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► Wednesday concluded the 30-day period following the legislative session in which Gov. Jared Polis was required to take action on legislation approved in 2023 (Polis could sign or veto legislation, or allow something to become law without his signature). From a press release marking the occasion:
Governor Jared Polis marked the conclusion of the bill-signing period following this year’s landmark legislative session that delivered real results for Colorado.
“I will continue to challenge us to envision what we want Colorado to look like when our beautiful state turns 150. Colorado has among the best economies and talented workforces in the country and I was proud to sign bipartisan new laws to build upon our administration’s efforts to save people money on health care, achieve 100% renewable energy by 2040, improve education for every student, make us one of the ten safest states, cut property taxes and ensure Colorado is the best place to live and work,” said Governor Polis…
…This year, in partnership with the legislature, Governor Polis signed a fiscally responsible and bipartisan budget that includes record savings for the future and record investments in Colorado students. The Governor signed nation-leading laws investing in education and workforce, improving math scores, achieving 100% renewable energy by 2040, harnessing geothermal, making Colorado one of the top ten safest states, and bold efforts to help save people money on health care and prescription drugs, a measure to help cut property taxes for Coloradans and seniors and addressing housing challenges. Gov. Polis also signed a new law that allows Colorado farmers and ranchers to finally be able to legally fix their own equipment, expand freedom and protect access to reproductive health care, and combat gun violence.
Governor Polis signed 473 bills into law across Colorado, the majority of which were bipartisan.
► Speaking of legislation signed by Gov. Polis…peace out, growth caps! As Andy Kenney reports for Colorado Public Radio:
Gov. Jared Polis signed a law Wednesday that will ban cities from having “growth caps” that limit the rate of residential development, such as the one in Golden, the community of about 20,000 people west of Denver.
“Colorado is facing a housing crisis, and we must all work together to create more housing opportunities for every Colorado budget, not limit them,” Polis said in a written statement before signing the bill.
Golden has kept a tight grip on housing construction since 1995, when voters approved a growth cap. The law, which was aimed at slowing the growth of suburban sprawl, allows the city’s number of residential units to grow by only 1 percent per year.
The result is that Golden is set to make allowances for just 88 new homes this year, a policy that restricts not just suburban sprawl but also denser development.
It’s exactly the kind of ordinance that state lawmakers targeted this year. The new state law, HB23-1255, says cities may not enforce laws that “explicitly limit” population growth or the number of residential units that can be approved.
Affected cities, potentially also including Boulder and Lakewood, will have until early August to comply with the new law.
► We’ve seen the political impact in Colorado of voters rejecting Republicans who blindly reject any effort at gun violence prevention. As POLITICO reports, this unerring loyalty to the 2nd Amendment is hurting Republicans with their own base of supporters:
Young Republicans aren’t clinging to guns like the rest of the GOP.
As former President Donald Trump and new campaign entrants, including former Vice President Mike Pence, tout their Second Amendment bonafides and opposition to “gun confiscation” to 2024 primary voters, some Gen Z and millennial Republicans are moving in the opposite direction: A significant share of younger conservatives, reared in an age of mass violence, embrace firearm restrictions.
One poll conducted by Harvard’s political institute this spring found that a clear majority of young conservatives supported mandatory psychological exams for gun purchasers. A separate, recurring survey from YouGov concluded in March that Gen Z and millennial Republicans are more likely to believe in tougher gun laws than older Republicans and that young conservatives’ support for the idea has grown in the past year.
The generational disconnect suggests broader GOP opposition to gun restrictions will be a steady irritant inside a party already struggling to appeal to young voters. It could also challenge White House hopefuls and members of Congress to eventually refine their message on guns with Republican primary and general election voters, even if the concerns of young people won’t transform GOP politics overnight.
► The House of Representatives adjourned until Monday because members of the House Freedom Caucus are throwing a tantrum over not being allowed to tank the global economy through refusing to raise the debt ceiling. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy continues to deal with half-assed threats from the likes of Colorado Reps. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) and Lauren Boebert (R-ifle), both of whom are willing to tank legislation that they actually support in order to make some sort of dumb point.
► The U.S. Supreme Court ruled AGAINST gerrymandering in Alabama.
No, seriously. We read the headline twice.
► Give your eyes a break and put your ears to work with this week’s episode of the Get More Smarter Podcast, featuring an interview with State Treasurer Dave Young:
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Check Out All This Other Stuff To Know…
► There were a lot of online takes following the conclusion of Denver’s municipal elections on Tuesday, but none as laughably stupid as this from the guy in charge of communications for House Republicans in the state legislature:
Readers of Colorado Pols are well aware that Republicans spent the entire 2023 legislative session in Colorado engaged in day after day of nonsense “political theater” — what we’ve come to call “performative obstruction.” The irony of Hudson’s statement is that CdeBaca is actually much more similar to House Republicans than she is to Democrats in that regard.
► Since we’re on the subject of Denver’s elections, the Chief of Staff for outgoing Mayor Michael Hancock has a new gig: Alan Salazar has agreed to take on the role of interim CEO of Denver Water beginning on Aug. 7.
► Axios Denver has more analysis on why Mike Johnston will be Denver’s next Mayor instead of Kelly Brough, but it’s a little over-baked in our estimation. Johnston won because he was clearly the more obvious “Democrat” in city with an overwhelming number of voters who identify as Democrats.
There will be a lot of takes on the race for #DenverMayor, including lots of bellyaching about money. But there is a simpler answer: Johnston focused on winning the voters who make up the majority of Denver: Liberals. (cont’d) #copolitics #denvervotes #2023elections
— Jason Bane (@jason_bane) June 7, 2023
► The Denver Post also analyzes the outcome of Tuesday’s election, including this bad take from the crown prince of bad takes:
Denver political analyst Eric Sondermann noted that Brough’s most impactful endorsement may have been one she did not seek, welcome or advertise, that of the Denver Republican Party.
“The Republican voters were likely already with her. The only people who picked up on that cue were undecided left-leaning voters,” Sondermann said. “That’s not on Brough and Brough’s campaign.”
As we wrote last month, Brough accepted an invitation to speak to the Denver Republican Party (Johnston ignored a similar invitation) and did nothing to reject the endorsement of the Denver GOP.
► Wildfires in Canada have turned the air in much of the Northeast United States into a disgusting orange soup that experts say is very dangerous to breathe.
Meanwhile, right-wing Republicans are trying to pretend that orange air is the coolest:
Fox guest: There’s just no health risk…We have this kind of air in India and China all the time, no public health emergency… this doesn’t kill anybody, this doesn’t make anybody cough, this is not a health event… particulate matter is just very fine soot, they’re innocuous. pic.twitter.com/DB0hDmqRwC
— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) June 8, 2023
Noted climate science expert State Rep. Ken DeGraaf (R-Colorado Springs) might call this “orange water vapor.”
Fellow rocket surgeon and Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene blames woke Canada, or something:
► Democrats are not pretending that orange air is no big deal. Senator Michael Bennet (D-Denver) introduced the Headwaters Protection Act aimed at fighting drought conditions in the Western United States. Bennet hopes the legislation can help boost the resiliency of forest regions prone to the impacts of drought — which includes wildfires.
► State Republican Party Chair Dave Williams seems to have decided that the entire purpose of the State Party is for him to air grievances with Rep. Doug Lamborn, whom Williams failed to defeat in a 2022 Congressional Primary.
► Interestingly, Williams and the State GOP are more than happy to see some new legislation from Rep. Lamborn.
Remember when then-Senate candidate Cory Gardner said in 2014 that “there is no federal personhood bill”? That was bullshit then, and it’s bullshit now. As Lindsey Toomer reports for Colorado Newsline:
A Republican congressman from Colorado introduced legislation aiming to recognize embryos and fetuses in the womb as persons entitled to equal protection under federal law.
Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs introduced the Recognizing Life Resolution on Monday. The resolution argues that the 14th Amendment — which guarantees a person’s right to life and liberty — was always intended to protect “unborn children” as early as conception.
The legislation would recognize that “unborn children are legal and constitutional persons who are entitled to the equal protection of the laws.” Lamborn proposed the legislation with the intent of ending abortion across the country. A news release from Lamborn says the bill is consistent with the Supreme Court’s decision last year in Dobbs v. Jackson, which removed constitutional protection of abortion rights.
► Senator John Hickenlooper met on Wednesday with FTC Lina Khan to discuss artificial intelligence and its impact on U.S. consumers.
This is what we learned from a press release via Hickenlooper’s office, anyway; the people in the photo at right could very well be androids as far as we know.
► Colorado county jails can no longer hold people on suspected immigration violations after legislation approved in 2023 by state lawmakers. Immigration enforcement is, of course, the job of federal law enforcement officials and not local sheriffs.
► The cost of EpiPens in Colorado will be capped at $60 beginning in January 2024.
In other “new laws” news:
♦ Employers who help workers purchase a new home will be rewarded for their assistance;
♦ Help is on the way for dealing with low wages in the health care industry;
♦ Fees for pet deposits are being capped;
► Nick Coltrain of The Denver Post reports on one veto from Gov. Jared Polis that is proving controversial:
Event ticketing in Colorado won’t see an overhaul this year after Gov. Jared Polis worried it would “risk upsetting the successful entertainment ecosystem in Colorado.”
Polis vetoed the bill, dubbed Consumer Protection in Event Ticketing Sales, Tuesday night. The bill, SB23-060, aimed to crack down on bots snatching up seats to resale, bring price transparency to the buying process and overall make it so end-users don’t end up duped with bogus tickets. But consumer groups fretted it gave venues too much power and threatened to upset the third-party market.
In short, the bill pitted powerful industries against each other as each sought to cast themselves as the defender of consumers and on the vanguard of keeping shows coming to, and accessible in, Colorado.
In the end, Polis sided with consumer groups such as the National Consumer League and Consumer Federation of America that the bill would have stifled market competition and cemented existing market powers.
► Solar and electric hookups will now be required in all new building construction in Colorado.
► Candidates for water districts in Douglas County are collecting big checks from a group that wants to pump water from the San Luis Valley over to Metro Denver.
► Westword wins the headline contest in reporting on a key city council race in Denver.
► Pat Robertson died. Grift the afterlife!
Say What, Now?
Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley) is a straight-up clown. There’s no better description anymore.
Once you give your word and as a condition of that word get elected Speaker, you have to keep it. It’s a matter of integrity. pic.twitter.com/VtPqchnBq5
— Rep. Ken Buck (@RepKenBuck) June 8, 2023
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► When you start a new job in law enforcement, it’s probably a good idea to wait at least a week before writing a bunch of racist crap on social media.
► The New York Times takes an in-depth look at the (very expensive) transformation of the iconic Casa Bonita restaurant in Lakewood.
► Whiny conservatives in Oregon are moving along with an effort to form a Super Idaho because they are sad that there are people with different political opinions in their state. Still, there’s little chance of this actually progressing to the point of establishing a new state.