Get More Smarter on Wednesday (May 19)

Happy Hepatitis Testing Day…and good luck. 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

The Associated Press reports on landmark legislation approved by Congress to address the issue of hate crimes against Asian Americans:

Congress approved legislation Tuesday intended to curtail a striking rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, sending President Joe Biden a bipartisan denunciation of the spate of brutal attacks that have proliferated during coronavirus pandemic.

“In the midst of a deadly pandemic, our nation has witnessed a horrific rise in violent, racist attacks against Asian Americans,” said U.S. Rep. Jason Crow, D-Aurora in a statement. “Across Colorado and the country, our AAPI neighbors, loved ones, and friends are living in fear of being targeted with racial slurs, physical intimidation, and deadly violence. Today’s bipartisan vote sends a strong message of solidarity with the AAPI community that hate will not be tolerated.”

The measure was approved by every member of the Colorado congressional delegation except Colorado GOP Congressperson Lauren Boebert, of Rifle. [Pols emphasis]

The bill, which the House passed on a 364-62 vote, will expedite the review of hate crimes at the Justice Department and make grants available to help local law enforcement agencies improve their investigation, identification and reporting of incidents driven by bias, which often go underreported. It previously passed the Senate 94-1 in April after lawmakers reached a compromise. Biden has said he will sign it.

The highlighted point above bears repeating: Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert WAS THE ONLY MEMBER OF COLORADO’S CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION to oppose the anti-hate crime legislation.

BTW, Tuesday was National AAPI Day Against Bullying + Hate Day.

 

University of Colorado President Mark Kennedy will get a $1.3 million compensation package for resigning from his job leading the state’s flagship university system. As The Denver Post explains:

The agreement outlining the details of Kennedy’s departure from the university presidency after two years on the job passed on an 8-1 vote, with Regent Heidi Ganahl, an at-large Republican, voting against the deal.

At the end of the virtual meeting, Kennedy wished the university system well and said he will continue to support CU.Wednesday’s special board meeting began with an hour-long private executive session followed by a motion presented by Regent Chance Hill, R-Colorado Springs, which asked the board to vote to allow Kennedy to carry out his original employment contract, which, if not renewed, would have ended in the summer of 2022.

Hill’s motion failed on a 3-6 vote with Hill, Ganahl and Sue Sharkey, R-Castle Rock, voting in favor.

Discussion around Kennedy’s departure included Republican regents arguing that CU was hostile toward conservatives. Kennedy, a former GOP congressman, was hired in 2019 on a split, party-line vote by the board, which was controlled by Republicans at the time.

No doubt $1.3 million will make a guy feel a lot better about people being mean to him. But the real treasure of this story is this unbelievably ridiculous statement from CU Regent Heidi Ganahl, who really hopes you don’t blame her for Kennedy when she runs for Governor:

Ganahl said: “I don’t think we should trouble ourselves with the illusion that Mark Kennedy’s firing was a great failing or fundamental error in leadership. Mark Kennedy is being fired for the high crime of not being a Democrat or left-wing academic to a new board majority who many days forget they serve the students of CU and not the (Democratic National Committee). In this case, their need to grind partisan axes will cost taxpayers and students millions of dollars.”

 

As Westword notes, Colorado may now be the #1 COVID-19 hotspot in the entire world. The good news: Infections and hospitalizations continue to drop.

 

Let’s get caught up on more news from the state legislature, which has just a few weeks left in the 2021 session…

State Rep. Dylan Roberts writes an Op-Ed for Vail Daily about some notable legislation making its way through the legislature.

Colorado Public Radio looks at whether Colorado can expand highways while also meeting Climate goals.

Charles Ashby of The Grand Junction Sentinel reports on the progress of a major transportation funding bill.

The Associated Press reports on legislation intended to protect women’s rights while incarcerated.

Senate Democrats approved a bill that will allow local municipalities to make their own gun safety laws.

Governor Jared Polis signed legislation on Tuesday that makes it illegal to doxx health care workers.

Search and rescue teams in Colorado are asking the legislature for more resources to do their thing.

Denver7 reports on a bill we’ll call “marijuana potency 2.0.”

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Monday (May 17)

Happy Tax 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

The Colorado Sun reports on some bad news following last week’s decision by the CDC (and Colorado) to ease off on mask requirements:

Colorado on Sunday sat atop a New York Times tracker for national hotspots, recording the worst 7-day average rate for new coronavirus cases in the nation. (It first rose to the top spot on Friday.)

Measurements of how well the virus is under control are near the lowest they’ve been since the start of the pandemic. An estimated one out of every 81 people in the state is currently contagious with the virus. In March, that number was one out of every 350 people.

The most recent modeling projections produced by health experts at several Colorado universities estimate more virus will be in circulation this coming summer than last summer. And the virus that is circulating will be predominantly from more infectious variants — most of the cases in the state now come from the B.1.1.7 variant, which is believed to be 50% more transmissible than older strains.

We are not doctors here at Colorado Pols, so take our advice with the appropriate grains of salt: You should probably keep wearing a mask in public even if you are vaccinated, but DEFINITELY if you are unvaccinated. Colorado businesses can also set their own requirements for wearing masks inside stores.

In related news, President Biden is announcing plans for the U.S. to share 20 million COVID-19 vaccines with the rest of the world.

 

The U.S. Supreme Court will consider an abortion law from Mississippi that could mark a path toward the dissolution of Roe v. Wade. As The Washington Post explains:

The Supreme Court on Monday said it will review a restrictive Mississippi abortion law that opponents of the procedure say provides a clear path to diminish Roe v. Wade’s establishment of the right of women to choose an abortion.

Abortion opponents for months have urged the court’s conservatives to seize the chance to reexamine the 1973 precedent. Mississippi is one among many Republican-led states that have passed restrictions that conflict with the court’s precedents protecting a woman’s right to choose before fetal viability.

In accepting the case, the court said it would examine whether “all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional.” That has been a key component of the court’s jurisprudence.

The Mississippi law would ban almost all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. But both a district judge and a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit said that could not be squared with decades of Supreme Court precedents.

The Court could hear the case as soon as Fall 2021.

 

Be more smarter than Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs)

The editorial board of The Denver Post hopes that Republicans will field a decent candidate to oust Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) in 2022:

Congressman Doug Lamborn should be in trouble. But there have been many times that he should have been in trouble before and yet has eked out many tough primary victories in Colorado’s safely Republican 5th Congressional District.

We hope this time the evidence that he is mismanaging his office and misspending government funds will result in voters ousting him from the post.

The complaints filed in a lawsuit against Lamborn last week by a former staffer (some of which are backed up by emails obtained by The Denver Post’s Conrad Swanson) are just embarrassing…

…We’ve long heard Republicans were going to mount a strong challenger to Lamborn, but often the vote gets split between multiple challengers. This year, we hope someone steps up for the primary and the folks are able to coalesce behind the challenger.

Here’s more background on the lawsuit filed against Rep. Lamborn by a former staffer. For further reading, check these stories from The Denver Post; Colorado Public Radio; The Colorado Times Recorder; Denver7; CNN; POLITICO; and The Associated Press.

 

Let’s get caught up on more news from the state legislature, which has just a few weeks left in the 2021 session…

Governor Jared Polis will sign the “long bill” today (SB21-205), otherwise known as the 2021-22 Appropriations Bill.

Colorado Democrats killed a bill on policing and jails after much discussion.

As The Denver Post reports, legislation dealing with marijuana potency has also been altered significantly.

Colorado Newsline reports on a watered-down bill advocating for tenant rights.

Denver7 looks at a couple of bills aimed at improving pre-natal care in Colorado.

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports on the progress of legislation that would offer discounted state park passes for motorists obtaining or renewing vehicle registration in Colorado.

Legislation dealing with alcohol-to-go is moving along in both chambers.

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Friday (May 14)

On this day in 1796, the first person was inoculated against smallpox. 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

Get vaccinated and you can get back to normal. As The New York Times explains:

“We have all longed for this moment,” Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said as she announced the shift at a White House news conference on Thursday. “If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic.”

Fully vaccinated people are still told to cover their faces when flying or taking public transit, when visiting health care facilities, and in congregate settings like prisons and homeless shelters.

The recommendations came as a surprise to many people in public health. They offered a stark contrast with the views of a large majority of epidemiologists surveyed in the last two weeks by The New York Times, who said that until many more Americans were vaccinated, there would be too many chances for vaccines, which are not 100 percent effective, to fail…

…On Thursday, the governors of New Jersey, New York, North Carolina and Virginia, and the mayors of New York City and Washington, D.C., all Democrats, said that they were taking the new guidance under advisement before adopting it. Los Angeles County also said that it and the State of California were reviewing the new guidelines. In deference to local authorities, the C.D.C. said vaccinated people must continue to abide by existing state, local or tribal laws and regulations, and to follow local rules for businesses and workplaces.

The Denver Post reports on how Colorado is reacting to the new CDC guidance:

Colorado’s mask mandate is going to change in the near future to align with new federal guidance that says vaccinated people can safely go without masks in most indoor settings, a spokeswoman for Gov. Jared Polis said Thursday afternoon…

…The new guidance issued Thursday doesn’t have the force of law, so states, counties and other governments will have to decide how they want to respond. It also doesn’t suggest policies for public settings, where vaccinated and unvaccinated people mix.

Meanwhile, Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) says that receiving a COVID-19 vaccine is equivalent to the “mark of the beast” from Revelations.

In a related story, CNN reports that Congressional Democrats have a 100% vaccination rate.

 

Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) is being sued by a former staffer and Marine Corps veteran for promoting an unsafe working environment and forcing staffers to run personal errands for he and his wife. The lawsuit also claims that Lamborn has been allowing his son to live in a utility closet in the basement of the U.S. Capitol.

POLITICO has more on what is shaping up to be a serious problem for Lamborn:

“Well, I don’t care about you guys getting it.” That’s what Rep. Doug Lamborn (R–Colo.) allegedly told a staffer in October 2020, right after discovering that his Capitol Hill office was turning into a hotbed of Covid-19 infections.

It’s one of the many eye-popping accusations in a new lawsuit filed Thursday afternoon in the District Court for the District of Columbia by Brandon Pope, a former Lamborn staffer who says he vocally pushed back on what he called the congressman’s “reckless and dangerous approach” to the pandemic — and was fired for it.

The lawsuit claims that Lamborn ignored congressional pandemic protocols and endangered his own staff, mocked aides who wanted to wear masks, forced staffers to show up for work in person and dismissed social-distancing guidelines. Eventually, those actions resulted in “widespread transmission of the virus throughout both the district and Washington DC offices,” the lawsuit states, leading both offices to shutter for a time.

 

Colorado lawmakers are continuing debate on SB-200, legislation that would lay out specific guidelines for meeting emissions-reduction goals, despite a veto threat from Gov. Jared Polis. As Judith Kohler reports for The Denver Post, a new report should make it harder for Polis to justify a potential veto:

A new report says Colorado will fall drastically short of its goals for cutting greenhouse-gas emissions without more ambitious targets and enforceable limits on pollution, a feature of a bill in the legislature that has Gov. Jared Polis threatening a veto. [Pols emphasis]

The analysis released Friday by Energy Innovation and RMI, formerly Rocky Mountain Institute, says their modeling projects Colorado’s overall emissions will drop from 2005 levels by just 3.4% by 2030 and only 18% by 2050. That’s a long way from the goals of at least 50% by 2030 and 90% by 2050 set by a 2019 law and in the “Colorado Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Roadmap” issued by Polis in January.

The state law includes the near-term goal of a 26% decline in emissions by 2025. Supporters of Senate Bill 21-200 say the specific limits on emissions in the new bill are intended to build upon the objectives set by previous legislation and the governor’s road map.

“Our climate goals are only as strong as our plans to execute them. This bill takes Gov. Polis’ climate goals and works to ensure that his plan happens,” said Kelly Nordini, executive director of Conservation Colorado. “If the governor’s team has another way of building more certainty into their road map, we’d love to hear that.”

Let’s get caught up on more news from the state legislature, which has about one month left in the 2021 session…

The Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition is calling on Gov. Polis to veto HB-1051.

Colorado Public Radio looks at a long list of transgressions included in new legislation aimed at reforming Colorado’s misdemeanor offenses.

RealVail.com updates on the progress of legislation to fund much-needed transportation infrastructure repairs in Colorado.

The Colorado Sun reports on the advancement of legislation aimed at helping immigrants. In a separate story, the Sun looks at a bill that seeks to require more transparency in how companies track their employees.

The Pueblo Chieftain reports on a positive reception for a media literacy bill in Colorado.

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (May 13)

Happy Rotuma 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

 A bunch of former Republican elected officials and Party officers are speaking out against the GOP and pledging to do…something in the wake of the ouster of Rep. Liz Cheney from House leadership on Wednesday. From an Op-Ed in The Washington Post:

The Republican Party made a grievous error this week in ousting Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) from the House leadership for telling the truth about Donald Trump’s “big lie,” which has wreaked havoc in our democratic republic by casting doubt over the 2020 election.

Cheney rightfully struck back against party leaders and warned about the GOP’s dangerous direction. She is not alone.

Alongside dozens of prominent Republicans, ex-Republicans and independents, we are announcing “A Call for American Renewal,” a nationwide rallying cry against extremist elements within the GOP, and highlighting the urgent need for a new, common-sense coalition.

We urge fellow Americans to join us.

Former Republican Rep. Cole Wist, once the assistant minority leader for the House GOP, is among the local Colorado Republicans joining this cause. Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley) is not a signatory of the letter, though he did vocally oppose efforts to remove Cheney.

Meanwhile, Justin Wingerter of The Denver Post reports on the ultimate in irony from Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert, who voted to oust Cheney:

“Liz Cheney, she has taken her eyes off the prize,” Boebert told Breitbart News. “Instead of focusing on passing conservative policies, she focused on media hits.” [Pols emphasis]

And then there’s Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs), who may not have even understood what was happening on Wednesday:

Rep. Doug Lamborn, a Colorado Springs Republican, did not say how he voted in a statement. Instead, he praised Cheney as “a strong conservative” and “a crucial voice for national security” but said her ouster was about “supporting the will of our voters.” He also blamed the news media for dividing Republicans.

 

As Jennifer Rubin writes for The Washington Post, the exodus from the Republican Party is underway. The New York Times voices similar Republican concerns, while NBC News has more from Rep. Cheney herself:

“It’s a scary thing,” Cheney said in an exclusive interview with NBC’s “TODAY” co-host Savannah Guthrie when asked how Republicans who chose not to remove her from leadership in February supported doing so on Wednesday.

“For reasons that I don’t understand, leaders in my party have decided to embrace the former president who launched that attack,” Cheney said in the interview, which aired Thursday. “And I think you’ve watched over the course of the last several months, the former president get more aggressive, more vocal, pushing the lie.”

 

Tensions in Israel are reaching a boiling point, as The New York Times explains:

Clashes between Arab and Jewish mobs on the streets of Israeli cities have given way to warnings from Israeli leaders that the decades-old conflict could be careening toward a civil war. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the scenes of arson and violence as “anarchy” and appealed for an end to “lynchings.”

When Mr. Netanyahu visited the town of Lod, a mixed Jewish-Arab city, on Thursday, he said that the violence there was motivated by nationalistic rioters and that soldiers from the Israel Defense Forces could be brought in.

“There is no greater threat now than these riots, and it is essential to bring back law and order with these means,” he said. Riot control measures such as water cannons and administrative arrests may also be used, he said. The police have put strict measures in place in Lod, limiting entry into the city from 5 p.m. and instituting an 8 p.m. curfew…

…Israel carried out more airstrikes against Hamas targets in Gaza, where the death toll rose on Thursday to 83 people since the fighting began early this week, according to the Gaza health ministry. Palestinian militants fired volleys of rockets that reached far into Israel, where seven have died since Monday.

 

Let’s get caught up on news from the state legislature:

Governor Jared Polis will sign three new bills into law today: SB21-167  (Regulation Of Child Care Centers); SB21-013 (Reversing COVID-related Learning Loss); and SB21-059 (Juvenile Justice Code Reorganization).

Lawmakers will not stop Colorado businesses from requiring employees to get vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. Democrats rejected an effort from Republicans to mandate that the state interfere in private business matters.

As The Colorado Sun reports, lawmakers are advancing legislation that would increase the punishment for threatening an elected official in Colorado.

The big health care bill moving through the state legislature could ultimately deliver Coloradans the lowest insurance premiums in the country.

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (May 12)

Happy Birthday to Gov. Jared Polis, who is 46 years old 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

As had been expected, House Republicans voted on Wednesday to remove Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) from caucus leadership ranks for the crime of refusing to pretend that Donald Trump actually won the 2020 Presidential election. As The Washington Post reports:

The voice vote to remove her as chair of the House Republican Conference underscored that the party will not tolerate disagreements with Trump, whose active support many argue is needed for the party to win the House majority in the 2022 midterm election.

Cheney, 54, has called her decision to publicly fight Trump a matter of principle, warning that allowing him to falsely claim that the election was stolen amounts to an attack on Democracy and is destructive to the GOP and its values.

“If you want leaders who will enable and spread his destructive lies, I’m not your person, you have plenty of others to choose from. That will be their legacy,” Cheney told her Republican colleagues Wednesday morning, according to a person familiar with her remarks who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private meeting. “But I promise you this, after today, I will be leading the fight to restore our party and our nation to conservative principles, to defeating socialism, to defending our republic, to making the GOP worthy again of being the party of Lincoln.”

We don’t yet know the results of the voice vote, though it’s safe to assume that Colorado Reps. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) and Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) voted to oust Cheney. Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley) appears to have been one of the few dissenting Republican voices on removing Cheney. Said Buck, “Liz Cheney was cancelled today for speaking her mind.”

As Thomas Friedman writes for The New York Times, this is a very big deal:

It is hard to accept that this is happening in today’s America, but it is.

If House Republicans follow through on their plan to replace Cheney, it will not constitute the end of American democracy as we’ve known it, but there is a real possibility we’ll look back on May 12, 2021, as the beginning of the end — unless enough principled Republicans can be persuaded to engineer an immediate, radical course correction in their party.

 

It wasn’t that long ago that Liz Cheney was hosting a fundraiser for Lauren Boebert:

 

In related news, The Associated Press reports that Senate Republicans are pushing back against Democrat efforts to ensure fair elections:

Republicans in the U.S. Senate mounted an aggressive case against Democrats’ sweeping election and voter-access legislation, pushing to roll back proposals for automatic registration, 24-hour ballot drop boxes and other changes in an increasingly charged national debate.

The legislation, a top priority of Democrats in the aftermath of the divisive 2020 election, would bring about the largest overhaul of U.S. voting in a generation, touching nearly every aspect of the electoral process. It would remove hurdles to voting erected in the name of election security and curtail the influence of big money in politics…

…Though it is federal legislation, Republicans are fighting a national campaign against it rooted in state battles to restrict new ways of voting that have unfolded during the pandemic. Just Tuesday, the Arizona Legislature sent the governor a bill that would make it easier to purge infrequent voters from a list of those who automatically get mail-in ballots, the latest battleground state to push through changes likely to take months or years to finally settle in court.

 

Let’s get caught up on news from the state legislature:

Colorado Newsline reports on a “tax fairness” proposal from Democrats that would limit tax breaks for high-income individuals and businesses.

The Colorado Sun examines how Colorado can and cannot spend federal stimulus funds.

El Paso County Commissioners are opposing legislative efforts to create a Front Range rain line.

Denver7 reports on legislation concerning businesses charging a fee when customers opt to pay with a credit or debit card.

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (May 6)

On this day in 1954, Roger Bannister became the first person to run a mile in under four minutes. 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

Consistent with much of the COVID-19 related news over the last several months, there’s good news and bad news to report. The good news, as The Washington Post reports, is that we can finally see a post-COVID world on the horizon:

Coronavirus infections could be driven to low levels and the pandemic at least temporarily throttled in the United States by July if the vast majority of people get vaccinated and continue with precautions against viral transmission, according to a strikingly optimistic paper released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report comes as administration officials and leaders in many states are sounding more confident that the country can return to a degree of normalcy relatively soon. President Biden on Tuesday announced a new vaccination goal, saying he wants 70 percent of adults to have had at least one dose by July 4.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said Wednesday the modeling results give Americans a road map out of the pandemic — so long as they continue to get vaccinated and maintain certain mitigation strategies until a “critical mass of people” get the shots.

For this to happen, of course, more Americans would need to move forward with getting vaccinated against COVID-19. As POLITICO reports, health experts are concerned that the virus could mutate into more dangerous variants if vaccination rates continue to decline in certain parts of the country. As The New York Times reports, a new survey suggests that we might be reaching the limit of Americans who still plan to get vaccinated.

 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis continues his Donald Trump impersonation. As The New York Times explains, DeSantis signed into law new voting restrictions in Florida with all the pomp of a campaign rally:

Mr. DeSantis enacted the legislation even after he had promoted Florida’s handling of the November elections. Mr. Trump won the state by three percentage points.

The governor gave Fox News, his preferred major cable news outlet — and Mr. Trump’s — an exclusive to broadcast the bill signing ceremony from West Palm Beach on Thursday morning, in an event that resembled a campaign rally as much as an official act of state government.

Supporters of Mr. DeSantis gathered inside a Hilton near the airport, donning DeSantis and Trump campaign gear. Before they entered, some people waved Trump-DeSantis and DeSantis 2024 banners, according to photos on social media shared by journalists locked outside the doors.

“Right now, I have what we think is the strongest election integrity measures in the country,” a seated Mr. DeSantis told Fox as a rowdy crowd cheered behind him.

In a separate story, the Times details Florida’s new restrictions:

The new bill would limit the use of drop boxes; add more identification requirements for those requesting absentee ballots; require voters to request an absentee ballot for each election, rather than receive them automatically through an absentee voting list; limit who could collect and drop off ballots; and further empower partisan observers during the ballot-counting process. The legislation would also expand a current rule that prohibits outside groups from providing items “with the intent to influence” voters within a 150-foot radius of a polling location.

 

People who regularly say racist things are called racists. At the State Capitol, they are also called “Republicans”. Republican State Rep. Richard Holtorf caused a delay in proceedings on the House floor on Wednesday after he referred to a fellow lawmaker as “Buckwheat.” This came just a few weeks after Republican State Rep. Ron Hanks made a joke about lynching and lectured his colleagues on why their historical understanding of the 3/5ths compromise was inaccurate.

House Speaker Alec Garnett (D-Denver) opened today’s legislative work with a call for decency and decorum from his Republican colleagues.

Let’s dig into more news from the state legislature…

Jesse Paul of The Colorado Sun reports on legislation to create a new office of early education to streamline services and oversee programs such as Colorado’s universal preschool program. Alex Burness has more for The Denver Post, including a proposal to create universal pre-K education in Colorado by 2023.

Dave Perry of The Aurora Sentinel likes the idea of empowering local governments to make their own gun safety regulations.

Legislation to close a loophole in background checks for firearms cleared its first hurdle in the House Judiciary Committee.

The Associated Press has more details on a big transportation funding bill introduced this week. Marshall Zelinger of 9News explains the fee vs. tax distinction at the heart of the legislation.

The legislation formerly known as the Colorado Option is being debated on the House floor today.

Legislation intended to speed up bond hearings is moving along.

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Cinco de Mayo (May 5)

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Please celebrate responsibly and remember why this is a holiday. 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

► President Biden will address the nation today on the status of the $1.9 trillion American Recovery Plan approved by Congress earlier this year. As The Washington Post reports:

President Biden plans to address the nation Wednesday on the implementation of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package passed by Congress in March that included $1,400-per-person stimulus payments, aid to state and local governments, and other measures. Earlier in the day, he visited a Mexican restaurant that is benefiting from a relief program that was part of the package.

 

Facebook decided to uphold a decision to ban Donald Trump from the social media network.

 

 As POLITICO reports, it appears inevitable that House Republicans will boot Rep. Liz Cheney from her leadership position because she refused to play along with “The Big Lie” that Donald Trump actually won the 2020 Presidential election.

 

Westword looks at which Colorado counties are doing the best (and worst) job of vaccinating local residents.

 

Colorado Newsline reports on the rollout of a big transportation funding proposal — with an impressive list of supporters — at the state legislature:

A broad coalition of state and local elected officials and Colorado business groups on Tuesday unveiled a new legislative proposal that they hope will bring an end to a years-long quest to secure billions in new funding for roads and other transportation infrastructure.

“For the first time, we are introducing something that isn’t just a band-aid, but is instead a real framework to future-proof our transportation system,” Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, a Democrat from Boulder, said in a press conference at the State Capitol. “This is a big deal.”

The bill unveiled Tuesday would allocate nearly $5.3 billion in funding for transportation over the next decade, $3.8 billion of which would come from a variety of new revenue mechanisms including fees on gasoline sales, ridesharing apps, deliveries, vehicle registrations and more. Another $1.5 billion would come from the state’s general fund and federal stimulus spending.

Supporters say the bill will help Colorado begin to address a backlog of badly-needed infrastructure improvements and could help the average Colorado driver save hundreds of dollars per year in costs associated with road congestion and vehicle maintenance needs caused by inferior roads. It would also allocate more than $700 million to vehicle electrification to support the state’s goal of putting nearly 1 million electric cars on the road by 2030.

Jesse Paul of The Colorado Sun has more on the announcement, as does Colorado Public Radio, 9News, and Denver7.

Let’s dig into more news from the state legislature…

Governor Jared Polis and state legislative leaders will unveil a proposal today to create a State Department of Early Childhood Education.

House leaders are pushing for a $75 million broadband expansion project.

Denver7 reports on discussions surrounding making changes to recall elections in Colorado.

Colorado law enforcement may be required to take additional training in the wake of a scandal surrounding the arrest of a woman with dementia in Loveland.

Lawmakers are considering legislation that would bar insurance companies from using consumer information to set rates that might vary based on race or sexual preference.

 

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

 

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Lauren Boebert Shuns Colorado Reporters Altogether

Rep. Lauren Boebert speaks at Club 20 event in April (via Grand Junction Daily Sentinel)

As a political reporter for The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, Charles Ashby has covered politics and politicians in Colorado for decades. This includes the offices of former Congressional Members Scott McInnis, John Salazar, and Scott Tipton, as well as current Congressperson Lauren Boebert (R-ifle).

You might think that Boebert would have some sort of a working relationship with a well-respected political reporter who writes for one of the largest newspapers in her district (and perhaps the largest newspaper in her hometown of Rifle). But as Ashby told hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii on The Get More Smarter Podcast last week, Boebert’s office literally doesn’t even respond to his inquiries.

You can listen to the entire interview after the jump. In the meantime, we transcribed Ashby’s comments about his experience in trying to cover the Congressperson that represents readers of The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel:

SILVERII: What’s the difference between covering Lauren Boebert and Scott Tipton?

ASHBY: Well, it’s very difficult when you have a sitting Congressman who won’t return your calls, whose press office won’t even return an email or a text message. They’ll send you out their press releases, and if you want a response, you have to check her Twitter account. So that’s very frustrating. Even Tipton — his people didn’t like me much, either — but they would at least talk to me. They would at least answer questions. And she doesn’t do that. So, that’s very frustrating. [Pols emphasis]

SILVERII: She doesn’t seem to have a problem getting airtime on Newsmax or Fox News or Breitbart, but it does seem like she is allergic to the Colorado press corps. Do you think that’s an intentional strategy on her part?

ASHBY: Oh, God, yes. Oh, definitely. She wants to talk to people who she sees as favorable to her. [Pols emphasis] And I’ll give you a good example. Most of her public events that she has been doing, all the way back from campaigning, have been to friendly crowds. Earlier this month she was at the spring conference for Club 20, which is a government/civic/private group of all the Western Slope counties. [She was there] just to answer questions, and that has Democrats and Republicans and Unaffiliated [voters] on that panel, and she was asked a couple of questions that came from Democrats that she didn’t like. She got very, very, very upset afterward. [Pols emphasis]

Questions were like, ‘Do you think Joe Biden was legitimately elected to the White House?’ Her response was, ‘Well, he’s in the White House.’

Yes, but… [laughter from Bane and Silverii].

SILVERII: But HOW did he get there?

ASHBY: Yeah, but she didn’t answer that question. She got really upset. I can’t remember who it was — it was a woman on the Aspen City Council, I think, who asked that question. Somebody else, and I wrote the story about this, from San Juan County — a Democrat — a Commissioner down there, asked her, ‘Are you willing to compromise with people on the other side so that we can get things done?’ And she wasn’t meaning it in the sense of, ‘I’m going to compromise my principles, I’m going to compromise my values.’ No, she meant, when you’re dealing with legislation…this country was built on compromise, right? That’s why it works the way it works. And she, of course, said emphatically, ‘No, I will not.’ 

And then the very next week, she and Marjorie Taylor Greene are the only two lawmakers to vote against a bill to put money into a bone marrow transplant website that matches people up [with others] who need bone marrow. They’ve [Congress] been funding that since the 1980s. It was widely bipartisan. There were only two votes against it — those two. And she says she did that because she doesn’t want to spend more government money. And then she introduces a bill to increase the PILT payments to counties and local governments. So…okay. 

Click after the jump to listen to more of Ashby’s interview on The Get More Smarter Podcast.

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The Get More Smarter Podcast: Ghosted (Feat. Charles Ashby)

Charles Ashby of The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel

This week on Episode #73 of The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii discuss the pending birth of our newest Congressional district. We also learn that people kinda like having a functioning government; that Republicans like pretending that there is a “War on Meat;” and that a certain State Representative was once a Congressional candidate in California.

But those are just appetizers for the main event: Our discussion with Charles Ashby, political reporter for The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel and the dean (probably) of the State Capitol Press Corps. Ashby catches us up on a ton of political news and tells us what happens every time he contacts the press office of Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-ifle).

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

Get More Smarter on Thursday (April 29)

International Dance Day? We can get down with that. 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

Here’s something that you have never seen before in American history: Two women (Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi) seated behind the President of the United States during a Presidential address to a joint session of Congress.

The Washington Post has more on President Biden’s first big speech to Congress:

President Biden on Wednesday night used his first speech to a joint session of Congress to argue for a dramatic expansion of government services, making a plea for sweeping plans to provide universal preschool, free community college and expanded health care and new tax breaks for families — much of it funded by higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

While he also renewed calls for an array of priorities — including immigration changes, gun control and police reform — Biden more broadly portrayed a country that is rapidly emerging from the depths of a global pandemic and has survived events that, in his view, tested American democracy as rarely before.

“We have stared into an abyss of insurrection and autocracy — of pandemic and pain — and ‘we the people’ did not flinch,” he said toward the end of a 65-minute speech.

In addition to the historic picture above, Biden’s speech was unique in another way. Instead of a packed House of Representatives chamber, Biden spoke to a much smaller group that was socially-distanced for health and safety reasons.

Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) was among the Representatives from Colorado in attendance on Wednesday evening. Boebert stuck to her default “look angry about everything Biden says” position, even shaking her head in disgust when Biden discussed a proposal to lower the cost of prescription drugs for Americans.

Elsewhere, The Hill notes that Biden called on Congress to quickly pass sweeping new election reform legislation.

 

As Meg Wingerter reports for The Denver Post, some COVID-19 outbreaks in Colorado are approaching levels not seen since December:

Colorado is one COVID-19 outbreak short of the point where many K-12 schools moved to remote learning in December, with more students infected than at the previous peak.

As of Wednesday, the state reported 210 active outbreaks in schools, the highest number since Dec. 2, when there were 211. Outbreaks had fallen from December through mid-January, fluctuated through March, then began growing in earnest, increasing by 80 in April.

Outbreaks also continued to grow in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and child care centers, according to data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

The state defines an outbreak as two or more cases connected to the same location or event. An outbreak is considered over when four weeks have passed with no new cases.

 

The Colorado legislature’s big health care bill, HB21-1232, should be celebrated for what it WILL do, not what it won’t do:

 

Here’s more news from the state legislature…

A big climate change bill aimed at boosting the ability to regulate air emissions in Colorado is moving along through the legislature despite a veto threat from Gov. Jared Polis.

Governor Polis will sign the following bills today: HB21-1131 (Cooperative Electric Associations Governance Requirements);  SB21-066 (Juvenile Diversion Programs); SB21-130 (Local Authority for Business Personal Property Tax Exemption); and  SB21-079 (Deregulate Meat Sales Direct To Consumers).

Alex Burness of The Denver Post updates on the status of SB-62, which seeks to reduce the population of Colorado’s prisons.

Meghan Lopez of Denver7 reports on legislation that would boost training for Colorado police officers.

Efforts to create a Front Range rail system are moving along.

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (April 28)

WTF is Clean Comedy 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

President Joe Biden has seen his approval ratings surpass 60% in his first 100 days in office, which is a mark that his predecessor, Donald Trump, never even sniffed. Tonight, Biden will give his first speech as President to a joint session of Congress, where he’ll make a pitch for another big spending package. From The Washington Post:

The White House on Wednesday unveiled a $1.8 trillion spending and tax plan aimed at dramatically expanding access to education and safety-net programs for families, the latest effort by President Biden to try to turn some of his campaign promises into new policy.

The package cannot be implemented without congressional approval, and many Republicans have offered a cool reception to the scope of tax increases and spending that Biden has tried to advance. But the White House’s new “American Families Plan” provides Congress with details of the president’s domestic agenda, setting down markers for negotiations later this year.

Biden’s plan proposes a suite of domestic policies that would collectively represent a marked change in how Americans interact with the federal government.

The White House says its proposal would provide every American with two years of tuition-free community college; prekindergarten for all 3- and 4-year-olds; and paid family and medical leave for American workers. Among its sweeping agenda items, the plan also calls for devoting hundreds of billions of dollars to fighting child poverty and ensuring affordable child care nationwide. [Pols emphasis]

Biden wants to strengthen IRS enforcement efforts — which could bring in billions in unpaid taxes — as part of a solution for paying for this proposal.

Congressional Republicans will oppose Biden’s plan, because that’s just what they do, but the Biden administration is advancing proposals that reflect a new attitude from Americans who have decided they kinda like having a functional federal government.

The Associated Press has more on what to expect from Biden’s speech tonight.

 

The CDC issued new mask-wearing guidance on Tuesday. Fully vaccinated Americans can now safely go without a mask while walking and exercising outside or while eating at outdoor restaurants.

Meanwhile, 9News reports on the latest good and bad news in Colorado’s battle with the COVID-19 pandemic:

While cases are increasing at a slower rate compared to previous weeks, Gov. Jared Polis expressed concern over the continued upward trajectory of cases and hospitalization rates as the state had over 600 COVID patients in the hospital for the first time in months…

…Polis said that while school-associated outbreaks are a factor, he believes a much bigger factor is vaccinated parents resuming social activities with their unvaccinated children.

Roughly 37% of Colorado residents are considered to be fully vaccinated. The two counties with the highest current infection rates — Pueblo and El Paso — also have the lowest vaccination rates.

It’s not rocket surgery, friends. Get your vaccines.

 

The Colorado Sun has more on an ongoing saga of whistleblower complaints regarding how Colorado regulates air pollution.

 

Colorado Newsline explains the changes made to a big health care bill in the Colorado legislature.

Here’s more news from the state legislature…

Colorado Public Radio looks at concerns over the potency of legal marijuana.

Lawmakers want to speed up bond hearings for people arrested in Colorado.

Composting grandma gets closer to reality.

Colorado Newsline examines why widening highways is the wrong remedy for Colorado’s transportation problems.

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Monday (April 26)

Happy Alien 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of three locations without a prior appointment.

 

The United States is sending aid to India as the country battles a massive COVID-19 outbreak that has seen in the neighborhood of 350,000 new infections per day in the past week. As The New York Times reports:

The Biden administration, under increasing pressure to address a devastating surge of the coronavirus in India, said on Sunday that it had removed impediments to the export of raw materials for vaccines and would also supply India with therapeutics, rapid diagnostic test kits, ventilators and personal protective gear…

…The announcement, an abrupt shift for the administration, came after Jake Sullivan, President Biden’s national security adviser, held a call earlier in the day with Ajit Doval, his counterpart in India, and as the Indian government reported more than 349,000 new infections, a world record for a single day. Ms. Horne said the United States had “identified sources of specific raw material urgently required for Indian manufacture of the Covishield vaccine,” the Indian-produced version of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The situation in India is dire. The country is witnessing perhaps the worst crisis any nation has suffered since the pandemic began, with hospitals overflowing and desperate people dying in line waiting to see doctors — and mounting evidence that the actual death toll is far higher than officially reported. Officials say they are running desperately low on supplies, including oxygen and protective gear, as a deadly new variant is thought to be behind a rise in cases. [Pols emphasis]

Do your part to turn back the coronavirus by getting vaccinated ASAP. Remember, friends: Employers are REQUIRED to provide paid leave for employees who need time off work to get vaccinated.

In related news, the CDC and FDA lifted temporary restrictions on the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine over the weekend.

 

Colorado is expected to get the official word today that the state’s population growth in the last decade is enough to qualify us for an 8th Congressional District. The Census Bureau will announce updated state population numbers this afternoon.

 

Nobody is coming for your meat. Sorry.

 

► Jesse Paul of The Colorado Sun updates on the status of the “Colorado Option”:

Democratic state lawmakers aiming to drive down health care costs are planning to move forward this week with legislation to potentially create a public health insurance option after roughly a month of still-unresolved negotiations with hospitals, doctors and others in the medical sector.

But they’re still not sure exactly what their policy will look like.

Two paths forward have surfaced. The first is to continue on with the current version of House Bill 1232, which would give the health care industry a chance to bring down costs and avoid the state offering its own insurance plan. The second path is to swap the original version for legislation akin to what was pursued last year, where instead of the state offering a health insurance option private insurers would be required to offer a highly regulated, standardized plan.

“I think (either) could happen when we go to committee on Tuesday,” said state Rep. Dylan Roberts, an Avon Democrat who is leading the push for House BIll 1232.

Paul’s story in the Sun does not contain any comments — much less policy arguments — from legislative Republicans.

Here’s more news from the state legislature…

Governor Jared Polis will sign several new bills today, including SB21-123 (Expand Canadian Rx Import Program);  SB21-124 (Changes To Felony Murder); and SB21-040 (Driver’s History Profession Or Occupation Decision).

The Denver Post reports on efforts to improve working conditions for Colorado farm workers.

Colorado Public Radio reports on increases in funding for higher education.

Mike Littwin of The Colorado Sun previews expected new legislation dealing with gun violence.

 

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

 

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The Get More Smarter Podcast: Guns, Globes, and Vaccines

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, the United States is the best at mass shootings; there is a giant ice globe sitting on the lawn outside of the State Capitol; opponents of the “Colorado Option” have run out of arguments; State Rep. Ron Hanks has trouble with history; and we check back on two popular segments: “What the Buck?” and “The Boebert Report.”

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

Get More Smarter on Earth Day (April 22)

Happy Earth Day, Earth. 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 

 

 

Cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in Colorado, as Meg Wingerter reports for The Denver Post:

The seven-day average for new COVID-19 cases continued trending down Wednesday, while the percentage of tests coming back positive remained high, indicating the state isn’t detecting some infections.

The state health department reported 722 active outbreaks as of Wednesday. An outbreak is at least two coronavirus cases linked to the same location or event, and isn’t considered over until four weeks have passed with no new cases.

The settings with the biggest increases compared to last week were K-12 schools, with 18 more outbreaks; nursing homes, 13; manufacturing facilities and warehouses, seven; offices and restaurants, six each; and assisted living facilities, five.

Meanwhile, as The Washington Post reports, we may be reaching a tipping point in the battle to get more Americans vaccinated:

About 3 million people are getting shots every day, down from a high of about 3.3 million last week. That rate is still sufficient for vaccinating a large portion of the U.S. adult population by the summertime, when many hope life will return to normal.

But there’s been a 9-percent decrease in the average number of daily shots administered over the past week..

…Some health experts are expressing concerns the declines will continue, reflecting the substantial pool of Americans who are skeptical of the vaccine and either don’t want to get it right away or don’t want it at all.

Get those shots, people! Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of three locations without a prior appointment:

♦ Ball Arena in Denver, 9am to 7pm, Monday through Friday.
♦ The Ranch in Loveland, 10am to 6pm, Monday through Saturday.
♦ Colorado State Fairgrounds in Pueblo, 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday.

Remember, friends: Employers are REQUIRED to provide paid leave for employees who need time off work to get vaccinated.

 

India set a new daily record for COVID-19 infections, reporting nearly 315,000 new cases in a 24-hour period.

 

As The Washington Post reports, President Biden is pushing the United States toward a more ambitious goal of reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions:

Via The Washington Post (4/22/21)

President Biden on Thursday will commit the United States to cutting its greenhouse gas emissions as much as 52 percent by the end of this decade, a pledge that would require fast and far-reaching changes to American life, from how people power their homes to the cars they drive.

The highly anticipated announcement roughly doubles a target set by President Barack Obama in 2015 as part of the Paris climate accord, by vowing the nation will reduce its emissions between 50 and 52 percent by 2030 compared with 2005 levels. Biden plans to formalize the goal in a submission to the United Nations, the White House said.

The move comes as Biden convenes 40 world leaders for an Earth Day summit aimed at fueling similar ambition around the globe.

Biden is pushing climate change goals that the United States can meet with our without help from Congress.

 

Let’s check in on the state legislature:

The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced legislation that would add “gender expression” and “gender identity” to the list of those protected by the state’s anti-discrimination laws.

As Evan Wyloge reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman, lawmakers are working on finding solutions to Colorado’s redistricting problems, which stem from the fact that the 2020 U.S. Census won’t be completed on time.

A Senate committee moved along SB-200, this session’s big climate change-related bill.

Lawmakers are advancing updates to police reform legislation passed last Spring.

Former inmates in Colorado correctional facilities will now be issued a State ID upon their release that lawmakers hope will cut down on recidivism cases.

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports on an usual move by House Speaker Alec Garnett to add Republican Rep. Marc Catlin as Vice-Chair of the House Agriculture, Livestock, and Water Committee.

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (April 21)

Today is 4-21-21, which is probably an astrological sign of the apocalypse, or something. 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 

 

 

Derek Chauvin is led out of Minneapolis courtroom in handcuffs after Tuesday’s verdict.

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted on all three counts related to his role in the killing of George Floyd in May 2020. The Denver Post has the reaction from Colorado leaders on Tuesday afternoon:

Authorities at midday cleared the parking lot that rings the Colorado Capitol and increased police presence around the building, but almost no one was outside the Capitol hours after the verdict was announced. Inside, members of Colorado’s Black Democratic Legislative Caucus held a news conference expressing their gratitude in the news.

“We felt the weight of our ancestors, we felt the collective sigh of relief,” said caucus chair Rep. Leslie Herod, a Denver Democrat. “And we felt a moment of solidarity in the work.”

Colorado’s Congressional Democrats are calling for more work on police reform in the aftermath of the Chauvin verdict.

Elsewhere, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced a new Justice Department investigation into the practices and culture of the Minneapolis Police Department.

 

Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of three locations without a prior appointment:

♦ Ball Arena in Denver, 9am to 7pm, Monday through Friday.
♦ The Ranch in Loveland, 10am to 6pm, Monday through Saturday.
♦ Colorado State Fairgrounds in Pueblo, 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday.

Remember, friends: Employers are REQUIRED to provide paid leave for employees who need time off work to get vaccinated. Despite the incentives for receiving the vaccine, which include NOT DYING FROM COVID-19, the state estimates that 10% of the population will still refuse to get vaccinated.

 

Colorado Public Radio looks at a climate change battle in the state legislature:

A landmark climate bill passed a Senate committee Tuesday, but hours of testimony revealed a wide split among Colorado Democrats over the state’s climate strategy. Polis has sought a business-friendly path that’s heavy on incentives and voluntary agreements. Democratic State Sen. Faith Winter, a bill sponsor representing Westminster, praised those efforts but said the state needs enforceable regulations as a backstop.

“What we’re doing is relying on a lot of good will, a lot of press releases, that are not legally enforceable,” Winter said.

Winter said the latest legislation, SB21-200, is necessary to hold Colorado to its climate action goals — a greenhouse gas reduction plan Polis signed in 2019. Those targets commit the state to reduce its contribution to climate change 26 percent by 2025, 50 percent by 2030 and 90 percent by 2050. Each target is measured against Colorado’s 2005 emission levels.

Governor Jared Polis is not on board with SB21-200, preferring instead to promote less-specific measurements of success in reducing emissions.

Here’s more news on the state legislature…

Legislation is on its way to the desk of Gov. Polis that would require Colorado businesses to allow customers to pay with cash.

Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg says new gun safety legislation could be introduced in the legislature as soon as this week.

Lawmakers are considering new police accountability measures.

The Colorado Sun reports on proposed legislation that would allow school districts and other government agencies to continue to name just one “sole finalist” for top jobs.

CBS4 Denver has more on legislation to increase access to mental health services for teenagers.

The Denver Post has more on the discussion surrounding efforts to restrict the potency of legal marijuana.

The Colorado Springs Independent summarizes some new and pending legislation.

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Monday (April 19)

‘Tis a mighty blustery day outside, and it’s going to get blusterier: Denver could set a new record low temperature today in advance of a snowstorm that is forecasted to drop 8-14 inches of snow in the Metro Area. 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 

 

 

All adults in the United States are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. At least half of the adult population in this country have already received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Despite rising cases of COVID-19, many Colorado counties eased pandemic-related restrictions on Friday.

 

Governor Jared Polis will officially sign two gun safety bills today — one dealing with safe storage of firearms and the other about mandatory reporting of lost or stolen firearms. The Colorado Sun has more background on the legislation.

Now, let’s get you caught up on more legislative news. Thursday is Earth Day, which makes this week a great time to use the social media hashtags #CoClimateWeek and #ClimateJusticeNow. It also means this could be your best chance to see a giant ice globe in person:

Saja Hindi of The Denver Post looks at the week(s) ahead in the fight over a “Colorado Option” healthcare proposal. Last week we outlined how opponents of the legislation are doing a pretty terrible job of arguing their case.

Lawmakers are considering setting aside a significant amount of money in the state budget to help law enforcement purchase more body cameras.

CBS4 Denver looks at legislation that could restrict public access to arrest records.

Fox 31 Denver discusses a bill that would provide free mental health services to Colorado children.

Marianne Goodland of the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman previews the legislative week ahead.

 

Closing arguments are being made today in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is accused of several crimes in connection with the May 2020 death of George Floyd. Is is expected that the case will be in the hands of a jury by the end of the day. Minneapolis is bracing for news of a verdict.

 

CNN reports on a violent weekend across the United States:

Americans awoke Friday to news of yet another mass shooting, this time at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, where eight people were killed late Thursday.

By the end of the weekend, at least nine more people had died from gun violence in back-to-back shootings across the country — in Illinois, Texas, Wisconsin, Ohio, Nebraska and Louisiana. At least 10 more were wounded.

Since March 16, when eight people were killed and one wounded in shootings at three Atlanta-area spas, at least 50 mass shootings have been reported in the United States. CNN defines a mass shooting as a shooting with four or more casualties — dead or wounded — excluding the shooter.

Some of the shootings this weekend fell short of that definition. But together, they underscored the fact the United States faces not just the Covid-19 pandemic, but a gun violence epidemic, as well.

Call it what you will. Just don’t call it normal.

 

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

 

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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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The GMS Podcast: Q*Bert Conquers the Spirit World

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast


 

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

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

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

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (April 14)

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

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Click here for more on the arguments and policy details.

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Elsewhere in state legislative news:

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Monday (April 12)

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

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click here for more on the arguments and policy details.

 

Elsewhere in state legislative news:

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

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

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

The Denver Post updates on the status of composting grandma.

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

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

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel previews the legislative week ahead.

 

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Friday (April 9)

Today is the 99th day of the year; 2021 starts to look really old tomorrow. 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 Bruce Finley reports for The Denver Post, Colorado officials are taking new steps to prepare for what they expect will be another bad wildfire season:

Facing a worsening wildfire predicament, Colorado leaders on Thursday braced for more big burns and declared they’re shifting state strategy and millions of taxpayer dollars toward early detection and aggressive rapid response to squelch flames before they spread.

More aerial assets including a $24 million helicopter, prepositioning of air tankers that haul water and fire-snuffing slurry, and increased teamwork among local, state and federal agencies have placed Colorado in what officials described as an unprecedented state of readiness.

“Colorado used to talk about a fire season. It is now a year-round phenomenon,” Gov. Jared Polis said after a meeting of federal and state authorities, referring to the impacts of climate change…

…The core “wildfire season” in the state has increased by 78 days since the 1970s, officials said, with fires breaking out even in freezing temperatures. And human population expansion into burn zones — Polis pointed to some 300,000 houses built in woods requiring “perimeter defense” against wildfire — increasingly constrains what land managers can do.

 
► The Public Option is in the House!

The public option bill had been delayed in attempt to find compromise with hospitals.

 

► As Colorado Public Radio reports, efforts to push an assault weapons ban in Colorado have stalled as key allies ponder a different approach:

Any major push to pass an assault-style weapon’s ban in Colorado is looking increasingly less likely, with the legislature’s highest-profile advocate for stricter gun laws saying now isn’t the time.

“It diverts all of the attention,” said Democratic Rep. Tom Sullivan of Centennial.

Instead, Sullivan wants to focus efforts on policies he believes would be more effective at preventing gun violence. Technology, he said, can circumvent bans on specific types of weapons…

…Democratic Gov. Jared Polis told CPR’s Colorado Matters that he is not focused on the type of firearm that was used in the massacre. Instead, Polis would like Colorado to strengthen universal background checks.

Elsewhere in state legislative news:

The Denver Post looks at how lawmakers plan to allocate funds from an unexpected budget surplus. As Marianne Goodland reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman, the State Senate approved a proposed budget in a preliminary vote.

Lawmakers are advancing legislation to better fund mental health and substance abuse programs.

Denver7 reports on legislation to better protect children from domestic abuse.

A bill in the State Senate seeks to require more transparency from ski resorts on injuries suffered on the slopes

Alex Burness of The Denver Post reports on legislative efforts to deal with death threats toward lawmakers.

 

 

The Associated Press reports on President Biden’s Thursday announcement on actions his administration is taking to promote gun safety:

President Joe Biden put on a modest White House ceremony Thursday to announce a half-dozen executive actions to combat what he called an “epidemic and an international embarrassment” of gun violence in America.

But he said much more is needed. And while Biden had proposed the most ambitious gun-control agenda of any modern presidential candidate, his moves underscored his limited power to act alone on guns with difficult politics impeding legislative action on Capitol Hill.

Biden’s new steps include a move to crack down on “ghost guns,” homemade firearms that lack serial numbers used to trace them and are often purchased without a background check. He’s also moving to tighten regulations on pistol-stabilizing braces like the one used in Boulder, Colorado, in a shooting last month that left 10 dead.

As CBS4 Denver reports, Colorado Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) was with Biden at the White House for Thursday’s announcement.

 

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

 

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The Get More Smarter Podcast: All-Stars and A-Holes

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, that guy we talked about last week (Danny Moore) who was the Chair of the Congressional Redistricting Commission…he got shelled; Colorado is getting some All-Stars because of our awesome non-racist voting systems; we have more reasons for another edition of “Legislating with Crayons“; there is yet another recall scam going after one of the most popular Governors in the country; and we check in again with “The Boebert Report.”

Also, we all got our shots! Well, the first of them, anyway.

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

Get More Smarter on Thursday (April 8)

Happy birthday, Buddha! 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 

 

Roughly 1 in 4 Americans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, but a similar percentage of people in the United States say that they will NOT get vaccinated, which could threaten the country’s ability to reach herd immunity this summer. COVID-19 hospitalizations are slowly increasing in Colorado, and officials in Jefferson County are moving back to “Level Yellow” because of rising cases. A government building in Elbert County was also recently closed because of a COVID-19 outbreak.

Meanwhile, a wave of infections in the Upper Midwest and Northeastern U.S. has health officials concerned about a potential fourth surge of the pandemic. As The New York Times reports:

Michigan is in tough shape. New cases and hospitalizations there have more than doubled in the last two weeks, and the six metro areas in the United States with the greatest number of new cases relative to their population are all in Michigan.

Several other states in the Upper Midwest, including Minnesota and Illinois, have also reported significant increases in new cases and hospitalizations. And in the Northeast, New York and New Jersey have continued to see elevated case counts.

Illinois is seeing a spike in cases as well. The daily average for new cases there has jumped about 56 percent in the past two weeks, to about 2,832 a day. Hospitalizations have risen about 28 percent from two weeks ago. Wisconsin and North Dakota have also seen their average case counts jump 50 percent or more in the last two weeks.

While new cases, hospitalizations and deaths nationwide have declined from their peaks in January, new infections have increased after plateauing.

A rise in infections around the world is also worrying health officials. The French Open tennis tournament has been delayed as France deals with a new lockdown. In Brazil, COVID-19 deaths surpassed 4,000 in a single day for the first time this week; with a death toll of more than 337,000, Brazil trails only the United States (562,000+) in total COVID-related deaths. Cases are also rising dramatically in India, which is struggling to increase vaccination rates as infections climb.

 

All of the far-right candidates seeking seats on the Grand Junction City Council were defeated on Tuesday, a sign that the influence of Trumpism and Lauren Boebert might already be waning in conservative circles. Newly-elected Republican Party Chair Kristi Burton Brown made an unsuccessful last-minute pitch on behalf of these candidates earlier this week.

Voters in Grand Junction also agreed to lift a 10-year moratorium on marijuana dispensaries.

 

President Biden is announcing new executive orders on gun safety, as The Washington Post reports:

In the White House Rose Garden, the president is expected to announce new rules on firearms that are assembled at home, which lack serial numbers and are harder to track, among other moves designed to make it harder for unqualified people to obtain dangerous weapons.

Biden also will announce David Chipman as his pick to run the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, although it is unclear how the nominee will fare in an evenly divided Senate. Chipman is a senior adviser to a gun control group founded by former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who was severely injured in a mass shooting in 2011.

As The Denver Post reports, Biden’s announcement includes a regulation on a weapon used in the Boulder King Soopers shootings:

A senior administration official with knowledge of the coming executive orders said Wednesday that by early June, the U.S. Justice Department “will issue a proposed rule to make clear that when a device marketed as a stabilizing brace effectively turns a pistol into a short-barreled rifle, that firearm is subject to the requirements of the National Firearms Act.”

Colorado Newsline notes that the Biden administration will also distribute model “red flag” gun legislation for consideration by state legislatures (Colorado already has a “red flag” law).

 

As Denver7 reports, the “Long Bill” has been introduced.

The Colorado Joint Budget Committee has released its appropriations bill, also known as the long bill, earlier than normal this year. Committee members say this year’s budget is more focused on addressing funding inequities in the state.

Here’s more on the happenings at the state legislature:

Lawmakers are considering protections for pregnancies involving surrogates.

Colorado Newsline outlines some new stimulus bills being discussed at the State Capitol.

A new state agency devoted to early childhood education is under consideration.

Discussions are underway on a bill that would require more diversity on state panels.

Legislation that would provide free mental health treatment options for teenagers is moving along.

Colorado is one of 11 states looking to expand the importation of prescription drugs from other countries.

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (April 7)

Happy National Beer 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 

 

The decision by Major League Baseball to move the 2021 All-Star Game to Denver — a reaction to draconian voting restrictions recently passed by the Georgia legislature — has been a major topic of discussion nationwide. On Tuesday, media outlets both local and national pushed back against odd Republican efforts to paint Colorado voting laws as more restrictive than those of Georgia. As The Denver Post reports:

Last week, Major League Baseball made it clear that voting rights were at the core of the decision to move the All-Star Game out of Georgia. But Tuesday’s official MLB release about the July 13 game moving to Denver did not discuss voting or get political in the least bit, with Commissioner Rob Manfred saying he appreciated the Colorado Rockies’, Denver’s and the state’s “flexibility and enthusiasm to deliver a first-class event for our game and the region.”

Gov. Jared Polis also ducked questions about Colorado’s election laws on Tuesday morning, but Denver Mayor Michael Hancock didn’t shy away from politics in an interview with The Denver Post. He said moving the game and all related festivities in Denver and at and Coors Field is a direct result of Colorado’s inclusive and accessible voting system that’s often referred to as the gold standard in the U.S.

“This is a cautionary tale for any state, any city who wants to restrict access to one’s rights to vote,” Hancock said. “For every action, there’s going to be a reaction.”

He added: “Even in a partisan environment we still make sure that nothing trumps full access to the ballot box. Voting is the heartbeat of democracy … You lean in and make it more inclusive. You don’t restrict.”

 

► Senate Bill 21-078, which requires Coloradans to do more in reporting lost or stolen firearms to law enforcement authorities, is on its way to the desk of Gov. Jared Polis after winning final approval in the State Senate. We have more on the legislation here.

 

There are a lot of lessons to be learned from the ouster of Republican Danny Moore as the chair of Colorado’s Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission, including the apparent fact that many Colorado Republicans still believe — despite no evidence — that the 2020 election was fraudulent.

 

► As Colorado Public Radio reports, lawmakers are looking at a new discussion surrounding this year’s debate on the state budget:

Colorado lawmakers are about to begin the annual process of debating and finalizing the next state budget, and the difference from last year’s budget couldn’t be more extreme.

The state has billions of additional dollars to spend, in stark contrast to the previous year when the pandemic forced the state to cut more than $3 billion. The legislature’s bipartisan Joint Budget Committee introduced its agreed-upon spending plan to the full Senate this week, after working on it through months of negotiations and public hearings.

The budget totals almost $12 billion in discretionary spending, an increase of $1.2 billion, or 11 percent, over the current General Fund spending levels.

The Colorado Sun outlines eight things to know about the “long bill” in 2021.

 

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

 

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