Get More Smarter on Monday (April 27)

MoreSmarter-RainToday’s forecast calls for rain, or something. 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).



Opening Statements begin today in the Aurora Theater Shooting trial, nearly three years after the attack at a late-night screening of The Dark Knight Rises. The Associated Press takes a look at what to expect over the next several weeks as attorneys attempt to deal with an “insanity” plea. Aurora Sentinel editor Dave Perry has a very thoughtful take on what is sure to be an unpleasant summer for all involved with the trial.

► The Office of Consumer Counsel is a hot topic this week in the legislature. Democrats in the House have introduced legislation to re-authorize the OCC without stripping it of authority over the telecommunications industry.

► The Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee held a “field hearing” in Denver on Friday to discuss the myriad of problems associated with construction of a new VA Hospital in Aurora. Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) also attended the hearing, which came on the same day as a new report showing that Coffman hasn’t done much “oversight” despite being the Chairman of the House VA Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.


Get even more smarter after the jump…



► Colorado Rep. Jared Polis (D-Boulderish) won Congress on Friday with a clever bill pushing back against legislative attempts to restrict LGBT rights. As The Hill explains:

[Polis’] office announced the “Restrain Steve King from Legislating Act” in a statement Friday afternoon that bashed King for his own “Restrain the Judges on Marriage Act,” which King revealed on Wednesday. King’s bill aims to take marriage cases out of the jurisdiction of federal courts in favor of states, a move prompted by next week’s Supreme Court oral arguments on gay marriage cases.

“For too long, Steve King has overstepped his constitutionally nonexistent judicial authority,” Polis said in the statement

“Mr. King has perverted the Constitution to create rights to things such as discrimination, bullying, and disparate treatment. These efforts to enshrine these appalling values as constitutional rights were not envisioned by the voters, or by King’s colleagues who must currently try to restrain his attempts to single-handedly rewrite the nation’s founding principles on a bill-by-bill basis.” 

A Polis aide told The Hill that the bill is satirical in order to highlight King’s “very real bill.” [Pols emphasis] The Colorado Democrat is one of the few openly gay members of Congress. 

Regardless of your opinion on the issues here, you’ve got to give Rep. Polis credit for such a clever comeback. Well played, sir. Well played.

► Colorado is joining a handful of other states in a lawsuit challenging federal fracking regulations

► The Colorado legislature will continue to discuss so-called fetal homicide Personhood legislation. For all of the GOP messaging on how SB-268 is about “justice,” the wording of the bill is a cut-and-paste job from the Americans United for Life, a national anti-abortion group.

► Legislative Republicans want to “study” the idea of transferring federal lands in Colorado to state control. Scott Willoughby of the Denver Post thinks this whole concept is bad news for Colorado sportsmen, because it would eventually lead to a big sale of public lands to private interests:

Anyone who has ever hiked, camped, fished, hunted or otherwise enjoyed access to the Colorado outdoors should recognize this as a bad idea. Further study is not required. The writing is on the wall.

Of the 4.5 million acres of trust lands Colorado was originally granted by the federal government at statehood, only 2.5 million are retained today. More alarming, only 18 percent of Colorado’s state trust lands are open for public use. The remainder is managed to maximize income through leases, thereby minimizing public access.

Given the exorbitant cost of managing an additional 24 million acres of currently federally managed public land, there’s no reason to expect a different outcome this time around. With a price tag of $1.7 billion to fight wildfires on the nation’s public lands in 2013, fire suppression alone would overwhelm the state budget. A “fire sale” would ensue posthaste.


60-year old Republican women represented the makeup of the average voter in the April 7 Colorado Springs Municipal election. The runoff election is on May 19.

► The board of the state health insurance exchange wants Kevin Patterson to serve as interim CEO and ultimately take over the position full-time. Patterson was Gov. Hickenlooper’s interim chief of staff for a time last year before moving over to a much more vague “chief administrative officer” position.



► Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the $25 billion(ish) state budget into law. You won’t have to hear the phrase “long bill” for another 9 months or so.

► Two gay businessmen in Texas are apologizing for co-hosting an event featuring Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. The hoteliers say they made a “terrible mistake” by not learning more about the anti-gay rhetoric that Cruz is fond of using.

► The U.S. Supreme Court will begin hearing arguments regarding same-sex marriage on Tuesday.



► Colorado Education Commissioner Robert Hammond announced that he will retire in June.

► The President of Kazakhstan apologized today for winning re-election with 97.7% of the vote. President Nursultan Nazarbayev has been in charge since 1989; if he wants his next re-election to appear to be more Democratic, he should insist that supporters correctly spell his name first.


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