Tim Neville’s Statement Does Not Make Suspicions Of Link Between Him/RMGO And Nathaniel Marshall Unfounded

(Worse and worse – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

The Colorado Independent has been investigating the circumstances that led to Nathaniel Marshall, a person with significant ties to white supremacism, to enter the race for Colorado HD-23.  As an early result of that investigation, the Independent's John Tomasic reported yesterday that signs had emerged indicating that Tim Neville – a person with significant ties to Rocky Mountain Gun Owner's Association ("RMGO") - recruited Nathaniel Marshall to run for HD-23.  The signs relied on by Tomasic's article consisted of the following:

1) Rick Enstrom, a prominent candy business executive and onetime Republican House candidate, specifically claiming that Marshall admitted he was recruited by Neville at the Jefferson County Assembly ("Enstrom's Statements")

2) Dudley Brown, RMGO's Executive Director, admitting that per RMGO political director Joe Neville, Tim Neville spoke with Marshall at "an event" ("Brown's Statement")

In response to Tomasic's article, Tim Neville last night put forth the following statement on Facebook (accessible here):

"Regarding the leftist hit piece published today posing as a news story in the Colorado Independent:  I spoke with its author John Tomasik [sic] and told him I had no connection with Mr. Marshall's campaign- not as an endorser or financial donor or supporter.   I suggested Mr. Tomasic retract his story because it’s false.  Then he asked me if I ever met Mr. Marshall and I had to explain to him that I meet hundreds of people each week on the campaign trail.  Then he hung up on me.  Shocked?  No, but I'm very disappointed that a Republican like Rick Enstrom would spread such a story without even a phone call to me.  I believe he knows my number, since his campaign had no problem finding me when I helped him as a volunteer to walk his precincts in 2012.     These types of attacks only embolden me to fight even harder for you.  I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all your calls and emails of support tonight.Iron sharpens iron. Together I look forward to taking back Senate District 16 this November and winning a Republican majority.   Game on!" (emphasis added)

While Tim Neville may wish that his mere claim that a story is false is sufficient to demonstrate that a story is in fact false, that is not the case.  Here, there is evidence to indicate that Neville – and through him potentially RMGO – recruited White Supremacist Nathaniel Marshall to run for HD-23.  The first two pieces of evidence are the Enstrom and Brown Statements.  In addition to those statements, last night Nathaniel Marshall revealed that he had been invited to an RMGO fundraiser as a candidate and that now they were throwing him "under the bus".  Moreover, recruiting Nathaniel Marshall would fit within a perceived pattern of RMGO supporting candidates who repeat its party line but who are poorly vetted – the chief example being former pornographic novel writer Jaxine Bubis.

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Gays, God, and Guns…GOP lineup for HD15

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

UPDATE:  Gordon Klingenschmitt, aka "Dr. Chaps" just received 71% of the delegate votes at the El Paso County Republican Assembly. Dave Williams announced his intent to petition onto the primary ballot, to be held in June. Great opportunity for the Democrat in the race, Lois Fornander, to pick up some moderate ,Independent, and disenchanted Republican votes, whichever one of these two charmers ends up on the November general election ballot.


 

Voters in El Paso County's HD15 will almost certainly elect a Republican. The district was and is 63-30% Republican vs. Democrat , so Democratic representation is not on the menu for HD15.

But which Republican will get the assembly's nomination on March 29?

Will it be bachelor #1, David Williams, known for extreme homophobia, , while simultaneously  giving child sex offenders the benefit of the doubt? Back in  2013, PCG exposed this bully in a series of investigative diaries.  Best quote (after being requested to apologize to gay Republicans): "You know what I'm sorry about? Not buying an AR-15 sooner." Photo and quote from Williams' Facebook page, researched and diaried by PCG

Williams is strongly supported by Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, as evidenced by his campaign financial disclosure of January, 2014: $100 from Tim Neville, $2,000 from Rocky Mtn Gun Owners PAC. Most of the remainder of his $37K finances consist of a loan from himself. The other two candidates are also self-financing.

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Further Evidence Of HD-23 Candidate Nate Marshall’s Possible Ties to White Supremacism

POLS UPDATE: Jefferson County Republican Party Chair Bill Tucker demands that Nate Marshall resign as a candidate. From the Denver Post:

The chairman of the Jefferson County Republican party is demanding that candidate Nate Marshall resign after learning he has ties to a white supremacist group and a criminal record.

Marshall, 42, was the only Republican to run during the Jeffco GOP assembly on Saturday for the House seat now held by Rep. Max Tyler, D-Lakewood.

Marshall did not initially respond to the Post for the initial story above, and it may be hard to convince him to get out of the race now. Marshall was nominated by the Jeffco GOP, so as long as he doesn't resign in the next four days, he becomes their candidate in HD-23 by default. We're guessing that a guy with Marshall's background isn't exactly impressed when a county Party official demands a resignation.

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Nate Marshall, GOP candidate for HD-23.

Nate Marshall, GOP candidate for HD-23.

Yesterday, Lynn Bartels of the Denver Post raised the possibility that HD-23 Candidate Nate Marshall is involved with White Supremacism.  On March 5, 2014, Nate Marshall filed his Candidate Affidavit to run for HD-23.  That Affidavit lists his Email Address as natemarshall303@gmail.com and his webpage as www.facebook.com/natemarshallpolitics .

Searching for NateMarshall303@gmail.com takes us to this linked post from March 22, 2013 on the white supremacist Stormfront Webpage by user “NateTheWatcher” telling Stormfront users that he is “putting together an event to unite groups in Colorado as well as everywhere on June 15-16. We will have a rally, a general session and breakout sessions to plan several actions involving the political and activism fronts.”  For contact information, NateTheWatcher tells people to contact him via:www.facebook.com/natemarshallpolitics and natemarshall303@gmail.com .  If that information looks familiar, there is a reason for it – it is the same information that Nate Marshall, candidate for HD-23, listed in his candidate affidavit.  On this basis, it appears that Stormfront user NateTheWatcher is HD-23 Candidate Nate Marshall. 

NateTheWatcher (again, very possibly Nate Marshall) has another post on Stormfront date June 13, 2013 that popped up from a simple websearch for the website listed on Nate Marshall’s candidate affidavit.  This post, titled ”The Aryan Revolution.. 40 hours to go!” states:

“The Aryan Revolution begins in just over 40 hours. It is time to rise up and defend our race, heritage, and existence!

I thank and congratulate those of you who have in the past and now and in the future have made the courageous decisions to risk everything for your race.. a one for all and all for one mentality!

We will need to continue to fight hard.. the enemy has wounded us in the past and will again.. but even if we lose some battles we will win the war! MAKE NO MISTAKE WE WILL TRIUMPH!

There can be no doubt to our resolve.. our determination and our total and complete victory! Future generations will treat us as founding fathers of a greater world where once again freedom, equality and justice will prevail for our race! The wrongs of the past will be righted and our race will stand united against our enemies including ideology, parasites and the unwashed, unkept, unethical and pathetic jews!

Join us… give us your time, dedication and what you can sacrifice and we will bring you every dream possible as reality!

Thank you again! “

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Abortion Rights Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Congressman Cory Gardner isn't the only wolf in sheep's clothing on the abortion issue. Extremist Republican candidates routinely attempt to hide their actual agenda regarding abortion rights.

Another recent, albeit lower-profile "evolution" in Weld County is the flip of HD 50 candidate Isaia Aricayos.

In 2013 Aricayos' website included: "I oppose abortion in all cases except where the life of the mother is in imminent and mortal danger." (Screenshot from July 2013 below the fold.)

But now in March 2014, his website includes only that he believes in the "sanctity of life" and that "life begins at conception." For a lot of voters, what's important isn't that politicians play games to get elected. What's important is what the politicians really think, and what they're going to try to do once they're in office.

So what does Aricayos really think should be our policy?

Well, in January earlier this year, he trumpeted the endorsement of Steve Humphrey, and praised Humphrey's HB 1133. (This screenshot below the fold also, although as of today the post is still up on his Facebook page.) Which is a law to make prescribing anything that aids in an abortion a class three felony. Which means a doctor that prescribes an abortion for a woman who's fetus is badly damaged and would never have a normal life, or a hospital that provides an abortion to an underage rape victim, would be going to jail for four years. Depending on how you read the statute, even a store that sells plan B over the counter or someone who purchased Plan B for a friend who couldn't afford it, would be going to jail for four years, because the statute appears to ban even Plan B, which can prevent implantation of a fertilized egg. (Note: an earlier version of this diary did not recognize that the statute is a little ambiguous with respect to whether Plan B would be included in the ban. See the comments.) Or more–four years is the standard minimum sentence for a class three felony.

Don't believe me? Here's the main text of the bill:

"A person shall not knowingly administer to, prescribe for, procure for, or sell to a pregnant mother any medicine, drug, or other substance with the specific intent of causing or abetting the termination" [of a pregnancy].

"A person shall not knowingly use or employ any instrument or procedure upon a pregnant mother with the specific intent of causing or abetting the termination of the life of [the pregnancy].

A violation of this section is a class 3 felony."

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HD-24′s Lesson: It’s Not About You

Kristian Teegardin.

Kristian Teegardin.

We want to take just a moment to revisit a story from last week's Colorado Statesman, wherein lies a moral:

House District 24 Democratic candidate and Edgewater City Councilman Kristian Teegardin is not concerned that a past criminal history for attempting to pass a bad check will hurt him in a divisive primary against Wheat Ridge progressive policy strategist Jessie Danielson, or in the general election if he makes it there.

Teegardin was arrested at 29 years old in 2002 after attempting to pass the bogus check at an urgent care medical facility near where he lived at the time in Bloomington, Ind. He was charged with a misdemeanor for “check deception.”

He failed to make his initial court hearing on Jan. 21, 2003, resulting in a warrant issued for his arrest, according to Monroe County Circuit Court documents obtained by The Colorado Statesman.

He was then arrested on Feb. 2, 2003 in Bloomington, Ind. at 2:38 a.m. after a routine traffic stop revealed the outstanding warrant, according to a Bloomington Police Department arrest report. Teegardin was booked and jailed for the offense. He was also charged with having an expired license plate…

In the days since this story, there's been a bit of consternation about the potential use of this incident against HD-24 Democratic candidate and Edgewater council member Kristian Teegardin–by his Democratic primary opponent, which seems less likely, but more importantly by Republicans in the general election. To be clear, what we're talking about is a misdemeanor charge stemming from a 2002 bad check in Indiana for the sum of $123. The check offered was for medical care at an urgent care clinic, and it's tough to argue with the necessity of medical treatment after a bicycle accident as he claims was the case. Emergency medical care, as our readers know, is a situation that frequently puts consumers in dire financial straits.

The trouble, as seems to be the concern today among Democrats, is that Teegardin's decade old bad check could put an historically safe seat into play in November as a potential Republican pick up. Although HD-24 has been held by Democrats for a long time, the district has similar competitive numbers as Rep. Max Tyler's HD-23–a district where Republicans have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars for the past two cycles. With Republicans expected to make a vigorous play for both the Colorado House and Senate this year, any weakness is going to be exploited to the absolute limits of believability–and then some. Any diversion of resources to counter Republican attacks due to an avoidable problem reduces the ability of Democrats to compete in other targeted races. If successfully attacked, a wounded candidate can affect other overlapping and adjacent races.

Again, none of this is intended to make more of this very minor incident than what it is. And it's certainly nothing personal. The problem is that the other side will not be in any way understanding about this, and will exploit it for its maximum strategic value–which affects more than Teegardin. With a viable Democratic candidate already in the race, these are real-world considerations that should render the question academic.

GOP Boots Indifferent Rep. Justin Everett from 2 Committees

Last October the Republican Liberty Caucus of Colorado awarded Jefferson County Republican Rep. Justin Everett with its "Goldwater Award," in recognition of the Colorado elected official who most represents the values of one Barry Goldwater (The RLC of Colorado is so conservative that they recently announced that they won't endorse any of the Republican candidates for Governor).

In announcing their award for Rep. Everett, here's what the RLC of Colorado wrote on their website:

This is not a reward for using “liberty” rhetoric.  The most important lesson an activist can learn is to pay attention to a politician’s votes rather than the words they use.   It takes a principled and diligent legislator to work through this myriad of bad legislation and ensure that he votes consistently for liberty.  In 2013, no one more fulfilled the vision of Barry Goldwater or the words of our Liberty Compact than Representative Justin Everett.

If you ask around you will learn that Justin commits long hours outside of the legislative day to understand these bills.  He serves as a resource for others, both in the chamber and in the public, who want to understand a particular bill.  In this way he is more than one vote in favor of our a principles, he is a leader on their behalf. [Pols emphasis]

Maybe this was all true in 2013. But these days, if you ask about Justin Everett around the Capitol, most people will probably ask you if you've seen him anywhere. Rep. Everett is taking the small government rhetoric to new heights — by doing as little "governing" as possible.

MissingEverett

The smallest government is NO government.

Yesterday, House Minority Leader Brian DelGrosso removed Everett from two committees — "Education" and Transportation and Energy" — with little in the way of explanation. DelGrosso replaced Everett on the "Transportation and Energy" committee with Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg, but left Republicans with a vacancy on "Education." DelGrosso was so mad at Everett that he asked the Sergeant at Arms to escort Everett out of the committee rooms. (Everett remains a member of the "Public Health Care and Human Services" committee; by statute, legislators must be a member of at least one committee). Here's DelGrosso's statement:

“Representative Everett is dealing with some personal issues and I wanted to give him more time to handle them. He was one of a few of our members who are on three committees, so I decided to remove him from two.Representative Everett remains on the House Public Health Care & Human Services Committee and will be reappointed once the issues are resolved.”

So why such harsh treatment? DelGrosso is apparently fed up with Everett's indifference toward his job, and his willingness to vote against the Republican caucus in favor of whatever the Liberty Caucus demands. Everett is frequently late to, well, everything, and he's completely unprepared when he does show up (and manages to stay awake). Everett sponsored the 2014 version of a bill to ban public employee unions, but in a January hearing he seemed unable to answer basic questions about the legislation, presented no witnesses, and watched as the committee took just 8 minutes to reject the bill outright. A bill to ban public employee unions was never going to get any traction in a Democratic-controlled House, but it's unusual for a sponsor to essentially do nothing to support its cause.

But it's not just committee assignments that Everett has blown off. As you can see in the graphic, Everett has been marked "Absent" in roll call votes a whopping 23 times already this year — once more than the number of "Absent" marks for all other House members combined. A Colorado Pols analysis of House roll call votes shows that Everett has only once been "Present" at least 3 days in a row. At least he's consistent.

Republicans have struggled to convince voters in recent years that they really have Colorado's best interests at heart. This fiasco with Everett is only going to make that impression worse.

Who Is Rep. Libby Szabo Protecting?

libbyszabo

The Denver Post's Anthony Cotton reports on today's passage of a Democratic bill to toughen sentences for child sex offenders:

The reading of a bill designed to create mandatory minimum sentences for those convicted of crimes against children advanced Monday in the House, but not before some heated debate between Democrats and Republicans over how closely it hewed to ground-breaking legislation in Florida…

Both bills were heard in the House's State Affairs committee two weeks ago, with the Democratic-controlled group killing Szabo's bill while moving Foote's.

Szabo sought to mirror the Florida law, which includes a 25-year minimum sentence for offenders over the age of 18 as well as a provision that if the person were released early on parole, he or she would have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. Foote's bill would stagger sentences that range from 10 to 48 years based on the seriousness of the crime and if it's ruled a class 1, 2 or 3 felony.

The Democrats accused the Republicans of trying to "cut and paste" the Florida law onto the Colorado statutes, adding that Foote's proposed legislation has the support of Lunsford's family. [Pols emphasis]

The passage of a so-called "Jessica's Law," mandating long sentences for sex crimes against children this year, came after a disgusting episode in the last legislative session, where Rep. Libby Szabo, the bill's primary sponsor, accused Democratic House Speaker Mark Ferrandino of "obviously protecting someone" after the 2013 bill died in a House committee. In reality, stakeholders including the Colorado District Attorneys' Council, and victim's advocates like the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault opposed Szabo's bill because Colorado already has very tough sentencing for perpetrators of sex crimes against children. The approach favored by Democrats this year, and still supported by advocates for "Jessica's Law," acknowledges the tough status quo and further strengthens sentencing–within a framework that attempts to make the punishment fit the crime.

But that wasn't enough for Szabo today, who warned darkly:

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Alec Garnett Over 50% After Caucus

House Speaker Mark Ferrandino, right, is backing Alec Garnett as his successor in HD-2.

Alec Garnett is 20% taller than Mark Ferrandino and is backed by 54% of caucus-goers.

According to an email sent out today by HD-2 candidate Alec Garnett:

Last Tuesday night was caucus night in Colorado.  Neighbors and friends came together from across the district and we captured more than 50% of the delegates elected. This means at county assembly we should be well above the 30% threshold to make the ballot.  I cannot tell you how deeply humbled I am by the support I’ve earned.  

Garnett is one of three Democrats running to replace term-limited House Speaker Mark Ferrandino in a Denver seat that will be effectively decided by a Primary. The other two Democrats running in HD-2 are Owen Perkins and Aaron Silverstein.

 

We don't really have anything else to say, but this sentence will help balance out the picture on the right.

School Funding

Pols reporting of the ongoing school funding issue in the legislature seems nonexistent. Check out Chalkboard for the news on a united front of Colorado educators asking for no more unfunded mandates and some backfilling of the cuts of the last few years.

Democratic legislators appear to be under increasing pressure to restore funding, WITHOUT requiring implementation of their pet projects. Yesterday's letter to Gov. Hickenlooper signed by almost all superintendents in the state is unprecedented, yet very clear in what educators feel they need.

Today’s Main Event: Banning Abortion in Colorado (Yes, Really)

UPDATE 4:35PM: GOP Reps. Bob Gardner and Mark Waller, both pro-life but “reluctantly” unable to vote for an “unconstitutional” bill to ban abortion, join Democrats in voting against House Bill 14-1133. Bill dies on a final vote of 9-2.

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UPDATE #3: Hearing now underway, this Texas-style rotunda photo sent to us from the press conference prior:

20140311_132523

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UPDATE #2: The Colorado Independent's John Tomasic:

Karen Middleton, NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado director, told the Independent that calling attention to this kind of legislation is important, especially given the way the local and national political landscape on the issue of women’s reproductive rights has shifted in recent years.

“Leadership in the Colorado House and Senate is always in the balance,” she said. “This is a bill that has been introduced in the past and will likely be introduced again. It could get through, maybe not this year, but next year… Voters have to take note.”

…Middleton points to the historic wave of anti-abortion bills passed in statehouses around the country in recent years that, she suggests, voters may not have supported had the consequences of the laws been more clearly spelled out in debate.

“You can see what is happening. You see what happened in Texas,” she said.

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UPDATE: From the release announcing today's opposition press conference:

A diverse coalition of Coloradans, including reproductive health organizations, doctors, and women with stories about their reproductive health experiences will be speaking out in advance of Tuesday’s hearing on HB 1133, the abortion ban bill.
 
HB14-1133, which is being sponsored by Republican leadership, would ban abortion in Colorado in almost all circumstances, including in cases of rape and incest. The bill would make it a Class 3 felony for a physician to perform an abortion, which carries a 4-12 year prison sentence. This bill does not represent the needs of Colorado women and families, or the values of Colorado voters. Coloradans have rejected abortion bans at the ballot box twice, and strong majorities continue to support access to safe abortion services.
 
When & Where: 1:00 pm, Tuesday, March 11, 2014           
Rotunda, 2nd Floor, Outside Old Supreme Court Chambers
 
Who: Physicians, health care providers, Colorado women
Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains
NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado
COLOR – Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity & Reproductive Rights (bilingual)

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Today at 1:30PM in the Old Supreme Court Chambers, debate in the Colorado House Judiciary Committee will commence on a key piece of Republican legislation, House Bill 14-1133. As we've discussed in this space already, this bill has a simple purpose:

1133bottomline

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Tancredo, Woods, etc., remain talk-radio heroes, no matter what’s happening in the real world

(Let's set reality aside for a moment – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

POLS UPDATE: Apropos to the original post, here's a flyer circulating for a Laura Woods event hosted by Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, who seems to be throwing down hard in the SD-19 GOP primary against Lang Sias:

Woods Meet and Greet

Come for the meeting, stay for the giveaways! Original post follows.

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In the alternative reality constructed each morning on KNUS' Peter Boyles show, they're busy reliving the glory days of the recall campaigns.

Recall spokespeople Laura Woods and Jennifer Kerns have been on the show re-telling stories about how "grassroots" Republicans fought off establishment Republicans and won.

One of Boyles' favorite things to do is to point out that most of the Republicans who've risen up in recent weeks weren't the ones getting down and dirty during the recall effort.

On Tuesday, for example, Boyles asks Woods for the names of specific Republican candidates and elected officials who were with her:

Woods: Well, I just want to preface by saying, as a candidate [for SD 19] now, I’m not endorsing these guys, but I’ll put on my recall hat and I’ll talk to you about who was out there on the lines with us. We clearly had Victor Head. He wasn’t a candidate then, but he is now. And then we had senator candidates Tim Neville and Tony Sanchez walking the streets, knocking doors, gathering petition signatures. Tom Tancredo was out there, as was Greg Brophy. We had the sheriff candidates, Jim Shires, Jeff Schrader, John Berry, all out there at times. Ken Buck was in the office at times. And Owen Hill was sitting in our office making phone calls. So, there were a lot of candidates, none of whom were involved in this back room deal—other than Ken Buck to move, you know, from the Senate race to the House race.

The good old recall days are gone, and the good old folks are threatened, in Boyle's mind, by back-room-dealing evil-doers, like Bob Beauprez, Cory Gardner, and Ryan Call.

But on Boyles' radio show, regardless of what's happening in the real world, the heroes are still Woods and Tancredo, and the like, and nothing can change that, unless the show is abruptly canceled by Salem Communications Inc., which is as inevitable as a gaffe from you know who. Or someone flipping the bird at you.

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They’ve learned nothing

Every year, we see new battles over women’s reproductive rights. As the former political director for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, I’ve seen it happen over and over. In fact, more states enacted restrictions on abortion between 2011–2013 than in the entire previous decade. [1] They never stop, and we can’t let our guard down for one minute.

Today, I need you to take a stand for women in Colorado.

Next Tuesday, Republicans will once again try to pass a total ban on abortions in Colorado. This has been attempted in previous years, but what’s different about this bill is the support of Republican leadership. In fact, Republican House Minority Leader Brian DelGrosso has signed on as a co-sponsor to this dangerous legislation. Instead of respecting the will of the vast majority of Coloradans–we live one of the most pro-women and pro-choice states in the country–Republicans are determined to prove yet again that they don’t believe women are capable of making their own personal, private medical decisions.

Join my fight to protect the rights of women in Colorado. Take a moment right now to contact members of the Colorado House Judiciary Committee, as well as the abortion ban bill's sponsors, and urge them to vote NO on House Bill 14-1133. Let them all know these backward bills have no place in Colorado.

As Thomas Jefferson said, “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” Thank you for remaining vigilant at this important moment.

Sincerely,

Amy Runyon-Harms
Executive Director, ProgressNow Colorado

P.S. It’s so important you let these legislators know that you stand with the women of Colorado, and these anti-woman efforts aren’t welcome in 2014. Please don’t wait–contact our legislators now. This is a numbers game, and your voice makes a difference.

Danielson, Teegardin Battle Over Endorsements in HD-24

Back in January, Democratic Rep. Sue Schafer made a surprising announcement that she would not be running for re-election for a final term in HD-24. Two Democrats quickly jumped into the race to succeed Schaffer in a district that has historically been decided in a Democratic primary, and heading into Tuesday's caucuses, both candidates are touting strong endorsements.

Jessie Danielson announced today that she has been endorsed by Rep. Brittany Pettersen, a Democrat from Lakewood whose star has been rising in the state legislature. Pettersen is among a host of current and former legislators who are backing Danielson, including former state Sens. Joan Fitz-Gerald and Betty Boyd.

At the same time, Edgewater City Council member Kristian Teegardin has been picking up his own support, most notably from Schafer herself (though her less-than-sterling record as a Democrat in a Democratic district makes the effect of her support difficult to handicap).

We have yet to see fundraising reports from either candidate, since both won't be required to report their totals until April, but if both are able to raise decent money, this looks like it's heading for a competitive June Primary.

Finally, The End Of The Endless “Jessica’s Law” Drama

UPDATE: Release from House Democrats, Rep. Mike Foote's "Jessica's Law" passes unanimously:

“As a deputy district attorney, I have prosecuted some of these crimes, and I have seen how devastating they can be for victims and their families,” Rep. Foote said. “I want to help them heal by knowing that Colorado has no tolerance for those who prey on our children. And I want DAs and law enforcement to have every available tool to maximize the safety of our kids and to put the worst of the worst behind bars for a very long time.”

…Members of the criminal justice and law enforcement communities, as well as victims’ rights advocates, testified in support of the bill.

“House Bill 1260 brings Jessica’s Law to Colorado in a way that makes sense for Colorado,” Rep. Foote told the committee. “We’re not going to cut and paste any provision of any other state’s criminal law without making allowances for our structure and the way things work in Colorado.” [Pols emphasis]

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Rep. Mike Foote (D).

Rep. Mike Foote (D).

​CBS4's Shaun Boyd reported Friday about legislation, two pieces of legislation actually, up for debate in the Colorado House today. Both call themselves "Jessica's Law," named after a Florida child who was murdered by a convicted sex offender out of prison on parole:

The intent of both bills is the same — to make sure anyone who sexually assaults a child spends a long time behind bars.

Both bills are named after Jessica Lunsford, a young girl from Florida who was raped and murdered by a sex offender on parole…

“For these types of offenders a longer sentence is something that’s necessary,” said Rep. Mike Foote, D-Boulder.

Foote is among those who voted against the Szabo bill, calling it “one size fits all.” But he also promised Mark Lunsford he would try to do something. He’s now introduced his own “Jessica’s Law.” His bill would put child molesters away for 10 to 24 years depending on the seriousness of the crime.

“My bill treats different types of actions differently, but also makes sure to target those who are committing the worst of the worst offenses,” Foote said.

Boyd's report, while a fair look at this year's bills, leaves out a number of important details from the debate last year over the GOP version of "Jessica's Law"–details that few under the Dome can forget. The fact is, law enforcement representatives including Colorado District Attorneys' Council, and victim's advocates like the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault opposed last year's version the bill. The reason is simple: Colorado already has very tough sentencing laws for sex offenders. What GOP Rep. Libby Szabo proposed last year was more about stripping away judicial sentencing discretion in an undifferentiated way. Rep. Mike Foote's bill, though we haven't heard if it's considered any more necessary by the DAs and victims than Szabo's, at least tries to look objectively at the types of crimes committed.

This is also the debate in which Rep. Szabo appeared on the FOX News O'Reilly Factor, and made the scurrilous allegation that Speaker Mark Ferrandino was "obviously protecting someone" after the bill died in a House committee. Especially given the opinion among law enforcement and victims advocates that the law isn't necessary in Colorado, we hope that Rep. Foote's generous attempt to accommodate proponents means this is the last we'll ever have to hear about "Jessica's Law."

The Colorado Independent Gets It Wrong On HB1258

I am writing this to briefly rebut several points made in the Colorado Independent’s February 28, 2014 report on HB1258.  For those of you who are not aware, HB1258 is a bill sponsored by Representative Amy Stephens, which mandates various procedural due process rights that a respondent has in a proceeding before the Independent Ethics Commission (“IEC”).  Such rights include the ability to have a state-provided attorney and to be informed of the elements of the offense an IEC Respondent is charged with.  As an enforcement mechanism to protect these rights, and any other right clearly established under federal or state law, any IEC Commissioner who recklessly, intentionally, or willfully violates such rights will have personal liability.

The points that I will be rebutting are as follows:

Contention #1 (by Robert Wechsler): HB1258 Will Allow Citizens To Be Sued For Bringing A Complaint
Reality: This is absolutely false.  The bill creates liability for IEC commissioners (not complainants) who willfully, recklessly, or intentionally violate clearly established rights of IEC respondents.

Contention #2 (by Luis Toro): The IEC is being singled out for doing their job.
Reality: The IEC’s job, under Colorado Constitution Article XXIX is “to hear complaints, issue findings, and assess penalties, and also to issue advisory opinions, on ethics issues arising under this article and under any other standards of conduct and reporting requirements as provided by law.”  Just as a Police Officer’s job duties of keeping the peace do not require him to violate the rights of suspects in his custody, an IEC Commissioner’s job duties do not require him to deny such basic due process rights as providing an attorney or informing a respondent of the elements of the offenses such a respondent is charged with.

Contention #3 (by Luis Toro): HB1258 is a “messaging bill” that does not address any of the “real” problems with the IEC
Reality: Given that Luis Toro did not specify what the “real” problems of the IEC are, whether the bill addresses them or not in his view is impossible to evaluate.  To the extent observers believe that this bill is merely a dog and pony show, they should review the policy reasons behind why we have due process in this country.

Contention #4 (by Luis Toro): IEC Defendants have received a “Cadillac” legal defense in the past
Reality: Just as politicians are bound by Colorado Ethics Rules under Article XXIX, Attorneys are bound under the ethics rules found in the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct.  Under Colorado Rule of Professional Conduct 1.3, Comment 1, “A lawyer must . . . act with commitment and dedication to the interests of the client and with zeal in advocacy upon the client’s behalf.” (emphasis added)  Although Luis Toro’s comments are unclear, it appears he would term a dedicated legal counsel as “Cadillac”.  Practicing attorneys, on the other hand, usually term it as providing what is “ethically required.” 

Contention #5 (by the Colorado Independent): the bill is all about Scott Gessler.
Reality: Progressives have long claimed that Gessler violated substantive ethics law, and was not subsequently done in by any procedural “gotcha” tricks in the IEC prosecution, by attending an election law class at a partisan organization.  HB1258 does not change substantive ethics law.  Thus, under Progressives’ assumptions, this bill should not have had any effect on Gessler’s ethics case.

If I am missing any points, please feel free to message me and I will seek to address them.  My email is ElliotFladen at gmail.

Note -this is my own original work that I posted originally at the Colorado Independent