BIll O'Reilly would have signed the Declaration of Independence, but he overslept. It's time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here's a good example).
TOP OF MIND TODAY…
► Late yesterday, the Governor's Oil & Gas Taskforce released its "recommendations" for dealing with fracking…and they were about as anti-climactic as skeptics had expected. After months of meetings, the task force submitted a handful of small proposals to Gov. John Hickenlooper, though the most robust proposals for promoting more local control failed to move forward. Conservation Colorado Executive Director Pete Maysmith said the taskforce produced "some gravy, but forgot the meat and potatoes"; Noble Energy Vice President (and task-force member) Dan Kelly told the Denver Post that he thinks the group's recommendations "will address the issue." Congressman Jared Polis (D-Boulderish) was blunt in his assessment that "the oil and gas industry proved they weren't interested in a compromise or solving problems." So, that went well.
► Despite holding majority control of both chambers of Congress, Republicans continue to fight amongst themselves over whether to authorize funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) before Friday's deadline. As Politico reports, both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Tanning Bed) are pretty well hosed:
McConnell has been quiet for weeks about his next steps. But his new proposal on Tuesday — to extend DHS funding through September while advancing a separate plan to block a portion of Obama’s immigration proposal — signaled that he’s nervous a shutdown could damage his party politically. Twenty-four GOP senators are up for reelection next year.
Boehner is in an even tighter jam: Any sense that he is caving to the White House could further erode confidence in his leadership among the far right, which is furious at Obama’s immigration push. Boehner has not directly addressed whether he’d put a stand-alone funding bill on the floor, and several Republican leadership sources say they favor several short-term measures to try to keep the heat on the White House.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
SHOULD YOU FIND YOURSELF STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► Did we mention that Republicans control both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives? We did? Good, so explain this one: While the GOP flails about trying to figure out which foot to shoot over DHS funding, Arizona Republican/Tea Party Rep. Paul Gosar is laying all blame…on the Democrats, of course. What did you expect Republicans to do with their Congressional Majority? Govern?
► Colorado Democrats found funding for a 2013 bill to allow illegal immigrants to apply for a driver's license. Senate Republicans, who dislike the legislation but don't have the support to repeal it, are still trying to figure out a way to keep it from being funded.
► As expected, President Obama issued the first major veto of his Presidency on Tuesday when he scribbled the "big V" on legislation authorizing the Keystone Pipeline. This made Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) very sad. Gardner said that the President's veto "ignored the will of the American people." In response, the American people said, "What the hell is a Keystone Pipeline?"
► Contraception helps to prevent teen pregnancy. If you don't understand why, then you are probably not pleased that a House committee voted to continue providing state money for contraception yesterday. Joey Bunch of the Denver Post reports on the bipartisan legislation that will now move to the Senate, where Sen. Kevin Lundberg's head will explode:
The rationale is that providing contraceptives to low-income teens saves public assistance money later on by avoiding unwanted pregnancies. The state health department estimates a $5.85 savings for every dollar in the program.
The health department reported that before the program started, only 1 in every 170 low-income women in Colorado had access to a contraceptive device. By 2011, the program had helped cut that number to 1 in 15.
"By providing access to contraceptive devices we are giving Colorado women and families the most effective means to make decisions about when to start a family," said Rep. KC Becker, D-Boulder, who is sponsoring the bill with Rep. Don Coram, R-Montrose.
► Palcohol, schmalcohol. A State Senate committee has approved a temporary ban on powdered alcohol.
► "Pray Away the Gay?" No way, say House Democrats. As Eli Stokols reports for FOX 31:
Legislation that would prevent Colorado youths from undergoing gay conversion therapy — programs run mostly by religious organizations to steer gay and lesbian teens back toward a heterosexual orientation — passed its first test at the Capitol Tuesday. After more than 90 minutes of emotional testimony, a House committee approved the bill on a 7-6 party-line votes, with the panel’s Democratic members all voting in favor of the proposal.
It faces an uphill battle in the GOP-controlled Senate, should it eventually pass the full House.
► The Jefferson County School Board will vote next week on a plan intended to help a handful of struggling schools in the district.
► Today is the NARAL Pro-Choice America National Day of Action.
OTHER LINKS YOU SHOULD CLICK
► Campaign finance scandals plaguing State Republican Party Chair Ryan Call are now infecting others. As the Colorado Springs Independent reports, the famous Broadmoor Hotel is listed as a $5,000 donor to an Independent Expenditure Committee that is at the heart of the problem.
► Xcel Energy wants to charge Coloradans more money for their electricity. The Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) agrees, as it usually does.
► Denver Mayor Michael Hancock should have no problem winning re-election in May. Jon Murray of the Denver Post demonstrates why, in the form of an impressive list of supporters for the first-term mayor.
► Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn likes words.
► FOX News host Bill O'Reilly has taken to threatening a New York Times reporter as he continues to drown in his own nonsense. The latest problem for O'Reilly: It appears as though he made up a story about his investigation into the assasination of President John F. Kennedy.
► Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal wants to be President some day, though it will take a long walk to get there. During a press conference following a meeting of the National Governor's Assocation on Monday, Jindal demonstrated his "Presidential" qualities by declaring that President Obama is "unfit to be commander in chief." This bears repeating: Jindal made this statement literally in front of the White House. This is sort of equivalent to being invited to a dinner party and pooping on the rug before you leave. Classy!