Get More Smarter on Monday (June 6)

Get More SmarterToday is the 72nd Anniversary of D-Day; kids, ask your parents or the History Channel. 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). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.


► The ballots are coming! The ballots are coming! Registered Democrats and Republicans should start receiving mail ballots this week in advance of the June 28th Primary election. For more information on checking your registration or address status, or if you just like reading about elections, visit


► California, here we come! On Tuesday, six states will cast votes (or do the caucus thing) in the Presidential race, but none more important than delegate-rich California. As Politico reports, Bernie Sanders is making his last stand in his fight to overtake Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, even if he isn’t willing to admit as much:

Barring a set of unprecedented upsets on Tuesday, Hillary Clinton is expected to be declared the presumptive Democratic nominee. And when the television networks make that call as soon as New Jersey polls close on June 7, it will leave Bernie Sanders with a hard choice: whether to directly acknowledge it or intensify his fight to the July convention in Philadelphia…

…A win in California, his top advisers believe, will enable Sanders to make a much more aggressive pitch to superdelegates and Democrats around the country in the coming weeks. He will be able to point to victories over Clinton in more than 20 states — capped by the biggest, bluest and most diverse in the nation. The symbolic value of winning California, they think, would underscore his point that the future of the party is on his side and rattle superdelegate confidence in her candidacy.

A loss, however, would dismantle that argument. The Sanders camp believes a defeat there would take the wind out of his sails, in no small part because of the negative media narrative that would result after having spent so much time in the state.

In addition to California and New Jersey, voters will pick favorites in Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota (Democrats only) and South Dakota.


► With ballots on their way, things are really starting to heat up in the race for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination. The Denver Post is profiling each of the 5 Republican candidates this week, starting with today’s piece on Robert Blaha. There are two high-profile GOP debates this week: Tuesday evening on 9News, and Wednesday evening in Colorado Springs hosted by the Gazette newspaper.

Also today, Ryan Frazier debuts his zombie-themed TV ad, which Colorado Statesman reporter Ernest Luning reports includes a $100k buyJack Graham has added another $250k to his TV buy, raising the total to about $700k. Blaha has been on TV with an ad buy that his campaign will not disclose, and even Darryl Glenn could be getting his mug on the idiot box pretty soon.

The editorial board of the Denver Post isn’t particularly happy about Jon Keyser’s TV ad, which has been widely panned by media outlets for its blatant lies. As the Post explains in its editorial diss:

But it’s one thing to contend the agreement plays into Iran’s hands and quite another to flatly insist the senator wants to arm the repressive Islamic regime with weapons of mass destruction. Bennet no more wants to see that than Keyser. The claim is not only offensive, it’s preposterous. And Keyser doesn’t have license to throw wild accusations around regarding Iran because he did the noble work of fighting its proxies. [Pols emphasis]

If you haven’t seen the ad yourself, it’s not because you haven’t been watching enough TV; you’d have a hard time catching it since the Keyser campaign only submitted a $5,000 ad buy (which gets him about 49 total spots). According to Luning at the Statesman, however, Keyser’s campaign has spent an additional $100k to extend this already horrible TV spot. If politics were poker, Keyser just went all-in with a deuce and a nine.


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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (May 31)

Get More SmarterWelcome to the last day of May. 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).


► Just how rich is Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump? As Politico found out, the answer depends on the skill level of your accountant.


► Republican Senate candidate Jon Keyser continues to have legal troubles surrounding his apparently fraudulent attempt to qualify for the June 28th Primary ballot. As Marshall Zelinger reports for Denver7:

Forged petition signatures uncovered by Denver7 has led three voters to sue the Secretary of State.

The lawsuit filed in Denver District Court [Friday] asks for a finding that Republican Senate candidate Jon Keyser did not have enough valid signatures to qualify for the June 28 mail-in primary election.

“This lawsuit exists because, frankly, the media and Channel 7 and you have brought to the floor, a practice that probably has existed before, but never really been documented,” attorney Mark Grueskin told Denver7 Political Reporter Marshall Zelinger.

A Denver district court judge is expected to hear opening arguments in the case this afternoon.


► Republican candidates for U.S. Senate are starting to flash their mugs on camera in TV ads around the state. If you are at all familiar with the Keyser campaign, you won’t be surprised by his first ad. As John Frank reports for the Denver Post, Keyser’s first TV spot strikes a familiar tone but is lacking in accuracy:

Whether his assertions pass the truth test is another question. PolitiFact, a prominent fact-checking outlet, recently gave a False ruling to a U.S. Senate candidate in Florida who said the deal “allows Iran to produce a nuclear weapon.” The wording in Keyser’s ad goes even further. (He was recently rebuked for a different false claim regarding Guantanamo Bay detainees.)

The Keyser campaign said it bought statewide air time through the primary but declined to disclose the size of the TV buy. [Pols emphasis]

Without the details, it’s unclear how many people will hear the message and whether it will make an impact in the race. Through April 30, Keyser only had $200,000 in the bank. though he’s courtedhigh-dollar donors in recent weeks.

With Blaha and Graham on the air with their own TV ads, Keyser’s campaign certainly felt pressure to join the club so that they could claim to be “one of three” candidates on the air. But the campaign’s refusal to disclose the size of the TV buy is a big red flag for any Keyser supporters. When Graham announced his first TV ad, his campaign included the fact that $450,000 was spent on a statewide ad blitz; this is a pretty standard practice, and declining to talk numbers usually means that you don’t have impressive numbers to discuss.


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OF COURSE Dr. Chaps Wants To “Exorcise” Caitlyn Jenner

Our friends at Right Wing Watch publicizing Colorado GOP Rep. Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt’s latest lowlight today, and frankly we’re surprised it took him this long to take on America’s most famous transgender celebrity icon:

On his latest “Pray In Jesus Name” program, Religious Right activist and Colorado Republican lawmaker Gordon Klingenschmitt declared that Caitlyn Jenner needs an exorcism to rid her of the demonic “spirit of insanity.”

Responding to false reports that Jenner is planning to transition back to male, Klingenschmitt asserted that “it would be a dumb statement for someone to try to say that he wants to stay a woman because he’s not a woman. He’s never been one. His DNA has never changed. He still has male XY chromosomes. He is not a woman, he is a man. In fact, he still has male parts, I’m told.”

Now obviously, obviously, Chaps isn’t going to consider Caitlyn Jenner’s transition from living as a man to a woman to be legitimate. That was as predictable as sunrise. Politically, we’re not even willing to say this will hurt Rep. Klingenschmitt in his upcoming primary election to succeed Senate President Bill Cadman in SD-12–in fact, knowing what we know about the electorate down there, it should net him plenty of votes.

But perhaps in recognition of Chaps’ upcoming primary against loquacious ex-Rep. Bob Gardner, we note that Chaps didn’t call for Caitlyn Jenner to be drowned in the sea, or imply that she wants to behead Christians. No folks, Jenner is just the victim of garden-variety demonic possession:

“The spirit of insanity inside of this man, Bruce Jenner,” Klingenschmitt said, has made Jenner choose sin and “has brought him down a path of destruction … It is a mental illness. Of course, we think it is a demonic illness. The man needs an exorcism.”

See? Chaps can sort of tone it down. Exorcism is a lot nicer than execution after all, and more fun to watch too.

We’re just speculating about that last part.

Get More Smarter on Thursday (May 26)

Get More SmarterIf at first you don’t succeed…just keep filing lawsuits until a judge gives up. 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).


► Wednesday witnessed the debut of the Get More Smarter Show, and today you can watch the second part of an interview with Gov. John Hickenlooper about his new memoir.


► For now, at least, there are officially 5 Republican candidates running for U.S. Senate. A district court judge ruled on Wednesday that Ryan Frazier won’t have to drop out of the race because of a lack of valid petition signatures. As John Frank reports for the Denver Post, the GOP Senate field is starting to get a bit nasty with just weeks to go before mail ballots are sent to Primary voters — and Darryl Glenn isn’t happy about having so many opponents:

One-time longshot Darryl Glenn, buoyed by the recent endorsement of the prominent Senate Conservatives Fund, continued to spit fire at his challengers in a Colorado Public Television debate Wednesday in which he suggested three of themonly qualified for the ballot because of “judicial activism.”

The action unfolded as Ryan Frazier won a court battle to secure a spot on the ballot a minute before the debate started. A Denver judge issued a ruling that allowed the state to count signatures on Frazier’s petitions from voters who didn’t update their registration, saying it met the “substantial compliance” standard in law.

Blaha and Jon Keyser needed judicial orders to qualify for the race after their petitions contained mistakes that prompted the state to initially reject them. Glenn, who won his slot in the race at the state Republican Party convention, suggested the judge went too far.

“The court should only look and determine whether or not the secretary of state did its job,” said Glenn, an El Paso County Commissioner running a bare-bones campaign. “This whole substantial compliance standard needs to be thrown out.”
He didn’t appear to know that state law explicitly requires the court to use the “substantial compliance” standard.


► Former Republican Senate candidate and current state Sen. Tim Neville is backing Robert Blaha for U.S. Senate. It probably has nothing to do with the fact that Neville’s son, Joe Neville, is now running Blaha’s campaign.

Blaha, meanwhile, has decided that it would be advantageous for his Senate campaign if he tries to “out-Trump” Donald Trump. Perhaps Blaha is drinking the same Kool-Aid as Trump staffers who insist that His Hairness is echoing the sentiments of the American people in his calls to ban Muslims from the United States.


Get even more smarter after the jump… (more…)

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (May 25)

Get More SmarterNo more homework, no more books; no more teacher’s dirty looks. Today is the last day of school for several districts in Colorado, including Jefferson County. 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).


► At long last, you can finally Get More Smarter without even bothering to read words. Today is the debut of the Get More Smarter Show, presented commercial free on YouTube.


► Republican Ryan Frazier’s on-again, off-again relationship with the GOP Primary ballot took another turn on Tuesday. If you thought that this story couldn’t get any more ridiculous…well, obviously you are not familiar with the Colorado Secretary of State. As the Aurora Sentinel explains:

Frazier still has a chance to legitimately appear on the June 28 Republican primary ballot, however, as the state Supreme Court remanded the decision on the legality of another 51 signatures submitted by the former Aurora City Councilman’s campaign back to the Denver district court for reconsideration.

The district court has been ordered to issue a ruling on the final signatures by 5 p.m. Friday, May 27…

…Frazier was one of four Republican candidates who attempted to make the primary ballot by petition. Each of the other candidates — ex-Colorado State athletic director Jack Graham, Colorado Springs Businessman Robert Blaha and former state Rep. Jon Keyser — successfully petitioned on the ballot, despite several hiccups that resulted in various appeals.

The State Supreme Court punted a final decision on Frazier’s candidacy back to a lower court, where a few weeks ago a different judge refused to actually issue a definitive ruling…which is kind of how we got here in the first place. Primary ballots go out in the mail in less than two weeks, BTW.

For a great summary of the mess that is the Republican U.S. Senate race, check out this weekend story from Charles Ashby of the Grand Junction Sentinel.


► Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump is attacking New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez even though she is a Republican. Martinez has plenty of her own problems, thank you very much.


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Laura Woods: Ignore Obama Guidelines on Transgender Student Discrimination

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Laura Waters-Woods.

Sen. Laura Waters-Woods.

State Sen. Laura Woods wrote on Facebook Sunday that Colorado should ignore President Obama’s mandate that public schools allow students to use the bathroom corresponding the gender they identify with.

But ignoring the federal rule, as advocated by Woods, would apparently run counter to Colorado law, which, since 2008, has allowed transgender people to use bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity. There has been no assualts resulting from the Colorado policy.

Woods wrote on Facebook May 21:

Woods: So, the U.S. Department of Education is now dictating school bathroom policies? This is absurd. Their new policy will completely undermine local control. Plain and simple, this is none of their business and totally beyond Congressional intent in the enactment of Title IX. Therefore, it is a policy Colorado should ignore.

In making its decision earlier this month, the Obama Administration determined that forcing a transgender child to use the bathroom corresponding to the sex on his or her birth certificate would amount to sex descrimination.

Obama’s guidelines ensure that “transgender students enjoy a supportive and nondiscriminatory school environment,” according to the administration.

Woods, who represents the Westminster area and does not return my calls, is being challenged by Democrat Rachel Zenzinger. The outcome of the race will likely determine which party controls state government.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (May 24)

Get More SmarterMay 24th may not be a national holiday…but it should be. 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).


► The ongoing petition fraud story surrounding Republican Senate candidate Jon Keyser just won’t go away, in large part because everyone associated with Keyser’s campaign is operating on a “Michael Brown running FEMA” level of crisis response. On Monday, Denver7 reporter Marshall Zelinger managed to find “Maureen,” one of the petition gatherers suspected of fraud related to Keyser’s campaign, and she wasn’t very eager to talk:

“Maureen” can run away from journalists such as Zelinger, but we would suspect she’ll have a more difficult time continuing to evade investigators with the Denver District Attorney’s office.


► Mail ballots will drop about two weeks from today in advance of the June 28th Primary, which doesn’t leave much time for the rest of the GOP Senate field to get their mugs in front of enough potential voters. Jon Keyser’s campaign is deader than a parrot in a Monty Python skit, and Ryan Frazier is just hoping that he won’t be required to withdraw from the race before voting commences.  The race for the Republican Senate nomination is likely to be a three-way battle between Darryl Glenn, Jack Graham, and Robert Blaha, and the grassroots favorite (Glenn) just landed a huge endorsement for a campaign badly in need of funding.


Get even more smarter after the jump… (more…)

Sen. Chris Holbert Is Terribly Afraid For Your Bathroom

Republican Colorado Sen. Chris Holbert reminded his followers on Facebook yesterday that he’s been trying to stop those nasty transgender perverts from sneaking into your daughter’s bathroom…well, for a really long time:


You might think that somewhere in Sen. Holbert’s reasoning on the issue, he might figure out that the law has been on the books since 2008 with no problems whatsoever. That’s consistent with a lifetime of experience on transgender bathroom access for actual transgender Americans, who Sen. Holbert would be shocked to discover having been using the facilities appropriate for their gender expression since long before Holbert ever got caught playing with himself in the boys’ bathroom in elementary school–or whatever happened in childhood that made him so paranoid.

But as Holbert responds to a friendly skeptic, it’s not just about the bathrooms!


That’s right, since 2008 Colorado has been properly accommodating our transgender students in locker rooms too–with no problem! Now again, to a well-adjusted reasonable person, this would be evidence of a policy that works instead of something that should be repealed. In fact, trying to police bathrooms for people who are already expressing the gender they should be to be there is liable to get rather, um, messy. Much messier than what we do today in Colorado, and what President Obama has directed public schools across America to do, which is to let transgender people live life with the same basic rights as the rest of us.

As for Sen. Holbert, he should maybe work out his repressed teenage angst somewhere else.

“Dr. Chaps” Loves Him Some Manly Men

And as usual, Colorado’s most (in)famous Republican state representative, Rep. Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt, is all about telling you so on Facebook:


Yeah, we don’t have time to point out all the problems with this.

Colorado Senate Republicans Freak Over “Bathroom Edict”

Sen. Kevin Lundberg (R).

Sen. Kevin Lundberg (R).

On Friday, the Obama administration issued a new directive through the federal Department of Education, establishing guidance for public schools on the matter of providing appropriate access to facilities for transgender students. Politico:

While the Obama administration’s directive on bathroom access for transgender students was praised by supporters as a historic moment for civil rights, the sweeping new rules have re-energized the right — and a top lawmaker in Texas even argues that Donald Trump can use the issue as a springboard to the White House.

The right has been consistently losing culture-war fights in the courts during the Obama era, most significantly in the Supreme Court case last year that legalized gay marriage. Now, conservative governors, state officials, education advocates and parent groups have extra motivation to unify in their revolt against a federal intervention directed by a president they loathe that will affect every public school in the nation…

Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family is all grossed out:

“It’s just an egregious federal overreach,” Candi Cushman, Education Analyst with Focus on the Family, told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann. “You have in one sweeping action the White House setting policy for over 16,000 school districts and 7,000 colleges.”

And she didn’t stop there:

“You have common sense issues of safety for the most vulnerable members of our society,” Cushman said. “We know there are predators out there unfortunately who are looking for loopholes. We’re by no means saying this applies to students or individuals, who identify as transgender in schools, but we are saying there are predators who look for loopholes and what makes us think they’re not going to look at this one?”

Now folks, it’s important to recognize one very basic fact about Obama’s action and the resulting panic attack on the conservative right: there is no “loophole” being created here for predators to “look for.” Nothing about providing appropriate accommodations for transgender citizens creates a “loophole” that would legalize sexual assault or abuse. In fact, the suggestion is deeply offensive to transgender Americans who have already been–surprise!–using the stall next to you for most of, or their whole damned lives without ever causing you a bit of trouble.

But hey, you know, that’s how reasonable people think through questions like these. If you’re not one of those people, you’ve got the Colorado Senate GOP in your corner!

Colorado Senate Assistant Majority Leader Kevin Lundberg (R-Berthoud) today said Colorado should simply ignore today’s “Letter of Guidance” to all schools and colleges from the US Department of Education saying that schools must give transgender students equal access to the restroom of their choice.

“This is absurd,” said Senator Lundberg. “The US Department of Education must not have much to do if they are now spending time on public school bathroom policies in Denver, Danville and Duluth. Plain and simple, this is none of their business and totally beyond Congressional intent in the enactment of Title IX. Therefore, it is a policy Colorado should ignore.”

“This is sheer insanity,” added Senator Kevin Grantham (R-Canon City). “Does the President honestly think he can use executive authority to substitute his opinion over those of local school districts and moms and dads?”

Charles Heatherly, director of policy at the Colorado Senate Majority Office, went even further:

No, its a perversion of law. Tutle [sic-Pols] IX is about sex discrimination.Sexual identity is biological and fuxed [sic-Pols], whereas “gender self-idenitification” is a social construct of Politically Correct academic elites.

Isn’t that great? The only thing is, you could substitute the word “transgender” for “black,” roll this all back a few decades, and suddenly have a very different-sounding press release. After all, it’s none of the federal government’s “business” who gets to use what bathroom in a public school, right? And if “local school districts and moms and dads” don’t want those kids using the same facilities as their kids…why, who are we to tell them differently?

In the not-too-distant future, no one will think twice about this issue, any more than we think about racially desegregated public accommodations. But when we get to that point, history is going to look back at Focus on the Family and Colorado Senate Republicans.

And history is not going to be kind.

Best Reporting on the the State Legislature in 2016

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Here’s my list of the best reporting on the state legislature this session, from a progressive perspective. The press corps is threatened and depleted but continues to crank out quality journalism. Let’s hope we can say that next year.

o In a detailed analysis of votes on numerous issues, The Denver Post’s John Frank illuminated beautifully that the split among Republicans in our state senate reflects divisions in the Republican Party nationally. His list of eight hard-right state senators, later dubbed the “Hateful Eight” by liberals, includes two in possible swing districts: Randy Baumgardner of Hot Sulphur Springs and Laura Woods of Westminster.

o The Denver Post’s John Frank broke a story exposing the tactics of Americans for Prosperity in pressuring state lawmakers to sign a pledge not to “undermine the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights by creating a special exemption for the Hospital Provider Fee.” The Colorado Independent’s Corey Hutchins filled out the picture of AFP with an illuminating piece about the organization’s field work—as well as another story featuring the angry response of Republican Sen. Larry Crowder (R-Alamosa) to AFP’s apparent pressure on Crowder. The pressure from AFP appeared to have ratcheted up after Hutchins had matter-of-factly reported Crowder’s views in support of turning the provider fee into an enterprise.

o The Colorado Independent’s Corey Hutchins also banged out an excellent explainer of the hospital provider fee (and related issues), just as the legislative session was cranking up and few people understood what the fee was and what was going on.

o Rocky Mountain Community Radio’s Bente Birkeland offers a daily drumbeat of short interviews that often prove illuminating or provide a springboard more in-depth analysis (e.g., Secretary of State Wayne Williams’ position on election modernization or Sen. Larry Crowder’s stance on Syrian refugees).

o The Durango Herald’s Peter Marcus asked why J. Paul Brown (R-Ignacio) had voted last year for a program offering contraception to low-income women and teens, but this year voted against it.  It’s basic journalism, of course, but often forgotten in onslaught of other news.

o The Colorado Independent’s Marrianne Goodland provided in-depth coverage on, among other legislation, a predatory-lending bill that was defeated by state house Democrats.

o Fox 31 Denver’s Amanda Zitzman put a human face on a bill aimed at informing citizens about the cost of free-standing emergency rooms versus urgent care.

o The Denver Post’s Joey Bunch is trying to do something different at the newspaper with his “Joey ‘Splains” series. He’s on the right track.

o On the legislative campaign trail, we owe thanks to the reporters who covered the caucuses and county assemblies, allowing us not to rely solely on reports by party activists. The Colorado Statesman’s coverage, especially Ernest Luning’s, on social media and in articles stands out.

o The Boulder Weekly’s Caitlin Rockett found holes in the assertion that a bill targeting tax havens was bad for small business.

o The Colorado Statesman’s Hot Sheet is a welcome infusion of legislative news. (In the advocacy world, ProgressNow Colorado’s Daily News Digest is a userful compilation of political news coverage.)

o The Colorado Independent’s Marianne Goodland was the only journalist to write about the crazy irony of Rep. Kevin Priola missing a vote on a parental-leave bill, which he opposed, because he had to take his kid to the doctor.

Wayne Williams Jumps on Jack Tate’s Grenade

Jack Tate.

Jack Tate.

As the Aurora Sentinel reports, following up the story of fundraising in the SD-27 race between Democratic challenger Tom Sullivan and appointed Republican Jack Tate–we had last reported on a big fundraising quarter for “Sully,” contrasted against a campaign finance complaint against Tate for transferring too much money to his Senate campaign:

The Democratic Senate Campaign Fund and Tate’s opponent, Tom Sullivan, said this week that the Republican violated state campaign finance rules when he rolled over more than $27,000 from his former state House campaign to his Senate campaign. State rules put the limit on those transactions at about $22,000.

In a letter to Tate on May 5, Williams said his office gave bad advice when they explained to him how to move money from his House campaign committee to a Senate campaign committee.

“My office mistakenly gave you erroneous information regarding the effect of the committee change on the contribution limits,” the letter said…

The Republican Secretary of State said in his letter that Balmer approached his office asking how Tate could roll the money over and the Secretary’s office didn’t explain the process correctly.

Obviously, it would be better if the Secretary of State could give, you know, accurate information about the campaign finance limits it is charged with administering. Do you suppose Williams would have been as forthcoming about giving “erroneous information” to a Democrat? Either way, in a release from the Democratic Senate Campaign Fund, you can see the fun with Tate regarding his campaign funds isn’t quite over yet:

Tate has yet to make an official public statement on the matter. Tate did respond to the DSCF’s May 3rd tweet that he needs to give the illegal overage back and “play by the rules” with, “nope. contact secretary of states office. know your rules regarding same campaign year transfers. [sic].”

In his last May 2nd filing, Tate raised $4,150.00 – well under the $5,611 he needs to either give back to donors or donate to charity, according to campaign finance laws.

In addition to having to make several thousand dollars go away unproductively, Tate isn’t raising any money. Certainly not compared to Sullivan’s big start to the race. We’ve already seen evidence that Tate is nervous about his election prospects, to include backing away from sponsorship of a predatory lending bill after he sponsored one last year.

If he can’t raise money, he’s got a lot more to be nervous about.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (May 11)

Get More Smarter“Sine Die” sounds a lot more foreboding than it should. 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).


► The race for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination in Colorado continues to get weirder. On Tuesday, Marshall Zelinger of Denver7 broke the news in a series of reports that Jon Keyser appears to have qualified for the June 28th Primary ballot despite apparent widespread fraud on his signature petitions. Keyser’s name will likely remain on the ballot, but he has much bigger problems right now.


► The 2016 Colorado legislative session comes to an end today, as Joey Bunch reports for the Denver Postwithout much movement on some of the key issues that first faced legislators in January:

Now, at the end of the legislative session, lawmakers are back where they started.

The General Assembly saved the 2016 term’s top priorities for the final days and struggled Tuesday to reach deals on most of them.

The Republican-led Senate rejected separate measures to reclassify how the state collects fees paid by hospitals and create a primary for the 2020 presidential election. And the Democratic-controlled House jettisoned a $3.5 billion bond package for transportation and a proposal to study how construction-defects laws are hurting the condominium market.

The biggest issue of the session — reclassifying the so-called “Hospital Provider Fee”  to provide more money for key infrastructure needs — finally met its end in a Senate committee after Senate President Bill Cadman basically ran out the clock on making a decision. As the Colorado Springs Independent reports, there was wide support for the HPF issue…but it couldn’t overcome Cadman’s allegiance to the Koch Brothers-funded “Americans for Prosperity.”

The legislature also failed to come to an agreement on a bill that would get rid of Colorado’s Presidential caucus system in favor of a Primary vote.


 Voters in West Virginia and Nebraska got to pull some levers in the Presidential Primary on Tuesday. Democrat Bernie Sanders defeated Hillary Clinton in West Virginia, though the result doesn’t put much of a dent in Clinton’s delegate lead. On the Republican side, Donald Trump was victorious in both West Virginia and Nebraska, which wasn’t a huge surprise since he’s the only GOP candidate still standing.


Get even more smarter after the jump… (more…)

Stay Classy, Sen. Tim Neville (Born This Way Edition)

An exchange in the Colorado Senate last Friday evening is provoking much controversy today–during debate over House Bill 16-1426, which would make it a petty offensive to falsely claim a pet as a trained “service animal” so as to obtain accommodations provided by law for such animals.

During debate over the bill Friday, GOP Sen. Tim Neville had a moment of oh-so cleverness:

HOLBERT: Any further discussion on House Bill 1426? Sen. Neville.

NEVILLE: (Chuckles) Thank you Mister Chair. You know, we, we-we’re entering strange times. I mean we have a big challenge, that uh, we hear with, uh, the transgender folks. You know they decide, you know basically what they are. [Pols emphasis] I mean, I guess these service dogs, you know, people are deciding ‘is this a service dog,’ is this uh, a dog?

Hard to miss Neville’s implication here–since transgender citizens “decide what they are,” why should we be able to do the same thing with service animals?

Now, anyone with the smallest shred of tolerance or even decency in a public debate should know that claiming a transgender person has “chosen” their gender identity, as opposed to that being how they were born, is considered deeply offensive. And that’s before you compare transgender people to, you know, a fucking dog.

Sen. Pat Steadman had better composure to respond to this over-the-top insult than we would have.

STEADMAN: One of the important things about this bill to understand, colleague, is that no puppy is born to be a service dog.

(Off-camera groan)

STEADMAN: Only those dogs that are trained to be service dogs, highly trained, can wear the, the identification that says ‘don’t pet me I’m working.’ That’s what this bill’s about.

The point of the bill, of course, was to protect a bonafide class of true service animals who qualify for disability accommodations above the level of a mere pet. This distinction is important to ensure access to housing and other protected needs of disabled people that could potentially be encumbered by having a service dog.

As for Sen. Neville? It was just another chance to trot out his inner douchebag.

Republican’s attack on anti-vaxxer Neville richochets into anti-vaxxer Woods

(Oops – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Laura Waters-Woods.

Sen. Laura Waters-Woods.

GOP operative Tyler Sandberg took a Twitter shot at State Sen.Tim Neville (R-Littleton) last month, just after Neville lost his bid to take on Michael Bennet in this fall’s Colorado Senate race.

Responding to an article quoting Neville as graciously saying “the people” had spoken, Sandberg snapped, “And the people support vaccinations.”

Sandberg is correct. Neville supported an unpopular bill in the state legislature last year (SB15-077) that would have made it even easier for parents to opt-out of getting their kids vaccinated in Colorado. Progressives have called Neville and others “anti-vaxxers” for supporting the efforts last year (and opposing sensible vaccination reporting this year) given that Colorado has some of the most lax vaccination policies in the country.

The funny part is, Neville is far from alone in the anti-vaxxer crusade. He’s joined by, among others, Republican State Sen. Laura Woods, whose Westminster race in November will likely determine whether Republicans retain control of the state senate and thus stop the Democrats, who have the governor’s office and state house, from taking control of state government.

So Sandberg’s shot at Neville inadvertently ricocheted into Woods. Or was the salvo intentional?

You don’t often see a muckety-muck flack like Sandberg, who’s been a mouthpiece for Rep. Mike Coffman, throwing shade at a candidate who’s got control of state government riding on her shoulders. And such an attack should have been spotlighted by reporters.