The Denver Broncos play their second preseason game tomorrow in Houston against the Texans; let’s all join hands in hope that nobody breaks Peyton Manning. 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…
► It’s Friday, and the Gold King mine spill into the Animas River continues to dominate the political headlines. As Mark Matthews reports for the Denver Post, Congress may have been able to prevent this month’s wastewater spill…if Congress actually did stuff:
Twice in the mid-2000s, a program intended to clean up the mine-fouled waterways in the region around the Gold King Mine failed to find traction in Congress, where a fight between miners and environmentalists kept the idea from going forward. The legislation proposed by U.S. Reps. Scott McInnis and John Salazar in 2003 and 2006, respectively, would have created a pilot program in the Animas River watershed that would allow so-called good Samaritan groups to clean up polluted mines without fear of long-term liability…
…The program was aimed at getting a start on cleaning up waste from old mines in the area and could have at least lowered pre-spill levels of contaminants that have killed stretches in the watershed.
Advocates of good Samaritan legislation say the failed attempts were emblematic of a long-running fight in Congress, spearheaded by Colorado legislators, to find a way to deal with thousands of defunct and dirty mines in the West.
Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver) and Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Cortez) are working together on a new version of the so-called “Good Samaritan” legislation.
► Famous rich person Donald Trump is on the cover of Time magazine because of his unexpected early success as a Republican candidate for President. Every now and again, Trump says something that makes you pause and consider whether maybe — just maybe — there is more to his candidacy than meets the eye:
As he bids farewell, he has a final thought, something he has been mulling over. It’s about that massive audience for the first Republican debate on Fox News, which he credits almost entirely to himself. On Sept. 16, CNN will host the next debate, under the direction of Jeff Zucker, the man who helped launch Trump’s NBC show, The Apprentice. Trump has no doubt it will be huge.
“Here’s my question: So if I go to CNN and I say, Look, you’re going to have a massive audience, and if I say to them, I want $10 million for charity, nothing for myself, what happens?”…
…“If I’m in it, they’ll get this crazy audience, and they’re going to make a fortune since they’re selling commercials every time we take a break. Would you ever say to them, would you ever say, I want $10 million for AIDS research, for cancer, for this type or not, or is it too cute?”
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► The first female soldiers to complete the Army’s infamous Ranger School are officially graduating today, renewing a long-simmering debate about the role of women in combat:
The Army opened Ranger School to female soldiers for the first time this year as service leaders weighed opening more combat jobs to women. How far the military is willing to go toward ending gender restrictions will be evident soon.
Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said Thursday he will decide by December whether to accept any recommended exceptions to an order, signed by one of his predecessors, Leon Panetta, nearly three years ago that said all positions must be open to qualified women unless service leaders can justify keeping any closed. Any recommended exceptions are due to Carter in October.
► We’re not done with August yet, but officials at the University of Colorado-Boulder are busy prepping for an Oct. 28th debate among Republican Presidential candidates. If we were laying odds, we’d say it’s 50-50 that at least one Republican candidate refers to Colorado as “The Boulder State.”
► Brad Komar, the campaign manager for Gov. John Hickenlooper’s 2014 re-election, will head the Colorado campaign of Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
► With the first week of school nearly in the books, teachers in the Jefferson County School District are preparing to vote on a 10-month contract. From Yesenia Robles of the Denver Post:
Last year, even after bargaining teams in Jefferson County reached a tentative agreement, the board refused to approve the deal and the district and union reached an impasse over who would qualify for raises.
Stakes are higher this time because the entire agreement expires at the end of August…
…Some teachers fear the 10-month agreement is a sign the district might be following Douglas County School District’s moves.In 2012, the new Douglas County board refused to approve an agreement and cut ties with the teachers union.
Reason #1,714 why Jefferson County voters will seek to recall three right-wing school board members in November.
► Three candidates announced that they are running for Jefferson County School Board in the November recall. From the Denver Post:
The candidates are: attorney Brad Rupert; parent and school volunteer Susan Harmon; and retired principal Ron Mitchell.
All three have or have had children in Jeffco schools and were “recruited by a group of parent leaders seeking to build a non-partisan team,” according to the news release.
► Colorado Springs activists are launching a campaign to give small business owners more of a voice at the State Capitol. The group needs a better name, however.
OTHER LINKS YOU SHOULD CLICK
► The sales price of oil and natural gas continues to decline in Colorado, which experts say will lead to a decrease in production in our state:
“The sharp decline in (oil and gas) prices has had delayed but measurable impacts on rig counts, industry employment and taxes,” said Brian Lewandowski, lead author of the report and associate director of the CU-Leeds Business Research Division. “While production thus far has remained stable, we anticipate a fall.”
With a likely sag in production, Colorado’s counties, cities and schools will feel a sharp decline in revenue from property and severance taxes they receive from oil and gas activities in their back yard, the report says.
Don’t worry: You’ll still notice the effects of drilling on air quality!
► Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is being hammered by critics for supporting a potential repeal of birthright citizenship. Cruz was born in Canada, the son of an American-born mother and a Cuban immigrant father–technically still a citizen, but, you know…
► Pigs fly in Fort Collins.
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