Get More Smarter on Friday (Sept. 4)

Get More Smarter

Friday is “National Wear Teal Day” to promote awareness of ovarian cancer; can we skip the teal if we just tell a few people to be aware of the signs of ovarian cancer? It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols! If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Senator Michael Bennet (D-Denver) is expected to publicly announce his support today for President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran. As Mark Matthews reports for the Denver Post, Bennet is also announcing a new legislative plan to improve the Iran deal:

As part of his declaration, the Colorado lawmaker and former Democratic party leader also will unveil a new legislative plan that Bennet says will strengthen the deal while steering more money to Israel for its national defense…

…By coming forward now, Bennet still is able to register his support while avoiding the political fallout that comes with being the “deciding” vote, a label that was used to great effect in past elections to target Senate backers of the Affordable Care Act.

Which is why Bennet’s roll-out of a new legislative package that includes funding for Israeli security is also significant.

 

 

► State Sen. Tim Neville is “in it to win it” in the race for U.S. Senate, and Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler is sounding less and less like a potential candidate.

 

► Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis seems a bit confused about the purpose of her continued refusal to issue same-sex marriage licenses. From the Associated Press:

A defiant county clerk went to jail Thursday for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, but five of her deputies agreed to comply with the law, ending a two-month church-state standoff in Rowan County, Kentucky.

U.S. District Judge David Bunning said he had no choice but to jail Kim Davis for contempt after she insisted that her “conscience will not allow” her to follow federal court rulings on gay marriage…

…”Her good faith belief is simply not a viable defense,” Bunning said. “I myself have genuinely held religious beliefs … but I took an oath.”

“Mrs. Davis took an oath,” he added. “Oaths mean things.”

Judge Bunning told Davis that she could go free as long as she promised not to interfere with issuing marriage licenses to all couples, but she chose to go to jail instead, according to her attorneys (her counsel also compared Davis to a “Jew living in Nazi Germany,” because, you know, somebody had to make the inevitable Nazi comparison).

To recap, Davis is now sitting in jail while Rowan County clerks are issuing same-sex marriage licenses, so her protest is accomplishing very little. Maybe she just likes the food in jail.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Friday Open Thread

“Whatever can be noted historically can be found within history.”

–Martin Heidegger

Rep. Joe Salazar Eviscerates Trump (And Mike Coffman)

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

It’s not often that we cite an opinion piece published on another site, but Rep. Joe Salazar of Thornton penned an op-ed for today’s Aurora Sentinel that’s prompting a lot of discussion–certainly enough to earn a mention in this space.

The subject? Donald Trump, naturally–and Trump’s record’s similarity to that of “moderate” Rep. Mike Coffman. Excerpts:

Congressman Mike Coffman was a loud supporter of the extreme anti-immigrant agenda long before Donald Trump rode his xenophobia to the top of the Republican polls. Trump may be hogging all the attention and crowding out his rivals, but his outrageous views towards immigrants and Latinos are common in the Republican Party. In fact, it is fair to say that Trump is Tancredo/Coffman 2.0.

Unlike Trump, within the past few years Mike Coffman has been awkwardly running/stumbling away from this anti-immigrant legacy as fast as he can. In fact, he started learning Spanish – I know because he attempted to speak with me in Spanish during an event we both attended in 2013. But, despite his newfound bilingualism, the truth is that Coffman is alarmingly similar to Trump… [Pols emphasis]

Although Mike Coffman believes that learning Spanish would endear him to immigrant communities, his rhetoric and record only demonstrate that he is now effective in offending good, hard-working people in two languages. Let us not forget that he also fought to change the Voting Rights Act to ban multilingual ballots in areas with large populations of non-proficient English speakers (telling people they ought to grab a dictionary).

Redistricting threw Coffman into a Congressional district where he had to face the same people he stoked xenophobic fears against. Since then, Mike “Tancredo is my Hero” Coffman has been bottling up his true positions, leaving minority communities in the 6th Congressional District feeling concerned that his xenophobia will soon uncork itself.

In today’s op-ed, Rep. Salazar cites a number of similarities between Trump and Mike Coffman–like Coffman’s recommendation that non-English speaking voters “get a dictionary,” Coffman’s past support for building a wall across the Mexican border, and Coffman’s infamous 2012 assertion that President Barack Obama “is just not an American.” As Salazar points out, redistricting into a diverse and competitive new district, stripping Tom Tancredo’s old base of support from Coffman’s electorate, is the only thing that has prompted even a superficial change of heart.

As we expect Salazar will be telling CD-6 voters from now until November of 2016, it’s superficial as hell. The proof is in Coffman’s own words: far too many words to take back or flip-flop on. All that’s lacking is the will to hold Coffman accountable to that black-and-white record, something our gutless local media and previous Democratic challengers have so far not demonstrated.

Well folks, it really looks like that may be happening in 2016.

Tim Neville Full-Steam Ahead for U.S. Senate; George Brauchler, Not So Much

State Sen. Tim Neville appears to be committed to running for the U.S. Senate in 2016.

State Sen. Tim Neville appears to be committed to running for the U.S. Senate in 2016.

UPDATE: In an interview with Marianne Goodland of the Colorado Statesman, Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler sounds a bit less enthusiastic about a potential Senate run of his own:

But Brauchler also said people shouldn’t be surprised if, sometime in the future, they see yard signs supporting his run for another term as district attorney “or something else.” He is up for a second term as DA in 2016. The “something else” could be a run for governor in 2018, when Democrat John Hickenlooper will be termed out…

…As to his timeline for making a decision on a Senate bid, Brauchler acknowledged that Labor Day is often an informal deadline for campaign kick-offs for major races. But he said no one is pressuring him into making a decision by then. He cautioned that, if his need to “deliberate over this with my family costs me the ability to make this decision, I’m comfortable with that. This is too big a decision, not just for us but for the community and state.

“I shouldn’t get into this race unless my heart is in it. I have to figure out if that’s going to happen,” he added. [Pols emphasis]

—–

State Sen. Tim Neville (R-Jefferson County) is the big story in Colorado politics this week after news broke yesterday that he is preparing a bid for U.S. Senate in 2016.

Neville is embarking on a statewide “listening tour” for a few weeks before he formally announces his Senate campaign, which can occasionally be a code for “I haven’t made up my mind yet.” That’s not the case here. Neville is privately telling Republicans that he is “in it to win it” for 2016, and is absolutely planning on a full-scale campaign to unseat incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet.

John Frank of the Denver Post updated his story from yesterday with a Neville interview, and the Jefferson County Republican seemed to indicate that he has made up his mind about running:

“We are doing more listening than speaking,” Neville said in an interview Wednesday. “I want to get in touch with the grassroots.”

Neville is considered one of the most conservative members in the state Senate. He defeated an incumbent Democrat in a swing seat in 2014 to win the seat. His campaign would appeal to hard-right conservatives and those aligned with the tea party…

…“I do believe he’s leaning toward it,” said [supporter Mike] Donahue, describing the prospects of a Neville campaign.

Neville sounds more equivocal. “I’m not sure there’s a lean,” he said laughing. [Pols emphasis]

Neville also told Frank that his plans for U.S. Senate are not contingent on whether or not Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler decides to enter the Republican field. As we wrote yesterday in this space, Neville’s apparent commitment to a U.S. Senate run will probably be enough to convince Brauchler to run for re-election as DA instead of seeking higher office in 2016.

 

Captionable: Jeb! Puts ‘Em To Sleep In New Hampshire

An image from this morning’s town hall with Jeb! Bush in Hampton, New Hampshire has gone viral, featuring Jeb! waxing passionate about some such or other subject while a woman in the audience struggles to stay awake:

sleepy-jeb

Here’s an animated .GIF of the somnolent scene in question for context–which we admit doesn’t make Jeb! look much more captivating:

Bushsleepy2

But for additional needed context, we should note that the audience member was seen at other times very much alert and listening to Jeb’s! talk. Afterward, Jeb! even posed for a picture with the woman, who as it turns out had worked an all-night shift right before the town hall–certainly a passable explanation for being a little drowsy.

What a shame that nobody gives a crap about the context of a photo like this! Much like Michael Dukakis in the tank or Michelle Bachmann eating that corn dog, you can explain it away all you want–the visual is what it is, and it’s worth a thousand words.

Former Republican talk-radio host poised to jump into U.S. Senate race

(Bla-haha! – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Robert Blaha.

Robert Blaha.

On Facebook this morning, former talk-radio host and former Colorado Springs congressional candidate Robert Blaha writes that he will challenge Sen. Michael Bennet, if Bennet endorses President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.

“If Colorado Senator Michael Bennet votes to support this deal, he must be defeated in 2016 and I will announce my candidacy for U.S. Senate. If he votes against the deal, I will stand down – Period,” Blaha wrote on Facebook, without mentioning state Sen. Tim Neville and DA George Brauchler, who are also testing the Senate waters.

Blaha’s radio show on KZNT was called Black, White, and Right, and his co-host was Derrick Wilburn, who’s now vice chair of the Colorado Republican Party. The pair didn’t disappoint those who wanted to hear from the “right.” This Muslim bashing in this segment, for example, caught my ear back in 2012.

Wilburn would often stake out ground even further to the right than Blaha. Wilburn for example, once gave “almost human” honors to mainstream Repubicans, while Baha didn’t quite go that far.

No word yet on whether Tancredo, also a former talk-radio host, will join Blaha in running for U.S. Senate. Maybe Blaha will encourage him. I loved it when Tancredo told Bob Beauprez to jump in the gubernatorial race last year: “Listen buddy, get in! The water’s fine. It will be fun.” Little did Tanc know how hot Beauprez would make water for Tancredo, due to attack ads from national Republican groups. These ads were credited with knocking Tanc out of the race, opening the door to Beauprez to lose to Gov. John Hickenlooper in November.

Blaha isn’t the only local talk-radio host who’s jumped to partisan politics. Jimmy Lakey, who hosts a morning shoe on KCOL 600-AM in Ft. Collins, ran for Congress in Colorado Springs. Tancredo hosted a show on KVOR in Colorado Springs. KVOR’s Jeff Crank was almost elected to Congress. KLZ’s Ken Clark is the Second Vice Chair of the Denver Republican Party.

Get More Smarter on Thursday (Sept. 3)

Get More Smarter

On this day seven years ago, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin formally accepted the Republican nomination for Vice President at the GOP convention in Minnesota; things went downhill from there. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols! If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

It’s time to warm up the Ultrasound Bus; state Sen. Tim Neville is beginning a “listening tour” around Colorado in preparation for a U.S. Senate run. Neville says his plans for Senate won’t be influenced by whether or not Arapahoe County DA George Brauchler decides to run, and we’d guess that Brauchler is now more likely to skip the race to focus on his own re-election instead. 

► Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis will appear before a federal judge today to try to explain why she should be allowed to ignore the law and continue her refusal to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples. Several Republican Presidential candidates are weighing in on the story, with some predictable results:

“I salute her today, and I stand with her,” Mike Huckabee said, explaining that he called her up to thank her for standing up to “judicial tyranny.” Huckabee added: “I thank God for Kim Davis, and I hope more Americans will stand with her.”

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul was less effusive in his praise but also supports Davis, as does Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. In other words, Republicans who are least likely to get elected to the Presidency are the most vocal about supporting someone who is openly breaking the law (Carly Florina, to her credit, has said that Davis should resign).

► Denver voters will not have to decide on allowing some public use of marijuana after activists decided to pull the proposed ballot measure. Legal marijuana activists instead will focus their efforts on trying to secure an ordinance from the Denver City Council.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Mike Coffman Sells His Soul To The NRCC

Republican uber-strategist Karl Rove, Rep. Mike Coffman.

Republican uber-strategist Karl Rove, Rep. Mike Coffman.

A fascinating report in this morning’s Washington Post about a “contract” that a number of vulnerable Republican members of Congress have agreed to sign in order to obtain assistance in the upcoming elections from the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC):

Two dozen House Republicans have agreed to privately detail their “legislative strategy” to party operatives, promising to offer “political justifications” for their goals in Congress.

The Daily 202 obtained a copy of the three-page contract that the National Republican Congressional Committee requires members to sign if they want to participate in its Patriot Program. The initiative, designed to protect potentially vulnerable incumbents, brings with it special attention and access to mounds of campaign cash. But strings are attached.

One of the 13 requirements is to submit an off-year “campaign plan” that includes: “Detailed, written legislative strategy that provides short-, intermediate-, and long-term legislative goals, including political justifications for those goals.”

“Be sure to include local issues unique to the district or region,” the contract says. “Complete a Patriot Policy Priorities worksheet to be used by NRCC staff to evaluate legislative priorities for the current Congress and to promote and advocate for those priorities where appropriate.”

Here’s a link to the contract obtained by the Washington Post. It should be noted that many of the provisions in this contract, like committing to fundraising targets and keeping off-year spending at a reasonable level, are common-sense campaign best practices that any smart political strategist would want candidates to abide by. Another provision requiring candidates to use vendors who meet the NRCC’s “standards,” meaning the NRCC’s handpicked vendors, is in fact quite dubious–but more to political insiders than the general public.

Where the NRCC’s contract gets truly dicey for its vulnerable incumbent signers, especially Colorado’s most vulnerable incumbent Congressman Mike Coffman, is the promise to detail “legislative goals” for NRCC staff to “evaluate.” Given that Rep. Coffman has tried as hard as he could to put daylight between himself and the Republican party line on issues like immigration reform, LGBT rights, and even abortion, having his legislative agenda pre-cleared by national Republicans makes Coffman’s “change of heart” since redistricting look as contrived as Democrats have always insisted it was from the beginning.

But at the end of the day, there’s got to be a return on, you know, “the investment.”

Tim Neville Wields a Mighty Wrench in Republican Senate Field

That's a big-ass wrench, Tim Neville.

That’s a big-ass wrench, Tim Neville.

The big (BIG) news today in Colorado politics is State Sen. Tim Neville embarking on a “listening tour” in preparation for a run for U.S. Senate in 2016. Considering the number of events — across the state — that Neville already has planned, it’s a safe bet that he’s already heard enough to convince him to seek the Republican nomination against incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver).

As we wrote earlier today when news was breaking about Neville’s likely candidacy, this is a decision that throws a giant wrench into the entire process by which Republicans had been trying (and failing) to recruit a top-tier Senate candidate for 2016.

Colorado political news in the last week has largely been focused on efforts by Republicans to recruit Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler into the 2016 Senate race. Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is among those in the GOP publicly pushing for a Brauchler candidacy, as he told Politico on Tuesday:

“I think if he ran for the Senate, he’d be someone who a lot of Republicans could get behind — including myself,” said Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), who unseated Democratic Sen. Mark Udall in a hotly contested race last year. “I think there are a lot of people who are very interested in this race. I think a lot of them are waiting on George Brauchler.” [Pols emphasis]

Republicans have already been through 15-20 different names in their search for a 2016 Senate candidate, so there couldn’t have been a lot of people waiting on Brauchler. We started to hear over the last couple of days that Brauchler was not comfortable being pushed to make a decision on a Senate run after just concluding the Aurora Theater Shooting Trial, and now that Neville has signaled his intentions, Brauchler can bow out of the race without leaving Republicans searching for a candidate.

In fact, we’d go so far as to say that Brauchler probably should decline a Senate bid now that Neville is involved; beating Bennet in a General Election is a big feat in itself, but first beating Neville in a Republican Primary is another matter altogether. Brauchler can run for re-election as District Attorney in 2016 if he doesn’t chase a Senate seat, and then take his time in preparation for a 2018 run for Governor — which is what Brauchler really wants. This option is a no-brainer now that Brauchler can no longer count on a relatively-uncontested GOP Primary for Senate; Brauchler could lose to Neville in a Primary and not even keep his seat as District Attorney, and his political career would effectively be off the rails for years to come. A loss to Neville all but guarantees that Brauchler wouldn’t be able to mount a serious campaign for Governor two years later.

We’ve long thought that it was probably only a matter of time before somebody scratched out the math on a napkin and realized that Neville can win a Republican Primary. With heavy support in bellwether Jefferson County, and with his son, Rep. Patrick Neville, working Republicans in Douglas County, Neville has two of the most important (and largely-populated) counties in his pocket. Neville would almost certainly have the support of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO) as well; he has a strong relationship with RMGO head Dudley Brown, and one of Neville’s sons works as RMGO’s political director. Finally, Neville is a darling of the religious right. Any way you look at it, Neville would be the frontrunner in a GOP Senate Primary, where he is far more likely than Brauchler to attract the support of the Tea Party groups and other reliable Republican supporters.

Can Neville beat Bennet in a General Election? That’s an analysis for another day. All that matters right now is that Neville can win a Republican Primary, and his presence may be enough to essentially clear the GOP field.

 

BREAKING: Sen. Tim Neville Weighing U.S. Senate Bid

UPDATE #2: Liberal activist group ProgressNow Colorado calls Tim Neville “the most dangerous politician in Colorado.” Will he take that as a compliment?

As news broke today that far-right Colorado Sen. Tim Neville is considering a run for the U.S. Senate in 2016, ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, warned Colorado voters against being deceived by one of the state’s most dangerous far-right politicians.

“Tim Neville in the United States Senate would be the most dangerous politician in America,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Amy Runyon-Harms. “Senator Neville is more than just another vote to repeal Obamacare, to ban all abortions without exception, and to repeal all laws against gun violence. Neville represents the no-compromise, take-no-prisoners wing of the Republican Party that will bring the loudest voices of the Tea Party into the mainstream.”

—–

UPDATE 1:05PM: The Denver Post’s John Frank now reporting:

Neville is considered one of the most conservative members in the state Senate. He defeated an incumbent Democrat in a swing seat in 2014 to win the seat. His campaign would appeal to hard-right conservatives and those aligned with the tea party.

An invite to a Tuesday event for Neville hosted by real estate agent Mike Donahue at his Lakewood office described the lawmaker as a “highly principled patriot.”

…Neville is scheduled to talk to conservatives 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Denver VFW on West Warren Avenue. Ray Garcia is listed at the host.

—–

Sen. Tim Neville.

Sen. Tim Neville.

We started hearing rumors in the last 24 hours about the possibility that Colorado Sen. Tim Neville, who represents mountain areas of Jefferson County and Front Range gambling towns, would shortly declare a run for the U.S. Senate in 2016 against incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet.

Late yesterday, confirmation of Neville’s interest began to circulate on social media:

Please Join me for A Meet and Greet with Senator Tim Neville regarding Conversations about the Colorado U.S. Senate race.

Saturday, Sept 12th, 1:00-3:00pm (Lunch Provided)
Hosted by
Frank and Christy Rodriguez
& Representative Lori Saine

1019 10th Ave
Greeley, CO 80631
R.S.V.P 970.599.0037

Senator Neville is considering a run for
the U.S. Senate to defeat liberal extremist
Senator Michael Bennett.

•Senator Neville has proven he can win in a highly
targeted competitive district.

•Senator Neville has highly regarded principles and a
proven voting record.

•Senator Neville is well known and respected
throughout Colorado communities.

Neville’s entry into the U.S. Senate race could indeed be a game-changing development. Neville’s support among the conservative wing of the Republican Party is very strong, and he enjoys a close relationship with the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners organization whose power in GOP primary elections has been demonstrated repeatedly. In this year’s legislative session, Neville arguably had the highest profile of any Republican state senator, energizing the Republican grassroots with uncompromising positions on everything from guns to “freedom” of school children to decline vaccinations. Neville’s base of support in Jefferson County is also a powerful advantage that he would enjoy in a statewide Republican primary.

Back in June when the GOP’s first choice Rep. Mike Coffman opted to not run for the U.S. Senate next year, we identified Neville as one of a few names to watch. Neville wouldn’t be up for election to his SD-16 seat until 2018, so there’s no risk in running for higher office next year. And Neville’s strong support from RMGO and the conservative grassroots make him a formidable candidate who could actually win this primary–a fact that might be enough to dissuade a challenger before they emerge.

Bottom line: Neville has the clout to factor in this race, especially compared to alternatives left after so many have opted against running. Above all, he can’t be manhandled any more than Dudley Brown himself. He will feel no deference at all to George Brauchler, or anyone else Republican Party elites might decide they prefer.

So go make some popcorn, folks. One hell of a show is about to begin.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (Sept. 2)

Get More Smarter

Today is the 70th anniversary of V-J Day. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols! If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► President Obama picked up a major foreign policy victory with the news that Senate Democrats have the votes to support the adminstration’s nuclear deal with Iran. Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver) has not taken an official position on the deal, but it now appears likely that he won’t have to make a decision one way or the other.

► Environmental groups are pushing back against attempts by Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman to sue the EPA over new clean power regulations. From the Durango Herald:

Kim Stevens, state director with Environment Colorado, calls Coffman’s action “a political move” to undercut a big step forward to slow climate change.

“This is the time for Coloradans to stand up and let their decision-makers know they are ready to see them stand up and act on climate and tackle the pollution that’s causing this problem,” she said.

According to Stevens, the EPA’s plan will add jobs in the clean-energy sector and eventually cut utility bills by almost $100 per year, on average. She adds that the plan allows states to decide where and how to reduce emissions from existing power plants to meet EPA targets.

► It’s becoming more and more difficult for supporters of TABOR, the so-called “Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights,” to continue offering a defense for this broken policy. According to a study from Colorado State University, 80% of Coloradans actually pay more in taxes because of TABOR — not less.

 

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Fake Reporter Art Kane Back With Another Bogus Story

Art Kane.

Art Kane.

Local freelance “journalist” Art Kane came under heavy criticism last year after writing a series of news articles for the Denver Post that inaccurately disparaged the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a Obamacare, in Colorado. And these weren’t small inaccuracies, either, but wild factual exaggerations and totally unsubstantiated hearsay horror stories that fell apart under casual scrutiny.

Since then, Kane has taken up with a “news” outlet much better suited to his particular brand of hackery: the conservative Watchdog.org website run by the Franklin Center for Public Integrity. The stories may not be any more accurate–but Kane’s new bosses aren’t concerned with, you know, accuracy.

Today’s Art Kane feature story on per diem pay for Colorado state legislators at Colorado Watchdog is an excellent case in point:

Colorado lawmakers who live outside the metro area will get a bump in their per diem next session, making that state’s reimbursements the second highest in the country and costing taxpayers an additional $35,000 next year…

The per diem rate for lawmakers living outside the metro area will go up to $195 a day next session; state law sets it at 85 percent of the federal government per diem for the Denver Metro area, which also increased this year. The cost to taxpayers is an additional $35,000 a year, legislative staff wrote in an email exchange with Watchdog.org.

Colorado Union of Taxpayers president Gregory Golyansky said he was upset when he learned from last week’s Watchdog.org story the per diem expenses cost taxpayers so much money, and that raising the costs next year isn’t appropriate.

Gregory Golyansky.

Gregory Golyansky.

Setting aside Colorado Union of Taxpayers president Gregory Golyansky’s major credibility problems, with which our readers are very well acquainted, there’s a very large part of the story of this increase in per diem that Art Kane isn’t telling you:

National Conference of State Legislatures data shows the increase will skyrocket Colorado to the second highest per diem after Alaska, which pays lawmakers $235 a day if they live outside the capital area…

This year, Kentucky, Alaska and Tennessee had higher per diems, but Colorado will surpass those states unless their per diem rates increase. Expensive states such as Hawaii, New York and California reimbursed their lawmakers less than Colorado, NCSL data shows. [Pols emphasis]

As we read this story claiming that “expensive states” like Hawaii, New York, and California “reimbursed their lawmakers less than Colorado,” we remembered something very important: in Colorado, legislators don’t even make enough to survive. Here’s what the National Conference of State Legislatures really says about the salaries of lawmakers in the states listed above:

Base Salary

California: $90,526 per year
Hawaii: $57,852 per year
New York: $79,500 per year
Colorado: $30,000 per year [Pols emphasis]

This list doesn’t take into account which of these legislatures are “part time” versus “full time,” but that really doesn’t matter: Colorado legislators routinely draw per diem pay for events they attend throughout the year. Most of our lawmakers in either party will tell you that serving in the Colorado General Assembly is very much a full-time commitment. And that means except for the very young and very rich, it’s a huge financial hardship.

And in terms of their total compensation, which is of course the bottom line, Colorado lawmakers earn a tiny fraction of what legislators in these other states make. And that makes Art Kane’s latest big story…well, another steaming pile of bullshit.

Back in 2012, we were critical of a bill to raise per diem pay for legislators, mostly because at that time state employees had not received a raise in several years due to recession-forced pay freezes. Then-majority House Republicans rushing the bill through with no debate didn’t help the optics either. With that said, there’s no question that pay for lawmakers in Colorado is, at this point, a major disincentive to public service.

If Art Kane would like to write a factual story, perhaps he should start there instead.