Get More Smarter on Friday (April 16)

Happy World Voice Day. Please yell out responsibly. Let’s Get More Smarter; if you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

The Indianapolis Star reports on yet another mass shooting in the United States, this one at a FedEx distribution site in Indianapolis:

Officers arrived to a “chaotic and active” crime scene, according to IMPD Deputy Chief of Investigations Craig McCartt.

Eight people, plus the suspected gunman, were found dead in and around the facility. It’s believed the shooter died by suicide shortly before police arrived.

McCartt said at a Friday morning news conference that the shooter arrived at the building and began “randomly” firing in the parking lot — with no confrontation or argument before the shooting started. He then went inside the building and continued shooting. Four people were found dead outside and four were found dead inside.

 

► Republican State Rep. Ron Hanks, the “Insurrectionist Man of Mystery,” continues to press his case as the biggest asshole in the Colorado legislature. Hanks attempted to give lawmakers a history lesson on Thursday and warmed up with a really tasteless joke. From 9News:

Hanks (R-Penrose) falsely alleged that the three-fifths compromise was not “impugning anybody’s humanity” while debating a civics education bill on the House floor Thursday.

“The three-fifths compromise, of course, was an effort by non-slave states … to try and reduce the amount of representation that the slave states had,” Hanks said. “It was not impugning anybody’s humanity.”

This comment was preceded by another where he referenced being mistakenly called up as Rep. Mike Lynch (R-Wellington).

“Being called Mr. Lynch might be a good thing for what I’m about to say … no, just kidding,” Hanks said.

Hanks’ ridiculous comments earned him national headlines.

 

Let’s check in on more state legislative news:

The House of Representatives approved the annual state budget bill despite a few mindless protests from Republican lawmakers.

A bill that would reduce sentencing requirements for felony murder convictions is on its way to the desk of Gov. Jared Polis. On Thursday, Gov. Polis signed into law a bill that allows victims of child sexual abuse more time to bring civil lawsuits against perpetrators.

Lawmakers are considering making significant changes to admission requirements for colleges and universities.

A new law will give formerly incarcerated people with firefighting experience more opportunities to return to the firefighting profession.

Legislation that would have required ski resorts to provide more transparency about injuries on the slopes died in committee.

Pueblo County is opposing a proposal to speed up the process of reducing harmful emissions in Colorado.

Dave Perry of The Aurora Sentinel voices support for the “Colorado Option” healthcare plan being debated in the state legislature.

 

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel confirms a story first reported here at Colorado Pols about former Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese withdrawing her name from consideration as Mesa County Attorney…which probably has something to do with the fact that Pugliese wants to run for Secretary of State and now lives in Colorado Springs.

 

 Republican Qaucus leaders were the ONLY two Members of Congress to vote NO on a routine reauthorization of the nation’s bone marrow registry and umbilical cord blood used in bone marrow transplants. Republican Reps. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene represented the “2” in the 415-2 vote in favor of H.R. 941.

 

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

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415-2: The “Q-Some Twosome” Stand Alone

Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives held votes on a variety of bills ahead of getting out of town for the weekend. Colorado Public Radio’s Caitlyn Kim followed the action via Twitter yesterday: one fully expected party-line vote, others nearly unanimous, and a few others where Colorado Republican freshman Rep. Lauren Boebert was part of a much smaller minority bloc:

Reps. Marjorie Taylor-Greene, Lauren Boebert.

In particular, pretty much everyone in America is scratching their heads over Boebert’s vote against H.R. 941, the TRANSPLANT Act, a routine reauthorization of the nation’s bone marrow registry and umbilical cord blood. The only two members of the House who voted against this legislation were Reps. Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia–the first time these two controversial representatives have ever stood alone in opposition to any piece of legislation since being sworn into Congress.

So…what happened? Newsweek has the only explanation we’ve seen from either representative:

In a statement, Rep. Greene’s spokesman Nick Dyer said: “Nothing in this bill prevents the funding of aborted fetal tissue by taxpayers. It opens the door for the NIH to use this bill to research the remains of babies who were murdered in the womb.”

“This bill added hundreds of millions of dollars to the national debt, while not receiving a CBO score or going through the committee process,” Rep. Boebert added.

Funny how these objections were not a problem for the other anti-abortion fiscal hawk Republicans in the House who voted for the bill! Which would be, you know, all of them.

After that, it would be nice to hear an explanation from Boebert for being on the wrong side of a 413-8 vote to protect seniors from scams, or 406-10 to similarly protect Native Americans? It’s not like Boebert was just mindlessly mashing the “no” button last night, having cast a few “yes” votes for microloans and a couple other uncontroversial bills. Presumably there was some thought put into these votes, and Boebert’s constituents deserve an explanation as to what that thought was.

During his time in Congress, Rep. Tom Tancredo established a reputation for extremely controversial votes against overwhelmingly popular legislation, being for example one of only 11 members of the U.S. House to vote against relief funds following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The dopamine hit from the attention this kind of controversy brings is a powerful stimulant for those unable to distinguish from good and bad attention–but as Tancredo learned the hard way, all he was doing in the long run was buying himself a ticket to irrelevance. Voters quickly tire of this pointless contrarianism, especially when it’s about issues that matter to real people.

The devastating ads these votes just provided the content for will prove it someday, don’t worry.

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Getting History Perfectly Backwards With Rep. Ron Hanks

UPDATE #2: Colorado Democrats blast Rep. Ron Hanks in a release:

Shenika Carter, Chair of the African Diaspora Initiative of the Colorado Democratic Party:

“To call the comments made by Mr. Hanks today disgusting and ignorant would be a gross understatement. For him to downplay the indisputable, historical fact that enslaved Black people were treated less a person’s worth both in law and in practice is offensive and beneath the dignity of our state legislature. Mr. Hanks needs to apologize immediately, and he needs to educate himself before he makes ignorant comments with such recklessness in the future.”

Halisi Vinson, Executive Director of the Colorado Democratic Party:

“I don’t know when Republicans thought it became appropriate to whitesplain the historical experience of Black people in our country, but it needs to stop. The fact that Representative Hanks thought it would be appropriate to make a ‘joke’ about lynching — especially at a time when we’re seeing a rise of racially motivated assaults on people of color across our country — is utterly despicable. The Colorado Republican Party, and Republican leadership in the State House, need to hold Representative Hanks accountable and immediately join us in condemning his disgusting comments. Condemning such blatantly racist rhetoric from our elected officials shouldn’t be a partisan issue.”

Morgan Carroll, Chair of the Colorado Democratic Party:

“From my time as a Colorado state representative to my time as Colorado Senate President, I can say these comments are inappropriate and just plain wrong. What I heard from Representative Hanks say on the floor of the State House this afternoon is an insult to the dignity of Coloradans and to the dignity of that chamber. He owes his colleagues, the people of Colorado, and all Black Americans a sincere apology for his ignorant and hurtful comments. Colorado Republicans should join us in immediately condemning these insulting comments and ‘jokes’ that Representative Hanks made today.”

—–

UPDATE: 9NEWS’ Marshall Zelinger with the icing on the proverbial cake:

Rep. Ron Hanks is, as they say, a real piece of…work.

—–

In a debate today in the Colorado House of Representatives over Senate Bill 21-067, a bipartisan bill to improve education in civics and government in Colorado schools, whack-right freshman GOP Rep. Ron Hanks of Penrose gave everyone present a potent reminder of why education in civics is so important.

As is so often the case, it was a lesson delivered…unintentionally:

HANKS: Going back to the founding, and going back to the The 3/5ths, and I heard the comments and I appreciate them, and I respect them, BUT the 3/5ths compromise of course was an effort by non-slave states to not, to try to reduce the amount of representation that the slave states had. It was not impugning anybody’s humanity, [Pols emphasis] it was an effort to, uh,

(inaudible comment from the gallery)

Well it’s important to say we had this conversation on one side, let’s talk about it on the other. Is this really racist to be talking about what the 3/5ths compromise was? I don’t think so and I think it’s important and it’s part of a civics lesson here. It was brought up, and it merits discussion. It was an effort by the north to try to keep the south from having too much representation and push slavery beyond, and ultimately it worked out. It took a war to do it. It took 600,000 American lives. It took a lot of treasure. That’s the kind of thing that ought to be taught.

We can, maybe this is a contentious issue, I didn’t think it was when I came up and said it but the hisses have proven me wrong…

Let’s start with the really basic stuff that Rep. Hanks should have learned, you know, in civics class. Hanks claims that the 3/5s compromise was “an effort by non-slave states to reduce the amount of representation that the slave states had.” This is factually backwards: the compromise was originally proposed by 1787 Constitutional Convention delegate Charles Pinckney of South Carolina. Opponents of slavery in the North did not want slave populations counted at all because it boosted the population of slaveholding states for representation purposes, but it was the South that demanded a compromise under threat of leaving the Union right then and there.

So yes, the 3/5 compromise most certainly “impugned” the “humanity” of those who were counted for less. It was not the idea of abolitionists, who didn’t want slaves counted because they didn’t want slaves to exist. The compromise was about appeasing slave states.

In short, Rep. Ron Hanks is wrong, way wrong, just like now ex-Rep. Lori Saine was outrageously wrong when she claimed that “whites and blacks alike were in nearly equal numbers lynched for the crime of being Republican” on MLK Day 2019. It’s not just the mistake, it’s what this mistake implies about their whole worldview. And when you’re this wrong about a point in history of such importance to race relations in America, literally while debating a bill about civics class…

Well, people are going to gasp in disbelief. That’s what happens.

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Rose Pugliese for County Attorney, or SOS, or Whatever

FRIDAY UPDATE: Charles Ashby of The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel confirms what we first reported on Thursday: Rose Pugliese withdrew her name from consideration for the Mesa County Attorney position:

In a letter of withdrawal sent on Tuesday, Pugliese told Commissioners Janet Rowland, Cody Davis and Scott McInnis that she’s not yet done with politics. As a result, she is not ready to take a bureaucratic position where she isn’t supposed to be political.

“Thank you for the opportunity to interview with you as a finalist for the Mesa County Attorney position,” Pugliese wrote in a letter of withdrawal from consideration. “Upon much deliberation and prayer, I realized that at this point in my life, my passion lies in my political work, and I am not ready yet to put that work aside. The county attorney needs to possess political savvy without being political. Therefore, I withdraw my name from consideration.”

This would also seem to confirm our original point: That Pugliese is focused on running for Secretary of State in 2022.

—–

Rose Pugliese (current title pending)

As we had previously reported in this space, the endlessly-ambitious former Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese is seeking the Republican nomination for Secretary of State in 2022. From what we hear, Pugliese recently moved to Colorado Springs in part to make it easier to seek statewide office by being geographically closer to the majority of voters and potential donors.

Unless Pugliese is about to become the new Mesa County Attorney in Grand Junction.

Stick with us, because this story is a bit messy…

Pugliese has long been mentioned as a potential “rising star” in the Republican Party. In September 2019, The Denver Post featured Pugliese along with failed SD-27 candidate Suzanne Staiert Taheri and State Sen. Kevin Priola as three Republicans who could “save the Colorado GOP from obscurity.”

Pugliese has positioned herself as a champion of right-wing issues like Climate Change denial and blind obedience to the oil and gas industry, and her extracurricular political activities have kept her name in the mix in GOP circles for other jobs (Pugliese finished her second term as Mesa County Commissioner in January). In 2020, Pugliese was one of the main organizers of a failed effort to overturn a Colorado law that seeks to award the state’s electoral votes to the Presidential candidate who wins the National Popular Vote.

Pugliese was rumored to be on the short list of potential running mates for 2018 Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton (former State Rep. Lang Sias was ultimately awarded that turd of a prize). In 2019, Pugliese registered a campaign committee to run for a state senate seat in SD-07…in 2022. Pugliese terminated that committee on February 22, 2021, which was probably a good idea since she no longer lived in the district; public records show that Pugliese purchased a home in Colorado Springs in October 2020, and on January 5, 2021, she officially changed her voter registration to that same address. This move was not a secret: She penned a thank you letter to Mesa County citizens that ran in The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel in December 2020 in which she noted her plans to relocate to Colorado Springs (the bio on her website also lists her as a resident of Colorado Springs).

Now, here’s where things get weird. On Sunday The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reported that the Mesa County Board of Commissioners was struggling to defend its decision to announce Pugliese as THE SOLE FINALIST for the job of Mesa County Attorney, which [checks map] is nowhere near Colorado Springs. That decision came only after previous finalists apparently failed to impress someone, as the Sentinel explains:

On Feb. 15 the commissioners publicly announced that they had chosen Atencio and Chief Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Lee Springer as the two finalists. Atencio has been with the county attorney’s office for a decade, while Springer has worked in the DA’s office for more than a dozen years.

Commissioners then formally interviewed Atencio and Springer in separate close-door sessions on March 16, but three days after that the application process was reopened, which was announced with little fanfare and no comments during a regular commissioners’ meeting.

The second round was intended to increase the applicant pool, resulting in six additional people applying, including Pugliese…

…The following Monday, Pugliese was named the sole finalist.

Pugliese acknowledged her role in this process in an interview with the Sentinelin which she noted again that she had already moved to Colorado Springs:

Pugliese told The Daily Sentinel that she didn’t apply during the first round primarily because she had recently moved to Colorado Springs with her two young children, and was starting a new job there in the law offices of Wegener, Scarborough & Lane, where she is of counsel along with Willett working on estate planning and business development for municipal and county outsourced work.

Headline from Grand Junction Daily Sentinel editorial (4/11/21)

It’s also worth noting that the law firm of Wegener, Scarborough, and Lane lists Pugliese as a staff attorney, which is a job she could not have held prior to January on account of the fact that she was still a Mesa County Commissioner. Anyway, Pugliese was supposed to have her final interview for the Mesa County Attorney job on Monday. But from what we hear, Pugliese instead withdrew her name as a candidate for the position.

Perhaps Pugliese’s name is out of the mix for County Attorney because of public criticism (on Sunday, the editorial board of The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel blasted the decision to name Pugliese as the sole finalist). Maybe Pugliese finally realized that a daily commute from Colorado Springs to Grand Junction would be a nightmare. Or…it’s possible that Pugliese figures that this sort of dysfunction is exactly the sort of thing that would endear her to a GOP base that remains devoted to Donald Trump. Support Rose Pugliese for Secretary of State, or she’ll do something else!

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Get More Smarter on Not Tax Day (April 15)

For most people, tax day this year is on May 17th. Let’s Get More Smarter; if you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

The defense rested its case in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is accused of murder in the May 2020 killing of George Floyd. As The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports:

Derek Chauvin said in court Thursday that he will not testify in his murder trial shortly before the defense said it has completed its case.

“I will invoke my Fifth Amendment privilege” to not risk making any self-incriminating statements in Hennepin County District Court, where the fired Minneapolis police officer is charged with killing George Floyd late last spring in Minneapolis…

…Chauvin’s declaration came during a series of questions from his attorney, Eric Nelson, and outside the presence of the jury.

Nelson and Chauvin were seated at the defense table as the defendant held a cordless microphone and had his voice heard for the first time on the record during the trial.

Closing arguments in the Chauvin trial could begin as soon as Monday.

 

► You don’t need us to tell you that red states and blue states are very different. But as The Associated Press reports, one significant difference is bad for your health:

With coronavirus shots now in the arms of nearly half of American adults, the parts of the U.S. that are excelling and those that are struggling with vaccinations are starting to look like the nation’s political map: deeply divided between red and blue states.

Out in front is New Hampshire, where 65% of the population age 18 and older has received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Following close behind are New Mexico, Connecticut, Maine and Massachusetts at 55% or greater. All have a history of voting Democratic and supported President Joe Biden in the 2020 election.

Meanwhile, at the bottom are five states where fewer than 40% have rolled up their sleeves for a shot. Four of them — Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Tennessee — lean Republican and voted for Donald Trump last fall. The fifth is Georgia, which has a Republican governor and supported GOP presidential candidates for nearly three decades before narrowly backing Biden.

 

The Douglas County Board of Commissioners are not doctors, but they are pretending to know more about the COVID-19 pandemic than the so-called “experts.” That’s not good news for the rest of us, which is why others are speaking out.

 

Let’s check in on state legislative news:

The State House of Representatives gave preliminary approval to the new state budget proposal.

Fox 31 News reports on opposition to proposed legislation seeking to reduce Colorado’s jail population.

Colorado lawmakers are freezing tuition rates at community colleges.

The Associated Press reports on legislative efforts to improve maternal care for minority women.

Lawmakers are considering legislation to improve health benefits for legislative aides.

The State Senate approved legislation that would allow undocumented immigrants to receive professional licenses in Colorado.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

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Douglas County Commish Laughs At 560,000 Dead Americans

Douglas County Board of COVIDiots.

Denver7’s Robert Garrison reports on the resolution passed this week by the all-GOP Douglas County Board of Commissioners, declaring with the combined weight of exactly zero medical or public health experience that “the pandemic is over”–and ordering DougCo to drop its defenses against COVID-19:

Declaring that “this pandemic is over,” the Douglas County Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to pass a resolution to opt out of further Tri-County public health orders beginning Friday…

Commissioner Abe Laydon brought up the Hans Christian Anderson’s folktale, “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” as a way to describe how further health restrictions in Douglas County, in his view, doesn’t match up with current data.

“Based on the facts that we have before us today, I want to have the courage of that young child (in Anderson’s folktale), and for Douglas County to be first county in the state to say that this pandemic is over,” Laydon said. [Pols emphasis]

For those who don’t get the literary reference, first of all shame on you. But DougCo Commissioner Abe Laydon is referring to the moment in The Emperor’s New Clothes when a child blurts out the obvious fact that the emperor in question is naked. Because, like Layton and his fellow DougCo commissioners have been saying from the beginning, this whole COVID-19 thing is way overblown! These Republican elected officials, as our readers know, have callously disregarded the threat of COVID-19 from the first days of the pandemic following Donald Trump’s dismissive “it will just disappear” lead.

You have to know the reference to understand just how offensive it is in this context. Laydon is saying that the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed over 560,000 Americans and is not yet done, is political fiction like the emperor’s new clothes.

The truth is that by most estimates we are finally on the back side of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in particular the vaccination of a majority of the most vulnerable means that the threat of severe illness and death is in decline. But with the vaccination campaign racing against a variant-driven “fourth wave” of infections, it’s more important than ever to pay heed to the experts and keep up best practices to limit transmission of the virus until we’ve really, epidemiologically gotten to the end.

Last spring and summer, when the death toll from this pandemic was still hypothetical instead of the crushing reality it is today, Douglas County’s political grandstand against COVID-19 prevention measures, demonizing their own health department to the extent that public health workers were receiving death threats, was irresponsible. With 560,000 Americans dead, this cavalier attitude is nothing short of unconscionable.

How can anyone in public office be so flippant in the face of tragedy? Is this what DougCo stands for?

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The GMS Podcast: Q*Bert Conquers the Spirit World

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast


 

Catch up on previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Hit us up at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn

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Bennet, Hickenlooper Back Paid Sick Leave Legislation

Sens. Michael Bennet, John Hickenlooper.

Both of Colorado’s U.S. Senators have signed onto the “Health Families Act,” the latest version of federal legislation that seeks to require employers to provide paid sick leave for workers. From a press release:

U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet joined 36 of their Senate colleagues to introduce the Healthy Families Act, paid sick days legislation to help keep workers, communities and our economy healthy. The bill is similar to a new Colorado state law expanding paid sick leave to all employees.

Today, one in four workers still do not have access to paid sick days. For these 32 million private sector workers—who are disproportionately women and people of color—getting sick or having to care for a sick loved one means having to choose between losing a paycheck or going into work sick and risking the health of their colleagues and their community. This inequity isn’t just bad for workers—it’s bad for our public health and our economy too, especially in the midst of a pandemic. Recent studies show that requiring employers to provide paid sick days reduces the spread of flu-like illnesses and reduces emergency room visits by 1.3 million annually, saving $1.1 billion a year. Another study showed that the emergency paid leave provision passed in 2020 helped slow the spread of COVID-19 by roughly 15,000 cases per day

…The Healthy Families Act would allow workers at businesses with at least 15 employees to earn up to 56 hours, or seven days, of paid sick leave each year. This would allow workers to stay home when they are sick or to care for a sick family member—as well as to seek preventive medical care, or seek assistance related to domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault. Businesses that already provide paid sick leave would not have to change their current policies, as long as they meet the minimum standards of the Healthy Families Act.

Congressional Democrats have tried for years to pass legislation requiring some sort of paid leave for workers, which has left states to do much of the heavy lifting on an issue that has become increasingly important in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Colorado lawmakers passed legislation last year that requires all but the smallest businesses in the state to provide paid sick leave to employees. This week, New Mexico lawmakers became the 10th state to add some sort of paid family and sick leave requirements.

A national family leave program is still critically important for the rest of the country. Just this week, State Senators in Texas approved legislation that BANS cities and counties from requiring businesses to provide paid sick leave to employees.

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Boebert Draws Relatively Sane Republican Challenger

Noted in yesterday’s Unaffiliated newsletter from the Colorado Sun:

U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Garfield County, now has a Republican primary challenger for 2022. Marina Zimmerman, a crane operator from southwest Colorado, filed paperwork with the FEC on Friday to officially launch her bid.

 

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R).

Marina Zimmerman, a 2008 graduate of Fort Lewis College in Durango, is as unknown to us as Rep. Lauren Boebert herself was before Boebert heckled Beto O’Rourke about guns at an Aurora, Colorado town hall in 2019. But a look at Zimmerman’s Twitter feed reveals she is not a fan of the far-right Class of 2020 Republican members of Congress including Boebert and fellow “Q-some Twosome” Marjorie Taylor Greene–and Zimmerman seems to agree that the “QAnon” conspiracy theory is harming the Republican Party.

And on the one issue Boebert has planted her flag on more than all the others combined, it looks like Marina Zimmerman is on the right message for a Republican primary:

And there you have it, folks–the first GOP challenger throwing her hat in the ring to take on Boebert in 2022. Of course, there are plenty of variables yet to be determined that will dictate the seriousness of Zimmerman’s campaign. As we’ve said many times as the popular anger over Boebert’s excesses has grown, the upcoming redistricting process will determine in large part who gets the decisive opportunity to take on Boebert. If the district is drawn at all competitive against a Democratic challenger, expect them to make an all-out effort. But if Boebert’s district is drawn with a significant Republican advantage, the task of replacing Boebert with competent representation for whoever ends up drawn into her district will fall to her own party.

In that event, it’s a good bet that higher profile Republicans will step up. In the meantime, as it did with Lauren Boebert beyond her wildest dreams, let fortune favor the bold.

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (April 14)

There are 254 shopping days until Christmas. Let’s Get More Smarter; if you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

More details are emerging on Tuesday’s big news that the United States will make a complete withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan. From The New York Times:

President Biden, frustrated in his efforts to end America’s “Forever War” a decade ago, will announce on Wednesday a Sept. 11 deadline for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan after 20 years, a move that immediately triggered similar action among the country’s NATO allies…

…In the hours leading up to Mr. Biden’s afternoon announcement at the White House, foreign and defense ministers met at NATO headquarters in Brussels to discuss “a safe, deliberate and coordinated withdrawal of our forces from Afghanistan,” as the American secretary of state, Antony J. Blinken, told them on Wednesday.

The ministers, many of them attending the Wednesday meeting virtually, are expected to formally back the American withdrawal date in keeping with the alliance’s mantra “in together and out together.”

As The Denver Post reports, Members of Colorado’s Congressional delegation voiced agreement with the decision.

 

The Durango Herald editorial board endorses the “Colorado Option” health care bill, which was finally introduced in a State House committee on Friday. From the Herald:

Coloradans – and especially rural Southwest Coloradans – are in trouble when it comes to health care costs. Before the pandemic, about 11.2% of people in Southwest Colorado couldn’t afford medical insurance, compared to 6.5% for the entire state. Because workers who lost their jobs in 2020 likely also lost insurance, that 11.2% is certainly higher now.

According to the Colorado Health Access Survey, even those with medical insurance in Colorado report skipping doctor visits when ill, struggling to pay medical bills and being unable to pay for rent, utilities, food and other necessities at times because of medical bills…

Some aspects of the health care industry work very well, as evidenced during the pandemic. But that doesn’t change what we know to be true: We have to find solutions that make health care more accessible and affordable for all Coloradans.

HB 1232 likely is not perfect, but it’s a big step in the right direction – and a signal to the health care industry that the time has come for change. [Pols emphasis]

Click here for more on the arguments and policy details.

In related news, Colorado’s Connect for Health insurance marketplace is seeing a record number of signups.

 

The Denver Post reports on efforts to make it more difficult for perpetrators of domestic violence to gain access to a firearm:

Colorado law since 2013 has required most people who are charged with domestic violence to relinquish their guns, but prosecutors and court officials acknowledge it’s loosely enforced, sometimes not at all.

Lawmakers got their first look Tuesday at a bill, HB21-1255, that would strengthen compliance, which state analysts say affects thousands per year.

Already, Democrats who control the Colorado legislature have sent two gun bills to Gov. Jared Polis to sign, which he is expected to do soon. One requires secure storage of firearms and the other mandates that lost or stolen firearms be reported, both of which were in the works before the mass shooting at a Boulder King Soopers last month.

Attorney General Phil Weiser told lawmakers during a hearing that they must pass this third piece of gun legislation, because domestic violence is a crisis in Colorado, citing a statistic that of the 70 domestic violence-related deaths in 2019, two-thirds were due to a gun.

Elsewhere in state legislative news:

The Colorado Sun is tracking the status of legislation dealing with the spending of stimulus funds.

The “long bill” — also known as the annual state budget bill — will be the major topic of discussion in the State House today.

Colorado Newsline discusses legislative efforts to improve long-standing maternal health disparities.

Legislation to reform Colorado’s felony murder sentencing is headed to the desk of Gov. Jared Polis, as is a bill to expand Colorado’s ability to import prescription drugs from other countries.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

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Today In Poorly Chosen Republican Words

Last week, Colorado House Minority Leader Hugh McKean elicited more than a few groans for his pledge on a local AM radio show that the “Colorado Option” bill to bring down the cost of health care for consumers would be “the hill we,” meaning Republicans in the Colorado General Assembly, “die on.”

Which is, we should all be able to agree, an ironic way to talk about health care.

Not to be outdone, Minority Leader McKean’s communications staff fired off a stomach-churning and even darker analogy of their own today on the very same subject:

This Tweet was deleted after an hour or so this morning, and that seems appropriate since again, we’re talking about health care and not people dying on hills or having bullet holes in them. With respect to bullet holes in particular, we’ve had quite enough discussion of that in Colorado these past few weeks to tide us over a long, long time. Which leads to the next logical question…

What the hell is wrong with these people?

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White House Gives Colorado C- Grade On Infrastructure

Photo by the Colorado Department of Transportation.

Colorado Newsline’s Laura Olson reports:

In the next phase of President Joe Biden’s sales pitch for his $2 trillion infrastructure package, his administration is framing its argument around the mounting, unmet needs in states as it seeks to build public support for another massive spending bill. Democrats are also hitting back at criticisms from congressional Republicans that the mammoth package goes too far beyond the road-and-bridge projects typically associated with infrastructure.

The White House released a set of state-by-state breakdowns on Monday detailing the number of bridges in severe disrepair, increased commuting times due to lack of investment in transit, and growing costs related to ensuring that drinking water systems are safe and clean, as well as funding in the proposal intended to tackle those problems.

Democrats in addition contend that child care and care for older adults and those with disabilities are critical for supporting the country’s economy and overall well-being, along with access to high-speed internet.

How does Colorado score? Check out our state’s individual report and see–not great:

ROADS AND BRIDGES: In Colorado there are 481 bridges and over 3,600 miles of highway in poor condition. Since 2011, commute times have increased by 9.3% in Colorado and on average, each driver pays $651 per year in costs due to driving on roads in need of repair. The American Jobs Plan will devote more than $600 billion to transform our nations’ transportation infrastructure and make it more resilient, including $115 billion repairing roads and bridges.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: Coloradans who take public transportation spend an extra 74.6% of their time commuting and non-White households are 1.8 times more likely to commute via public transportation. 12% of trains and other transit vehicles in the state are past useful life. The American Jobs Plan will modernize public transit with an $85 billion investment…

It should be noted in fairness that few states did well in this scoring of infrastructure needs, with most states either at a C or below or unranked entirely due to being well below the standard. As of now, the principal Republican objection to the American Jobs Act is that it’s an “infrastructure bill” that doesn’t spend enough on what Republicans are calling “traditional” infrastructure like roads and bridges. But in every respect, from broadband to clean water to child care, this bill is about the underpinnings of economic success in the modern era–and that broader definition of “infrastructure” is one Democrats hope and believe Americans will get behind. And make no mistake: the amount proposed for old-fashioned transportation infrastructure is historic all by itself.

In short, the American Jobs Act is a transformative investment that Coloradans will see everywhere. Colorado is doing our part with a new statewide transportation plan, and this bill is an opportunity to scale up from the bare minimum to meeting something closer to the state’s long-term need.

In 2021, potholes and creaky bridges are just the beginning.

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Biden Announces Complete Withdrawal From Afghanistan

UPDATE: Statement from Rep. Jason Crow of Aurora:

“My own service in Afghanistan made it abundantly clear to me that if there was a military solution to the war in Afghanistan, we would have found one years ago. I support the Biden Administration’s decision to finally bring our longest war to an end, but we must do so in a way that keeps our promises to our allies, protects the women and children of Afghanistan, and ensures a safer and more secure world.

“In the coming days and weeks, I look forward to engaging with the Administration to learn more about their plans for a safe and responsible withdrawal of troops, as required under federal law.”

—–

Big enough foreign policy news to merit a mention in this provincial space, as the Washington Post reports:

President Biden will withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan over the coming months, people familiar with the plans said, completing the military exit by the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that first drew the United States into its longest war.

The decision, which Biden is expected to announce on Wednesday, will keep thousands of U.S. forces in the country beyond the May 1 exit deadline that the Trump administration negotiated last year with the Taliban, according to one person familiar with the matter, who like others spoke on condition of anonymity to describe plans that are not yet public…

“This is the immediate, practical reality that our policy review discovered,” the person familiar with the deliberations said. “If we break the May 1st deadline negotiated by the previous administration with no clear plan to exit, we will be back at war with the Taliban, and that was not something President Biden believed was in the national interest.”

“We’re going to zero troops by September.”

We’re waiting for a statement from Rep. Jason Crow, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan who expressed hope in February that the Biden administration was moving to a swift and responsible end to the conflict:

“I look forward to working with the Biden Administration to responsibly end the war in Afghanistan. My service in Afghanistan showed me what makes the U.S military the strongest in the world, but also revealed the limitations of military power. If there was a military solution to the war in Afghanistan, we would have found one years ago. Our longest war must come to an end, but we must do so in a way that keeps our promises to our allies, protects vulnerable populations, including the women and children of Afghanistan, and ensures a safer and more secure world.”

Once considered the only justified military action after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in stark contrast to the misguided invasion of Iraq in 2003, the war in Afghanistan ground on for years after the death of Osama bin Laden in neighboring Pakistan even as Afghanistan has faded in relative geopolitical importance. President Donald Trump had negotiated an arbitrary deadline to withdrawal, and hopefully the slightly longer period Biden plans to take to get the troops out in an organized fashion will not result in additional lives lost.

We’ll update with statements as they arrive, in the meantime less war is always a good thing.

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Another “Honey Badger” to Worry About

Arizona Republican State Rep. Mark Finchem

He wants to run for Secretary of State (SOS), and he calls himself “Honey Badger.”

You can exhale a little bit. We’re not talking about former Colorado SOS and failed candidate for Republican State Party Chair Scott Gessler, though the similarities are striking. We’re instead discussing Arizona Republican Rep. Mark Finchem, the Colonel Sanders cosplay model who is running for Secretary of State in Arizona after spending the last six months ranting and raving about nonexistent election fraud.

As Vice News reports:

Finchem has launched a campaign to be Arizona’s next secretary of state, a powerful position that oversees the election system of one of the nation’s most important swing states. And he’s running on a “secure elections” platform rooted in conspiracy-mongering.

“Since my very first election, I knew something was very wrong with our elections process,” Finchem claims on his website. “Then on November 3rd, 2020, the unthinkable happened: Americans witnessed real-time reallocation of votes from one candidate to another, broadcast on national television.”

Some Republicans worry that Finchem could be a force to contend with in primary, given how virulently pro-Trump much of the GOP base is in the state. And Democrats are terrified at the prospect of Finchem in charge of Arizona’s election system heading into 2024—when the state could once again be at the epicenter of the presidential map.

Finchem is a Trump loyalist and a frequent guest on former Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s web show “The War Room.” His online handle on right-wing platforms Telegram and Gab is “@AZHoneyBadger,” which he uses to sing the merits of another well-known Colorado Republican:

His profiles are littered with reposts from the right-wing “news” sources Gateway Pundit and Epoch Times touting election conspiracy theories, an account touting the Three Percenters militia movement, GOP Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Lauren Boebert of Colorado, and various other fringe posters. [Pols emphasis] He reposted attacks on Dominion Voting Systems, claims that hydroxychloroquine is a COVID-19 cure, arguments that masks don’t protect against COVID, and QAnon-related content.

Finchem has also touted QAnon theories himself.

Yup, Finchem is all-in on the QAnon theory that prominent Democrats are satan-worshipping, baby-eating sex traffickers. He was also in attendance at the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, though he claims to have remained “on the outskirts” of the building.

Unfortunately, Finchem does have a path to becoming Arizona’s next SOS. The current SOS is Democrat Katie Hobbs, who is expected to run for Governor in 2022. Thus, whoever wins the 2022 Republican Primary will face a different Democrat in a race for an open seat. Republicans worry that Finchem is too crazy to win a General Election — “If he wins the primary, we’re done,” one GOP consultant told Vice News –but strange things can happen in down-ballot races.

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At Least He’s Not Your Former Senate Majority Leader

Kansas State Sen. Gene Suellentrop poses for his mug shot.

In another episode of our long-running series, “At Least They’re Not Your Legislator,” we take you to Kansas, where Republican lawmakers ousted their own Senate Majority Leader in a secret ballot.

From WIBW News:

Behind closed doors and by secret ballot, the Kansas Republican caucus voted 22-4 Friday evening to remove Gene Suellentrop as Senate Majority Leader…

…The decision comes a day after court documents provided an officer’s account of Gene Suellentrop’s actions the night he was arrested on charges of drunk driving, driving 90-miles an hour the wrong way on a Topeka highway, and fleeing from law enforcement.

The Kansas Reflector reported last week on Suellentrop’s actions, which included calling a Kansas Highway Patrol Officer a “donut boy” and threatening to fight the phlebotomist who administered a blood alcohol test:

Senate Majority Leader Gene Suellentrop reeked of alcohol, struggled to speak or walk, and threatened the Kansas Highway Patrol officer who stopped him in the early hours of March 16 for driving the wrong way on Interstate 70 in Topeka.

The details of the arrest were made available Thursday following the release of his charging affidavit in Shawnee County District Court. Kansas Reflector and other news media filed motions with the court seeking the document’s release.

Suellentrop, who left the Capitol as the affidavit was ordered released by a judge, faces a felony charge for fleeing a police officer, misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence and reckless driving, and traffic infractions for driving the wrong way on a divided highway and speeding.

KHP Officer Austin Shepley’s report says Suellentrop’s alcohol level was 0.17 grams per 100 milliliters of blood. The legal limit in Kansas is 0.08.

Suellentrop had tried to argue against the release of his arrest affidavit by saying the publicity would jeopardize his physical, mental or emotional safety and “endanger the life or physical safety of the defendant.” You know, kinda like driving the wrong way on I-70 when you are piss drunk might jeopardize the safety of other people.

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Get More Smarter on Monday (April 12)

Happy Birthday, David Letterman. Let’s Get More Smarter; if you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

As The Denver Post reports, Colorado is officially in the “fourth wave” of the COVID-19 pandemic:

Colorado is now experiencing a fourth wave of COVID-19 as infections and hospitalizations rise, but the increasing level of vaccination should make it less severe than the deadly spike late last fall, state officials said Friday.

Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations have risen most in people younger than 50, who are less likely to have been vaccinated, state epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy said. It’s good news that the vaccine is protecting older people, who are most vulnerable to severe symptoms, but younger people need to keep up precautions until they get the shot, she said.

“This fourth wave is going to look different,” she said during a news briefing with Gov. Jared Polis.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported 454 people were hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 as of Friday afternoon. It was the highest total since Feb. 18.

 

► Corporate backlash to Republican efforts aimed at restricting voter rights is apparently growing. As The Washington Post reports:

More than 100 chief executives and corporate leaders gathered online Saturday to discuss taking new action to combat the controversial state voting bills being considered across the country, including the one recently signed into law in Georgia.

Executives from major airlines, retailers and manufacturers — plus at least one NFL owner — talked about potential ways to show they opposed the legislation, including by halting donations to politicians who support the bills and even delaying investments in states that pass the restrictive measures, according to four people who were on the call, including one of the organizers, Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a Yale management professor.

While no final steps were agreed upon, the meeting represents an aggressive dialing up of corporate America’s stand against controversial voting measures nationwide, a sign that their opposition to the laws didn’t end with the fight against the Georgia legislation passed in March.

As CNN reports, last week’s threats against corporations from Republican politicians appear to have backfired:

The virtual meeting with CEOs from a cross-section of industries underscores the growing tensions between the business community and Republicans in the wake of former President Donald Trump’s efforts to sow doubts about the legitimacy of the 2020 election.

The Zoom call took place despite threats of reprisal from former President Donald Trump, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and state lawmakers in Georgia.

“It was a defiant stand against those politicians trying to silence them,” Yale professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld told CNN Business.

Sonnenfeld helped organize the event, along with the Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism and the Leadership Now Project.

 
The “Colorado Option” health care bill was finally introduced in a State House committee on Friday. After several hours of discussion, a vote was delayed until Tuesday to allow for continued negotiations with the health care industry. As Colorado Newsline reports:

Just after 10 p.m., the committee voted to delay a vote on the bill until Tuesday to allow for more negotiations on possible amendments.

“The plan was to go ahead and vote on it (Friday), but there was significant progress made during the hearing,” said Rep. Susan Lontine, the Denver Democrat who chairs the House committee. She referred to conversations that took place Friday between the sponsors and some organizations representing health care providers.

The two-phase legislation would establish a possible path to the Colorado Option, envisioned as a lower-cost, nonprofit-managed health insurance plan sold on Colorado’s individual and small group markets. The Colorado Option would only become available starting in 2025 if private insurance carriers failed to meet voluntary targets in phase one of HB-1232.

Click here for more on the arguments and policy details.

 

Elsewhere in state legislative news:

As discussions continue around the state budget, Axios reports that the word of the month is “equity.”

The Colorado Sun reports on the status of a proposal to establish a Front Range passenger train system.

As Colorado Public Radio explains, legislation about improving Colorado’s roads and bridges intentionally leaves out funding for RTD.

The Denver Post updates on the status of composting grandma.

Lawmakers are debating a potential loosening of Colorado’s liquor sales laws.

CBS4 Denver reports on progress toward creating a prescription drug affordability board.

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel previews the legislative week ahead.

 

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

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Just Stop Talking, Rep. Matt Soper

Last week, we wrote about the unhinged reaction on the part of a number of Western Slope Republicans, including up-and-coming wunderkind Rep. Matt Soper, to the results of city council elections in Grand Junction–in which a slate of GOP-endorsed candidates was soundly defeated by a bipartisan moderate coalition:

Rep. Matt Soper (R).

Given that Rep. Soper was himself elected to office via Dominion Voting Systems election hardware used by Delta and Mesa Counties, it’s completely natural that the press is going to want to follow up and find out if this is a serious complaint from Rep. Soper–or, you know, a “misstatement” made in a moment of exasperation. And as the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby dutifully inquires:

Even though the same voting systems were used to elect such Republicans as U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert and state Rep. Matt Soper, some members of the GOP in Colorado are questioning the legitimacy of Tuesday’s Grand Junction City Council race…

That prompted Soper to post, “Were they using Dominion? This seems impossible!” and, “Cindy Paschal Ficklin we need to request a scan of every ballot and do a manual recount.”

Not long after being questioned about those posts by The Daily Sentinel, the posts were deleted.

That’s a relief–whether it be rage posting, drunk posting, or something in between (these are not mutually exclusive), mashing the delete button once your bad judgment has been brought to your attention by the press is generally a good idea.

But don’t do what Rep. Soper did next:

Still, Soper defended writing them. [Pols emphasis] “Many voters remain concerned about election integrity and whether the results are from a fair system,” Soper said. “Dominion was at the center of the 2020 election complaints, and if Dominion was used, it would be an opportunity to have an audit with the public observing. If the results are verified, it helps restore confidence.”

It would have been much, much better for Soper so simply have taken his lumps and walked away from this fight. If this is how Soper feels, wasn’t deleting his posts calling for a recount a mistake? Since we never heard any complaints from Soper about Dominion Voting Systems when their equipment tabulated Soper’s victory in 2020 with almost 75% of the vote, we are forced to conclude based on the available evidence that Rep. Soper only has a problem with Dominion when his favored candidates lose.

This is not news to the majority of Americans who still believe in democracy.

Soper just isn’t supposed to make it so pitifully obvious.

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Boebert Doubles Down On The Big Lie At Club 20

Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R).

The Grand Junction Sentinel’s veteran political reporter Charles Ashby updates from the Club 20 2021 Spring Conference–a Western Slope civic organization that struggled for relevance in recent years as the region’s right-wing politics diverged from the mainstream and Club 20 followed suit. On Friday, Club 20 hosted freshman GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert for the discussion she declined during the 2020 campaign along with lots of other candidates on both sides.

Nonetheless this weekend’s conference was an opportunity for Boebert, who has been on a nonstop tear of high-energy bellicosity since taking office just a few days before an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol that Boebert cheered on right up to the windows smashing in, to project a more competent image. If there’s any benefit to Boebert appearing at Club 20 it’s to make herself look, well, normal.

But as Club 20 discovered and our readers could have guessed, there’s no normalizing Lauren Boebert:

While she referred to Biden as president on several occasions during her address and a question-and-answer session afterwards, she didn’t respond to a question about whether Biden’s election was legitimate.

She did, however, defend her stance in January in challenging the Electoral College results in Congress that put Biden into office.

“There are certain states that went against their states’ constitutions,” she said. “It was not the states’ legislatures that were determining election laws. You had secretaries of state, attorneys general, rogue judges and many other elected officials and unelected bureaucrats changing election laws.”

With that, whatever Boebert had to say about any other issue, the Bureau of Land Management headquarters in Grand Junction, oil and gas drilling, water policy–forget about it, because the national media will only care that Lauren Boebert just reaffirmed the “Big Lie” that the 2020 elections were somehow not legitimate. Three months after the violence at the U.S. Capitol that marked the effective end of Donald Trump’s deceitful campaign to undo his defeat, Lauren Boebert remains a true believer in the falsehood that sparked it.

If Club 20 wants to be known as a “safe space” for insurrectionists being spurned by even most of mainstream corporate America, that’s their choice–but it’s not going to help them attract mainstream candidates to their events in future election years. A clear statement from Club 20’s leadership that they don’t endorse Boebert’s insurrectionist election fiction is probably in order.

Scorpion and the frog, folks. Boebert simply doesn’t do normal, and attempts to pretend otherwise end badly.

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Let’s Talk About the Colorado Option Bill

Democrats are done waiting in Colorado

The much-anticipated “public option” health care reform bill is finally being discussed today in the House Health and Insurance Committee after negotiations between lawmakers and the health care industry failed to create a compromise agreement. This was probably inevitable given that hospitals and health insurance companies were spending a million dollars on television ads against this proposal BEFORE IT WAS EVEN WRITTEN.

For years, the private health care industry has been wagging its finger at lawmakers saying that the government shouldn’t regulate their ability to make ridiculous amounts of money (Colorado hospitals are literally the most profitable in the nation) and that they can cut costs by themselves. This bill responds to those arguments by saying, “Okay, show us.”

The goal of HB21-1232 is to reduce health care costs for Coloradans and small businesses by requiring the health care industry to make plans available in each county — by 2024 — that would reduce the cost of health care premiums by 20%. If the industry can’t meet this goal, then the state will move forward with creating its own “public option” plan for Colorado consumers by 2025.

Republicans are carrying water for the health care industry by making the absurd argument that this attempt to lower costs for Coloradans is only going to make things worse. Of course, Republicans don’t actually have any ideas of their own for what we could do instead. They just don’t want to do this.

Much like Congressional Republicans who universally opposed a COVID-19 stimulus package that was the most popular piece of legislation in modern American history, Colorado Republicans appear committed to the same sort of political seppuku on the public option. House Minority Leader Hugh McKean said on KHOW radio this week that “this…as I’ve told my Republican colleagues in the House, is the hill we die on.”

Uh, okay. As a December poll from Healthier Colorado found:

A two-thirds majority, (66%), of voters support this healthcare cost reduction initiative, while only 26% oppose it, and 8% of voters are undecided.

In that same poll, 1-in-5 Coloradans said that the current cost of healthcare is “very unaffordable for them and their family.” Nobody could argue with a straight face that the cost of health care is not a problem; every year prices go up and benefits go down for Coloradans. Health care costs have been outpacing wage growth for years.

Unless you have access to giant pills full of cash, you are probably not happy with the cost of health care in Colorado.

In recognition of the fact that opposing this bill is not politically wise, Republicans and the health care industry continue to trot out bogus scare tactics that have consistently been proven wrong. For example, one of their favorite arguments is that the public option bill would shift costs onto other markets, thus raising health care costs in a different manner. But this practice is explicitly prohibited in the language of the bill. Opponents also argue that passage will make it harder for minorities and low income Coloradans to afford health insurance; again, this is directly addressed (and prohibited) in the language of the bill.

Opponents say the public option bill will give “politicians” control over your health care. It will not.

Opponents say passage would force rural hospitals to close for some nebulous reason. But if more rural Coloradans have access to health insurance, then rural hospitals will be compensated for care more regularly, which gives them…MORE money, not less. Obamacare proved this argument false; any reduction in prices is more than offset by the sheer number of new customers who can suddenly afford health care.

As opponents run out of viable talking points, you’ll hear them shift toward a message that Democrats are attacking the health care industry and its workers at a time when it is most vulnerable (because of the COVID-19 pandemic). This is gross, and it’s also dumb. Global pandemics are a pretty good example of how important it is for more people to have access to health care.

Coloradans of all stripes want this bill to become law, while the health care industry and Colorado hospitals do not. In the end, this might be the simplest argument of them all.

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