Pols Virtual Meetup Friday 4/3 5 pm

(Reupping since this is coming up later today – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Update: Time set for Friday, April 3, 2020 at 5 pm. Michael will post a link that anyone can click on to  join. You can be anonymous or not- it’s up to you. Harrydoby, Jason Salzman, MADCO, Dio, Miguel, Gertie, Voyageur, Duke, R&R, deathpigeon, Curmudgeon, Pseudonymous, Canines, TooJung, Neon, Whisky Juliet, nancycronk, Awen, Erik M, ParkHill,itlduso, Pear, Elliot, DeadGuvs,  many others….You’re welcome and invited. Hop on to the meeting and say “Hi”.

People chatting on computer
Polsters! Want to Have a conversation about politics and share your La Rona survival strategies….or talk about anything but politics and coronavirus? Has sheltering in place turned into climbing the walls? Want  to have a social conversation with someone you don’t live with, take for poop walks, or see in the mirror every morning?

Want to put a human face on that person whose posts you like or dislike?

Now’s your chance. Michael Bowman has agreed to host a Zoom virtual meetup for Coloradopols readers, writers, editors, administrators, lurkers, trolls, and anyone else. He can host up to 100 people at a time, and said that he’s flexible about when the meetup happens, but would prefer evenings or weekends. I care for a wannabe toddler most mornings, but other times are ok. Please respond in comments with level of interest, and best times to meet.

Logistics

You will need to decide what device to use- and then download the Zoom ap on that device. Business Insider has a how-to page, that is actually better than Zoom’s own.  You can choose to show live video of yourself, or an image or avatar. Others will hear your voice, but the label  attached to it is up to you. It will use the camera and microphone of your device. For all devices- download the ap, then click on the link to “join a meeting”.

You don’t need a Zoom account to join a meeting- but you do need the app.

Arapahoe County GOP Removes Candidate from Ballot for Not Being a Republican

Arapahoe County Republicans booted a state House candidate from the ballot after discovering he was not registered as a Republican, which disqualifies him from running for office as a Republican under Colorado law.

The candidate, Steve Monahan, announced his run for the House District 3 seat back in February, and it took about a month for Arapahoe County Republicans to discover that Monahan was registered as an Unaffiliated voter and to remove his name from the ballot prior to assembly, which began Saturday, according to a source.

Monahan

The decision left Bill Klocek as the only candidate for assembly delegates to choose from on the ballot, and he got 100% of the 56 votes tallied, according to results distributed by Arapahoe County Republicans.

A call to Monahan, a pilot, seeking to know if he thought he was treated fairly by the Arapahoe County Republicans was not returned.

Klocek did not immediately return a call from the Colorado Times Recorder.

Klocek

Frolich was appointed to the House District 3 seat by fellow Democrats after Jeff Bridges resigned to fill a state Senate vacancy. Bridges beat Republican Toren Mushovik in 2018 by 23 percentage points.

House District 3 covers parts Cherry Hills Village, Englewood, and Greenwood Village. It’s currently represented by Democrat Meg Froelich.

Gardner, Kushner To Maybe Have Words At Next Fundraiser

Tsarevitch Jared Kushner.

As Politico’s Burgess Everett reports, Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado is asking the Department of Health and Human Services for an investigation into the management of the Strategic National Stockpile as a shortage of crucial medical equipment like ventilators looms:

Sen. Cory Gardner is pushing for an investigation into possible mismanagement of the Strategic National Stockpile of ventilators needed to treat coronavirus patients — though the Colorado Republican is by no means going to war with the Trump administration over the matter. [Pols emphasis]

The GOP senator wrote a letter to the Health and Human Services inspector general on Thursday requesting a probe into reports of maintenance issues and delays regarding the distribution of ventilators from the national stockpile to states. And in an interview on Friday, Gardner said that “any kind of mismanagement or abuse needs to be rooted out and those responsible held accountable.”

President Trump and Cory Gardner in Colorado Springs (2/20/20)

Gardner’s request for a second look here is timely, after President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner made some controversial statements about the stockpile’s purpose, in response to angry governors including Gov. Jared Polis of Colorado who are begging for these supplies in their states:

Responding to criticism of the federal government from some governors, Jared Kushner, a senior White House aide and President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, said on Thursday that the federal stockpile of supplies is “supposed to be our stockpile” and that it’s “not supposed to be states’ stockpiles that they then use.”

Gardner said his letter is not a response to that comment, [Pols emphasis] which he learned of late Thursday, but he pointedly questioned Kushner’s statement in the interview.

“I don’t know what Kushner was talking about, what he meant. But the stockpile is for the country. And the country is made up of states in the federal government,” Gardner said.

No reasonable person is going to object to Sen. Gardner sending a letter about the Strategic National Stockpile, or complain when Gardner is able to prevail on his relationship with officials in Taiwan to arrange a shipment of personal protective equipment–a couple of days’ worth of which is reportedly headed to Colorado. But Gardner’s continuing refusal to hold the Trump administration responsible for the failure of the U.S. government to confront the pandemic over the course of months speaks louder than any of these belated gestures.

Once again, Gardner is–at best–trying to clean up a catastrophic mess while ignoring who made it.

BREAKING: Classrooms Closing for Rest of School Year

After the jump you can read a copy of the letter sent out at noon today to parents of students in school districts including some of the biggest districts in the state: Adams, Denver, Douglas, and Jefferson.

The key phrase: “there does not appear to be a viable way for us to convene traditional in-person learning this school year.”

To be clear, today’s announcement is only from 14 of Colorado’s school districts, but it’s probably a good bet that the rest of the state will soon follow this example.

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Get More Smarter on Friday (April 3)

Hey, you made it through another week of this — that’s not nothing. Now, 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/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

BECAUSE CORONAVIRUS…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

 

The Trump administration is struggling to actually implement many of the economic relief measures contained in last month’s $2.2 Trillion spending bill. First, here’s CNN on those stimulus checks that were supposed to be coming right away:

Americans likely won’t begin to see direct payments from the coronavirus stimulus bill until at least April 13 and it could take 20 weeks for all the checks to be mailed, Trump administration officials told lawmakers, according to a House Democratic memo obtained by CNN.

The timeline means tens of millions of Americans will have to wait to get badly needed assistance, despite repeated earlier suggestions from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that the money would go out as soon as April 6.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is also confounding the banks, as The Washington Post reports:

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin vowed from the White House podium yesterday that small businesses battered by the coronavirus epidemic could access $350 billion in taxpayer-backed cash quickly starting on Friday. But as the rescue effort debuts, banks are concerned in part about how to assess the risks of small businesses applying for assistance directly to them, even as the federal government is guaranteeing those loans.

JPMorgan Chase, for instance, posted a notice online that it won’t be accepting applications from prospective borrowers. “Financial institutions like ours are still awaiting guidance from the SBA and the U.S. Treasury,” it said.

Banks are asking questions about the length of the loans, the interest rates they can charge, and how much due diligence financial institutions are responsible for performing on borrowers

Take the politicians out of Washington D.C.! Put businesspeople in charge! This is working out great!

 

Is the White House overestimating or underestimating the potential death toll from COVID-19? Nobody knows, because it’s unclear how the White House came up with its projections. From The Washington Post:

Leading disease forecasters, whose research the White House used to conclude 100,000 to 240,000 people will die nationwide from the coronavirus, were mystified when they saw the administration’s projection this week.

The experts said they don’t challenge the numbers’ validity but that they don’t know how the White House arrived at them. [Pols emphasis]

White House officials have refused to explain how they generated the figure — a death toll bigger than the United States suffered in the Vietnam War or the 9/11 terrorist attacks. They have not provided the underlying data so others can assess its reliability or provided long-term strategies to lower that death count.

Some of President Trump’s top advisers have expressed doubts about the estimate, according to three White House officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. There have been fierce debates inside the White House about its accuracy.

There is a non-zero chance that President Trump literally picked these numbers out of a hat.

 

As CNN reports, two top Trump administration officials were publicly voicing concerns about U.S. readiness in the face of a pandemic LAST APRIL:

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Tim Morrison, then a special assistant to the President and senior director for weapons of mass destruction and biodefense on the National Security Council, made the comments at the BioDefense Summit in April 2019.

“Of course, the thing that people ask: ‘What keeps you most up at night in the biodefense world?’ Pandemic flu, of course. I think everyone in this room probably shares that concern,” Azar said, before listing off efforts to mitigate the impact of flu outbreaks.

The Trump administration is facing scrutiny over its preparations for the coronavirus pandemic and its slow response to provide states and cities assistance in testing kits and personal protective equipment. The 2019 summit, hosted by the assistant secretary for preparedness and response in the Department of Health and Human Services to “discuss and solicit input on implementing the National Biodefense Strategy,” offers insights into early awareness of the potential for a pandemic threat.

Transcripts of Azar’s and Morrison’s comments at the summit, which have not been previously reported on, are available on the HHS website.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly said no one predicted a pandemic crisis like the one caused by coronavirus. [Pols emphasis]

 

Here’s the latest fact-checking from CNN of President Trump’s coronavirus “news briefings.”

 

► Weld County has surged to the top of the list in Colorado for the largest number of coronavirus deaths. Weld County is represented in Congress by social distancing skeptic Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley). Sure, maybe it’s a coincidence.

 

If you’re looking for political news that isn’t about Coronavirus, it’s available right after the jump…

 

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COVID-19 Tragically Zeroes In On Rep. Ken Buck’s Weld County

Rep. Ken Buck, chairman of the Colorado Republican Party.

9NEWS reported last night that Weld County is being hit very hard by the expanding COVID-19 pandemic, now tied for the most number of deaths in the state so far–a tragic distinction disproportionate to the county’s population:

Weld County is tied for the highest number of deaths in the state related to COVID-19. 16 people have died in the area. The county also has one of the largest number of cases, even though the number of people who live there is far less than other counties.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment says there are 329 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Weld County, roughly the same number as El Paso County. The population of Weld County is nearly 400,000 less… [Pols emphasis]

Patients with COVID-19 symptoms now crowd the emergency rooms. Steven Loecke is the Chief Medical Officer for several Banner Health hospitals in Northern Colorado. He says the hospital in Greeley is seeing the most action.

Although the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic necessarily has enormous political implications, and the response to the outbreak by government authorities from the President of the United States to the smallest municipalities is a principal factor now in every voter’s decisionmaking, even the most partisan political diehards can agree that significant components of the response to the pandemic have been carried out with overwhelming bipartisan agreement–most recently the massive $2.2 trillion stimulus bill to blunt the effects of shutting down large parts of the economy to contain the disease.

With that said, the “resistance” to public health measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic has overwhelmingly come from one political party, Republicans–including President Donald Trump himself until he was belatedly convinced to take the crisis seriously. In Colorado, Rep. Ken Buck, who also serves as chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, has enthusiastically led the opposition to the statewide stay-at-home order by Colorado Gov. Jared Polis. In Congress, Buck’s repeated votes against the successive coronavirus relief packages–in one case one of only two votes against in the entire chamber–have significantly raised Buck’s national profile, earning him cable news appearances and adulation on the far right.

As readers know, Rep. Ken Buck served as the District Attorney of Weld County before his election to Congress, and Weld County is one of the two population centers of his district along with similarly conservative but more affluent Douglas County.

Folks, we don’t want to spell this out. If we do, some in the chattering class will say it’s “too soon.”

But how can you not connect these dots? And how can the resulting outrage not transcend politics?

These are hard words to write. But to not write them would be the greater disservice to our readers.

County Chair Rejects Calls From Other GOP Leaders to Resign Over COVID-19 “Hoax” Post

(Awesome branding exercise underway – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Several Colorado Republican leaders are calling for El Paso County GOP Chair Vickie Tonkins to resign after she used the party’s official Facebook page to ask followers if they believe the COVID-19 pandemic is a manufactured hoax.

She also confirmed to Colorado Politics reporter Ernest Luning that she wrote on her personal Facebook page that the outbreak is a “PSYOP,” using the same term she posted to the county page. The post has since garnered bipartisan national attention, including a tweet from Guy Benson, political editor of the conservative blog Townhall, and coverage from the left-leaning sites Raw Story and Huffington Post.

Denver GOP Chair Kristina Cook, joins former county chairs Jake Viano (Denver), Joe Webb (Jefferson) and Eli Bremer (El Paso) in calling for Tonkins to step down.

Former El Paso County Chair Eli Bremer first flagged the post and shared it with other Colorado Springs conservative Facebook groups.

Reached for comment, Tonkins dismissed criticism over the post itself, attributing it to the tension between the establishment and grassroots elements of the party, and claiming Bremer had other reasons for sharing the post:

“The individual [Bremer] that started the misinformation of my saying Coronavirus is a hoax…which I never said…does not like the fact a black woman is in the position and won by over 60 votes… The grassroots said they wanted something different and who could be more different than me.”

While Tonkins did not state that Coronavirus is a hoax on the El Paso County page, she did describe the outbreak as a “PSYOP,” in a comment exchange on her personal page. Another El Paso County Republican, Missy Ward, shared a screenshot of the comment.

El Paso County Republican Chair Vickie Tonkins

Tonkins responds:

“Ward, without my permission, took a screenshot of my personal page and made this a story. The post may not have been up for even an hour…but they saw an opportunity to get me, I guess. Not sure why they hate me so much but that is what it is.”

Tonkins also says she was focused on those who are suffering financially during the pandemic.

“My intentions, which my naysayers say we should always look at, is that people are not just dying from this virus, people are losing their jobs and can’t pay their bills and is time we step up to help them. Maybe had I put “the media thinks” [in the original post] I would have been heralded as a hero. This has been blown out of proportion by my haters and I say let’s move toward helping our communities which is my heart and the heart of the Republican Party. People are making this about politics and I am thinking about people!”

Joe Webb, who led the Jefferson County GOP until last year, concluded his own public Facebook post about the incident by insisting Tonkins resign, and calling on the county party’s executive committee to remove her if she doesn’t.

This is not a time to play politics but because Vickie Tonkins added to the public health emergency and may have assisted in making the curve steeper regarding infections she needs to resign as Chairman of the El Paso County Republican Party at once. If she fails to do so then members of the Executive Committee must take matters into their own hands within social distancing parameters. We all need to contribute to flattening the curve. Many other reasons exist for her resignation but I listed the most serious one. Personal responsibility for your actions should matter.

Denver GOP Chair shared Webb post noting that she agreed with Webb. She added that Tonkins’ post jeopardizes the Republican Party’s mission of electing its candidates.

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Friday Open Thread

“One is never afraid of the unknown; one is afraid of the known coming to an end.”

–Krishnamurti

Social Distancing Is Working

Like this, but on purpose.

Good news from California, as The Washington Post reports:

Two weeks ago, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced the first statewide stay-at-home order in the United States, reshaping daily life for 40 million Americans and warning that the health-care system could be overwhelmed without swift action.

On Thursday, Newsom said social distancing has worked and that California is on track to meet patient needs, a contrast with the dire predictions still coming from some other states. [Pols emphasis]

“It’s the individual acts of tens of millions of Californians that allow me to say the following … the [intensive-care unit] numbers and the hospitalization numbers, while they’re growing, are not growing as significantly as you’re seeing in other parts of the country,” Newsom said at his Thursday news conference.

Keep it up, everyone!

Gardner Delivered ‘Historic Unemployment,’ says GOP Ad

(D’oh! — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Most politicians like to boast that they deliver jobs.

But if you believe an advertisement this week, the Colorado Republican Party thinks people will vote for U.S. Cory Gardner (R-CO) if they’re convinced he delivered “historic unemployment.”

The Colorado Republican Party did not return an email asking if the ad was supposed to state that Gardner delivered “historically low unemployment,” a claim that would be further from the truth but is closer to Gardner’s normal talking points, say progressive labor leaders.

The ad, which appeared in Colorado Politics, a weekly online and print publication, reads, “CORY GARDNER DELIVERED MORE AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE, HISTORIC UNEMPLOYMENT, PUBLIC LAND PROTECTION.”

Jared Wright, Publisher of Colorado Politics, said in an email to the Colorado Times Recorder that his publication was not responsible for the text of the advertisement.

“Wow – that sure is a typo,” Wright emailed after being alerted to the apparent error. “It was delivered to us by the advertiser that way. We did not perform the design. That said, I will let them know to send a new file. Thanks for catching that.”

Asked to comment on the GOP ad, Dennis Dougherty, director of the Colorado AFL-CIO, said, “Cory Gardner did deliver working Coloradans something: historically low pay.” The AFL-CIO gave Gardner a zero rating on key votes in 2018 in support of working families.

In fact, 44 percent of American workers barely earn enough to live on, according to a January Brookings report.

Colorado GOP Delegation Backs COVID Blame Projection Bill

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs).

Michael Karlik at the Colorado Springs Gazette reports:

U.S. Reps. Scott Tipton, Ken Buck and Doug Lamborn have co-sponsored a House resolution that condemns the Chinese government’s response to COVID-19 and asks the country to take responsibility for originating the novel coronavirus…

Tipton blamed the severity of the global pandemic on the Chinese government’s failure to act quickly and be “immediately forthcoming” about what it knew. “This recklessness by the Chinese government cannot be tolerated, and they should face severe consequences including sanctions and reparations to nations they have impacted,” he said.

Colorado’s three Republican members of Congress, Reps. Ken Buck, Doug Lamborn, and Scott Tipton are all on board, with Lamborn earning a name-check from leading congressional Trump apologist Rep. Elise Stefanik:

Here’s the intro to House Resolution 907:

Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the Government of the People’s Republic of China made multiple, serious mistakes in the early stages of the COVID–19 outbreak that heightened the severity and spread of the ongoing COVID–19 pandemic, which include the Chinese Government’s intentional spread of misinformation to downplay the risks of the virus, a refusal to cooperate with international health authorities, internal censorship of doctors and journalists, and malicious disregard for the health of ethnic minorities.

In psychology, the term “projection” refers to ascribing one’s own flaws and insecurities to another party in order to assuage one’s own guilt. The accusation that the People’s Republic of China made “multiple, serious mistakes in the early stages of the COVID–19 outbreak” may have basis in fact, but this allegation applies every bit as well to the early response by the United States government to the COVID-19 pandemic.

That should be the priority of the U.S. House of Representatives, not China.

President Donald Trump’s weeks of denial of the severity of the pandemic, insisting that the virus would “go away” and that the number of cases was declining, perfectly fit the accusation in this resolution of “intentional spread of misinformation to downplay the risks of the virus.” Trump called the World Health Organization coronavirus test used to good effect in other countries “a bad test,” which could fairly be called “a refusal to cooperate with international health authorities.” While we wouldn’t say that scientists in the United States have been “censored,” watching Dr. Anthony Fauci facepalm while Trump fictionalizes the latest pandemic updates seems close enough. Finally, there’s the “malicious disregard for the health of ethnic minorities.” Check.

We all accuse the other side of being crazy, but in this case we think a clinical explanation might honestly be right. We’ll leave it to qualified psychologists to make the diagnosis, but we will say that rarely does the projection so perfectly characterize the original sin.

Get More Smarter on Thursday (April 2)

On this day in 1513, the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León first caught sight of land in what is now Florida; nobody was around to tell his cruise ship to go somewhere else. Now, 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/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

BECAUSE CORONAVIRUS…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

 

As The Associated Press reports, jobless claims in the United States are skyrocketing to literally unprecedented levels:

More than 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week — doubling a record high set just one week earlier — a sign that layoffs are accelerating in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.

Combined with last week’s report that 3.3 million people sought unemployment aid two weeks ago, the U.S. economy has now suffered nearly 10 million layoffs in just the past few weeks — far exceeding the figure for any corresponding period on record.

 

► It is not hyperbole to say that states with Democratic Governors have generally responded better to the coronavirus outbreak than states with Republicans in charge. There are two stark examples of this in the southeastern United States, where Republican Governors in Florida and Georgia are reacting at the speed of molasses.

As The Washington Post reports, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis finally issued a statewide stay-at-home order on Wednesday…much too late:

DeSantis took heavy criticism from state lawmakers for refusing to enact such an order until this week, even as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases have nearly surpassed 7,000 in the state, including at least 85 deaths as of Tuesday.

The daily reports from the Florida Department of Health drive the fact home: The number of people testing positive for covid-19 has accelerated rapidly, nearly doubling in the past four days, with 3,274 new cases, bringing the statewide total to 6,741 as of Tuesday evening.

The state reported 857 people hospitalized and 85 deaths as of Tuesday, with the heaviest concentration of infection in Broward and Miami-Dade counties along the southeast coast and pockets in other areas like Tampa and Orange County, home of Walt Disney World. On Tuesday alone, 14 deaths were reported in the state, according to the Miami Herald.

But DeSantis looks like a damn rocket surgeon compared to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. Again, from The Washington Post:

After resisting a statewide stay-at-home order for days, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) succumbed to the pressure and issued one on Wednesday. Part of the reason, he said, was that he had just learned some new information.

Kemp said he was “finding out that this virus is now transmitting before people see signs.”

“Those individuals could have been infecting people before they ever felt bad, but we didn’t know that until the last 24 hours,” he said. He added that the state’s top doctor told him that “this is a game-changer.” 

It may have been a game-changer, but it was a game-changer weeks or even months ago. [Pols emphasis] That’s when health officials started emphasizing that asymptomatic people are transmitting the coronavirus. The idea that Kemp didn’t know this is striking. But he’s merely the latest top politician to indicate that he’s unfamiliar with the science even as he’s making life-or-death decisions for his constituents.

Really? Really? Kemp just learned that asymptomatic people are transmitting COVID-19??? Chris Cillizza of CNN has more on the bumbling coronavirus responses of DeSantis and Kemp.

States with Democrats in charge, like California and Washington, are seeing a flattening curve of coronavirus infections thanks to their swift actions.

Governor Jared Polis — who has notably not had the same trouble as DeSantis and Kemp — is asking the federal government for more assistance in procuring personal protective equipment (PPE). From a press release:

On March 28, Governor Polis sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence requesting additional PPE and ventilators to address the severe shortage Colorado is facing.

“We are facing a crisis-level shortage of these essential supplies to protect our health care workers and first responders. Colorado’s COVID-19 death rate is rising faster than any other state right now; the pandemic is spreading so fast that lags in testing are masking the true conditions experienced by Coloradans across the state,” Governor Polis wrote.

As The Denver Post reports, Colorado is working quickly to secure its own medical supplies because the federal government has not been able to answer the call quickly enough. The Department of Homeland Security says national stockpiles of PPE are essentially depleted.

Also on Wednesday, Gov. Polis announced that Colorado schools would remain closed for in-person learning through at least April 30.

 

► Kudos for CNN for its daily fact-checking of President Trump’s coronavirus “news briefings.”

 

► The State Supreme Court has ruled that the Colorado legislature can pick up where it left off when work was suspended last month because of the coronavirus outbreak. 

Lawmakers had asked the court to rule on whether the 120-day session language in the state constitution refers to consecutive days or if it can be split up by a recess (in this case because of coronavirus).

 

If you’re looking for political news that isn’t about Coronavirus, it’s available right after the jump…

 

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Sorry Republicans, COVID-19 Won’t Break The Legislature

Senator Minority Leader Chris Holbert (R-Parker).

As Denver7’s Robert Garrison reports, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled yesterday on an important constitutional question regarding the Colorado General Assembly’s 120-day legislative session–after being forced to adjourn for public health reasons as the COVID-19 pandemic ramped up, can the legislature get back to work seamlessly once it’s safe, or does a narrow interpretation of the law require the further disruption of normal life in a public health emergency?

The ruling, fortunately, came down on the side of not making it harder for government to do its job:

The Colorado legislature can pause and pick up where it left off when it was adjourned on March 14 due to coronavirus concerns, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.

Under Colorado state law, the legislative session is limited to 120 days unless the governor calls a special session. But in a 4-3 decision, the state’s high court agreed that the days do not have to be counted consecutively during a state of an emergency, meaning the clock on the legislative session has essentially been paused…

With this ruling, the General Assembly will be able to count only “working calendar days” toward the 120-day limit, in the context of this public health disaster emergency.

As Marianne Goodland at the Colorado Springs Gazette reported a week ago when opposing briefs were submitted to the Colorado Supreme Court, this is not the ruling Republicans in the General Assembly wanted:

A brief filed on behalf of all 40 Republican lawmakers from the General Assembly was submitted Tuesday by former U.S. Attorney Troy Eid, a former cabinet official in the Owens administration.

In that brief, Eid argues that the plain language of the state Constitution, as amended by voters in 1988, says the regular legislative session is 120 consecutive days. He also claims Joint Rule 44(g) which lawmakers adopted in 2009 as a way of dealing with a public health crisis, is unconstitutional because it attempts to amend the Constitution. He also maintains that there are already alternative ways to deal with an emergency, such as a special session called by the governor or the General Assembly…

Eid cited a Colorado Springs Gazette editorial on Nov. 5, 1988, that said “at the very least, if you believe the adage that one’s life, liberty or property are safe when the Legislatures is in session, then Amendment 3 would keep us safe for two-thirds of the year.”

Colorado House Minority Leader Patrick Neville (R).

GOP leadership in the House and Senate were in unanimous in saying nay to allowing the session to resume without counting the days missed due to the pandemic–which would just happen to have had the effect of derailing most of the legislative agenda of the Democratic majority ahead of a major election, the Denver Post’s Alex Burness reported late last week:

“In November 1988, the People of Colorado overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment to limit their state legislature to no more than 120 general session days each year, with each session ending on a date certain,” [Senate Minority Leader Chris] Holbert said in a statement. “That literally means that legislative days must be counted consecutively.”

House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, R-Castle Rock, said extending the session would set a dangerous precedent.

After losing their case yesterday, Senate Minority Leader Chris Holbert and House Minority Leader Patrick Neville put out considerably more restrained statements, with Holbert actually claiming to be “grateful” that the Court provided guidance on how to proceed–just the opposite of what he asked for.

Former state Sen. Greg Brophy, however, was not exactly what you’d call restrained. The word is unhinged.

In the end, what we have here is another striking example of the two very different approaches Republicans and Democrats take to governing, in Colorado and elsewhere. Republicans rely philosophically and in practice on often absurdly rigid interpretations of the law to demand outcomes which are plainly at odds with what should be everyone’s goal: government that functions effectively to meet the needs of the governed.

For everyone who doesn’t want to see government “drowned in the bathtub,” this decision is a big win.

GOP State House Candidate Faces Possible Disqualification

(Oops – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

A Republican race for an Arapahoe County legislative seat could be headed toward turmoil, as one of the two candidates is registered as an Unaffiliated voter, potentially disqualifying him from running for office as a Republican under Colorado law.

Steve Monahan and Bill Klocek are facing off for the state House District 3 seat, which covers swaths of Cherry Hills Village, Englewood, and Greenwood Village. It’s currently represented by Democrat Meg Froelich.

It’s Monahan who’s officially an Unaffiliated voter, according to records obtained from the Colorado Secretary of State’s website, which also contains information about rules that prohibit a candidate from running for office with a party without being a member of that party. Colorado law states that a candidate must be registered with the party they are running with by the first business day in January of the election year.

Lack of appropriate party registration isn’t the only element of Monahan’s candidacy filing that appears to be out of order. Each candidate must submit a signed affidavit that lists contact information, including a physical and addresses. Monahan lists a Greenwood Village UPS Store post office box for both sections.

The results of the Arapahoe County Republican Party’s assembly, which was conducted online, are not available on the party’s website. An email to the party chair asking for the results, was not returned Wednesday.

If Monahan loses the assembly vote, then his registration as an Unaffiliated voter is irrelevant.

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Thursday Open Thread

“The price one pays for pursuing any profession, or calling, is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side.”

–James Baldwin