NARAL Hits Brakes on ColoradoCare

Sen. Irene Aguilar (right) delivers petitions for Amendment 69.

Sen. Irene Aguilar (right) delivers petitions for Amendment 69.

A press release yesterday from NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado announces the decision by that organization’s board of directors to formally oppose Amendment 69, the ColoradoCare single-payer health care initiative headed for the November ballot:

As the political arm of the pro-choice movement, NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado’s mission is to protect abortion access and to oppose any and all attempts to limit it. It is our basic principle that abortion is a critical part of reproductive health care and any measure that would diminish it from overall women’s health cannot be supported.

With Colorado’s state’s constitutional ban on public funding for abortion, Amendment 69 would expand access to common healthcare services, but it would be at the expense of access to abortion care.

Article V, section 50, of the Colorado Constitution – passed by initiative in 1984 – states that “No public funds shall be used by the State of Colorado, its agencies or political subdivisions, to pay or otherwise reimburse, either directly or indirectly, any person, agency or facility for the performance of any induced abortion [except when necessary to prevent the death of the woman or unborn child where every reasonable effort is made to preserve the life of each].”

This has been repeatedly held not to apply to federal funds such as Medicaid. However, because Colorado Care would be subject to Section 50 as a political subdivision of the state, Colorado Care would be prohibited from providing any abortion services to women not eligible for Medicaid except when continuing the pregnancy would endanger the life of the pregnant woman.

This means that presently insured women who have access to abortion services as part of their contracted benefits today, other than when the pregnancy would endanger the life of the mother, would lose access to abortion coverage benefits under Amendment 69.

Speaking to the Colorado Independent, NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado director Karen Middleton explains further:

“I think everybody supports the goal of improved healthcare for all Coloradans. But because Amendment 69 can’t provide guarantees to affordable abortion access, it isn’t truly universal health care,” said NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado’s director, Karen Middleton. [Pols emphasis]

Amendment 69 has become a bit of a political hot potato for Democrats, even many who share the general goal of a single-payer health care system. Passage of such a sweeping change to health care in the state is a huge political lift in the most favorable political climate. In 2016, with the “Overton Window” skewed heavily rightward, it verges on an exercise in futility. What’s more, conservative opponents are hard at work terrorizing the public with their low-information spin on the plan, and gleefully daring Democrats to take a stand on it one way or the other–either to divorce them from moderates or the progressive base depending on what they choose.

The conflict that NARAL has identified between Amendment 69 and a state constitutional prohibition on public funding for abortion is of course very problematic in unspun terms for ColoradoCare proponents, and may be just the out needed to extricate Democrats from this dicey political predicament in a highly unpredictable election year.

Hopefully that happens in a way that acknowledges the sincere, good-faith intentions of ColoradoCare’s proponents. After all, someday down the road, the rest of the state (and for that matter, the nation) may well be ready for them.

Woods says feds have taken away “virtually all citizens rights” and compares police to Crips and Bloods

(What the hell? – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Laura Waters-Woods.

Sen. Laura Waters-Woods.

“We’re in a spot in our country where, at the federal level, they have taken away a bunch of states’ rights and virtually all citizens rights.”

Who said that? And what country are they talking about?

You’re right! It’s Westminster Republican State Sen. Laura Woods talking about the United States.

She’s agreeing with a KLZ 560-AM radio host who said, “I’m beginning to think that there is not a sector of government that doesn’t think they’re above everybody else.”

“Yeah, that’s probably a good assessment, right now,” Woods replied, apparently forgetting that someday she may need the help of firefighters, first responders, military personnel, or countless other public servants who sacrifice their lives for ours.

The overall topic was asset forfeiture, and Woods was angry about its abuse by police. But does this mean the police act like Cripps and Bloods?

CALLER MIKE: Ok, so, Laura, these [police] are no different than the Bloods and the Crips that they’re constantly whining and crying about down in downtown Denver or Colorado Springs, or up in [Fort] Collins. I mean, how is law enforcement different from the people they’re fighting? I mean, if they can just take your stuff for no reason.

WOODS: Yeah, when they are taking stuff from innocent people with no conviction or no charges filed, they are no different.

CALLER MIKE: Yeah.

WOODS: Yeah.

I have my problems with asset forfeiture, which has resulted in unfair confiscation of property by police. But are the problems on par with what we see from Crips and Bloods.

(more…)

Friday Open Thread

“If you find a good solution and become attached to it, the solution may become your next problem.”

–Robert Anthony

The Get More Smarter Show: June 23, 2016

This week on Get More Smarter: Jason Bane and Alan Franklin talk Donald Trump, followed by a deep dive on next week’s primary elections! Then stay tuned for more great discussion on the primary as we interview Ernest Luning–that’s LUH-ning for those of you pronouncing it wrong like we have for years–of the Colorado Statesman.

To skip directly to Luning’s interview, jump to 11:22 in the video above or click here.

Thanks for watching! If you missed last week’s episode, click here. Also, don’t miss episodes 1 and 2.

Poll: Who Will Win The CD-5 GOP Primary?

With the June 28th primary election now less than a week away, we’re rolling out informal polls for our readers in a number of races around the state. Safely Republican Congressional District 5 centered on El Paso County, is witnessing an unexpectedly vigorous GOP primary between longtime incumbent Rep. Doug Lamborn and challenger Calandra Vargas.

As with all of our polls, we’re interested in knowing who you actually think will win this election–not your personal preference.

Who will win the CD-5 GOP primary?
Doug Lamborn
Calandra Vargas
View Result

Poll: Who Will Win The Denver DA Democratic Primary?

With the June 28th primary election now less than a week away, we’re rolling out informal polls for our readers in a number of races around the state. The Denver District Attorney’s Office, currently occupied by term-limited DA Mitch Morrissey, features an intense three-way Democratic primary between Kenneth Boyd, Michael Carrigan, and Beth McCann.

As with all of our polls, we’re interested in knowing who you actually think will win this election–not your personal preference.

Who will win the Denver DA Democratic primary?
Kenneth Boyd
Michael Carrigan
Beth McCann
View Result

Poll: Who Will Win The Adams DA Democratic Primary?

With the June 28th primary election now less than a week away, we’re rolling out informal polls for our readers in a number of races around the state. Adams County District Attorney Dave Young is being challenged next Tuesday in the Democratic primary by Boulder Deputy DA Caryn Datz.

As with all of our polls, we’re interested in knowing who you actually think will win this election–not your personal preference.

Who will win the Adams County DA Democratic primary?
Dave Young
Caryn Datz
View Result

Darryl Glenn Picks Up Another Prominent Endorsement

Darryl Glenn appears to have the momentum in the GOP Senate race.

Darryl Glenn is in good shape entering the final days of the race for the GOP nomination.

UPDATE: Well-known conservative commentator Erick Ericsson throws his hat in the ring for Glenn as well.

—–

El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn certainly appears to have the momentum in the Republican U.S. Senate race as we enter the final weekend before the Primary Election.

Glenn already has the support of the staunch right-wing conservative group Senate Conservatives Fund — an organization that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell regularly trashes — and today FreedomWorks PAC announced that they are jumping aboard the Glenn bandwagon. From a press release:

“Darryl Glenn will fight for economic freedom and constitutionally limited government. He has the enthusiastic support of the grassroots in Colorado because they can count on him to stand on principle,” said FreedomWorks PAC Chairman Adam Brandon. “We need more people in Washington willing to boldly take on the establishment and fight for limited government. That’s what Darryl Glenn will do, and we encourage Colorado primary voters to support him.”

The FreedomWorks PAC endorsement of Glenn comes pretty late in the game, but nevertheless with enough time to potentially make a difference in a five-way Republican Primary. Ballot return numbers are sitting at 20% as of this morning, which means plenty of potential GOP voters are still making up their mind about the field hoping to challenge incumbent Democrat Michael Bennet in November.

Get More Smarter on Thursday (June 23)

Get More SmarterYour weather forecast for Thursday is as follows: Partly Sunny, Party Cloudy, Mostly Hot, Potentially Rainy. 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.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

Get those ballots returned, people! If you haven’t received a ballot or have run into other Primary-related problems, go to JustVoteColorado.org for more information.

 

House Democrats have ended their “sit-in” protest at the refusal of the Republican-controlled chamber to even consider voting on new gun safety measures. As Chris Cillizza reports for “The Fix”:

House Democrats staged one of the most dramatic moments in recent congressional history Wednesday night and into Thursday morning, holding a sit-in on the floor of the lower chamber to demand that votes be held on a series of gun-control measures.

It drew wall-to-wall coverage on cable television and lit up Twitter even as much of the East Coast went to bed. A number of those talking and writing about the sit-in insisted that the high-profile moment marked a major turning point in the political fight over gun control.

“This may turn out to be a Selma-like moment,” said Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.) on the House floor just before midnight Eastern time.

Colorado Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County) participated in the sit-in, and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver) stopped by to lend support.

 

President Obama’simmigration-reform plan hit a major speed bump today when the Supreme Court stalled out on making a decision on a lower court ruling. Meanwhile, Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) is a co-sponsor of a new immigration bill; the legislation would allow immigrant children who have been in the U.S. since 2010 to stay in the country. Coincidentally, 2010 was the last year in which Coffman voted against the DREAM Act, just one stop on a long journey in which Coffman has basically taken every side available on immigration reform efforts.

 

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

Democrats Flummox GOP with House Sit-In on Gun Violence

Democrats in the House during their "sit-in" demanding votes on gun violence legislation.

Democrats in the House during their “sit-in” demanding votes on gun violence legislation.

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives — including Colorado Rep. Ed Perlmutter — ended their “sit-in” effort to force Congress to vote on new gun violence legislation, but not without succeeding in raising the level of political importance for the issue. As the New York Times reports:

The Democrats ended their sit-in about 1 p.m. on Thursday, about 25 hours after it began. Mr. Ryan interrupted them on Wednesday by personally reclaimed control of the House, pounding his gavel and muscling through a major appropriations bill without debate. He and the Republicans, who hold the majority, then declared the House adjourned with no votes until after the Fourth of July holiday — leaving Democrats to continue their protest effort in a dormant chamber.

Still, Democrats finally relented several hours later. They gave speeches all through the night, which they broadcast using Periscope, the live streaming feature of Twitter. And they said they would continue to press their case throughout the recess for votes to tighten the nation’s gun control laws…

…By pushing through the appropriations bill — it included $1.1 billion in emergency financing to combat the mosquito-borne Zika virus — on a largely party line vote without any debate, Mr. Ryan had to abandon his commitment to regular order in the House. That was a step that he said he had taken with absolutely no remorse, given the Democrats’ efforts at obstruction.

House Speaker Paul Ryan has been trying hard to spin the Democrats’ move as a “publicity stunt,” conveniently ignoring the obvious point that the reason this move earned so much media coverage is precisely because of the Republican response. As the Washington Post reports:

Republicans, unsure about how to deal with a sit-in that started on the House floor yesterday at 11:30 a.m., tried to talk over Democrats and hold routine votes. Then, around 3:30 a.m., they adjourned the chamber until after July Fourth – two days earlier than planned. In so doing, they’ve guaranteed that the debate about gun control will roil the congressional recess and remain a dominant storyline for the next two weeks.

“This isn’t trying to come up with a solution to a problem; this is trying to get attention,” the Speaker complained on TV late last night. That is neither true nor fair. In fact, nearly two weeks after the mass murder of 49 in Orlando, Democrats are merely trying to secure up-or-down votes on a variety of very specific gun control proposals – including a measure that would prevent suspected terrorists from being able to buy firearms and another that would expand background checks. [Pols emphasis]

Speaker Ryan can bellyache about this maneuver as much as he wants, but any claims that Democrats are interfering with the daily matters of the House are falling on deaf ears thanks to his Senate colleagues. When Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared earlier this year that the Senate would refuse to even hold a hearing on selecting a new Supreme Court judge — blatantly ignoring the Constitution — he ensured that Republicans alone would own the title of obstructionists.

Republicans will likely continue to dig-in on the issue and refuse to do anything related to guns, but the massive amount of media coverage generated by House Democrats ensures that such a move is more than just a political gamble in 2016 — for a number of Republican candidates and incumbents, their future in elected office is now tied directly to Congressional inaction on gun violence.

 

Supreme Court Ruling Blocks Obama Immigration Plan

Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

UPDATE: Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County) reacts to the news:

“The Supreme Court’s split decision in U.S. v. Texas is incredibly disappointing and leaves millions of individuals and families hanging in the balance. President Obama’s executive actions were an attempt to move the country forward in light of Congressional inaction on comprehensive immigration reform.

“Today’s split decision also reiterates the need for a full 9 Justice Supreme Court. It is time for Senate Republicans to do their job and move forward with hearings and a confirmation vote for Judge Garland.”

—–

As the Associated Press reports:

The Supreme Court deadlocked Thursday on President Barack Obama’s immigration plan that sought to shield millions living in the U.S. illegally from deportation, effectively killing the plan for the rest of his presidency.

The outcome underscores that the direction of U.S. immigration policy will be determined in large part by this fall’s presidential election, a campaign in which immigration already has played an outsized role.

People who would have benefited from Obama’s plan face no imminent threat of deportation because Congress has provided money to deal with only a small percentage of people who live in the country illegally, and the president retains ample discretion to decide whom to deport. But Obama’s effort to expand that protection to many others is effectively stymied.

As you might expect, immigration-reform activists are not particularly pleased with today’s ruling. Here’s what Marilena Hincapie, the executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, had to say in a press release:

“This politically driven lawsuit should never have made it this far: Two of the four Fifth Circuit judges who have considered the case noted rightly that Texas and other states simply did not have standing to bring it. Other state-driven anti-immigrant lawsuits were thrown out on the same grounds.

“With this case, the Court had an opportunity to provide clarity and guidance on executive power and to free up programs that would have tremendous social and economic benefits. Instead, they followed a troubling trend this term of failing to do the job the American people and the Constitution entrusted to them, due in part to the politicized vacancy on the Court.

The stakes are now even greater for the November elections as the next president will have the opportunity to appoint several Supreme Court justices in their first term, shaping our country’s future for decades to come.  Immigrant communities are committed to continuing our fight for our families.”

We will continue to update this story as it progresses today.

Ballot Return Numbers Pick Up

votebuttonWe’re continuing to pass along the latest turnout numbers from the Colorado Secretary of State’s office for the June 28th Primary, and for the first time since daily updates began last week, things seem to be picking up a bit (numbers are accurate as of 7:55 a.m. on Thursday):

Democrats

Ballots sent: 990,506;
Ballots returned: 173,916;
Percent: 17.55%

Republicans

Ballots sent: 997,338;
Ballots returned: 189,079;
Percent: 19%

How does this compare to 2014? In the June 24, 2014 U.S. Senate Primary, there were 213,746 Democratic ballots cast, compared to 338,324 for Republicans.

For more information on turnout based on a county-by-county basis, click here (PDF).

Thursday Open Thread

“The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and these are ignorance, superstition and incompetence.”

–Elbert Hubbard

Plunkett Replaces Carroll as Editorial Page Editor at Post

(No comment — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rumors are swirling about which Denver Post reporters are accepting a buyout offer from the newspaper, which seeks 26 editorial staffers to volunteer to leave, even though, according to sources cited by Michael Roberts at Westword, The Post made $25 million last fiscal year.

One confirmed departure is Vincent Carroll, editorial page editor, who will be replaced by current Post politics editor Chuck Plunkett.

Here’s an announcement of the move from The Post:

Politics editor Chuck Plunkett has been named The Denver Post
editorial page editor, effective July 2, where he will oversee print and online content for the daily opinion page and the Sunday Perspective section.

He will replace Vincent Carroll, who joined The Post in 2009 and became editorial page editor in 2013. Carroll also spent 27 years at the Rocky Mountain News, including 19 years as the editorial page editor. His last day will be July 1. He plans to remain in Denver.

“It’s been my pleasure to work with Vincent Carroll over the past couple of years. We appreciate the contribution he has made to The Denver Post and wish him good fortune in his future endeavors,” said chief executive and publisher Mac Tully. “And I look forward to working with Chuck as Vincent’s successor. Chuck has a long and rich history in journalism.”

A professional journalist for more than 20 years, Plunkett joined The Post in 2003 after reporting for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. He became editor of the politics desk in 2011.

“I am humbled — and also enormously thrilled — to be trusted with this chance to continue The Post’s contribution to the Colorado conversation,” Plunkett said.

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