Get More Smarter on Thursday (May 14)

Today’s forecast calls for possible sightings of the sun. 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).



► Congressman Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) joined fellow Republicans in voting to approve a 20-week abortion ban. Colorado Springs Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn is one of the primary sponsors of the legislation.

► The Senate passed a measure yesterday to move forward on votes for President Obama’s trade deal. From the Huffington Post:

“The announcement [Wednesday] will drive home the importance of the message that the pro-trade Democrats sent yesterday,” said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who helped craft the compromise after he helped filibuster the trade bill that he supports. “That enforcement, enforcement of the trade laws is a prerequisite to a modern trade policy, a trade policy that sets aside once and for all the NAFTA playbook. Suffice it to say that was the message conveyed yesterday by pro-trade Democrats.”

► Colorado Senators Michael Bennet (D-Denver) and Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) offered joint support for medical marijuana legislation. As Mark Matthews of the Denver Post reports:

The proposed Therapeutic Hemp Medical Access Act would lift federal prohibitions across the country on using marijuana strains that are medically beneficial to prevent certain seizures.

Gardner, a Republican, and Bennet, a Democrat, announced the bill with Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Republican Sens. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Johnny Isakson of Georgia at the Capitol in Washington on Wednesday.

Because of federal prohibitions, some families who are seeking the help are forced to relocate to such states as Colorado, where they can obtain the medicine, the lawmakers argue.

What, no cool acronym for this bill? The THMAA?

Get even more smarter after the jump…



► The Jefferson County School Board is trying to figure out what to do next now that a judge has temporarily blocked their widely-opposed pay plan for teachers

► After months of heated debate, the State Board of Education finally spiked a measure that would have required parental permission for students to take an annual survey on health and risky behaviors. The survey is already voluntary, and students and parents can choose to opt-out. Supporters of the proposed measure believe that they can prevent kids from finding out about sex so long as nothing is written on paper.

► State Treasurer Walker Stapleton was in the news this week, which usually indicates that he has screwed up somehow.

► Consumer groups are piling on as calls continue to grow for Governor John Hickenlooper to veto a last-minute piece of legislation that allows predatory lenders to dramatically raise interest rates. As the Colorado Statesman reports:

A late legislative session bill aimed at maintaining loan access for customers with bad credit is leaving consumer interest groups concerned that the measure will result in a higher cost of borrowing. Those same groups are calling on Gov. John Hickenlooper to veto the bill, which they see as a harmful piece of legislation that flew under the radar during the recent session’s final days…

…But supporters of the measure argue that House Bill 1390 benefits poor borrowers and that the loans can help boost consumer credit scores for folks who often have to resort to payday lending options.

“These people have nowhere to go to get a loan,” said Sen. Cheri Jahn, D-Wheat Ridge, who helped sponsor the legislation in the Senate.

State Senator Cheri Jahn, everyone! Doing her best to make sure low-income Coloradans can receive high-interest loans that they’ll never be able to repay!

► Federal plans to increase fracking in Colorado are being protested by environmental groups and local residents.

► All schools in Burlington, Colo. are closed today because of some sort of “unforseen situation” that may involve a threat to one or more students.

► This has not been a good week for GOP Presidential hopeful Jeb Bush, as our friend Chris Cilizza at “The Fix” explains:

Sometimes politicians do things so inexplicable that it makes you wonder, well, just what the hell they are thinking?

Witness Jeb Bush’s answers over the course of this week when asked whether, knowing what we know now, he would have authorized the war in Iraq begun by his brother former President George W. Bush…

…So, what exactly is Jeb’s position on Iraq?  And how can someone as able as Jeb Bush — he was a two term governor of a giant state after all — end a week like this one with it still not totally clear how he would have handled Iraq knowing then what we know now?

Color me baffled — especially because this isn’t exactly the sort of “gotcha” question that politicians usually blanch at and/or flub.



► The editorial board of the Colorado Springs Gazette chastises the Colorado Springs City Council for failing to fill the city’s many potholes.

► Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County) has re-introduced H.R. 2277, the Password Protection Act of 2015, which is intended to prevent employers from requiring current and prospective employees to hand over usernames and passwords to certain websites as a condition of either keeping or getting a new job.

► The El Paso County Board of County Commissioners approved new precinct maps for commissioner boundaries. There is a 30-day window for public comment.



► The Department of Veterans’ Affairs is pretty good at spending too much money. If only we had someone in charge of an Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee…someone like, say, Rep. Mike Coffman?

► Former Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold is back. The Democrat represented Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate for 18 years before losing in the 2010 Tea Party wave year, but Feingold is now looking to get his old job back from Republican Sen. Ron Johnson.


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