Get More Smarter on Monday (April 5)

Happy Singmogil. 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 

 

Health experts continue to warn that we could be nearing another surge in the COVID-19 pandemic. As CNN explains:

The highly contagious B.1.1.7 variant has fueled an alarming rise in Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations in parts of Europe. And experts worry the US could be next if Americans don’t double down on safety measures until more people are vaccinated.

What’s worse, experts say, is that the variant is changing the pandemic’s playbook and could spell trouble for younger groups that haven’t yet been vaccinated.

As The Washington Post reports, an increase in infections is particularly worrisome in India:

India on Sunday reported more than 100,000 new cases of the coronavirus, a grim measure achieved by only the United States and briefly Brazil, and a sign that the infections in the nation of 1.3 billion could be spinning out of control.

India, which has one of the world’s largest vaccine-manufacturing capacities, is immunizing citizens at a rate of 2 million a day but has not made significant headway, with just 5 percent of the population having received a first dose. India is also slowing down its vaccine exports in the face of domestic demand, with potentially dire consequences for other countries.

Experts believe that changes in behavior, waning immunity from prior infections and the spread of new variants are all contributing to the dramatic rise in cases.

Here in Colorado, Gov. Jared Polis extended a statewide mask order for another month at the request of local health officials.

On the subject of COVID-19 vaccinations, we still don’t know if Republican members of Colorado’s Congressional delegation have received their vaccines.

 

The Denver Post reports on an influx of federal money coming to Colorado:

Over the next 13 months, nearly $2 billion will move from the federal treasury to the bank accounts of Colorado’s counties, cities and towns — a redistribution of tax dollars that experts and officials say is without parallel in modern American history.

“The sheer amount of money that is flowing is unprecedented,” said John Swartout, the executive director of Colorado Counties Inc., a membership association for city and county officials. “There’s been nothing like it.”

For Colorado’s local governments, the money represents an opportunity they have never had and may not get again soon. It’s a chance to fill holes in budgets and bridges, to address decades-long addictions and afflictions, to build up and better their towns.

The money comes from the American Rescue Plan Act, the $1.9 trillion stimulus and COVID-19 relief package that passed Congress last month without a single Republican vote and was signed into law by President Joe Biden.

 

► Let’s get some updates on the State Legislature, which will begin to tackle “The Long Bill” (the state budget) this week…

Lawmakers are looking for ways to expand access to birth control via Medicaid.

Police accountability will be a hot topic in the next few weeks.

As Colorado Public Radio reports, some gun owners want lawmakers to know that they oppose an Assault Weapons Ban that doesn’t exist.

The Pueblo Chieftain reports on legislative efforts to address a shortage of child care options in Colorado.

The Colorado Sun reports on a proposal to pay school board members for their time.

Here’s more from The Denver Post on the plastic bag ban discussion.

 

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

 

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The Get More Smarter Podcast: Nothing Succeeds Like Failure

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii discuss the Colorado Republican Party’s historically unsuccessful new leadership team; the election fraud truther on the Colorado Independent Redistricting Commission; infrastructure week (for real this time); and another segment of “Legislating With Crayons,” in which Republicans unwittingly make the case for a new media literacy bill.

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 April Fool’s Day (April 1)

This is the only day in 2021 where it will make sense that Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert is in Congress. Let’s Get More Smarter; if you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

 

► President Biden on Wednesday revealed details on his massive infrastructure plan, further signaling a new era of ambitious action from the federal government.
“It is not a plan that tinkers around the edges,” said Biden in a speech outside Pittsburgh. “It is a once-in-a-generation investment in America.”

Via The New York Times (3/31/21)

 

CBS4 Denver takes a look at what Biden’s infrastructure plan could mean for Colorado.

 

► As POLITICO reports, Democrat Kerry Donovan, a State Senator from Vail, raised more than $614,000 in just 55 days for her campaign to take on Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) in 2022. This is a YUGE number and solidifies Donovan as the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination in CO-03. Ernest Luning of the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman reports that Donovan’s fundraising total actually exceeds $700k.

But perhaps the most interesting note in that POLITICO story is from Illinois, where incumbent Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger raised $1.1 million DESPITE having voted to impeach former President Trump.

 

► Republican Danny Moore, the chairperson of Colorado’s Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission, is a lizard man from outer space. We don’t know if that’s true or not, but we’re following Moore’s logic that you can say anything you want so long as you couch it as an “opinion.”

 

► It’s a story that would otherwise be perfect for April Fool’s Day: A group of Republicans in Colorado is organizing yet another pointless effort to recall Gov. Jared Polis.

 

► It might be Spring Break for you, but not for the state legislature…

Lawmakers are preparing for the big annual budget battle. As The Denver Post reports, a 3% wage increase for state employees is among the suggestions being discussed.

Officials are debating a change to the state’s foster care system that would allow people to remain in foster care until the age of 21.

Republicans tried and failed to filibuster legislation focused on transgender rights, because that’s what they do.

Denver7 reports on efforts to limit the use of ketamine by first responders. The proposal is part of a broader package of law enforcement reforms expected in the legislature.

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (March 31)

Today is the last day of the Q1 fundraising period for most elected officials and candidates. If you’ve opened your email in the last few days, you probably already knew this. 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 

 

What time is it? Infrastructure time!

As The New York Times reports:

President Biden will unveil an infrastructure plan on Wednesday whose $2 trillion price tag would translate into 20,000 miles of rebuilt roads, repairs to the 10 most economically important bridges in the country, the elimination of lead pipes and service lines from the nation’s water supplies and a long list of other projects intended to create millions of jobs in the short run and strengthen American competitiveness in the long run.

Biden administration officials said the proposal, which they detailed in a 25-page briefing paper and which Mr. Biden will discuss in an afternoon speech in Pittsburgh, would also accelerate the fight against climate change by hastening the shift to new, cleaner energy sources, and would help promote racial equity in the economy…

…the scale of the proposal underscores how fully Mr. Biden has embraced the opportunity to use federal spending to address longstanding social and economic challenges in a way not seen in half a century. Officials said that, if approved, the spending in the plan would end decades of stagnation in federal investment in research and infrastructure — and would return government investment in those areas, as a share of the economy, to its highest levels since the 1960s.

The Washington Post has more on how Biden’s proposal breaks down into specific buckets, from highways and road maintenance to boosting U.S. manufacturing and fixing problems with the electric grid and clean drinking water systems.

 

► To vaccinate, or to vacillate? As Colorado Newsline reports, many Members of Congress are still not vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus:

Members of Congress were among the first people in the U.S. to have access to the sought-after COVID-19 vaccine when the initial doses became available in December.

Three months later, a States Newsroom survey across 22 states — making up a large swath of Congress — found at least 155 members of the U.S. House and Senate have been vaccinated, based on a tally of responses from their offices and other public statements. Most, but not all, are Democrats, even as pollsters find greater hesitancy and even disinterest among Republicans in the broader U.S. adult population when it comes to the vaccine.

At least 14 legislators say they have not been vaccinated, either because they have been waiting to do so or because they don’t plan to at all. All but but one are Republicans. Dozens of others among the 237 surveyed declined to share their vaccination status.

Colorado Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-Denver) has been vaccinated (twice) and has publicly acknowledged as much. Yet many elected officials, most of them Republicans, have avoided vaccines despite the obvious risks:

With the average age for House members at 58 and senators averaging 64, many lawmakers also were at increased risk of severe complications or even death if they contracted the virus. (One member of Congress, Rep. Ron Wright (R-Texas) died in February after being diagnosed with COVID-19, and Luke Letlow, who was elected to represent a Louisiana district in December, passed away from complications of the virus before he could be sworn in.)

As for Colorado’s Congressional delegation, all six Democrats have been fully vaccinated. On the Republican side, Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) has said he will not get the vaccine. Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) said in December that she didn’t need to get the vaccine, though her office did not confirm one way or the other. Likewise, Colorado Newsline could not confirm if Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) had been vaccinated or planned on being vaccinated (Lamborn also tested positive for COVID-19 in November 2020).

Since we’re on the subject of COVID-19 and public officials…

 

► Republican Danny Moore, the chairperson of Colorado’s Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission, is a full-on believer that the 2020 Presidential election was fraudulent. Maybe he’s not the best person to be leading a redistricting commission. Evan Wyloge has more on this story for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman.

 

► It might be Spring Break for you, but not for the state legislature…

Governor Jared Polis does not agree with parts of a proposed bill that seeks to implement more specific markers for greenhouse gas emissions restrictions. The Colorado Sun has more on the discussion.

Colorado is poised to become the first state to offer public housing benefits to people regardless of their immigration status. Meanwhile, a bill to create an immigration legal defense fund is advancing in the State House.

Marianne Goodland reports on a legislation regarding actuarial review of health benefit mandates, which is a phrase we only partially understand.

Legislation is moving along that seeks to ensure that county commissioner districts are accurately redrawn every 10 years.

A bill ending the statute of limitations on lawsuits for child sex abusers has made it out of the legislature and is on the way to the desk of Gov. Polis.

The Colorado Springs Independent takes a look at several new and pending pieces of legislation.

State lawmakers have halted a proposal to build a fence around parts of the State Capitol.

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Monday (March 29)

It’s a beautiful day today. Tomorrow, maybe not so much. 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 Washington Post reports, health officials are starting to sound the alarm about a new phase of the COVID-19 pandemic:

A day after the United States surpassed 30 million coronavirus cases, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday gave a heartfelt warning, her voice at times near breaking, about the ongoing rise in infections.

“I’m going to lose the script and I’m going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom,” Rochelle Walensky said at a White House news briefing Monday. “We have so much to look forward to, so much promise and potential of where we are and so much reason for hope. But right now, I’m scared.”…

…The recent U.S. seven-day average, at just under 60,000 daily cases, is a 10 percent increase vs. the prior seven-day period. Hospitalizations have risen, too. The seven-day average death rate, which typically lags behind cases and hospitalizations, increased by 3 percent, Walensky said.

The news isn’t all bad, fortunately: Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are proving to be 90% effective in real-world studies.

In related news, many top health officials from the Trump administration are now openly discussing how badly the administration failed in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Brett Giroir, Trump’s coronavirus testing czar, told CNN, “When we said there were millions of tests available, there weren’t, right? There were components of the test available, but not the full meal deal.”

 

► Here in Colorado, Gov. Jared Polis is providing new updates on our COVID-19 response. Jefferson County is seeing a worrying uptick in COVID-19 cases. As Westword explains, there is a real risk that Colorado could have to move back to more restrictions in order to keep the virus at bay, even though more Coloradans are starting to get vaccinated.

 

► Colorado Republicans selected Kristi Burton Brown to be their new Party Chairperson. Brown held off former Secretary of State Scott Gessler in a marathon voting process that required three ballots to reach a majority. As we explain in a separate post, this was not a good ending for “The Honey Badger.”

 

► It might be Spring Break for you, but not for the state legislature…

As Colorado Newsline reports, lawmakers are considering making permanent changes to the criminal justice system after a significant drop in jail populations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Colorado Times Recorder looks at Democratic efforts to kill the inevitable GOP anti-abortion bills that pop up every legislative session. In a separate story, The Times Recorder fact checks a silly pharmaceutical industry claim that efforts to limit drug prices in Colorado would violate federal law.

Lawmakers are considering a bill that would essentially require businesses in Colorado to accept cash — something that many retailers started to refuse during the pandemic.

The Colorado Sun reports on HB-1189, which seeks to increase monitoring of toxic emissions.

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel updates on the progress of legislation that would remove the statute of limitations for filing civil cases against alleged sexual abusers.

Federal officials have given Colorado approval to move ahead with a state legislative proposal to conduct modified CMAS testing this year.

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Friday (March 26)

It might actually start to FEEL like Spring later this weekend. 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 

 

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law new voting rules that significantly restrict voter access and prohibit allowing people to bring water to someone standing in line to vote. This is part of a broad effort around the country by Republicans to make it harder for non-Republican voters to cast a ballot. As The Washington Post reports:

The measure is one of the first major voting bills to pass as dozens of state legislatures consider restrictions on how ballots are cast and counted in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election, when President Donald Trump attacked without evidence the integrity of election results in six states he lost, including Georgia.

The new law imposes new identification requirements for those casting ballots by mail; curtails the use of drop boxes for absentee ballots; allows electors to challenge the eligibility of an unlimited number of voters and requires counties to hold hearings on such challenges within 10 days; makes it a crime for third-party groups to hand out food and water to voters standing in line; blocks the use of mobile voting vans, as Fulton County did last year after purchasing two vehicles at a cost of more than $700,000; and prevents local governments from directly accepting grants from the private sector.

The 95-page law also strips authority from the secretary of state, making him a nonvoting member of the State Election Board, and allows lawmakers to initiate takeovers of local election boards — measures that critics said could allow partisan appointees to slow down or block election certification or target heavily Democratic jurisdictions, many of which are in the Atlanta area and are home to the state’s highest concentrations of Black and Brown voters.

The measure, backed by Republicans, sailed out of the state House and Senate on party-line votes in a single afternoon.

As Greg Sargent writes for The Washington Post, Republicans seeking to roll back voting rights are relying on a false narrative that they created themselves:

Republicans are deeply concerned about voter fraud because their voters believe the 2020 election was stolen from them, we are told, and Republicans merely want to restore their confidence in future elections.

This claim is absolutely central to the massive new wave of GOP voter suppression efforts — and utterly, insultingly preposterous to its core. Yet because we hear it constantly, it regularly skates past without even being remarked upon.

But it’s nonsense, and it should be called out as such every single time.

The Republican assault on voting rights is getting even more absurd in Missouri, where state lawmakers are trying to pretend that a ballot measure approved in 2020 with 53% of the vote didn’t win by enough votes for them to proceed with funding the measure.

Elsewhere, Vox.com wonders if Republicans understand that they are cutting off their own nose to spite Democrats.

 

The Denver Post has more on efforts led by Congressman Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) to convince President Biden to sign an executive order banning the importation of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Neguse’s efforts are spurred by Monday’s shooting at a King Soopers in Boulder.

Meanwhile, 9News reports that the suspected Boulder shooter did pass a background check when he purchased the weapon allegedly used to kill 10 people. The gun safety advocacy group Moms Demand Action held a vigil for victims on Thursday.

 

► As The New York Times reports, some far-right extremists who promoted the false “stop the steal” Presidential election narrative have found a new battle:

Although negative reactions have been relatively rare, the numbers are used by many extremist groups to try to bolster a rash of false and alarmist disinformation in articles and videos with titles like “Covid-19 Vaccines Are Weapons of Mass Destruction — and Could Wipe out the Human Race” or “Doctors and Nurses Giving the Covid-19 Vaccine Will be Tried as War Criminals.”

If the so-called Stop the Steal movement appeared to be chasing a lost cause once President Biden was inaugurated, its supporters among extremist organizations are now adopting a new agenda from the anti-vaccination campaign to try to undermine the government.

Bashing of the safety and efficacy of vaccines is occurring in chat rooms frequented by all manner of right-wing groups including the Proud Boys; the Boogaloo movement, a loose affiliation known for wanting to spark a second Civil War; and various paramilitary organizations.

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (March 25)

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

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (March 24)

With any luck, you will not be traded to Cleveland today. Let’s Get More Smarter; if you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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Senator Hickenlooper Gets More Smarter

Senator John Hickenlooper (D-Denver)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (March 23)

We don’t know what to say anymore, either, but this is a good start. Let’s Get More Smarter; if you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

 

As The Denver Post reports, authorities have identified the names of 10 people killed during a shooting rampage at a King Soopers in Boulder on Monday. President Biden ordered flags at the White House to fly at half-staff in honor of the victims of Monday’s shootings. Biden plans to speak about the Boulder shooting this afternoon.

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

A proposal to privatize Pinnacol Assurance is kaput.

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Monday (March 22)

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

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Friday (March 19)

Good news, hoop heads: The NCAA Men’s basketball tournament is back after a one year COVID-19 absence. 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 public option bill is in the House (and, also, the Senate). From Colorado Newsline:

A group of Colorado Democrats officially introduced legislation that would potentially create the Colorado Option: a lower-cost, nonprofit-managed health insurance plan sold on the individual and small group markets that all providers would be required to accept.

Under the legislation, the Colorado Option would only become available — starting in 2025 — if private insurance carriers failed to reduce premiums by 20% over two years for standard individual and small group plans sold on the state’s exchange.

The public option would be carried by a quasi-governmental nonprofit entity called the Colorado Option Authority, set up by the state and managed by a board of directors. Individual and small group plans carried by the authority would have to achieve a 20% cut in premiums as compared with 2021 rates, and all health care providers in the state would be required to accept the plans.

The health care industry is all fired up in opposition to this, which should tell you everything you need to know about which side to be on.

 

► House Minority Leader Hugh McKean (R-Loveland) is about four months into his job. It’s not going well. McKean appears to be in over his head at the State Capitol.

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

The Denver Post, The Colorado Sun, and Colorado Public Radio have more on the unveiling of a public option plan.

Jon Murray of The Denver Post looks at how lawmakers plan to fix Colorado’s transportation infrastructure problems. Colorado Public Radio also reports on the transportation discussions.

Colorado Newsline looks at the progress of legislation that would improve wages and working conditions for farm workers.

A proposal to put a fence around parts of the State Capitol continues to draw opposition from former Colorado leaders.

 

► Now that Colorado’s Independent Redistricting Commissions have been selected, it’s time to get to work on those new maps…maybe. As The Colorado Sun reports in its “Unaffiliated” newsletter:

This week, Gov. Jared Polis, the Democratic and Republican leaders of the Colorado General Assembly, and the co-chairs of the campaign for Amendments Y and Z urged the congressional commission to push ahead using population estimates from 2019. There are, however, questions about the legality of doing so.

Jeremiah Barry, a legislative attorney and legal counsel for the congressional redistricting commission, said he isn’t opposed to using the estimated data to get the commission’s work started, but he thinks the Colorado Supreme Court should be asked first if that’s OK.

State lawmakers are now planning to do just that, said Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, a Boulder Democrat. Initially, legislative leaders were going to ask the Colorado Supreme Court to push back September and December map-drawing deadlines placed in the Colorado Constitution when voters passed Amendments Y and Z in 2018. That’s no longer in the cards.

The redistricting commissions should be able to start working on maps based on 2018 Census data, at the very least.

 

 Colorado is doing a great job of vaccinating adults over the age of 65. We aren’t doing quite so well with everyone else. The last subgroup to become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine is activated today; the next step is to open up eligibility for all Coloradans.

President Biden, meanwhile, says the U.S. should hit his goal of 100 million COVID-19 vaccinations in his first 100 days by today — 40 days ahead of schedule.

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (March 18)

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

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

 

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

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

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

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

Wear your masks and get your shots, people!

 

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

 

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

Via POLITICO magazine (3/18/21)

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (March 17)

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! It’s too cold and virus-y to get black out drunk. 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 

 

Republican Attorneys General are threatening to sue the federal government for providing stimulus funds to state and local governments. As The Washington Post explains:

Twenty-one Republican state attorneys general on Tuesday threatened to take action against the Biden administration over its new $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus law, decrying it for imposing “unprecedented and unconstitutional” limits on their states’ ability to lower taxes.

The letter marks one of the first major political and legal salvos against the relief package since President Biden signed it last week — evincing the sustained Republican opposition that the White House faces as it implements the signature element of the president’s economic policy agenda.

The attorneys general take issue with a $350 billion pot of money set aside under the stimulus, known as the American Rescue Plan, to help cash-strapped cities, counties and states pay for the costs of the pandemic. Congressional lawmakers opted to restrict states from tapping these federal dollars to finance local tax cuts.

How dare the federal government make it harder for states to take things away from people! Republicans will do everything in their power to stop you from getting help…and that’s a really weird political strategy.

Republicans would do well to take the advice of former GOP Congressman and gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez. As POLITICO reports, some Republicans are finally seeing how much they screwed up here by focusing their attention on Dr. Seuss and genderless Potato Head toys:

…in conservative circles, a feeling of missed opportunity has taken root in the wake of the passage of the Covid-relief bill last week. Republicans were never expected to support the measure and unanimously opposed it when the time came for a vote. But in interviews with top GOP operatives, Trump confidantes, and congressional aides, there was a common refrain that the party could have done more to frame it for the public. Instead, periodic claims that the bill was bloated with progressive add-ons and bailout money for blue states were overshadowed by a more relentless focus on the culture wars du jour…

…None of the attack lines seemed to resonate with voters, who began receiving stimulus checks as early as last weekend and appear overwhelmingly supportive of the law. A CBS-YouGov survey released on Sunday showed 71 percent of adults believe the American Rescue Plan will benefit the middle class more than wealthy Americans. The bill’s passage coincides with an uptick in vaccinations and recognition from Democrats and allied teachers unions that schools need to reopen soon — which together have the potential for improving the electoral landscape for Democrats as they try to keep both chambers of the Congress.

 

As CNN reports, there is an obvious similarity with Russian election interference efforts and Republican proposals to roll back voting rights:

A new US intelligence report that finds Russia interfered in the 2020 election to help Donald Trump and hurt Joe Biden also underscores a fundamental truth: The gravest threat to US democracy comes from within.

The report, released by Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, finds that Moscow sought to inject misleading information about Biden into the campaign through officials and others close to Trump.

The real bombshell it contains is not the confidence of the spy agencies that Russia hoped to subvert American democracy. It is that US intelligence experts effectively confirmed that for the second election in a row, Trump acolytes repeatedly used, knowingly or otherwise, misinformation produced by the spies of one of America’s most sworn foreign adversaries to try to win a US election. [Pols emphasis]

Some Republicans will no doubt decry any comparisons to Russian election meddling, but they’re clearly on the same side of this fight.

 

► Keep wearing those masks, people! COVID-related hospitalizations are rising in Colorado, as The Denver Post reports. Meanwhile, more mass vaccination sites are opening around the state.

 

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

Governor Jared Polis signed a bill that suspends standardized testing for certain grades in Colorado on account of COVID-19. Another bill to restructure CMAS assessments is winding its way through the legislature.

A bill that seeks to slow the increase of prescription drug prices is expected to be opposed by the pharmaceutical industry…which tells you pretty much everything you need to know.

The Colorado Springs Independent summarizes some new and pending laws in Colorado.

Democrats are working on legislation to enhance protections for agricultural workers.

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Monday (March 15)

You survived #Snowpocalypse2021! here’s a look at snowfall totals around the Denver 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 

 

If you live in the Denver Metro area, or anywhere else that was impacted by heavy snowfall, please do not try to drive today. From The Denver Post:

Road and traffic officials are asking people not to drive in the Denver area on Monday if possible.

“Today is the day to stay home,” AAA Colorado spokesman Skyler McKinley said. “I can tell you that for everyone who runs a fleet in Colorado … today is the day we’re worried about…

…The outlook for the roads is, in some ways, worse than it was during this weekend’s blizzard, which dropped 27.1 inches of snow at Denver International Airport to make it the city’s second largest snowstorm in 75 years and the largest since 2003.

Traveling by air is not much of an option today, either; all flights in and out of Denver International Airport were grounded until at least Monday afternoon.

 

► The Colorado legislature is not in session today on account of the snow, but there’s still legislative news to discuss…

Colorado Newsline previews the coming battle over a Public Option health care proposal:

Under the draft bill, the state would first ask private insurance carriers to reduce their premium rates on all three levels of a standardized individual plan by 20% in every zip code in the state.

If, by 2025, insurance carriers hadn’t met those reduction targets — or if fewer than two standard plans were offered on the individual market in any zip code — then the Colorado Option would kick in…

…The proposal’s health-care-industry critics say insurance carriers wouldn’t be able to reduce premiums by 20% from 2021 levels, so if the bill passed, the public option would be inevitable. Though the bill hasn’t been introduced, opponents have already poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into fighting it at the Capitol.

Elsewhere…

The Colorado Sun explains legislation — which could get the Governor’s signature this week — that will change how Colorado handles standardized tests this year.

Pro tip: Before you agree to sponsor legislation, it’s a good idea to take some time to understand your own bill.

Lawmakers are considering a bill that goes after institutions that cover up child sexual abuse.

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel previews the week ahead at the State Capitol.

 

As The New York Times reports, nationwide Republican efforts to make it harder to vote in 2022 are spurring a new voting rights movement:

State and national voting-rights advocates are waging the most consequential political struggle over access to the ballot since the civil rights era, a fight increasingly focused on a far-reaching federal overhaul of election rules in a last-ditch bid to offset a wave of voting restrictions sweeping Republican-controlled state legislatures.

The federal voting bill, which passed in the House this month with only Democratic support, includes a landmark national expansion of voting rights, an end to partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts and new transparency requirements on the flood of dark money financing elections that would override the rash of new state laws.

The energy in support for it radiates from well-financed veteran organizers to unpaid volunteers, many who were called to political activism after former President Donald J. Trump’s upset win in 2016. It is engaging Democrats in Washington and voting rights activists in crucial states from Georgia to Iowa to West Virginia to Arizona — some facing rollbacks in access to the ballot, some with senators who will play pivotal roles and some with both.

 

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

 

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Thursday (March 11)

Almost all of the weatherpeople say snowpocalypse is coming on Friday, which probably means it’s going to rain a little. 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 Washington Post digs deep into Republican efforts to roll back voting access across the country:

The GOP’s national push to enact hundreds of new election restrictions could strain every available method of voting for tens of millions of Americans, potentially amounting to the most sweeping contraction of ballot access in the United States since the end of Reconstruction, when Southern states curtailed the voting rights of formerly enslaved Black men, a Washington Post analysis has found.

In 43 states across the country, Republican lawmakers have proposed at least 250 laws that would limit mail, early in-person and Election Day voting with such constraints as stricter ID requirements, limited hours or narrower eligibility to vote absentee, according to data compiled as of Feb. 19 by the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice. Even more proposals have been introduced since then.

Proponents say the provisions are necessary to shore up public confidence in the integrity of elections after the 2020 presidential contest, when then-President Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of election fraud convinced millions of his supporters that the results were rigged against him.

But in most cases, Republicans are proposing solutions in states where elections ran smoothly, including in many with results that Trump and his allies did not contest or allege to be tainted by fraud. The measures are likely to disproportionately affect those in cities and Black voters in particular, who overwhelmingly vote Democratic — laying bare, critics say, the GOP’s true intent: gaining electoral advantage.

The 2022 Republican Party: If you can’t beat ’em, cheat ’em.

 

► The House of Representatives on Wednesday gave final approval to President Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus plan. As The New York Times explains, the measure is expected to be a big boost for the American middle class:

The economic relief plan that is headed to President Biden’s desk has been billed as the United States’ most ambitious antipoverty initiative in a generation. But inside the $1.9 trillion package, there are plenty of perks for the middle class, too.

Whether they are direct stimulus payments, an array of tax benefits or an expansion of the Affordable Care Act, the bill will bring a big economic lift to middle-income families.

Congresswoman Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) was the lone voice on the American Rescue Plan for Colorado Republicans, offering up a confounding opposition speech on the House floor. This came only after Boebert and Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) joined with Republican colleagues in a silly attempt to adjourn at 10:07 in the morning.

Not a single Republican voted in support of the ARP. As Chris Cillizza explains for CNN, this is really not good politics for the GOP:

Republicans are in a political bind. They stand uniformly opposed to a bill that the American people really like. And they clearly have no real reason for their stance other than the unstated one: They weren’t consulted enough and didn’t want to give Biden a big win in his first 50 days in office.

That’s not a politically defensible position. But its the position Republicans find themselves in at the moment.

Meanwhile, Vice President Kamala Harris will visit Denver next week to promote the ARP.

 

► Let’s check in on the state legislature, where Republican lawmakers seem more interested in playing games over masks than anything else…

Colorado Newsline reports on a massive state stimulus package announced on Wednesday:

The $700 million COVID-19 recovery plan includes several elements of a stimulus proposal Polis released in the fall — housing assistance; shovel-ready infrastructure projects; workforce and economic development; rural broadband investments; and additional relief for small businesses.

Over the past year, Colorado’s economy fared better than legislators on the Joint Budget Committee expected last June when they cut $3 billion in state spending. So legislators from both parties and the governor’s office want to use some of the extra general fund money to help the state recover from the pandemic-driven economic downturn.

As Alex Burness reports for The Denver Post, the current legislative session could see the biggest changes to marijuana laws in Colorado since weed was first legalized in 2014.

The State Senate passed a bill regarding the reporting of lost or stolen firearms.

Legislation to remove a prohibition preventing municipalities from creating their own affordable housing regulations is moving forward.

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports on a measure to fund out-of-school education initiatives.

 

Nearly five years after being snubbed by Senate Republicans as Barack Obama’s final Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland was finally confirmed by the U.S. Senate…as Attorney General

 

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

 

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The GMS Podcast: Using a Giant Carrot as a Stick

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii discuss the massive stimulus package that was just passed by Congress and try to figure out what in the hell Rep. Ken Buck stands for. We also introduce a new segment we call “Legislating With Crayons,” and we dive into another episode of “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 Tuesday (March 9)

Happy “World Panic Day.” Please celebrate responsibly, or totally freak out; we’re not sure how to proceed here. 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 Washington Post reports, President Biden is planning a big push to sell Americans on his soon-to-be-approved $1.9 trillion stimulus plan:

With passage of the plan this week all but assured, Biden plans to escalate his administration’s outreach to Americans over the coming weeks to defend the measure and lay out other priorities. It starts with his first prime-time address.

Biden’s remarks on Thursday aren’t the starting gun for a new communications campaign — for weeks, aides have done scores of interviews with national, local, and specialized media in an effort to muscle the legislation to the Resolute Desk.

But they will mark a new, more intense phase, including the president’s first formal press conference, sometime this month, which White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced on Friday.

The American Rescue Plan includes $6 billion for state and local government assistance in Colorado alone. POLITICO has more on Wednesday’s expected vote in the House of Representatives.

 

Jury selection is underway in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who faces several charges related to the murder of George Floyd last May.

 

► To the Colorado legislature we go…

Republican lawmakers in Colorado wasted 10 hours on Monday extending debate on a bill to require safe storage of firearms.

The Colorado Sun previews upcoming legislation that is essentially Colorado’s version of a COVID-19 stimulus bill.

Legislation to opt Colorado students out of standardized testing this year — due to COVID-related problems — has come back to life.

Denver7 reports on the advancement of legislation intended to lower the cost of prescription drugs for Coloradans.

As The Denver Post reports, Colorado’s budget may not be in as much trouble as lawmakers feared after more than a year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Colorado Public Radio reports on concerns about long hours and low pay for staffers at the state legislature.

 

As Greg Sargent writes for The Washington Post, early successes for Congressional Democrats may be prodding Republicans to act quicker around the country in introducing voter suppression programs:

It’s no accident that the GOP’s redoubled anti-democratic and anti-majoritarian efforts have come even as President Biden’s $1.9 trillion rescue package is winning the support of large popular majorities. Indeed, for Republicans, the broad popularity of Biden’s first big move is itself arguably making their plunge into anti-democratic radicalization more urgent.

As NBC News reports, this is exactly what just happened in Iowa:

Via NBC News (3/9/21)

 

 

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

 

(more…)

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

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

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

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

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Get More Smarter on Friday (March 5)

One year ago today, Colorado announced its first case of COVID-19. 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 U.S. Senate is slogging through a vote-a-rama on a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill as Republicans pursue every possible angle to make the process of relief for American families take longer. This “Performative Obstruction” started on Thursday with a demand by Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson that the entire 628-page bill be read aloud (which took Senate clerks 10 hours and 43 minutes to complete).

As part of today’s vote-a-rama, both Colorado Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper voted yes on a $15 minimum wage. The New York Times has more on today’s action on the Senate floor:

The Senate is set to debate President Biden’s nearly $2 trillion stimulus plan on Friday as Democrats prepare to barrel past widespread opposition from Republican lawmakers and approve billions of dollars in funding for unemployed Americans, vaccine distribution, small businesses, schools and hospitals.

Senators will reconvene with three hours of debate before engaging in a rapid-fire series of votes on proposed amendments. Some are likely to force lawmakers into casting politically tough votes, while others could draw enough support to further tweak the legislation. The vote-a-rama, as it is known, could stretch long past midnight as Republicans battle against a bill whose crafting they were cut out of…

…But the efforts to slow action on the Senate floor to a crawl are expected to have little effect on the final legislation. Each party holds 50 seats in the chamber, giving Democrats a one-vote margin of control thanks to Vice President Kamala Harris’s power to break ties.

Back in Colorado, struggling residents of CO-03 are upset that Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) is making no effort to provide assistance. Boebert’s sole purpose in Congress seems to be seeking out different ways to offend people.

Elsewhere, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and Aurora Mayor “Homeless” Mike Coffman are urging Congress to quickly pass the $1.9 trillion relief bill.

 

► As The Washington Post reports, pressure is growing on Senate Democrats to get rid of the filibuster:

…as Biden faces a critical stretch of his presidency, even moderate Democrats are urging more immediate changes — particularly rewriting the filibuster, so that at the very least fewer bills need 60 votes to pass the Senate.

Democrats increasingly worry that popular pieces of Biden’s agenda will hit a wall in the Senate, including his plans for climate change, immigration, gun control, voting rights and LGBT protections. Failing to enact them, they fear, could be a political disaster for Democrats as well as a substantive one.

Elsewhere, the AFL-CIO is considering joining the battle to end the filibuster.

 

► To the Colorado legislature we go…

Lawmakers are considering a criminal justice reform bill intended to help reduce overcrowded jails, as well as a measure that would require discharged prisoners to leave jail with some form of photo identification.

Colorado Newsline reports on legislation to better monitor toxic air pollutants.

The Denver Post updates efforts to skip standardized testing this year because of coronavirus-related concerns.

Legislation to extend “to-go alcohol” from local restaurants is moving forward, as is a bill seeking to tweak a new marijuana delivery program.

 

As The Associated Press reports, opposition to President Biden’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic is coming from only one specific slice of the population:

Biden is enjoying an early presidential honeymoon, with 60% of Americans approving of his job performance thus far and even more backing his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

At a moment of deep political polarization in America, support for Biden’s pandemic response extends across party lines. Overall, 70% of Americans back the Democratic president’s handling of the virus response, including 44% of Republicans.

 

The Denver Post reports on plans to acknowledge today’s anniversary of Colorado’s first known case of COVID-19:

“During the past year, we have tragically lost nearly 6,000 Coloradans to this deadly virus,” Gov. Jared Polis said in a news release.

Polis invites all Coloradans to participate Friday in a “virtual statewide Evening of Remembrance,” to honor pandemic victims who lost their lives.

A “virtual remembrance ceremony” is scheduled for 6:30 pm today.

 

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (March 3)

Happy “World Hearing Day.” Please celebrate respon…we said “Happy World Hearing Day!” 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 National Public Radio reports, President Biden expects the United States to have enough COVID-19 vaccines for every adult by May:

“We’re now on track to have enough vaccine supply for every adult in America by the end of May,” Biden said, crediting his administration’s efforts to boost production and moving up the timeline from the end of July, which is what the president was saying just a few weeks ago.

As announced earlier in the day, Biden said his administration is invoking the Defense Production Act to boost production of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which received emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration over the weekend.

Colorado’s supply of COVID-19 vaccines is expected to rise significantly over the next month. As The Denver Post reports:

Colorado’s weekly vaccine allotment will grow from 256,880 doses next week to 405,600 doses the week ending April 11.

Governor Jared Polis is confident that Colorado will look “close to normal” by this summer.

 

► The Denver Post previews one of the bigger bills that will be discussed this session: A public option health insurance proposal. As Saja Hindi writes:

Only one state in the U.S. — Washington — has a public option health insurance plan. Democrats think they could make Colorado the second. They’re reviving the issue in the Colorado Legislature for another year of debate on a bill that, this time, makes some concessions to the health care industry.

A draft of the legislation circulated Tuesday. Bill sponsor Rep. Dylan Roberts, an Avon Democrat, said there isn’t a specific timeline for when it’ll be officially introduced, but said he expects “robust conversations over the coming weeks and changes to be made prior to introduction.”

In 2019, lawmakers directed the state to recommend a public health insurance plan. Last year, lawmakers tried to pass the plan, but had to shelve it because of COVID-19. Roberts has said this year’s bill takes the effects of the pandemic into account by giving the industry time to recover from COVID and reduce costs on its own.

The healthcare industry is sufficiently nervous that it might have to worry more about patients than profits that it has started a $1 million advertising campaign.

Here are some more stories about the state legislature:

Legislation to protect public health workers from “doxxing” is moving along quickly.

9News reports on a bill that would require landlords to give tenants more notice before evictions.

Lawmakers are considering a bill to allow mental health professionals to work more closely with police officers.

 

 Colorado Public Radio reports on a voting rights and election reform bill in Congress that has Colorado’s Congressional delegation divided along partisan lines:

The For the People Act has pride of place for Democrats in the U.S. House, clearly denoted by it’s bill number: H.R. 1.

It is a voting rights, campaign finance, ethics rules and election reform package that aims to increase voter access to the polls and decrease the influence of big money. The bill would strike down hurdles to voting and curb partisan gerrymandering by requiring states to use non-partisan commissions to redraw lines, like Colorado is doing.

All four of Colorado Democratic representatives — Diana DeGette, Jason Crow, Joe Neguse and Ed Perlmutter — have co-sponsored the bill.

Colorado Republican Reps. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert, Ken Buck, and Doug Lamborn are all opposed to the legislation because they understand that increased voter participation will hurt Republican chances in future elections.

As if to prove this point, Republican lawyers arguing in front of The Supreme Court on Tuesday said the quiet part out loud:

 

The single greatest threat to a free society is NOT a decision to stop printing a couple of Dr. Seuss books that nobody even knew existed before this week. Sorry, Ken Buck.

Oh, and it’s worth noting that Buck asked his followers to “retweet” and “like” his post if they agreed that “Cancel culture under the guise of racism may be far more dangerous than anything else we face as a free society.” That one backfired in spectacular fashion.

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (March 2)

Happy Birthday, Gorby! Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader and a great ’80s movie villain, turns 90 years old today. 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 

 

We’re not out of the Coronavirus woods just yet, people! From The Washington Post:

The global number of new coronavirus cases rose for the first time in nearly two months, the World Health Organization said Monday, blaming the surge in infections on circulating variants and premature efforts to lift public health restrictions.

Cases over the past week jumped in every region except for Africa and the Western Pacific, the U.N. agency said, after declining for six weeks straight. In the United States, a steady drop in new cases last month also appeared to be leveling off and there are fears it could reverse course amid yet another wave of infections.

And now, the good news: More than 75% of Colorado educators and childcare workers should receive the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the week. Colorado is also expected to receive its first allotment of the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine within the next couple of days.

Finally, back to some less-good news: Colorado officials think at least 800 people have contacted COVID-19 twice, but accurate data is hard to assemble.

 

► And now, your state legislature update:

As Alex Burness reports for The Denver Post, Democratic lawmakers are considering a package of legislation to give tenants more power in dealing with landlords:

Likely to be piled into at least five separate bills, their proposals include creating a new state eviction moratorium that possibly runs into 2022; changing eviction court policies to give tenants more time and flexibility to resolve cases; and limiting fees for late payments and breaking leases.

Elsewhere, a safe storage gun bill has made it through its first committee hearing.

Legislation to remove the statute of limitations for child sexual assault crimes made it through the State Senate.

Democratic leaders in the State House are opposed to legislation that would allow for the privatization of Pinnacol Assurance, which handles workers’ compensation insurance for many public workers.

Westword is tracking all the weed bills.

Republican lawmakers who pressed ahead with a ludicrous school voucher bill have significantly hurt their ability to have this discussion for years to come.

 

The New York Times previews President Biden’s efforts to pass a big infrastructure package in Congress:

President Biden’s two immediate predecessors had ambitious goals to rebuild the country’s infrastructure, but both left office having made little progress in fixing the nation’s bridges, roads, pipes and broadband. President Donald J. Trump announced so many meaningless infrastructure weeks that the term became a running joke of his administration.

As a candidate, Mr. Biden went further than either Mr. Trump or President Barack Obama by promising to pass a multitrillion-dollar package intended to create jobs and help the United States compete with China. And if anything, his first month in office, in which a power crisis in Texas left millions of people in need of water and electricity, has underscored the urgency of upgrading the nation’s aging structural underpinnings.

But while the goal of addressing the United States’ infrastructure is bipartisan, the details are not. That includes how much to spend, what programs count as “infrastructure” and, most important, whether to raise taxes to pay for it.

You can probably just skip over the part in the story where politicos ponder the possibility that Republicans will do anything helpful on improving our nation’s infrastructure.

 

According to Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert, the big COVID stimulus package passed by the House of Representatives last week includes more than $400 billion dollars for funding abortions in America. If Boebert’s math is correct — and it most assuredly is NOT — this would be enough money to allow every woman of childbearing age in America to have 10 abortions.

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Friday (February 26)

Friendly reminder: 2021 is NOT a leap year. 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, a loosening of pandemic-related restrictions is just around the corner:

Jefferson County will loosen its COVID-19 restrictions — allowing restaurants and event spaces to increase their capacities — starting Friday morning, but Denver will have to wait after new coronavirus cases ticked up in the city again this week.

Denver is currently at Level Yellow, the third stage on the state’s dial framework of public health restrictions. To move down to Level Blue under the relaxed standards announced in late January, the city would have to average fewer than 100 new COVID-19 cases for every 100,000 people, per day, for a week.

The city flirted with that line in the days following Valentine’s Day, but cases rebounded slightly in recent days, according to data from the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment. As of Wednesday, Denver’s average was 104.5 cases per 100,000 people.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said the city is “very close” to moving into Level Blue, which he described as a step toward revitalizing its arts and sports scenes. He urged residents to continue wearing masks and avoiding large gatherings, to help keep new cases down.

 

► Let’s catch up on news from the state legislature!

Colorado lawmakers are taking a proactive approach in trying to prevent major power outages like those seen in Texas earlier this month.

Lawmakers are considering a bill to prevent pet stores from selling puppies and kittens.

Sides are already gearing up for a bill to limit the THC potency in marijuana sold in Colorado…even though the bill hasn’t yet been introduced formally.

Alex Burness of The Denver Post considers why popular policies die strange deaths when lawmakers convene.

Colorado Newsline previews the transportation infrastructure battle coming to the State Capitol.

 

CNN reports on what looks to be a huge moment for Democrats and President Biden:

(The $1.9 trillion COVID relief) bill, which the House of Representatives is expected to pass Friday with Democratic votes, has the symbolic weight and financial power to define what Biden hopes will be the post-pandemic period as it aims to quell the virus and trigger a rebound from the economic ruin in its wake. That remains true despite the Senate parliamentarian ruling Thursday that a provision raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour infringes the budgetary process known as reconciliation that Democrats plan to use to pass the package with a simple majority. The decision was a blow to progressives but could ease Democratic divisions over the package and make it easier to pass…

…The plan’s mammoth size — more than twice as big as the Great Recession stimulus plan that Biden managed in the Obama presidency and nearly half the cost of the annual federal budget — hints at the enduring political shadow it will cast.

The measure is intended to significantly beef up the vaccine drive that will hopefully end the pandemic and to provide funds for remodeling schools to improve ventilation and social distancing to get millions of kids back into class. It would also use the power of government to alleviate short-term economic pain — for instance by granting $19 billion to state and local governments to cover back rent and utility payments — and on a more permanent basis, to share the benefits of the US economy more equally.

Republicans can (and will) complain about the relief bill, but they do so at their own peril: Americans view the bill as one of the most popular pieces of legislation in recent history.

 

Here’s a headline from POLITICO that would have been accurate at any point during the last 3-4 years:

Via POLITICO (2/26/21)

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (February 25)

Snow day! 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 

 

Coronavirus news!

Governor Jared Polis is “thrilled” at the news of a potential third COVID-19 vaccine, this one from Johnson & Johnson.

Employees at the JBS meatpacking plant in Greeley will finally start receiving COVID vaccinations (no thanks to Cory Gardner).

As The New York Times reports, COVID rates at nursing homes across the country are declining much faster than in other populations.

 

► Congresswoman Deb Haaland, President Biden’s nominee for Interior Secretary, has committed to visiting Grand Junction, the new home of the Bureau of Land Management. As Justin Wingerter reports for The Denver Post:

Haaland told Democratic Sen. John Hickenlooper on Tuesday that she will visit Grand Junction as she weighs whether to keep the headquarters there or return it to Washington, D.C.

“I will look forward to consulting more on this issue with you and I understand that we absolutely need to make sure that the staff members are — that we have a full team there at BLM,” Haaland said during a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing.

After years of bipartisan lobbying by Colorado politicians and Grand Junction business groups, the Department of the Interior announced in July 2019 that it would move its headquarters to the Western Slope city and expand its presence at other non-D.C. offices, including one in Lakewood.

About 87% of the agency’s D.C.-based employees quit in response and environmental groups accused then-President Donald Trump of dismantling the agency that oversees the nation’s public lands. Hickenlooper and Sen. Michael Bennet, also a Democrat, have long supported the headquarters move and both said Wednesday that they welcome Haaland’s visit.

 

What’s going on at the State Capitol? Glad you asked…

The Colorado Sun reports on efforts in the state legislature to give sexual assault survivors more time to file suit against their abusers.

Westword takes note of four ridiculous pro-gun measures being introduced by Republican lawmakers.

Fox 31 Denver looks at legislation meant to hold careless drivers more accountable.

CBS4 Denver reports on legislation that would ban the use of high school mascots that may be insensitive to indigenous populations. CBS4 Denver also reports on a plan to create a “Health Service Reserve Corps” modeled after the National Guard.

Denver7 reports on three bills related to “woofs” in Colorado.

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (February 24)

You had better find your snow boots; the Front Range is looking at a big snowfall later today. 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 United States surpassed 500,000 deaths from COVID-19 this week, but as The Associated Press reports, good news is on the way:

COVID-19 vaccine makers told Congress on Tuesday to expect a big jump in the delivery of doses over the coming month after a rocky start to inoculations, and the companies insist they will be able to provide enough for most Americans by summer.

By the end of March, Pfizer and Moderna expect to have provided the U.S. government with a total of 220 million vaccine doses, up from the roughly 75 million shipped so far.

“We do believe we’re on track,” Moderna President Stephen Hoge said, outlining ways the company has ramped up production. “We think we’re at a very good spot.”

That’s not counting a third vaccine, from Johnson & Johnson, that’s expected to get a green light from regulators soon. The Biden administration said Tuesday that it expects about 2 million doses of that vaccine to be shipped in the first week, but the company told lawmakers it should provide enough of the single-dose option for 20 million people by the end of March.

Here’s more from CNBC on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine that is believed to be effective with just one dose.

As Meg Wingerter reports for The Denver Post, Coloradans could see more vaccine availability next week:

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment confirmed the state is expecting to move into Phase 1B.3 of its COVID-19 vaccination distribution plan “on or around March 5,” but didn’t offer any details about whether everyone in that phase would be eligible at the same time.

“Providing accurate and accessible information around vaccines and vaccination is a priority for Colorado and we will continue to do so as we prepare for the upcoming phases,” a representative of the state health department wrote in an email.

Gov. Jared Polis has said that a new phase will start when about half of eligible people in the previous phase have received the vaccine.

Check out The Denver Post story for more information on the next round of eligibility for vaccines. CBS4 Denver has more on a recent hearing in Congress about vaccine availability chaired by Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Denver).

Elsewhere, health officials in Jefferson County say they have reached a goal to vaccinate more than 70% of the county’s population of adults over the age of 70.

 

Back in December 2020, Colorado Pols first told you about an unusually-large reimbursement check that Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert wrote to herself in what appeared to be a blatant violation of campaign finance rules. The story has only gotten worse for Boebert since then, and this week her campaign made a clumsy attempt at re-explaining the questionable reimbursement. As Justin Wingerter explains for The Denver Post:

On Monday, Boebert’s campaign filed an amended report to the Federal Election Commission, reiterating that Boebert received $21,200 on Nov. 11 but claiming it was a reimbursement for mileage, travel expenses and hotel stays. Mileage accounted for $17,280 of the reimbursements, the campaign says…

…Boebert’s reimbursements and the Post’s reporting led to complaints this month with the FEC and the Office of Congressional Ethics, neither of which has said it will investigate. Michelle Kuppersmith, executive director of the watchdog group Campaign for Accountability, said Boebert’s amended report does not affect their FEC complaint that was filed Feb. 8.

“These expenses should have been disclosed in her December 3, 2020, report,” Kuppersmith said. “Either she didn’t keep the required mileage logs, or her treasurer didn’t ask for documentation before he reimbursed her for all of these expenses. The Boebert campaign has proven that its FEC reports are unreliable, so the FEC should properly audit the campaign to determine where else they may have failed to comply with the law.”

Colorado Public Radio, Fox 31 News, and Colorado Newsline have more on Boebert’s amended filing, which also claims reimbursements for Uber rides.

 

A State Senate committee killed a legislative attempt by State Sen. Paul Lundeen (R-Monument) that sought to make it MORE difficult to vote in Colorado. Republican Sen. Cleave Simpson of Alamosa joined with Democrats in snuffing out Lundeen’s dumb bill.

 

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

 

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