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…

 

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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…

 

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (March 25)

Today is National Lobster Newburg Day; please eat your lobster 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 alleged shooter in the Boulder King Soopers massacre on Monday made his first court appearance today. Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa is being held without bail as he awaits the opportunity to enter a plea on 10 first-degree murder charges. Alissa’s defense attorney asked a judge for more time to conduct a thorough mental health evaluation of her client.

In related news, President Biden called Boulder Mayor Sam Weaver on Wednesday to express his condolences for Monday’s shootings at a local King Soopers.

As Colorado Public Radio reports, the weapon used in Monday’s shooting is essentially an assault rifle packaged as a handgun.

 

► Congressman Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) is leading an effort to convince President Biden to sign an executive order banning the importation of assault weapons. From The Washington Post:

More than 60 House Democrats are pressing Biden to take “life-saving action” and sign an executive order that would ban the importation of assault weapons after back-to-back mass shootings killed 18 people in the United States.

Days after Biden expressed support for “common sense steps” that could curb gun violence, the Democrats sent a letter Thursday morning urging him to keep his campaign promise and ban foreign firearms, including semiautomatic rifles and high-capacity magazines…

…“This week, my community in Boulder witnessed a horrific and senseless mass shooting in which 10 individuals tragically lost their lives,” Neguse said in a statement. “Our hearts are breaking from this tragedy, and we know this grief is not ours alone, but carried by a nation that has witnessed the horrific pain of gun violence far too many times. It doesn’t have to be like this.”

 

► As Jesse Paul reports for The Colorado Sun, state lawmakers may look to add Colorado to the list of states (currently at seven) that have banned assault rifles:

Already lawmakers at the state Capitol are having preliminary conversations about if and how to move forward with such a bill. It’s unclear if there’s enough political will and time left in the 2021 lawmaking term to get the complicated policy done…

…Democratic state Reps. Judy Amabile and Edie Hooton, who also represent Boulder in the Colorado legislature, also support a state assault-weapons ban like Fenberg does.

“We want to be very thoughtful,” Hooton said. “We want to make sure what we introduce we can pass, we can enact. There are some clouds breaking.”

Lawmakers acknowledge that a Congressional assault weapons ban would be more effective than a state version, but they’re waiting for Congress to take action. Colorado Public Radio has more on the state proposal.

 

► Let’s catch up on more news from the Colorado legislature:

Lawmakers are considering legislation to create a fee on certain types of insurance coverage in order to create a fund that could be tapped in the event of a natural disaster.

Colorado Public Radio examines the different discussions taking place around efforts to fund a transportation infrastructure overhaul.

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports on legislation intended to protect animals that are a part of traveling shows.

 

►  Colorado may have made its final revisions (fingers-crossed) to the color-coded COVID-19 dial.

 

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (March 24)

With any luck, you will not be traded to Cleveland today. 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 

 

► President Biden called on Congress to re-enact an Assault Weapons Ban after mass shootings in Georgia and Boulder, Colorado. But as The Associated Press reports, Republicans are already digging in:

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer vowed Tuesday morning to bring to the Senate floor legislation passed by the House that would require background checks for most gun sales and transfers. He said the Senate “must confront a devastating truth” after a lack of congressional action on the issue for almost three decades.

“This Senate will be different,” said Schumer, D-N.Y., a day after a shooting at a crowded Boulder, Colorado, supermarket, killed 10 people, including a police officer. “The Senate is going to debate and address the epidemic of gun violence in this country.”…

…Many in the GOP base are still strongly opposed to gun control of any kind. In Tuesday’s hearing, which was scheduled before the Colorado shooting, Republicans showed no signs of wavering. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said that every time there is a shooting, the Senate engages in “ridiculous theater,” with Democrats proposing laws that he said could take guns away from law-abiding citizens. Republicans have argued that background checks would not stop most mass shootings and would prevent some lawful gun owners from purchasing firearms.

“We already know this pattern is predictable, over and over and over again,” Cruz said.

That might not be the argument you think it is, Sen. Cruz. It’s also worth noting that some right-wing media outlets are voicing agreement on banning “weapons of war.”

Elsewhere, Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Boulder) has been making appearances on a lot of national television shows, including CBS This Morning. “It does not have to be this way,” said Neguse.

Governor Jared Polis has ordered flags in Colorado to be flown at half-staff for 10 days to honor the victims of the Boulder shooting.

 

► While it may seem that 2020 had fewer gun deaths owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, as The Washington Post reports, 2020 was actually a record year for gun violence. Westword looks at how the National Rifle Association (NRA) helped pave the way for mass shootings.

 

► State lawmakers are discussing potential gun safety measures in response to Monday’s shooting in Boulder. As Alex Burness reports for The Denver Post:

The state senator who represents the district where the tragedy occurred said he’s drafting a bill to restore cities’ ability to enact gun restrictions above and beyond the state’s laws.

The shooting came just days after a district court judge in Boulder ruled that the city does not have the legal authority to enforce its 2018 citywide ban on assault-style weapons and magazines with a capacity to accept 10 or more rounds. The judge cited a 2003 state law that preempts local gun restrictions.

Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, of Boulder, said that lawmakers in the Democrat-controlled Statehouse had lightly discussed repealing that 2003 law over the past week, but the talks accelerated among legislative leaders “only in the last 18 hours.”

Colorado Public Radio has more on the push from legislators to move quickly on gun safety discussions.

 

► Let’s catch up on more news from the Colorado legislature:

Lawmakers are trying to figure out if they can legally do more to increase property tax revenues for public education.

Governor Jared Polis and state lawmakers will soon embark on a “Build Back Stronger” tour.

The House Judiciary Committee advanced legislation that seeks to give victims of sexual abuse more time to consider legal action against perpetrators.

Senate President Leroy Garcia’s bill to create a veteran suicide prevention pilot program made it through a committee hearing.

 

► Don’t miss this bonus episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast, featuring an interview with Senator John Hickenlooper (D-Denver) in which he refers to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell as a “schlub”:

 

 

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

 

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Senator Hickenlooper Gets More Smarter

Senator John Hickenlooper (D-Denver)

Check out a new BONUS episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast, featuring an interview with Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-Denver).

Hickenlooper joins hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii to discuss what it has been like to serve in the U.S. Senate after decades of public service in Colorado. Hickenlooper also talks about the COVID-19 stimulus bill; the “For the People Act”; his thoughts on ending the filibuster; and whether or not Jason can come along on a tour of Area 51 (Hickenlooper is the Chair of the Space and Science Subcommittee).

Senator Hickenlooper also makes a big announcement about his first town hall meeting, so take a listen!

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

*Note: Our interview with Senator Hickenlooper ended before news of the Monday shooting at a Boulder King Soopers, which is why the topic is not mentioned here.

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (March 23)

We don’t know what to say anymore, either, but this is a good start. 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, authorities have identified the names of 10 people killed during a shooting rampage at a King Soopers in Boulder on Monday. President Biden ordered flags at the White House to fly at half-staff in honor of the victims of Monday’s shootings. Biden plans to speak about the Boulder shooting this afternoon.

Police have also identified the suspect in Monday’s shooting as 21-year-old Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa. As Yahoo! News reports, Alissa apparently suffered from severe mental problems:

Ali Aliwi Alissa, the suspect’s 34-year-old brother, told The Daily Beast that authorities searched his house all night after the shooting.

Alissa described his brother as “very anti-social” and paranoid, adding that, in high school, he would describe “being chased, someone is behind him, someone is looking for him.”

“When he was having lunch with my sister in a restaurant, he said, ‘People are in the parking lot, they are looking for me.’ She went out, and there was no one. We didn’t know what was going on in his head,” Alissa said, admitting that he believes his brother is mentally ill.

 

► As Alex Burness reports for The Denver Post, the Metro area has dealt with a disproportionate number of mass shootings in recent years:

Colorado has a disproportionate share of survivors of gun violence and of people like (State Rep. Tom) Sullivan, whose loved ones were killed. A 2019 analysis by The Denver Post found Colorado had more mass shootings per capita than all but four states. The Census-designated Denver metropolitan statistical area had more school shootings per capita since 1999 than any of the country’s 24 other largest metro areas.

 

► State lawmakers are speaking out about Monday’ shooting in Boulder. Meghan Lopez of Denver7 is following along with a running Twitter thread:

 

► Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) sent out a fundraising email TWO HOURS AFTER the Boulder shootings asking for donations to her campaign as she fights against any form of gun control. On Tuesday morning, Boebert issued a statement saying that she “refuses” to use the Boulder shootings as a springboard for advancing political issues.

 

► Let’s catch up on more news from the Colorado legislature:

Lawmakers and Gov. Jared Polis are planning a statewide listening tour to discuss how Colorado can best spend billions of dollars in federal relief money from the American Recovery Plan.

Colorado Republicans seem to be having some sort of competition about who can introduce the worst legislation.

A media literacy bill passed out of the State House on Monday and now heads to the State Senate.

Legislation intended to create more accountability on the use of ketamine by first responders is moving along at the State Capitol.

Lawmakers are considering a proposal that would require ski resorts to be more transparent about injuries suffered on the slopes.

A proposal to privatize Pinnacol Assurance is kaput.

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Monday (March 22)

RIP to your March Madness bracket. 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 

 

Senator Michael Bennet (D-Denver) takes center stage in a Washington Post story detailing a significant anti-child poverty program included in the American Rescue Plan:

Sen. Michael F. Bennet (D-Colo.) tapped out the longest text messages he’d ever written one night in January, urging Susan Rice, a top Biden aide and a friend, to include a full-scale anti-child poverty measure in the coronavirus rescue plan to be unveiled within days…

…An unlikely coalition of Democrats across the ideological spectrum mounted an 11th-hour push in the final weekend before the American Rescue Plan for President Biden to go big on tackling child poverty. They prevailed over what one person involved in the process called the “cost police” in Biden’s inner circle, those anxiously warning about the ballooning cost of the stimulus package.

This under-the-radar success created what could be the most consequential piece of the $1.9 trillion package — one that, if made permanent, could approach the impact of the programs established under President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty…

…The program’s impact probably will be profound. It expands the federal child-rearing subsidy by 50 percent — and parents of toddlers will get even more. A family with two young children and no income will now get $600 a month. The parents of 90 percent of the country’s children will benefit, and 27 million children will be lifted from poverty, according to analysts.

 

► Governor Jared Polis plans to lift the statewide mask mandate on April 4. From The Denver Post:

Colorado will further relax the COVID-19 restrictions managed through the state’s color-coded dial next week, with plans to ease the statewide mask order in two weeks, then turn over control of most public health orders to local governments in mid-April.

The proposed changes to the dial include reopening bars in most parts of the state for the first time since last summer and lifting all statewide limits on the size of personal gatherings.

While this is all good news regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, as The Washington Post reports, COVID-19 infections are trending in the wrong direction nationally:

New coronavirus infections are rising in several U.S. states, despite record vaccinations — an increase experts attribute to the growing reach of new variants and widespread pandemic fatigue after a year of public health restrictions. The seven-day average of newly reported cases climbed 2.6 percent on Sunday, even as overall hospitalizations and deaths remain down.

In Florida, a state where coronavirus measures are lax, authorities in Miami Beach declared a state of emergency and imposed a nighttime curfew this weekend as large crowds of rowdy spring break revelers turned violent and disruptive.

 

► Now, let’s catch up on more news from the Colorado legislature:

Alex Burness of The Denver Post reports on what lawmakers are considering for new law enforcement reforms. The legislature is also looking at changing sentencing guidelines in Colorado so that people who did not commit murder can’t end up serving life in prison for something they didn’t do.

Denver7 breaks down the proposals laid out for efforts to fix Colorado’s crumbling transportation infrastructure.

Colorado Newsline reports on an affordable housing measure that has been years in the making.

Colorado Public Radio elaborates on how and why Colorado’s budget looks better than expected.

Governor Jared Polis signed a bill into law that directs more resources toward state parks and wildlife preservation efforts. Polis also approved legislation directing $30 million in grants to help improve “main streets” in Colorado.

The Associated Press considers whether Colorado may be able to do more on waiting periods for gun purchases. Westword has more on the good and bad news about ongoing efforts to promote gun safety.

Marshall Zelinger of 9News looks at the behind-the-scenes work done at the State Capitol in a story that includes the lede of the week: “Conjunction junction is their function.”

 

John Aguilar of The Denver Post looks at how local governments plan on using their share of billions of stimulus dollars on the way as a result of the American Rescue Plan:

Lakewood Mayor Adam Paul said the city will likely put the $22.6 million allocated to Lakewood toward a budget that lost $18 million last year.

“This is triage,” Paul said. “There is no pork in this for us. I see it as backfill to what we lost.”

Since the city eliminated the sales tax on groceries more than a decade ago, Paul said Lakewood didn’t have the revenue cushion others had when people flooded grocery stores to stock pantries. He said 70 positions remain vacant on Lakewood’s payroll, a result of pandemic-pinched spending by the city.

“We have to use (the Rescue Act money) for the right here, right now,” Paul said.

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel considers a similar story from a Western slope perspective.

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (March 18)

Happy Oil Expropriation Day! Please celebrate 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 

 

As CNN reports, the United States could be facing a new surge of COVID-19 infections:

Health officials have repeatedly warned about a potential fourth surge as state leaders eased restrictions and several lifted mask mandates. The first warning sign came when case numbers, after weeks of steep declines, appeared to level off — with the country still averaging tens of thousands of new cases daily. That kind of plateau previously predicted surges, some experts have said.

Cases of the worrying variants — notably the highly contagious B.1.1.7 variant — have also climbed and are set to become the dominant strain by the end of March or early April…

…Now, as the country inches closer to 30 million reported infections, cases are rising by more than 10% in 14 states this week compared to last week, according to Johns Hopkins University data — with half of those states seeing a rise of more than 20%.

Wear your masks and get your shots, people!

 

► All three Republican members of Colorado’s Congressional delegation — Reps. Lauren Boebert, Ken Buck, and Doug Lambornvoted AGAINST reauthorization of the “Violence Against Women Act.” Arizona Republican Rep. Andy Biggs has some nutty thoughts on his opposition to the bill.

 

POLITICO magazine tackles a question that we have been openly pondering in this space for weeks:

Via POLITICO magazine (3/18/21)

 

Democrats are relentlessly hyping President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill, while Republicans are trying to change the subject to Dr. Seuss, Mr. Potato Head and the Mexican border. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, arguably the shrewdest Republican strategist in Washington, has started floating a half-hearted anti-stimulus message that the coming recovery would have happened anyway…

…It may be an overstated political cliché that if you’re explaining, you’re losing. But you’re almost certainly losing if you’re explaining, ahead of time, why the economic boom you’re expecting on your opponent’s watch shouldn’t be attributed to your opponent. One lesson of the volatility of the past dozen years is that fairly or not, the president’s party tends to get the credit or blame for the economy—or at least for the way people perceive the economy. Biden is visiting swing states this week to sell American Rescue Plan’s focus on giving Americans vaccines and money, but with economists across the ideological spectrum forecasting explosive growth, many veterans of the 2009 stimulus wars believe the economy will be all the sales pitch the bill needs.

Elsewhere, Vox.com examines efforts by Republican Attorneys General to sue the federal government for giving money to local and state governments.

 

► Let’s get you caught up on the Colorado legislature…

Lawmakers are working on a couple of bills intended to help protect immigrants from being arrested over civil immigration violations.

The Associated Press reports on the status of legislation that would grant a minimum wage and overtime rights to thousands of farm workers in Colorado. 9News also reports on Senate Bill 87.

As the Fort Collins Coloradoan reports, it is now up to the U.S. Department of Education to determine how many restrictions can be granted this year on standardized tests in Colorado.

CBS4 Denver reports on efforts to reduce the cost of prescription drugs in Colorado.

Colorado Newsline reports on legislative efforts to balance the scales between landlords and tenants. The Colorado Sun has more on a proposal to make it easier for municipalities to require the construction of more affordable housing.

9News reports on an idiotic piece of legislation sponsored by House Minority Leader Hugh McKean that carried a $2.7 BILLION price tag.

Efforts to build a fence around parts of the State Capitol have not been well-received.

 

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

 

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Bennet, Hickenlooper Co-Sponsor “For the People Act”

Sens. Michael Bennet, John Hickenlooper.

Colorado Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper have signed on to co-sponsor the “For the People Act,” the election reform bill introduced today that is a companion to H.R. 1, which passed the House of Representatives on March 3.

As CNBC reports:

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said “everything is on the table” to pass a comprehensive voting reform bill, the For the People Act, during a press conference introducing the legislation Wednesday.

“We will see if our Republican friends join us. If they don’t join us, our caucus will come together and decide the appropriate action to take,” Schumer said. “Failure is not an option.”

The legislation, also known as S.1, includes provisions that aim to make it easier to register and vote, prevent gerrymandering, improve election cybersecurity and reform campaign finance, among other initiatives.

The bill faces an uphill battle in the Senate, where it would require a minimum of 10 Republican votes to defeat a filibuster and move to a final vote on passage.

Click here for a section-by-section breakdown of S.1, the “For the People Act.”

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Whither Grand Junction, BLM?

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.

As the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Dennis Webb reports, Rep. Deb Haaland of New Mexico has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate to be the next Secretary of the Interior, elevating a 35th generation Pueblo Native American to the highest authority over the nation’s land use policies short of the President himself. It’s an historic moment.

A big backlog of thorny issues awaits Haaland as she settles into this crucially important leadership role over the American West, not least the fate of the highly controversial move of the Bureau of Land Management (known since 2020 as the “other BLM”) from its former headquarters in Washington, D.C. to Grand Junction, Colorado during the previous administration:

Haaland…previously has criticized the Trump administration’s relocation of the BLM’s headquarters from Washington to Grand Junction. The agency moved 41 largely top-level jobs to the city, and many more from Washington to other locations in the West. Hickenlooper and Bennet support having what they call a fully functioning headquarters in Grand Junction but say the Trump administration didn’t follow through on its commitment to the city by moving only 41 jobs there.

Haaland said during her confirmation hearing that she would keep an open dialogue with western senators on the issue and accepted Hickenlooper’s invitation to visit the new headquarters if confirmed. She said it will be important to look at the headquarters issue while first considering the well-being of the career staff there.

Outside the new BLM HQ building in Grand Junction, shared with various oil companies.

It’s necessary to be honest about this: the issue of the BLM headquarters’ move to Grand Junction has split Colorado’s top Democratic elected officials from many of their colleagues, as well as the bulk of the environmental advocacy community. Environmental groups including local advocacy organizations like the Center for Western Priorities have been clear from the beginning that this move was a terrible idea taking place for all the wrong reasons:

Aaron Weiss, deputy director of the Center for Western Priorities, described the move in blunt terms.

“This headquarters move has just been a total failure,” Weiss said.

Some people would argue that trimming government is not necessarily a bad thing, and supporters of the move have argued that BLM employees unwilling to relocate closer to the lands they manage weren’t a good fit for the agency anyway. But for Weiss, the numbers confirmed his worst fears about the Trump administration’s real motivation.

“The headquarters move was not a move. It was simply an evisceration of the agency,” Weiss said. [Pols emphasis]

In a January statement, Colorado Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper reiterated their support for the agency’s move to Grand Junction under President Joe Biden, while making the case that the Trump administration had executed it poorly:

(more…)

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Unions Thank Hick and Bennet for Voting for $15 Minimum Wage

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

by Gabrielle Bye, Colorado Times Recorder

Freshman U.S. Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-CO) is receiving praise from unions for his vote Friday to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour.

It wasn’t clear that the Democrat would vote for a hike to the federal wage, because unlike the rest of Colorado’s congressional delegation, he hadn’t cosponsored the Raise the Wage Act, a standalone bill that would raise the standard federal minimum wage, as well as the minimum wage for workers under 20 years of age, workers with disabilities, and tipped workers.

He’d also told the Wall Street Journal last month that he was worried about the repercussions a $15 minimum wage could have on small businesses.

However, last week his office told the Colorado Times Recorder that he does support a federal wage increase–and he walked the walk, voting in favor last Friday of an amendment to the COVID stimulus bill that would have increased the minimum wage to $15 by 2025.

The amendment failed to pass 42-58 in the longest known Senate vote, coming in at 11 hours and 50 minutes.

The minimum-wage amendment was introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who caucuses with Democrats.

The amendment was also called the Raise the Wage Act, and was identical to the standalone bill by the same name.

Progressives were hoping to pass the minimum wage hike as part of the American Rescue Plan Act because it might have stood a better chance of passing than a separate bill. But some moderate Democrats’ decisions to vote against it showed that Democrats presently have little hope of getting a majority on board with this particular legislation, let alone the majority of 60 that they need to pass it.

Colorado essential workers rallied outside Hickenlooper’s Denver office last week demanding he vote in favor of the wage increase.

Following the senator’s vote, those workers in partnership with the SEIU Local 105–a union representing essential workers–thanked Hickenlooper in a press release.

Hickenlooper ran a presidential campaign last year on his own idea of what a national wage increase should look like.

His idea was that the wage should be increased proportionally to the living expenses of the area, so “the most expensive quarter of the country would get a $15 minimum wage by 2021, and the least expensive would see that hike in 2024,” according to CPR–a much more expedited timeline than Sanders’ proposal.

A Hickenlooper spokesperson told the Colorado Times Recorder that Hickenlooper will continue to support and fight for a $15 minimum.

“Senator Hickenlooper supports raising the minimum wage to $15 and voted to allow this important issue to advance in the Senate,” the spokesperson said. “It’s unacceptable that the federal minimum wage hasn’t been raised in over a decade, and he is eager to work with his colleagues to change this unjust reality.”

It’s unclear whether Hickenlooper plans to introduce any legislation in the future similar to that in his presidential campaign, and if he still holds any reservations regarding the impact on small businesses.

Representatives of local Colorado unions are pleased with Hickenlooper’s support of better labor laws, and encouraged him to continue supporting essential workers during the pandemic.

Lauren Martens, executive director of SEIU Colorado State Council, expects to see more of Hickenlooper’s efforts in the future.

“We appreciate Senators Bennet and Hickenlooper listening to workers and voting to give over 550,000 Coloradans a raise to $15 an hour,” Martens told the Colorado Times Recorder. “Working people need our Senators to keep fighting for $15 until it passes, and not let archaic Senate processes get in the way.”

Hilary Glasgow, executive director of Colorado WINS, a union that represents state employees, says Colorado needs “bold, transformative solutions” in addition to the American Rescue Plan Act.

“We need bold, transformative solutions because Congress has more work to do for essential workers,” Glasgow told the Colorado Times Recorder. “

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The GMS Podcast: Saying No to Boebert’s No to Our Noes

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii review the wacky CPAC weekend — including Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert’s incomprehensible rhetoric — and break down the opening week(s) of the 2021 Colorado legislative session.

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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What History Will Record In The End (Hopefully)

Sens. Michael Bennet, John Hickenlooper.

It didn’t get much press–and that’s a thing we need to talk about–but last week, Colorado’s Democratic U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet announced they are signing on as sponsors of the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021: the first legitimate attempt at a comprehensive immigration reform package since 2013’s Gang of Eight negotiations (which also included Sen. Bennet) led to the passage out of the Senate before dying in the GOP-controlled House:

U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet today joined over twenty of their Senate colleagues and dozens of members of the House of Representatives to introduce the bicameral U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021. The comprehensive immigration reform bill is modeled after President Biden’s bold, inclusive, and humane framework for the future of the United States immigration system.

The legislation would provide millions of hardworking, undocumented immigrants with a pathway to citizenship, including Dreamers, Temporary Protective Status (TPS) recipients, and essential workers who have made enormous sacrifices during the pandemic; prioritize family reunification and keeping families together; and bolster the country’s long-term economic growth. The bill would also equip the country to responsibly and effectively manage the border with smart and effective investments, address root causes of migration that force people to leave Central America, and restore the United States’ commitment to human rights.

“For decades our broken immigration system has stifled our economy, undermined our security, and violated our country’s proud heritage as a nation of immigrants. We’ve seen this failed system play out in particularly horrific fashion over the last four years as families were ripped apart and children were housed in cages,” said Hickenlooper. “Today’s bill represents a comprehensive approach to tackling this challenge once and for all, including a much-needed, fair path to citizenship along with smart investments to effectively and responsibly manage our borders. It signals a new day in aligning our national values with our immigration policy.”

If passed into law, the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 would go considerably beyond the failed 2013 immigration reform bill by providing a three-year path to citizenship for green card holders, immediate green cards for “DREAMers,” and temporary legal status for undocumented immigrants already in the country with good records. It keeps families together in the U.S. during immigration proceedings, and clears visa backlogs for students and needed workers. It funds citizenship and English language instruction. And yes, it has money for border security as well–the smart kind, not the dumb wall-based variety.

But as we said at the beginning, buzz about this new ambitious proposal has been surprisingly lacking here in Colorado despite the active participation of both of the state’s U.S. Senators. One reason for this may be that finding the Republican Senators necessary to go along with any comprehensive immigration reform package is going to be difficult–likely more so than in 2013. In 2013, 14 Republicans joined with unanimous Senate Democrats to pass the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act by a lopsided 68-32 margin. If the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 gets to President Joe Biden’s desk, it’s almost certain to do so with less Republican crossover support simply due to the rightward drift of that party in the meantime.

Another reason we unfortunately suspect Sens. Bennet and Hickenlooper are not getting the credit they deserve for being part of this campaign, however, is local intra-Democratic politics. After Hickenlooper’s easy primary victory in 2020 and perhaps in anticipation of an underdog primary challenge against Bennet in 2022, there seems to be some reluctance to acknowledge politically positive developments involving our two Senators when they occur–and a great deal of focus on miscues that, while deserving of criticism, are just not of the same magnitude as the good they’re trying to do.

That’s a mistake. And in the event Bennet and Hickenlooper do get comprehensive immigration reform passed after all these years of trying, they’ll have both thanks and a few apologies coming.

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Senate Republicans Acquit Trump for Second Time

UPDATE: Statement from impeachment manager Rep. Diana DeGette on today’s decision:

“Our case was strong, the facts were clear and the evidence we presented was overwhelming. This was the largest bipartisan vote to impeach a president ever, and even Mitch McConnell agreed that we proved our case. It’s shameful that so many Senate Republicans chose to hide behind a faulty technicality instead of considering the facts as we had laid them out.

“President Trump incited a violent insurrection against our government. He used his platform as the president of the United States to launch a deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol building to try to stop Congress from certifying the election for his opponent. It was the highest of high crimes. It was the greatest betrayal of office. And it was the most brazen attack on our own government by a sitting U.S. president that our nation has ever seen.

“Our goal in pursuing a conviction against Donald Trump for his conduct was not to punish him, but to prevent the type of violence that took place that day from ever happening again. While we didn’t get the conviction we ultimately sought, I believe we made our case to the American people. And that’s just as important because, at the end of the day, they are now the ones who will ultimately decide whether Donald Trump is ever allowed to hold public office again.”

—–

Twice impeached, twice acquitted by Senate Republicans

As The Washington Post reports:

Senate Republicans voted against convicting Donald Trump Saturday for inciting his supporters to storm the Capitol Jan. 6, bringing a swift end to the former president’s second impeachment trial after Democrats abandoned plans to call witnesses in the face of GOP opposition.

Seven Republicans joined Democrats in a 57-43 vote in favor of conviction, falling short of the two-thirds majority needed to convict Trump in the Senate. Sens. Richard Burr (N.C.), Bill Cassidy (La.), Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Mitt Romney (Utah), Ben Sasse (Neb.) and Patrick Toomey (Pa.) were the Republicans who voted with Democrats.

There was never much of a question about whether Senate Republicans would vote to acquit former President Trump on impeachment charges for inciting an insurrection. There were enough Trump lackeys in the Senate who had made up their minds on impeachment well before the trial even began; that includes Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, who advised Trump’s legal team on strategy and said on his podcast Friday that he told Trump’s team that they had “already won.”

As the Post reports, the vote to acquit Trump came after the Senate voted to allow witness testimony to take place in the impeachment trial:

The drama earlier Saturday began when lead House impeachment manager Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) opened the day’s proceedings with an unexpected request to call Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) as a witness following reports of her account that Trump had refused the entreaties of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to call off the rioters.

Herrera Beutler described an expletive-laden phone call in which Trump falsely claimed that the rioters were members of antifa, the loose-knit movement of sometimes violent liberal activists. He also accused McCarthy of caring less about Trump’s efforts to overturn Biden’s victory than the rioters did.

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) had told Democrats earlier Saturday that the decision about witnesses would be left to the House managers. So after Raskin’s request, the chamber voted 55-45 to allow witnesses, with five Republicans joining Democrats and with the chamber sliding into uncertainty as groups of senators huddled for hours to figure out what would come next.

Despite the vote, Senate Democrats remained cool to the idea of calling witnesses and extending the impeachment trial, believing that no amount of evidence was going to dissuade Trump backers from sticking with the former President. House impeachment managers ultimately agreed and allowed the proceedings to come to a close with a final vote.

McConnell can talk himself blue in the face, but that won’t excuse another acquittal.

Senate Republicans will now try to explain their decision to let Trump skate while many also acknowledge the damage caused by The Big Orange Guy. As The Washington Post reports in a separate story, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell rushed to the microphone to make an ass out of himself soon after casting a vote to acquit Trump:

McConnell said Saturday that the former president is “practically and morally responsible” for provoking the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol — but that the Senate was upholding the Constitution by acquitting him.

“The Senate’s decision today does not condone anything that happened on or before that terrible day,” McConnell said. “It simply shows that senators did what the former president failed to do: We put our constitutional duty first.”…

…McConnell spent much of his remarks condemning Trump’s actions and directly linking them to the Jan. 6 insurrection. The former president’s supporters, he argued, launched their violent attack “because they had been fed wild falsehoods by the most powerful man on Earth, because he was angry he lost an election.”

That’s some pretty remarkable cowardice right there.

On a more positive note, Colorado Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) put an exclamation point on a week that saw his national profile increase considerably. Neguse’s final speech urging the Senate to convict Trump on inciting an insurrection featured a number of powerful lines that will be repeated for a long time:

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Campaign Finance Complaint Moves Ahead Against Conservative Dark Money Group

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

In a legal action that could unveil the names of high-rolling Republicans in Colorado and beyond, the Colorado Secretary of State’s Elections Division is moving ahead with its investigation of a conservative dark money group behind millions of dollars in campaign spending during the 2020 election cycle.

In a complaint filed Feb. 1 with the Office of Administrative Courts, Attorney General Phil Weiser alleges on behalf of the division that despite making six-figure contributions to three separate ballot issue committees, Unite for Colorado, a conservative advocacy group, failed to register itself as an issue committee for any of the measures.

In short, the SOS office is arguing that Unite for Colorado, which didn’t exist until November of 2019, disclosed contributions to only four entities (the three proposition committees and its own affiliated independent expenditure committee), and provided over 80% of the entire campaign budgets of both Props 116 and 117, indeed should count those contributions as major purposes, requiring public disclosure of donors’ names.

Unite for Colorado contributed over $2 million to three campaigns (in support of Propositions 116 and 117 and opposing Proposition 113).

However, in addition to splitting the $2 million three ways, it spent another $3.5 million opposing John Hickenlooper’s campaign for U.S. Senate, and Unite director Dustin Zvonek says it spent far more money it isn’t yet required to disclose.

For these reasons, Zvonek argues that none of the three ballot initiatives count a “major purpose” of the organization, and thus it didn’t have to register with the Secretary of State as an issue committee, which would require it to disclose its donors.

Ultimately a judge will decide the legal arguments over campaign finance rules, but the documents already filed in this case offer a peek at an unprecedented structure of legal entities set up by Colorado’s establishment conservatives to achieve their political goals.

(more…)

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Top Ten Stories of 2020 #2: Cory Gardner, Out With a Whimper

Former Sen. Cory Gardner (R-ekt)

November 3, 2020, 7:01 p.m.

That was the exact moment when we learned that Republican Sen. Cory Gardner had lost his bid for re-election to Democrat John Hickenlooper. Gardner was so far out of contention in 2020 that the race for U.S. Senate was called literally one minute after the polls closed in Colorado.

It was an ignominious ending for Gardner, who just barely avoided a double-digit loss (53.5% to 44%). This was a startling change of direction from 2014, when Gardner narrowly defeated incumbent Sen. Mark Udall and was widely pegged as a rising star in the Republican party.

After the 2018 mid-term elections, Colorado was primed as the most competitive Senate battleground race in the country. We never got that far. Gardner’s poll numbers were consistently in the toilet, right next to his credibility, and despite tens of millions of dollars spent on his behalf, Gardner was never even really a threat to win re-election in 2020. This bears repeating: Gardner was SO bad at being a Senator and a candidate for re-election that his eventual defeat was a foregone conclusion for months beforehand.

Just before the November 2020 election, we took a long and detailed look at how things went so horribly wrong for Gardner in the years following his 2014 upset victory. We’re not going to repeat that analysis here, but the short version is this: Gardner lost his re-election because he made awful decisions nearly every step of the way.

In the end, it was fitting that Gardner’s Senate career would close with little more than a shrug from local and national observers. Cory Gardner didn’t go down swinging…he just sorta went away.

The word you’re looking for is “anticlimactic.”

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Top Ten Stories of 2020 #4: Lunacy Becomes GOP Platform

Republican Rep. Larry Liston (now Senator-elect) during special legislative session on November 30, 2020.

Republicans have not been very competitive in Colorado elections in recent years, helping to turn what was once a swing state into a solid blue rectangle. Republican ineptitude was not a new story in 2020, but there was a different flavor to the Colorado GOP’s brand of nonsense in the weirdest year any of us can remember.

It was perhaps inevitable that Colorado Republicans would further descend into madness in 2020 after spending much of 2019 on rudderless grifting operations they called “recall attempts.” But it still would have been hard to predict just how absurd things would get for GOP politicians in our state. Nobody knew much about Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert at this time a year ago, but now she’s the face of the Colorado Republican Party despite the fact that virtually every news outlet in the state reported that she basically has no idea what she’s talking about on any issue.

The coronavirus pandemic opened up a new rabbit hole for Republicans, who immediately responded to efforts to contain the spread of the virus by declaring that wearing a mask was against freedom and that stay-at-home orders were reminiscent of a “Gestapo-like mentality.” A group of Republican lawmakers, including then-House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, launched a ridiculous effort to convince Douglas County to end its association with the Tri-County Health Department IN THE MIDDLE OF A FREAKING PANDEMIC. Neville, for one, took this as an opportunity to convince a few idiots to give him money so that he could sue Gov. Jared Polis for making people wear masks.

The GOP attack on the Tri-County Health Department also included State Sen. Jim Smallwood, who contracted COVID-19 after inexplicably traveling to California when the state legislature paused all activity in mid-March. In other words, the people who were urging others to disregard health precautions were themselves becoming health risks because they disregarded health precautions. Meanwhile, Republicans were also busy trying to paint the COVID-19 outbreak as a racial issue…up until it turned out that deep red counties were being hit harder than anywhere else.

Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert, the new face of the Colorado GOP.

Republican attacks on the Tri-County Health Department ended up going nowhere from a practical standpoint, but they had very real and unsettling consequences elsewhere. In May, for example, Aurora police arrested a man for vandalizing a Tri-County Health office and making all sorts of violent threats. It was not a coincidence that these deranged actions happened after local Republicans began rattling cages about health department officials who were just trying to keep people safe.

Things got even weirder in May after global protests that followed the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers created a new opportunity for Colorado Republican leaders to play the fool. While the rest of us were gripped by rallies and calls for social justice, GOP leaders primarily complained about vandalism in Denver. Some Republican county party leaders were pretty sure that Floyd’s death was just a big ruse of some sort. Others fully supported violent counter-protests around the state. There was even a common refrain that the City of Denver was a burning pile of rubble…something that could be easily verified by anyone who just looked around.

It would take us too long to list every absurd thing that Colorado Republicans said or did in 2020, but here are a couple more examples:

♦ Congressman Ken Buck, who also serves as the State GOP Party Chairman, made a complete fool of himself on Fox News in trying to explain his idea that Antifa was funded by George Soros, or something.

Neville compared the killing of Elijah McClain in 2019 to protestors who tried to super glue themselves to a railing at the state capitol.

♦ Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert was far from the only Republican to express belief in QAnon conspiracy theories.

♦ This ridiculous Op-Ed from Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) speaks for itself.

♦ Rather than spend the last weeks of the 2020 election campaigning for Republicans, a group of activists instead devoted their time and effort on once again not recalling Gov. Polis.

Colorado Republicans enter the new year with their party in tatters. Their highest-ranking statewide elected official is CU Regent Heidi Ganahl, and the GOP might just elect disgraced former Secretary of State Scott Gessler as its new Party Chairman. Republicans need to find candidates for five big statewide races in 2022, but it’s hard to envision anyone but the most far-right candidates emerging from the various Primary elections. Heck, it could still be months before some in the GOP finally stop pretending that Donald Trump was re-elected as President.

Colorado Republicans had a lot of problems well before 2020. Thanks to a year of astonishingly-terrible decisions, the future of the state GOP is considerably bleaker today.

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Top Ten Stories of 2020 #6: Colorado is a Solid Blue State

Happy Cory Gardner and Sad Cory Gardner. You can plot out Colorado’s shift from a swing state in 2014 to a solid blue state in 2020 with these two images:

Colorado was swept up in a massive blue wave in 2018, handing Democrats all four of the top statewide offices (Governor, Attorney General, State Treasurer, and Secretary of State), as well as control of both chambers of the state legislature. Democrat Jared Polis cruised to an 11-point victory over Republican Walker Stapleton in the race for Governor. On a federal level, Democrat Jason Crow’s victory in CO-06 gave Democrats the keys to four of Colorado’s seven congressional districts.

In 2020, Democrats solidified their advantage in Colorado, with Democrat John Hickenlooper snatching Gardner’s Senate seat by a nearly 10-point margin. Democrats even managed to add a seat in the State Senate while maintaining a solid majority in the State House.

In the race for President, Democrat Joe Biden easily defeated President Trump by a margin of nearly 14 points, which was a massive increase from Democrat Hillary Clinton’s 5-point victory in 2016. Consider this: Colorado was a swing state for President in 2008 and (sorta) in 2012. In 2020, neither major party candidate for President even bothered visiting our state in the six months before Election Day.

Colorado Republicans have fallen hard since Gardner defeated incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Udall in 2014 by a narrow 47-45 margin. The numbers are staggering: Hickenlooper added 786,911 votes to Udall’s 2014 total, while Gardner’s vote total only went up by 445,601. Democrats now have such an advantage in Colorado that Hickenlooper would have still beaten Gardner if we didn’t count any of the votes from Denver, which is the most heavily-populated area in the state and always a reliably-blue county.

Republicans aren’t just losing in Colorado — they’re not even competitive anymore. In fact, Republicans are so buried in our state that it’s difficult to even come up with plausible names for top ticket races in 2022.

The 2020 election proved that the 2018 Democratic wave in Colorado was no fluke. We are a blue state now, and there’s no way to argue otherwise.

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Top Ten Stories of 2020 #8: The Trouble With Andrew Romanoff

Republicans wanted to run against Andrew Romanoff. They didn’t get him.

Now-defeated Sen. Cory Gardner came into 2020 as the nation’s most vulnerable incumbent Republican U.S. Senator up for re-election. Running in a state that has steadily shifted leftward politically since Gardner’s narrow election in 2014, and with Gardner having lashed himself to an unpopular President Donald Trump to preserve his GOP base, Republicans were desperate for any edge to keep Gardner viable.

Through the June 30th primary, Republicans shamelessly exploited someone they thought could give them the edge they so desperately needed–Democratic primary candidate Andrew Romanoff. Romanoff, who served as Speaker of the Colorado House over a decade ago, had lost an unusually bitter Democratic primary against Sen. Michael Bennet in 2010, then ran with full Democratic support in a marquee race against GOP Rep. Mike Coffman in 2014 and lost again. Romanoff’s entry into the 2020 Democratic Senate pack in February of 2019 nonetheless made him the best-known contender at that time against a pack of relatively unknown minor candidates.

But Romanoff was in no position to dominate. When former Gov. John Hickenlooper decided to end his longshot presidential campaign and run against Cory Gardner in 2020, he brought resources and campaign experience to the Senate race that Romanoff simply had no access to. Hickenlooper went on to dominate the primary campaign, outclassing Romanoff by every conceivable metric and blowing out Romanoff by over 17 points on June 30th.

(more…)

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Jeffco Republicans Refuse to Do Thing Nobody Needs Them to Do

As Erik Maulbetsch reports for The Colorado Times Recorder, the Jefferson County Republican Party is mad as hell and they’re not going to pretend to be doing nothing anymore. Instead, they are going to pretend to do something that doesn’t mean anything. So there!

From The Times Recorder:

The Jefferson County Republican Party announced on Facebook today that it “refused to certify the election results.” Election certification is the responsibility of the canvass board and the County Clerk, not political parties.

Reached for comment, Jefferson County Clerk spokesperson Kara Rowland explained that the county’s election results are already certified…

…Colorado Secretary of State spokesperson Betsy Hart confirmed this.

Oh yeah? Well, then, the Jefferson County Republican Party is going to refuse to certify every election this century! Not only that, they’re thinking about refusing to certify future elections!

2020 Election Results in Jefferson County, Colorado. Not exactly a photo finish.

And what is the Jeffco GOP’s particular beef with 2020?

While the Jeffco GOP says it is not alleging fraud, it is basing its demands for “an audit” on unfounded conspiracy theories about the voting machine software company, Dominion Voting, which is used by Jeffco (and nearly every other county in Colorado).

It’s unclear from the public statements and the party’s so-called “Minority Report” if the Jeffco executive committee understands the county election process. Chair Denise Mund did not return a request for comment. [Pols emphasis]

With regards to the Jeffco GOP’s audit request, Jefferson County Clerk and Recorder George Stern explains that it’s already happened.

Oh…so you already did the audit thing…that we are demanding. Okay, well, it’s a good thing we demanded it!

We’ll leave it to you, dear readers, to suggest other potential actions that the Jefferson County Republican Party can take that will serve absolutely no purpose whatsoever.

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Professor Seth Masket Gets More Smarter

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk with Professor Seth Masket, Director of the Center for American Politics at the University of Denver, about the 2020 election results and his new book, “Learning from Loss: The Democrats, 2016-2020.” Masket’s book analyzes how and why Democrats ended up nominating Joe Biden for President in 2020 and how the 2016 election shaped the strategy and thought process for that decision.

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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Different Year, Same Mountain: GOP Plants Flag on Denial

UPDATE: In his column for The Denver Post, soon-to-be-former District Attorney George Brauchler explains that there was no blue wave in Colorado because Republican Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert was elected to a Congressional seat that Republicans already held and Democrats only won one extra battle in the State Senate:

The Blue Wave redux appears to have only dampened Republican socks.

Ah, yes, “2020: The Dampening.”

—–
Democrats had another successful election cycle in Colorado, winning a U.S. Senate seat, expanding on their majority in the State Senate, and maintaining a massive advantage in the State House. As Ian Silverii writes for The Denver Post, there was not a lot of suspense last Tuesday after the polls closed at 7:00 pm:

At 7:01 p.m. on Election Day our state was called for Biden and U.S. Senator-elect John Hickenlooper. Most of the statewide ballot initiatives were declared quickly, and most competitive legislative races were called right away as well. Our nationally-renowned and bipartisanly-lauded system of all-options voting with universal mail ballots delivered a doubtless result once again, and our Democratic, unaffiliated, and Republican county clerks and recorders, as well as our secretary of state, Jena Griswold, should be applauded for another competent administration of an incredibly high-stakes election.

Colorado Democrats will continue to dominate state government, as I predicted, possessing the most power Democrats have held in our state since FDR was president. They picked up a seat in the state Senate and held a massive 41-24 seat majority against a demoralized state House Republican minority who only after another punishing defeat grasped their previous leadership was leading them into the abyss.

Republicans currently hold only 24 seats in the State House, which is the lowest number since 1965. Actually, it’s the lowest number since 2018, when the same thing happened.

How are Colorado Republicans reacting to their troubles? As The Colorado Sun reports:

It took only an hour after the first election results posted for Colorado Republicans to start seeing the disaster ahead…

…For the party, the examination about how to move forward centers on a fundamental question: Was it President Donald Trump or was it us?

Oh, wait. Those two sentences were written in 2018.

The Republican bench in Colorado

Here’s the 2020 version:

Republicans in Colorado are facing a real crisis as the state moves further to the left. The bench of future GOP leaders the party hoped to build now is looking thin, one that could rival the Broncos’ injured list…

…No Republican running statewide has won more than 45% of the vote in the past two election cycles.

So, again, how did things get this bad for Colorado Republicans? That’s a question that the GOP asked itself after 2018 but never bothered to answer…and it doesn’t look like much has changed after another drubbing at the polls. This section from the 2020 Colorado Sun article is particularly enlightening:

Colorado House Democrats spent big money aiming to expand their majority this year, including in the Republican stronghold of Douglas County, only to see it maintain the status quo.

“That tells me a lot about the voters in this state,” said McKean, the House Republican leader. “We hear all this talk about how blue Colorado might be getting. I don’t believe it for a second.”

You could say that the recently-named House Minority Leader is looking at the world through rose-colored glasses, but that would be overly generous. In reality, McKean is looking at the Colorado political world through glasses covered in black felt. What he’s doing here is essentially celebrating the fact that Democrats only have a 17-seat majority after the 2020 elections.

Did Republicans hold the line this year? Or did Democrats just finally run out of competitive seats that could be flipped? The answer is closer to the latter than the former. After all, there’s no scenario whereby either political party is going to gain 100% of the seats in the state legislature.

It matters not whether McKean and Republicans “believe” that Colorado has turned blue, because this is not a subjective question. What matters is what Colorado Republicans are going to do about it.

If past is prologue, the answer is obvious: Not much.

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (November 11)

Happy Veterans Day! 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 

 

► President Trump is still refusing to concede defeat to Democrat Joe Biden, but most Americans are not at all confused about who won the 2020 Presidential election (though many Republicans are yet clinging to a deflated life preserver). As The Hill newspaper reports:

The overwhelming majority of Americans say President-elect Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election amid unsubstantiated cries of fraud from President Trump, according to a Reuers/Ipsos poll released Tuesday.

The survey, conducted from Saturday afternoon to Tuesday, showed 79 percent of U.S. adults believe Biden is the winner of the presidential election. Approximately 60 percent of Republicans said Biden won.

Even Ben Ginsburg believes it is ridiculous to challenge Biden’s victory. Think of it like two people racing in a 100 meter sprint in front of a packed stadium; it’s hard to keep claiming that the winner of the race was not the first person across the finish line when everybody watched it happen.

Via The Hill newspaper (11/11/20)

 

► President Trump isn’t the only Republican elected official refusing to concede an election loss. As Salon reports:

Martha McSally, R-Ariz., refuses to concede her election, even though she trails her Democratic rival by a margin which exceeds the total number of outstanding ballots by the thousands.

The Associated Press projected that Senator-elect Mark Kelly, a retired astronaut and the husband of former Rep. Gabby Giffords, D-Ariz., would win the election nearly a week ago. Kelly has already named his transition team, and he’s been assigned temporary office space

…Though McSally graciously conceded her 2018 race to Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., she appears to have latched onto President Donald Trump’s baseless allegations sowing doubt in the election result this go around.

We have no doubt that McSally is thoroughly embarrassed at losing two consecutive races for U.S. Senate in Arizona, so maybe this is just her weird way of dealing with failure. Republican John James, who was unable to unseat Democrat Gary Peters in Michigan, is also refusing to concede a Senate loss.

***Here’s a fun trip down memory lane: Former Republican Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave never conceded her 2008 loss to Democrat Betsy Markey. If Musgrave’s refusal to concede actually meant something, then Republican Cory Gardner could not have gone on to defeat Markey in 2010.***

Meanwhile, as The New York Times reports, another leg of Trump’s precarious fraud stool has been knocked out:

The Postal Service’s inspector general informed Congress on Tuesday that a worker who had made unfounded allegations of ballot corruption inside a facility in Erie, Pa., had disavowed his claims, which Republicans had amplified to suggest there was widespread fraud in Pennsylvania’s voting.

Richard Hopkins, a post office employee in Erie, “completely” recanted allegations that a supervisor was “tampering with mail-in ballots” after investigators questioned him, the inspector general’s office said, according to the Democratic leadership of the House Oversight and Reform Committee…

…The inspector general’s office told Congress that Mr. Hopkins had recanted his allegations on Monday but “did not explain why he signed a false affidavit,” according to the oversight committee’s staff.

If you’re not convinced by that story, there’s more where that came from. The Washington Post breaks down all of the various election fraud claims made by the Trump campaign and associates and notes that NONE of them have been confirmed:

Republicans have made claims of election irregularities in six states where President-elect Joe Biden leads in the vote count, alleging in lawsuits and public statements that election officials did not follow proper procedures while counting ballots in Tuesday’s election.

So far, they have gone 0 for 6.

 

Democratic Senator-elect John Hickenlooper is in Washington D.C. working on transition efforts after his blowout election victory over Sen. Cory Gardner.

Former Gov. John Hickenlooper, left, meets with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and others.

 

 

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

 

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LIVE: Colorado Election Night 2020

UPDATE: Colorado called for Joe Biden and John Hickenlooper by national outlets at 7:01pm.

Welcome to blue statehood.

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Wondering where to watch tonight’s election returns? Well, wonder no more!

Your friends from “The Get More Smarter Podcast” will be LIVE tonight for an Election Night Extravaganza. Special guests will be dropping by throughout the evening to discuss 2020 election results in real time. We’ll kick things off at 6:30 pm on Facebook and Periscope. Check us out on YouTube or CLICK HERE FOR THE FACEBOOK LINK.

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