Big Government Is Not Taking Over Your Thermostat

Denver7’s Jaclyn Allen reports on a not-really new program from Xcel Energy designed to help cope with extremely high electrical consumption during hot summer days, which Tuesday was apparently engaged for the first time to the surprise of a number of homeowners who (sorry to say this) shouldn’t have been surprised:

Xcel confirmed to Contact Denver7 that 22,000 customers who had signed up for the Colorado AC Rewards program were locked out of their smart thermostats for hours on Tuesday.

“It’s a voluntary program. Let’s remember that this is something that customers choose to be a part of based on the incentives,” said Emmett Romine, vice president of customer solutions and innovation at Xcel. [Pols emphasis]

Customers receive a $100 credit for enrolling in the program and $25 annually, but Romine said customers also agree to give up some control to save energy and money and make the system more reliable.

“So, it helps everybody for people to participate in these programs. It is a bit uncomfortable for a short period of time, but it’s very, very helpful,” said Romine.

Many new homes built in Colorado today utilize a smart thermostat that both consumers and–if given permission by the consumer–utility companies can access to help manage power consumption during peak periods. This helps avoid the much less pleasant alternative of rolling blackouts when the power grid hits capacity. It’s also available to existing homeowners who upgrade to compatible smart thermostats.

And again, AC Rewards is a 100% voluntary and compensated program that no consumer is forced to participate in. But that’s not stopping Republicans like this Maryland congressional candidate from declaring an impending thermostatic dystopia and trying to turn this voluntary program into a stick to beat Colorado Democrats with:

Here in the reality-based community, we know that Democratic politicians aren’t trying to punish Coloradans with Xcel Energy’s energy efficiency programs any more than consumers are being forced to participate in them. That Tuesday was the first time the system was activated in this emergency capacity since it rolled out in 2019 shows how sparingly the smart thermostat’s emergency override is employed. Given a choice between limits on power in an emergency versus losing power entirely, it’s an easy choice. Or at least it should be.

If you’re determined to uncover a nefarious plot behind everything, that’s all you tend to find.

Michael Bennet and Jon Ossoff Get More Smarter

This week in a SPECIAL EPISODE of the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk with not one, but two United States Senators.

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-GA) stop by to discuss the 2022 election and some of the lesser-known details of the Inflation Recovery Act (IRA). Senator Bennet also discusses how he helped to make sure that drought assistance was included in the IRA for Colorado; his celebratory visit to Sen. Joe Manchin’s West Virginia boat; his ongoing bet with Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar; and how he and other Democratic Senators actually talk about #HorseSushi.

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Let us have it at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com. Or send emails to jason@getmoresmarter.com or ian@getmoresmarter.com.

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President Biden Signs The BFD Act

UPDATE: Don’t take our word for it:

—–

Sens. John Hickenlooper, Michael Bennet.

As the Washington Post reports, the hard-won long-sought reconciliation spending package once known as the Build Back Better Plan and officially now known as the banal-sounding Inflation Reduction Act, was signed into law this afternoon by President Joe Biden, capping off a dramatic turn of political fortune for Democrats in recent weeks:

At a bill signing ceremony in the State Dining Room of the White House, Biden praised the legislation as among the most significant measures in the history of the country.

“Let me say from the start: With this law, the American people won and the special interests lost,” Biden said.

His administration had begun amid “a dark time in America,” Biden added, citing the coronavirus pandemic, joblessness and threats to democracy.

“And yet we’ve not wavered, we’ve not flinched and we’ve not given in,” Biden said. “Instead, we’re delivering results for the American people. We didn’t tear down. We built up. We didn’t look back. We look forward. And today — today offers further proof that the soul of America is vibrant, the future of America is bright, and the promise of America is real.”

With signing of this overwhelmingly popular spending package into law, Democrats have the opportunity to put closure on two years of struggle in which much more was achieved than the Biden administration gets popular credit for, such as the infrastructure bill passed right after the 2021 midterms–a win that didn’t resonate politically in the moment after being delinked under pressure from the passage of the larger spending plan on health care and climate change known as Build Back Better. What America got today, thanks in significant part to the patient work of Colorado’s U.S. Senators, was enough of Build Back Better for Democrats to return to their districts with a long list of campaign promises they thought were unattainable kept.

In light of all of this, we will henceforth refer to the so-called Inflation Reduction Act as the BFD Act. It’s not all of Build Back Better, but it’s still, as Joe Biden once said famously about Obamacare, “a big f—ing deal.”

Partisan Republicans will disagree of course–and the one in Colorado who might have benefited politically from crossing over to the winning side, U.S. Senate candidate Joe O’Dea, felt obliged to put party and Mitch McConnell first. So while the majority of Americans celebrate having a government once more capable of minimally getting stuff done, O’Dea is left to sulk with his party of fringe naysayers and dismal poll numbers.

Them’s the breaks when you bet against America.

The Get More Smarter Podcast: Sen. John Hickenlooper

“Dark Hickenlooper”

This week in a SPECIAL EPISODE of the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk with Colorado Sen. John Hickenlooper about the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and his efforts to help get Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) to agree to the biggest Climate Change reduction bill in the history of ever.

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Let us have it at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com. Or send emails to jason@getmoresmarter.com or ian@getmoresmarter.com.

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

Get More Smarter on Friday (Feb. 25)

On this day in 1991, the Warsaw Pact was officially declared to be kaput. 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 nominated Kitanji Brown Jackson to succeed Justice Stephen Breyer on the U.S. Supreme Court. If confirmed by the Senate, Jackson would be the first black woman to serve on the nation’s highest court. 

 

Governor Jared Polis is promising that Colorado will make every effort to oppose Russian interests in the wake of that country’s invasion of Ukraine. From Elizabeth Hernandez at The Denver Post:

As Russian troops waged war on their homeland, Ukrainians living in Colorado came together in solidarity outside the state Capitol on Thursday and Gov. Jared Polis announced the state will work to ensure it’s not financially supporting the Kremlin in any way.

Scores of people waving Ukrainian flags and hoisting signs bearing slogans including “Putin! Hands off Ukraine!” and “Support Ukraine, save democracy in the world!” filled the Capitol’s front steps. Colorado is home to about 11,000 Ukrainians, the governor’s office said…

…Polis said Colorado will welcome Ukrainian refugees and examine whether the state has any contracts or investments with Russian entities that it should end or divest from, and urge higher education institutions to review and reconsider any grants or projects tied with Russia.

The governor’s office said it will look “to ensure that agencies are in no way supporting the Russian government.”

As 9News reports, Colorado Republicans are also united…in blaming President Biden for everything.

Meanwhile in Ukraine, Russian forces are closing in on the Capital city of Kyiv.

 

As The Associated Press reports, experts see the biggest threats to U.S. elections coming from within. Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters, who is running for Secretary of State, has a starring role in this article. 

 

Click below to keep learning things…

 

(more…)

Joe Biden Heads For Colorado Disaster Zone

 

9NEWS reports, President Joe Biden accompanied by Gov. Jared Polis, Rep. Joe Neguse of Boulder, and both of Colorado’s U.S. Senators will visit Louisville and Superior this afternoon to assess the damage from devastating wind-driven wildfires that destroyed nearly 1,000 homes one week ago:

Biden will be joined by Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) and Neguse (D-Colorado) on Friday’s tour. It was announced Friday morning that Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colorado) and Sen. John Hickenlooper will also join them. Both will travel with the president on Air Force One before touring fire damage and visiting with survivors…

Once in the area, the officials, also including First Lady Jill Biden, will tour an area of Louisville that was damaged by the Marshall Fire. Following the damage tour the president will meet with survivors at the Louisville Recreation & Senior Center and deliver brief remarks about the federal response to the fire.

“This week, many in the Boulder County community – throughout Superior and Louisville – are beginning the long road to recovery in the wake of the unprecedented and terrible Marshall Fire,” Neguse said in a statement.

Traffic through the Denver metro area is not expected to be disrupted, with the President taking a helicopter from Buckley Air Force Base across town to Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport in Jeffco. President Biden’s remarks are scheduled for 5:15PM local time (video will stream above).

All we can say is, it’s refreshing to have a presidential President in these moments of need.

Get More Smarter on Thursday (January 6)

One year ago today, something very bad happened and it’s still too soon to joke about it. Let’s Get More Smarter anyway. 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 Joe Biden spoke this morning on the anniversary of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol seeking to overturn his victory in the 2020 elections. Politico:

President Joe Biden on Thursday marked one year since his predecessor’s supporters besieged the Capitol with a pointed rebuke of the violence — and a declaration that Donald Trump bears “singular responsibility” for the attack.

“His bruised ego matters more to him than our democracy, our Constitution,” Biden said of the former president. Trump, he added, is “not just a former president. He’s a defeated former president, defeated by a margin of over seven million of your votes in a full and free and fair election.”

…Calling out Trump and his GOP allies marks a notable tonal shift for Biden. Since taking office, he’s largely held off on sharp barbs toward the foe he could face again in 2024. But Biden hewed to one of his post-election conventions on Thursday: He did not use Trump’s name while criticizing the former president.

Colorado Public Radio’s Caitlyn Kim spoke with Rep. Jason Crow, credited with bravery by his colleagues in the face of the chaos of that day, and other Democratic members of Congress (unsurprisingly, Republicans like Rep. Lauren Boebert weren’t available to talk):

Crow said that as the House was locked down, his brain went into “Ranger mode.”

“I wasn’t really allowing myself to kind of process or think about it,” he said. “I was just triaging the information and trying to figure out our way out, because at that moment, we were trapped and surrounded by a violent mob.”

A famous photo shows Crow holding the hand of a panicked looking Representative Susan Wild of Pennsylvania, comforting her as she lays back on the floor of the gallery.

On the floor below, Rep. Joe Neguse, who had been tapped to help lead the arguments for the Democrats that day, spent those chaotic minutes reaching out to his family.

For more on the anniversary of the January 6th insurection, Axios recaps the role of ex-CU professor John Eastman and local attorney Jenna Ellis in drafting plans to overturn the 2020 presidential elections on January 20th. Here’s the latest updates on Coloradans facing charges for their role in the violence at the U.S. Capitol courtesy Westword.

 

► President Biden is headed to Colorado tomorrow to meet with Gov. Jared Polis and see firsthand the devastation from the December 30th Marshall Fire, the most destructive in Colorado history in terms of homes destroyed. Denver Post:

Accompanying Gov. Jared Polis and Democratic U.S. Rep Joe Neguse, D-Lafayette, the president will survey the damage and discuss “urgently needed federal support,” according to a news release from Neguse’s office…

“We cannot expect our communities to bear the burden of this disaster on their own,” Neguse said in a statement Wednesday. “We must bring the full force of the federal government to bear as our communities work to rebuild and recover.”

Over $25 million has been raised to support fire victims despite crass attempts to politicize the relief efforts.

 

As the drama over the Build Back Better legislation continues in D.C., Sen. John Hickenlooper joined with a group of Democratic Senators insisting that climate change funds be preserved in the rewrite of the bill currently underway.

 

Meanwhile, the renewed push to get voting rights legislation through the Senate by any means necessary continues.

 

Click below to keep learning stuff…

 

(more…)

The Pivot To Voting Rights: A Time To Be Honest

Sens. Michael Bennet, John Hickenlooper.

Colorado Newsline reporter Chase Woodruff relays the new message from U.S. Senate Democrats, who are said to be “shelving” consideration of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better budget reconciliation bill in order to switch focus to quickly passing voting rights legislation:

Sen. John Hickenlooper of Colorado on Wednesday announced his support for “changes” to the filibuster, as Senate Democrats move to take up voting rights legislation in the final weeks of the year.

“We’ve been here almost a year, and we’ve seen enough: It’s time to change the filibuster to protect voting rights,” Hickenlooper said in a statement released by his office. “Protecting the right to vote shouldn’t be a partisan issue, and we set out to work across the aisle. But three separate voting rights bills have failed in the Senate this year.”

Hickenlooper’s announcement came as Senate Democrats signaled they would postpone consideration of President Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” budget bill until next year, and instead move forward with legislation to protect voting rights.

News of this shift of priority to passing legislation to protect voting rights, which has always been the highest Democratic priority after passage of Build Back Better itself, comes as talks between the White House and Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia broke down this week over continued funding of the expanded Child Tax Credit–putting Manchin squarely into conflict with one of the CTC’s principal supporters, Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado:

One of the most pivotal issues holding up progress is the child tax credit, a major Democratic Party priority that delivers aid to families and is key to the Biden administration’s effort to reduce child poverty. Manchin wants to cut the expanded child tax credit from the bill, with a source telling CNN that he wants to “zero it out.”

The Denver Post’s Alex Burness reports, we’re talking about a lot of Colorado families who will very quickly feel the pain unless the tax credit is extended:

Some 600,000 Colorado households were slated Wednesday to receive their monthly payment through the federal expanded child tax credit program.

But those families should not count on this program continuing. Unless Congress acts to extend the program — and that doesn’t appear likely in this calendar year — there’s no promise of any payments beyond those that go out Dec. 15.

If this program expires, said U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, a Colorado Democrat who has championed this tax credit, “It’s going to make it harder for (families) to pay the rent, to pay for food, to pay for child care.”

If the push to change filibuster rules enough to get a voting rights bill through with 50+1 votes succeeds, and the latest word is that fellow recalcitrant Sen. Krysten Sinema still doesn’t support weakening the filibuster so that is not in any way assured despite Manchin’s expressed support for a voting rights bill, it would be a significant accomplishment for Democrats with practical benefits in terms of combating vote suppression going into the 2022 midterms. But with so much hanging in the balance including the biggest direct attempt to reduce childhood poverty in most of our lifetimes, the fight to fund the CTC with or without the rest of Build Back Better will be top priority in the new year.

No honest observer of this situation can characterize it as politically ideal for Democrats. The U.S. Senate 50/50 split has left the party’s agenda effectively at the mercy of its weakest links. Sens. Manchin and Sinema have done tremendous damage by protracting this intra-party struggle through the first year of Biden’s presidency, and showing voters how fractious the couldn’t-be-narrower Democratic majority coalition is. The results of the 2021 elections threw a scare into Democratic leadership, who responded by hastily passing the bipartisan roads and bridges bill–giving Biden a bankable win at the expense of weakening his negotiating position to pass Build Back Better.

What Colorado Democrats must always remember is that this is not being done by fellow Colorado Democrats like Sen. Bennet and Sen. Hickenlooper. They are victims of the weakness at the margin of this smallest possible majority like the rest of us. Manchin has kicked the legs out from under major policy priorities from both Hickenlooper and now Bennet with Manchin’s assault on the Child Tax Credit. And if Bennet or Hickenlooper “get tough on Manchin,” whatever that means but that being the battle cry of vengeful progressive activists, Manchin will simply make good on his threats to switch parties, at which point all hope of passing anything Democrats want ends.

With all of this dreary reality acknowledged, the long-term best-case scenario is still pretty good. If Democrats get meaningful voting rights protections to Biden’s desk in this priority pivot, if they return after the holidays with renewed urgency to pass Build Back Better and keep relief flowing to millions of American families…

Until that is mathematically impossible, the only option is to keep plugging away with the army they have.

Colorado Dems Celebrate As Biden Gets Part One Done

(Clockwise from top left): Diana DeGette, Joe Neguse, Ed Perlmutter, and Jason Crow

Denver7’s Robert Garrison reports on the final and narrow passage last night of a bipartisan roads and bridges bill by the U.S. House, a vote made possible by 13 Republicans who crossed party lines to offset “no” votes from a handful of progressive Democrats led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez–handing President Joe Biden a major and much-needed victory that will have voter-visible effects in the near term, but also putting the onus squarely on Democratic Senate holdouts to ensure the much larger Build Back Better reconciliation package actually gets passed:

Colorado leaders hailed the passage of the $1 trillion infrastructure package as more details as to what it will mean for the state comes to light. But not everyone was in a celebratory mood.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act with bipartisan support late Friday.

Gov. Jared Polis said in a statement the bill is a “win” for the state.

“Let’s fix the roads and reduce traffic! This is a win for our country and a win for Colorado! I’m thrilled that Congress has passed with bipartisan support this once-in-a-generation opportunity to improve our roads, create new jobs, improve our drinking water, and tackle climate change,” Polis said in a statement. “Paired with our state’s historic bipartisan infrastructure plan that I signed this summer, Colorado will see a transformation across all four corners of our state to make our roads safer and better for all Coloradans. Thank you, President Biden and Congress for your bipartisan work to bring real change across our country’s entire infrastructure system.”

Rep. Joe Neguse, who serves as a vice-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), is ebullient and tallying up the wins for Colorado this morning:

Although passage of the bipartisan roads and bridges bill is making some progressives nervous about the fate of the larger Build Back Better plan (more on that in a moment), this morning the big story is the red-on-red rage from conservative Republicans including Colorado’s own Rep. Lauren Boebert, vowing retribution against the “fake Republicans” who enabled passage of the bill in the House last night:

While Republicans busy themselves eating their own for a few news cycles and President Biden enjoys a major win after an undeniably difficult few months, it is necessary to acknowledge the real concerns raised by the six dissenting Democrats, who say they voted no because it had been previously assured that the bipartisan roads and bridges bill and the larger “human infrastructure” Build Back Better plan would pass as a package deal. As of now, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is operating on a promise by moderate House Democrats to support the larger bill once the Congressional Budget Office completes its necessary scoring–the same thing America’s Most Important Senator® Sen. Joe Manchin claims to be waiting for.

In exchange for accolades today, the stakes are now higher to pass the larger bill Democrats still very much need to deliver ahead of the 2022 midterms. Colorado Democrats have not at any point been part of the problem here, in fact both Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper have seen their own priorities threatened and even cut from the bill at Manchin’s whim. It’s a major test of discipline for the razor-thin Democratic majority in Congress–and as Will Rogers famously observed in 1935, organization has never been the Democratic Party’s strong suit.

When there’s a deal, Colorado Democrats will be on the right side of it.

Beyond that, pray and/or bet according to your preference.

Manchin Takes Aim At Bennet’s Prized Child Tax Credit

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-ish).

As Pat Poblete of the Colorado Springs Gazette’s political blog reports–while Colorado’s junior Sen. John Hickenlooper reckons with moderate obstinate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia’s deal-killing opposition to the carbon tax Hickenlooper has championed since his 2019 presidential run, Colorado’s other U.S. Senator Michael Bennet is confronted with a threat to the size and scope of his overwhelmingly popular Child Tax Credit from the same Sen. Manchin:

The number of Colorado parents eligible to receive the federal Child Tax Credit could be cut by nearly 70% if congressional Democrats and the Biden administration cave to the demands of one of their Democratic colleagues, according to a new report.

The vast federal program – which sends monthly payments to parents of children 17 years old and younger – has been a top policy priority of U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet since the middle of the last decade and was signed into law by President Joe Biden in March as part of a pandemic response package…

Researchers at the self-proclaimed “moderate” Niskanen Center, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, on Tuesday released estimates based off of Axios’ report showing if Manchin got his way, some 37.4 million children across the country would lose out on federal aid.

And that’s not all:

Colorado would be particularly hard hit based on the projections put together by the Niskanen Center’s Robert Orr and Samuel Hammond. Based on the duo’s projections, roughly 320,000 Colorado kids would be eligible for the credit under Manchin’s proposal, down 67.9% from the roughly 1.1 million currently eligible children.

Sen. Bennet’s goal is to see the Child Tax Credit in its current form extended for a further five years–enough time for the credit to make measurable progress toward the goal of cutting child poverty in half throughout the United States. But because of the perfectly divided 50/50 U.S. Senate, Sen. Manchin now wields a degree of influence over the process that has galled and outraged Democrats across the nation. Manchin, the only Democratic representative left representing a state whose failed economy has embittered a white working-class population, seems to be taking pleasure in his dream-crushing role as he demands a smaller final package for the politically self-serving sake of being smaller.

With the signature priorities of both of Colorado’s U.S. Senators now at Joe Manchin’s mercy, the one thing we say for certain is that both Hickenlooper and Bennet are as frustrated as everyone else over the present state of affairs. What’s happening right now is not why either of them were elected to the U.S. Senate, and it’s not their fault. We can only hope that when the dust settles on a final product, some of the good stuff Colorado’s U.S. Senators have fought for is still in there.

In the long run, the only cure is a majority with a margin that prevents any one Senator from playing God.

Manchin, Tester Knock Down Hick’s Carbon Tax Aspirations

Sen. John Hickenlooper (D).

Politico reporting in their Congress Minutes brief today on news that will disappoint progressive Democrats who are hoping to see aggressive action to combat human-caused climate change in the budget reconciliation bill:

Key moderate senators are resisting efforts to impose a carbon tax as part of their climate action plan, sending progressives back to the drawing board.

Sen. Joe Manchin plainly told reporters Tuesday morning that “the carbon tax is not on the board at all right now.” And Sen. Jon Tester said separately “you might have problems with me on a carbon tax.”

“I just don’t think you can implement it. I use a lot more fuel than [a trucker does], and we’re both going to get the same check and it’s going to make us whole? It’s just not going to work. So I’ve got some issues with the carbon tax myself.” Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) told POLITICO.

Although a tax on carbon pollution gained new impetus in recent days after moderate obstinate Democratic Senators led by Sen. Joe Manchin shot down a previous incentive-based plan to encourage carbon reduction, it’s worth remembering as Colorado Newsline’s Chase Woodruff reported at the end of August that we’re talking about a longstanding proposal from Sen. John Hickenlooper of Colorado, who ran for President in 2019 on a platform of (among other things) taxing carbon:

As negotiations over a high-stakes budget bill begin in Washington, D.C., Colorado Sen. John Hickenlooper told constituents in a virtual town hall on Monday that a carbon-pricing mechanism to combat climate change tops his wish list for the legislation.

“The thing I’d like more than anything is to get a price on carbon,” Hickenlooper said. “It would be so much more efficient if there was some sort of a fee, and a dividend of some sort, that would allow us to incentivize and motivate all of these entrepreneurs all over the country … to find cleaner ways of delivering energy.”

…Hickenlooper made a carbon tax central to the climate plan put forward by his ill-fated presidential campaign in 2019. As a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, he could play a key role in drafting and negotiating the $198 billion clean-energy component of the Democrats’ reconciliation bill.

Although Sen. Hickenlooper took plenty of heat from his left during a gubernatorial administration in which oil and gas development increased significantly, here we have Hickenlooper clearly positioned to the left of the obstructionist Democrats representing energy-producing states on a major climate change policy proposal. It’s a reminder that Colorado’s Democrats are not the problem in these fraught blue-on-blue negotiations, and might join those disappointed on the wrong side of whatever compromise emerges.

In that event we will all need to focus on the good stuff that doesn’t get cut, and remember to not blame the wrong people.

We say these things because when we get to what they call “nut-cutting time,” no one else remembers to.

Caption This Photo: Cory Gardner Goes to Disney World (Again)

Former Senator Cory Gardner was spotted this weekend waiting in line at Disney World. The Yuma Republican usually hosts a “fundraising event” every November in Orlando, FL, in which his PAC picks up the check for Gardner and family to go in search of Mickey Mouse. We don’t know if this weekend’s Disney World visit was another “fundraiser,” or if Gardner actually paid to visit the park this time.

Regardless, caption away, dear readers…

Former Sen. Cory Gardner snapping photos at Disney World

So Many Captions For One Awkward Photo

Committed to the public domain by Rep. Lauren Boebert’s official Twitter account, from yesterday’s visit by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland (center) to Grand Junction accompanied by (from left) Sen. Michael Bennet, Rep. Joe Neguse, Gov. Jared Polis, and Sen. John Hickenlooper:

There’s a lot going on here, and 90% of it doesn’t need to be said.

Take care of the other 10%, gentle readers.

Of Course Cory Gardner is Now a Lobbyist

Old Gardner: ‘Boo, lobbyists!’
New Gardner: ‘Yay, I’m a lobbyist!’

We’ll say this for former one-term Senator Cory Gardner: He’s nothing if not predictable.

As The Hill newspaper reports, the Yuma Republican has a new job that nobody everybody could have seen coming:

Former Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) will join the board of Michael Best Strategies, the lobbying firm announced Wednesday…

…Michael Best Strategies is run by Reince Priebus, who served as former President Trump’s White House chief of staff and as Republican National Committee chairman. The firm has expanded this year, naming former Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) to its board of advisers in March…

…“Cory is an efficient communicator and leader and has an extraordinary track record of success in an array of policy and legislative matters,” Priebus said in a statement. “As another tenured former government representative joins our board, Cory’s addition will greatly benefit Michael Best Strategies as we continue to deepen our leadership and advisory positions with former lawmakers.”

But…but…wasn’t Senator Gardner a staunch supporter of efforts to PROHIBIT Members of Congress from moving straight from Congress into lobbying?

Well, yes. On more than once occasion, in fact.

Here’s what Gardner said on re-introducing the Close the Revolving Door Act in October 2019:

“By blocking Members of Congress from ever becoming lobbyists following their time in office, this legislation will bring the transparency and accountability to elected officials that Coloradans expect and deserve.”

Blah, blah, blahbity blah.

Gardner didn’t just become a complete bullshit artist after losing his re-election bid to Democrat John Hickenlooper by 9 points in 2020. Gardner was always full of craptransparently so, in fact — and it’s a big reason why he fared so poorly with Colorado voters in the years following his 2014 election to the Senate.

There’s nothing more Cory Gardner than moving straight into lobbying after years of decrying the fact that so many former Members of Congress were becoming lobbyists.

As a Member of Congress, very little of what Gardner said turned out to actually matter. May his new career be just as pointless.

Hickenlooper Unleashes His Inner Democrat

Another recent jam from Sen. Hickenlooper

The headline here is intentionally snarky.

You might remember about a year ago at this time, then-Senate candidate John Hickenlooper was getting gouged by Democratic Primary challenger Andrew Romanoff and friends for Hick’s purported lack of commitment to Democratic policies. Nevermind, of course, that Hickenlooper campaigned on a progressive agenda centered around building partnerships and helping everyone do better in our economic system.

Since Hickenlooper entered office as Colorado’s junior U.S. Senator in January, the former Governor has been doing basically what he said he would do — which (again) was to be a Democratic Senator. The latest example of this comes via press release from Hickenlooper’s Senate office:

U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Maggie Hassan today introduced legislation to guarantee collective bargaining rights for firefighters and emergency medical services (EMS) personnel. [Pols emphasis] The Firefighters and EMS Employer-Employee Cooperation Act recognizes the right of emergency services providers to join a union as well as bargain for fair working conditions, hours, and wages.

Many states, including Colorado and New Hampshire, already have local collective bargaining protections for emergency personnel, but federal law does not protect these essential workers. In 16 states, public safety employees cannot collectively bargain for safe working conditions. In five states, they are unable to unionize altogether.

“Firefighters and emergency personnel look out for our safety every day, and it’s time for the federal government to look out for theirs,” said Hickenlooper, Chair of the HELP Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety. “This bill guarantees their right to negotiate for healthy working conditions and a living wage.”

There he goes again: Fracken-collective-bargaining-looper.

We didn’t intentionally write this to sound like a “told you so” argument, but it kinda ended up there in the end.

Updating “The Big Line: 2022” and Statewide Colorado Races

The Republican bench in Colorado can fit inside a phone booth, which is a big reason why 2022 has been such a difficult election cycle to predict for the GOP. That doesn’t mean we won’t give it a try.

Last week, Ernest Luning of the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman updated the rumor mill on potential statewide Republican candidates in 2022. That gives us as good of a news peg as any to update “The Big Line: 2022.” Here’s how things look for the five statewide races that will be on the ballot in Colorado…

 

U.S. SENATE

Sen. Michael Bennet

Incumbent Democrat Michael Bennet is the first U.S. Senator from Colorado to even seek a third term in office since Gordon Allott in 1966 (remember to credit Colorado Pols when you get this question right while playing “Obscure Colorado Trivia Pursuit”). Bennet dispatched then-District Attorney Ken Buck in 2010 before lucking out with Darryl Glenn as his Republican opponent in 2016, and the trend toward terrible GOP opponents seems likely to continue. 

A few Republicans have officially filed paperwork to run in 2022, including people named Juli Henry, Peter Yu, and Erik Aadland. Since Donald Trump will be “re-appointed” as President before any of these names are likely to end up in the U.S. Senate, let’s just move along…

Former El Paso County GOP Chairman Eli Bremer indicated his interest in a Senate run back in February (as first reported by Luning); that trial balloon was met with a collective shrug from Republicans, but Bremer hasn’t given up on this dream just yet. Aside from Bremer, two names seem to be popping up more than others for Republicans: Clarice Navarro and Dan Caplis (no, seriously). 

Navarro is a former State Representative from Pueblo who resigned her seat in 2017 to take a job in the Trump administration as the Colorado Farm Service Agency’s state executive director. Navarro currently works as Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert’s District Director, which appears to be a fairly irrelevant position. Boebert political advisers like Laura Carno are advising Navarro on making a bid for Senate, and Navarro is taking a close look at running from what we hear.

Caplis is a silly right-wing radio host and ambulance-chasing defense lawyer who has been threatening to run for one office or another for more than a decade. Last fall, Caplis was talking about challenging Gov. Jared Polis in 2022, but he seems to have since changed his focus to the U.S. Senate. Normally we’d just ignore Caplis, but from what we hear, he is actively trying to put together a staff and is willing to front the money for salaries, which is more than can be said for any other potential Republican candidate at this point.

Bottom Line: After Democrat John Hickenlooper’s convincing 2020 Senate win, national Republicans aren’t going to target Bennet in 2022. Whoever emerges as the Republican nominee will have to do most of the work themselves. Bennet is safe here.

 

 

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Time To Admit Moving BLM To Grand Junction Was Wrong?

Ex-Sen. Cory Gardner passionately arguing for the relocation of BLM HQ to Grand Junction in 2019.

Colorado Newsline’s Chase Woodruff follows up on a messy story we’ve been watching in the aftermath of the Trump administration’s four years of plundering management of the federal government–the controversial relocation of the Bureau of Land Management headquarters from Washington, D.C. to Grand Junction, Colorado, sharing an office building with Chevron and other fossil fuel businesses.

That is to say the BLM would be sharing office space with Chevron, if the relocation to Grand Junction had actually happened. After all these years and consternation, the professionals who make up the Bureau have voted resoundingly with their feet:

Ex-BLM employees and public-lands advocates paint a dire picture of what happened to the agency following the relocation, which was announced by Gardner and Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, a Colorado native and longtime oil lobbyist, in July 2019. It’s a picture that was backed up by figures released by the Interior Department following President Joe Biden’s inauguration in January; out of hundreds of positions affected by the move, Interior officials said, 287 employees chose to resign or retire from the agency, while 41 accepted relocation. The latter number, however, includes employees who relocated to BLM field offices scattered throughout the West as part of a broader reorganization.

The number of employees who relocated to Grand Junction, BLM officials confirmed this week, is three…

“It is a joke,” [former BLM director Bob] Abbey said. “It would be humorous if there weren’t a lot of people whose livelihoods are dependent upon the Bureau of Land Management doing their job. And when that job’s not being performed, at any level of the organization, then it’s a disservice to the public that BLM employees are supposed to be serving.”

Today, the nominee to serve as the first permanent head of the BLM in over four years, Tracy Stone-Manning, is getting her first confirmation hearing in the U.S. Senate. Stone-Manning, like her boss Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, have both criticized the relocation of BLM headquarters to Grand Junction. And as Woodruff reports, the results of the move speak for themselves. Rather than “moving the agency closer to communities they serve,” forcing this unwanted relocation on the Bureau has resulted in the experts being effectively disconnected from political decision making in Washington–which was perfect for the destructive purposes of the Trump administration, but a disaster for the Bureau’s mission to protect public lands.

Up against this emerging consensus, we have local Democrats who are still pushing for the BLM to come to Grand Junction while acknowledging, as Gov. Jared Polis does, that the Trump administration’s policies affecting public lands were “misguided.”

“While the Trump administration’s lack of knowledge of the West framed this initiative for him as one of energy dominance, the opportunity for [President Biden] is to see this initiative as an opportunity for locally driven conservation,” Polis wrote. “Where he seemed to think it would favor extractive industries, I know that Coloradans across our state realize the need to conserve the places we love.”

It’s important to note that the push to relocate the BLM’s headquarters to the West generally and Colorado in particular predated the Trump administration, and that’s where the support for the move among Colorado Democrats originated. Ex-Sen. Cory Gardner’s interest in moving the BLM was much more straightforwardly in line with the Trump administration’s desire to expand fossil fuel production. And at this point, it may be impossible to separate moving the BLM to Grand Junction from the Trump administration’s destructive motives for doing so.

Which means our local boosters might lose this one. In the larger scheme of things, they might need to.

We’ll just say Mt. Garfield isn’t a hill worth dying on.

Joe Manchin Torpedoes For The People Act, Filibuster Reform

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-ish).

CNN reports, and if there’s anything anybody can legally do about it, now’s the time to show us your plan:

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin on Sunday defended his decision to vote against a sweeping voting rights bill and reiterated his opposition to gutting the filibuster, declaring in the strongest terms yet that he is not willing to change Senate rules to help his party push through much of President Joe Biden’s agenda.

“I believe that partisan voting legislation will destroy the already weakening binds of our democracy, and for that reason, I will vote against the For the People Act. Furthermore, I will not vote to weaken or eliminate the filibuster,” Manchin, a moderate Democrat from West Virginia, wrote in an op-ed published in the Charleston Gazette.

Manchin’s opposition to changing filibuster rules stands as a major roadblock to Biden’s legislative priorities, as current rules allow Republicans to hold up many of the progressive bills the administration supports, including infrastructure spending, federal voting legislation and climate change legislation.

Sen. John Hickenlooper plays the banjo in support of the For The People Act.

From Sen. Joe Manchin’s column in the Charleston Gazette, which Democrats coast to coast are either seething over or in denial of this Sunday morning:

Democrats in Congress have proposed a sweeping election reform bill called the For the People Act. This more than 800-page bill has garnered zero Republican support. Why? Are the very Republican senators who voted to impeach Trump because of actions that led to an attack on our democracy unwilling to support actions to strengthen our democracy? Are these same senators, whom many in my party applauded for their courage, now threats to the very democracy we seek to protect?

The truth, I would argue, is that voting and election reform that is done in a partisan manner will all but ensure partisan divisions continue to deepen.

With that in mind, some Democrats have again proposed eliminating the Senate filibuster rule in order to pass the For the People Act with only Democratic support. They’ve attempted to demonize the filibuster and conveniently ignore how it has been critical to protecting the rights of Democrats in the past.

With no margin to overcome Sen. Manchin’s dissent, the Democratic agenda in the U.S. Senate could now be effectively stalled. Manchin says the alternative to doing away with the filibuster will be “frustrating and slow,” and “will force compromises that are not always ideal.” The problem here is that Manchin assumes there will be any compromise from Republicans who now thanks to Joe Manchin have no incentive to do so. Their obstruction of Biden’s agenda, which is the sole political objective of Republicans between now and the 2022 midterms, has just been fully enabled.

As for coming out against the For The People Act beyond merely opposing ending the filibuster in order to pass it, Manchin says “voting and election reform that is done in a partisan manner will all but ensure partisan divisions continue to deepen.” But that’s exactly what Republicans are doing with their wave of vote suppression legislation being run by Republicans in state houses across the country. The For The People Act would put a stop to vote suppression in the name of Donald Trump’s “Big Lie,” which is the far greater offense than anything in the For The People Act to protect voting rights. Manchin is not just wrong, he’s wrong at the worst possible moment for American democracy.

In the meantime, the one thing we don’t want to see is misguided attacks on Colorado’s Democratic U.S. Senators over Joe Manchin’s intransigence. Sen. Michael Bennet has been very strong in 2021 about not letting the arcane rules of the U.S. Senate forestall necessary legislation. Sen. John Hickenlooper is a major, if not perfect-pitched proponent of the For The People Act. There’s always a temptation to rage indiscriminately at our own when frustrating political news hits, but there’s just nothing to indicate today that either of Colorado’s Senators are part of the problem.

The best hope now is that when that fabled Republican “compromise” fails to manifest, perhaps Manchin will see reason. If Democrats want to achieve anything beyond throwing money at problems via the budget reconciliation process before the midterms, he’ll need to.

Republican Claims of Gerrymandering Ring Hollow in Colorado

If you can’t beat ‘em, cheat ‘em! This is the Republican motto for the 2022 election, born out of “The Big Lie” that all good little Republican boys and girls are expected to endorse in order to avoid the wrath of Donald Trump and get around having to admit that the GOP lost both the White House and the U.S. Senate in 2020. 

Confronting your failures and assessing your shortcomings is an uncomfortable undertaking. Expanding your outreach to appeal to a broader swath of voters is difficult work. Adjusting policy positions to appeal to said voters requires engaging in arduous conversations. Preventing far-right candidates from winning Republican Primary Elections, and becoming liabilities in a General Election, demands a lot of organizing and planning. 

Republicans could reject Trumpism and try to understand what Americans actually want, but they seem to have come to the conclusion that it is easier and more comfortable to change the rules than to alter the way they play the game. 

“There is a very real probability that 2018 will be known as the election when it became apparent that the Republican Party no longer has the voter registration numbers to be competitive in Colorado.”

 — Post-2018 election memo from Republican polling firm Magellan Strategies

This is why Republicans are instead focused on trying to make it harder for people to vote in 2022. It’s working in states like Georgia and Texas, but not in Colorado. So the next step in our state is for the GOP to construct a different boogeyman: Gerrymandering.

Gerrymandering is a very real and very legitimate issue in American politics. As The New York Times examined in 2019, gerrymandering is particularly egregious in some pockets of the United States:

Currently, rigged maps tend to be most prevalent, and most tilted, in states under Republican control. That is in part because Republicans did exceptionally well in the 2010 elections, giving the party far wider control of state legislatures, which oversaw redistricting after the 2010 census. The national Republican Party had poured money and expertise into state legislative races with the specific aim of gaining control over redistricting; the Democratic Party had not.

Many political scientists consider the House maps in Republican-controlled states like North Carolina, Michigan, Ohio and Texas to have the most pronounced partisan slants. (Pennsylvania was also on the list until its map was redrawn last year.) Among Democratic-held states, Maryland, Illinois and — to some observers — California are regarded as the most tilted. Illinois is especially notable for its “pizza slice” division of metropolitan Chicago, using generous helpings of urban Democrats to offset the heavily Republican suburbs in district after district.

In Colorado, gerrymandering has not been nearly as big of a problem…unless you listen to a small but loud cadre of Republicans who are desperately trying to build a false narrative to convince members of Colorado’s Independent Redistricting Commissions that new district lines must be particularly helpful for the GOP in order to make up for the fact that they can no longer figure out how to win elections.

 

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Sen. John Hickenlooper Plays His Banjo “For The People”

It’s a performance that might not take the world by storm, but Sen. John Hickenlooper released a video yesterday in support of the For The People Act, a major Democratic agenda item already passed by the U.S. House that would solidify and expand voting rights across the nation–in the face of a multistate Republican campaign underway right now to crack down on the franchise in retaliation for Donald Trump losing the 2020 elections:

 

We’ll concede from the outset that Hickenlooper’s banjo plucking is better than his singing. But here’s another reminder that Hickenlooper, despite what you may have heard during last year’s acrimonious Democratic primary, is proving to be a reliable–and engaging–advocate for the Democratic agenda as a U.S. Senator.

Can Hick pluck his way into Joe Manchin’s heart? That remains to be seen, but we love that he’s trying.

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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