasis]
Click here for more on the arguments and policy details.
In related news, Colorado’s Connect for Health insurance marketplace is seeing a record number of signups.
► The Denver Post reports on efforts to make it more difficult for perpetrators of domestic violence to gain access to a firearm:
Colorado law since 2013 has required most people who are charged with domestic violence to relinquish their guns, but prosecutors and court officials acknowledge it’s loosely enforced, sometimes not at all.
Lawmakers got their first look Tuesday at a bill, HB21-1255, that would strengthen compliance, which state analysts say affects thousands per year.
Already, Democrats who control the Colorado legislature have sent two gun bills to Gov. Jared Polis to sign, which he is expected to do soon. One requires secure storage of firearms and the other mandates that lost or stolen firearms be reported, both of which were in the works before the mass shooting at a Boulder King Soopers last month.
Attorney General Phil Weiser told lawmakers during a hearing that they must pass this third piece of gun legislation, because domestic violence is a crisis in Colorado, citing a statistic that of the 70 domestic violence-related deaths in 2019, two-thirds were due to a gun.
Elsewhere in state legislative news:
The Colorado Sun is tracking the status of legislation dealing with the spending of stimulus funds.
The “long bill” — also known as the annual state budget bill — will be the major topic of discussion in the State House today.
Colorado Newsline discusses legislative efforts to improve long-standing maternal health disparities.
More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…
And Now, More Words…
► The campaign for Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver) released what it says is the first advertisement of its 2022 re-election effort:
► Governor Jared Polis provided an update on Colorado’s COVID-19 response on Tuesday. From a press release:
Governor Jared Polis provided an update on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He was joined by CDPHE Executive Director Jill Ryan to provide an update on the future of the county-level dial system and our COVID trends, as well as Tri-County Public Health Executive Director Dr. John Douglas. Colorado’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Eric France also participated in the press conference to address Colorado’s response to the CDC and FDA’s recommendation to pause distribution and administration of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine in the U.S. following adverse events.
“While we are no longer at high risk of overwhelming our hospital system, it doesn’t mean that your individual risk if you haven’t been fully vaccinated is any less. . We’re seeing an increase of hospitalizations among younger Coloradans and our daily positivity rate has jumped due to a larger presence of the variants. Colorado, I know that we’re eager to be done with COVID, but we’re not quite there. No one is invincible in the face of this virus so it remains critical that we continue taking the necessary safety precautions over the next few weeks and that you get the vaccine when you have the chance.”
Governor Polis highlighted the state’s progress in vaccinating its population, with 25% of eligible Coloradans now fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — that’s 1.2 million people (1,292,845) and over 3.2 million total doses administered. To date, 2.1 million Coloradans (2,122,809) have received their first dose and are well on their way to full immunization.
Colorado is experiencing a similar increase in infection rates and hospitalizations, tracking with national trends. The Governor urged all Coloradans to continue wearing masks, social distancing, staying home when sick, getting tested if you think you have been exposed to someone with COVID, and gathering outside in small groups instead of opting for the indoors.
► A group of Democratic pollsters is trying to better understand how some 2020 election polling ended up being so inaccurate.
► Colorado Public Radio examines what a Deb Haaland-led Department of the Interior might mean for Colorado public lands.
► The Colorado Springs Independent looks at the “once-in-a-generation” wave of federal funding that is coming to Colorado.
► Colorado House Republicans demonstrate what NOT to do when communicating about policy objectives.
► Colorado gets a “C-” grade on its infrastructure, which is not all that different than what many states received in a new report from The White House.
► As Colorado Newsline reports, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser is pushing for national hate crime reporting legislation.
► As Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman, Democrat Jena Griswold raised a record amount of money in Q1 as part of her bid for re-election as Colorado Secretary of State.
Colorado Public Radio explains how the state will shift to a new model of local control in addressing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
► The Suncor refinery in Commerce City says “my bad” for not doing more to curb air and water pollution.
Say What, Now?
► Apparently making a trip to the U.S.-Mexico border is the most effective thing that a politician can do to influence immigration policy:
A virtual meeting is not enough.
— Congressman Ken Buck (@RepKenBuck) April 14, 2021
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► As an analysis from The Colorado Sun shows, no Colorado politician spends more time on Twitter than Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-file).
Speaking of Boebert, her rhetoric is getting gradually more racist.
► Matt Gaetz? Never heard of him.
Florida Republican Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott HAVE heard of Gaetz, but their bumbling responses are equally unimpressive.
► The State of Wyoming is setting aside money to sue The State of Colorado for pursuing renewable energy improvements.
► This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk All-Stars and A-Holes: