Search Results for: sheriffs

Colorado Sheriffs Debunk “Sanctuary” Fakery

An open letter this week from the County Sheriffs of Colorado attempts to clarify the role and legal responsibility of law enforcement with regard to detaining undocumented immigrants for eventual transfer to federal immigration authorities. Our generally conservative elected county sheriffs in Colorado are clearly taking heat from constituents energized by the President Donald Trump, and want out of the low-information line of fire:

Recently, there has been increased interest in the topic of how local governments work with federal immigration authorities. As Colorado Sheriffs, we’ve received inquiries on how our jails cooperate with Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE.) Some have claimed that Colorado Sheriffs offer sanctuary to illegal immigrants in their custody. Let us clear the air.

Sheriffs hold the rule of law as sacred. We are elected with the authority to enforce the laws of Colorado and to protect the rights guaranteed in the federal and state Constitutions.

Our jails serve two distinct purposes. One is a judicial function, the other is a detention function. Under our judicial function, we hold persons accused of a crime awaiting trial, if a court has not authorized their release. This includes persons taken into custody on warrants issued by a judge or persons arrested by a peace officer under a probable cause arrest. If the court authorizes the arrestee’s release, we must release them…

Outside of legally recognized exigent circumstances, we cannot hold persons in jail at the request of a local police officer or a federal agent. To do so, would violate the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution. While Colorado Sheriffs do not have the authority to enforce federal laws, we do work cooperatively with a large variety of federal law enforcement agencies. At times, we participate in federal task forces and other times, we share information on potential federal crimes with those federal law enforcement agencies. This includes sharing information on all arrestees in our jails with the FBI and ICE. This gives them the opportunity to determine which arrestees might also be wanted by federal authorities or who might be in violation of our federal immigration laws.

If federal authorities present us with a warrant or other detainer, signed by a judge or a magistrate, we hold those persons for federal authorities to pick up. However, the courts have ruled that we have no authority to hold arrestees on administrative holds that have not been reviewed and approved by federal judges or magistrates.

Sheriffs have informed ICE that in order to comply with the 4th Amendment, we must get judicially approved holds or warrants. However, at this time, ICE chooses not to do this.

Recently, some have chosen to accuse Sheriffs of providing sanctuary to illegal immigrants, simply because we are complying with the Constitution, as determined by federal courts. This is an absolutely unsubstantiated and ridiculous claim. [Pols emphasis]

We wouldn’t put any bets on the Peter Boyles talk-radio crowd laying off the sheriffs and local governments who they regularly accuse of everything up to and including treason for not keeping undocumented immigrants locked up, but this letter is useful to prove to anyone not already on the fringe of the issue that our local law enforcers are enforcing immigration law to the full extent that it is practicable to do so.

So, you know, enough with the conspiracy theories and stupid bills.

So Long, Sheriffs: Gun Lobby Lawsuit Loses More Steam


Colorado county sheriffs pose for an NRA photo shoot last spring.

An important development last Wednesday in the ongoing legal action by the gun lobby against gun safety legislation passed in Colorado this year, as reported by the Associated Press' Ivan Moreno. Don't let this slip down the Thanksgiving weekend memory hole:

Sheriffs in most of Colorado’s 64 counties filed the lawsuit in May, saying the new regulations violate the Second Amendment. The sheriffs are elected and represent rural, gun-friendly parts of the state.

In her ruling, Krieger said sheriffs still can choose to join the lawsuit in an individual capacity, and they’ll have 14 days to make that decision. But they cannot, as a group, sue the state in their official capacities.

“If individual sheriffs wish to protect individual rights or interests they may do so … however, the sheriffs have confused their individual rights and interests with those of the county sheriff’s office,” Krieger said.

We'll be the first to admit that rounding up a majority of Colorado county sheriffs–generally conservative elected officials who have been boosted for years by pro-gun groups like the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners–to publicly front the opposition to these new gun safety bills was a brilliant public relations move. In Colorado, the huge difference between elected conservative county sheriffs who opposed the new laws for political reasons and appointed police chiefs who generally supported them for practical reasons was lost on the public. Furthermore, some of these county sheriffs, like Weld County Sheriff John Cooke, are in fact distantly on the fringe of the gun safety debate, standing in opposition to all background checks for gun purchases. It's always been our opinion that if the voting public understood the positions held by many of these elected sheriffs, those badges wouldn't count for nearly as much.

And as the Denver Post's Ryan Parker reported on this same ruling, another major component of the fear-based messaging against this year's gun safety bills has been invalidated–again.

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Suthers Wants To Shut Down The Sheriffs

nramagsheriffs

As the Grand Junction Sentinel's Charles Ashby reports:

The 55 Colorado sheriffs who filed a lawsuit against the state over two new gun-control laws don’t have standing to sue, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said…

“I know the sheriffs are asserting that they have the ability to assert the citizens’ Second Amendment rights, but they haven’t historically asserted other constitutional rights,” Suthers told The Daily Sentinel. “The sheriffs don’t file suits to protect your Fourth Amendment rights, your Fifth, Sixth and Eighth Amendment rights.” [Pols emphasis]

Still, removing the sheriffs won’t stop the suit from going forward, Suthers said.

“There’s plenty of other (plaintiffs), such as the gun shops, that clearly have standing,” he said.

The lawsuit against the two central pieces of gun safety legislation passed this year, House Bills 1224 and 1229 limiting magazine capacity and requiring background checks for most transfers of firearms, has been publicly fronted by Colorado county sheriffs ever since it was filed. Prior to that, the same county sheriffs very publicly opposed the bills during their debate in the legislature. The Independence Institute, whose research director Dave Kopel is the lead attorney in the lawsuit, has employed the sheriffs and the lawsuit as a fundraising vehicle, presumably with great success. At least one county sheriff, John Cooke of Weld County, has already used this campaign as a springboard to a run for a state senate seat.

An "agreement" a few weeks ago on the enforcement of House Bill 1224's magazine limits, essentially the same terms originally defined by Attorney General John Suthers after the legislation passed, has more or less reduced the scope of the suit to simple Second Amendment constitutionality. Colorado is not the first state to have passed either a magazine capacity limit or universal background checks, and legal experts we've talked to say the chances of this case even being heard by a high court are not all that great. That means the political (see: recalls) and PR value of the suit (see: magazine cover above) is, and always was, its principal reason for existence.

We can't imagine the sheriffs will be pleased if fellow Republican Suthers cuts them out of the action.

Hello, the sheriffs were actually standing with a gun criminal

(Like we said – promoted by Colorado Pols)

On Greeley’s KFKA radio June 7, gun activist Laura Carno asked:

Does [Senate President John Morse] stand by the Colorado Senate Democrats’ tweet that sheriffs, including the Democrats, are standing with criminals for challenging these gun control measures in court?

Host Amy Oliver, who doubles as a staffer for the Independence Institute and is promoted by KFKA as "conservative, intelligent, and sexy," jumped in (@22:30):

We’ve talked about that. They tweeted out, “Sheriffs stand for criminals and against law-abiding citizens.”

Oliver neglected to mention that, in reality, CO Senate Democrats tweeted that pro-gun sheriffs stood “with criminals” because a man who shot a gun at his wife was actually standing (physically with both feet planted) on stage with the Sheriffs, when they announced their lawsuit aiming to overturn new laws banning on magazines holding more than 15 rounds and requiring background checks for most gun purchases and transfers.

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Here Come The Sheriffs

UPDATE: A photo forwarded to us from today's press conference announcing the lawsuit against Colorado's new gun safety bills, Dave Kopel of the Independence Institute on the right:

Kopel_webster_051713

See the man in the black shirt on the left? That's Clint Webster, a 2010 GOP candidate for House District 24.

What's so special about Clint Webster, you ask? We reported on Mr. Webster as part of a 2010 release of the criminal records of a number of legislative candidates, mostly Republican:

Webster was arrested in 1987 for disturbing the peace, and in 1991 for assault. Webster pleaded guilty to felony assault and menacing. The arrest report obtained from the Jefferson County Sheriff shows that Webster was apprehended after firing two shots from a semi-automatic pistol at his ex-wife. [Pols emphasis] When asked by arresting officers what his intention was when he fired, Webster stated something along the lines that he had warned his wife to stop bothering him and had even threatened to kill her, yet she ‘showed up at his home anyway.’

The Denver Post's editorial board had this to say about Webster's 2010 bid:

Many of the infractions are examples of poor judgment that occurred during candidates' younger years. But some ought to take them out of the running. Take Republican Clint Webster of Lakewood, who is running against Rep. Sue Schafer, D-Wheat Ridge, for the House District 24 seat…

Though that charge was dismissed, a more troubling incident arose in 1991. Webster was arrested after threatening to kill his ex-wife and firing two shots at her and another person from a pistol as they drove away from his house.

Here's a video report from FOX 31's Eli Stokols on Webster's 2010 bid:

"I said I was going to shoot, not kill."

Now, what do you suppose Clint Webster, of all people, was doing at this press conference today?

We can't shake the sense of amazement: these same county sheriffs stood before the Colorado legislature this year and testified against Senate Bill 197, a bill to protect victims of domestic violence from partners with guns. Today, they're standing with one of the worst Republican mistakes of the 2010 election season, a man whose biggest claim to fame is having fired shots at his wife?

Hubris, folks. There's no other word to describe it. Original post follows.

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National gun activist Pratt calls on Colorado sheriffs to arrest federal officials if necessary

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Larry Pratt, Executive Director of Gun Owners of America, praised Weld County Sheriff John Cook recently for taking a "very strong stand on what he thinks the limits of the Federal government are."

Speaking to Greeley talk show host Scooter McGee, Pratt said some sheriffs around the country are ready to arrest federal officials if, in the sheriffs' views, they are violating the U.S. Constitution.

PRATT Well, I’m very encouraged by the number of sheriffs that–it’s at least pushing 400 now, that have said– there’s a spectrum. At a minimum, they’re saying they’re not going to cooperate with any unconstitutional gun grabs that the federal government might participate in. And at the other end of the spectrum, sheriffs are saying, “Not only will I not cooperate, but if the Feds are doing something unconstitutional in my county, particularly a gun grab, I’ll put them in jail.” But they’re also addressing other issues where the Feds act unconstitutionally and threaten to incarcerate citizens of their county, the sheriffs are interposing themselves and saying, “If you try to do that, you don’t have authority, and you’re not going to do that in my county, and if you try it, I will arrest you.” This has happened in confrontations with the Forest Service, BLM, the Food and Drug Administration, and of course, the ATF – the gun police.

In a column in the Cortez Journal Monday, Montezuma Country Sheriff Dennis Spruell echoed Pratt's comments, writing that if sheriffs "think a state or federal law contradicts the Constitution, they are under no obligation to enforce it."

It wasn't clear if Pratt thought Cooke would actually arrest federal officials, or if Spruell would arrest them, if necessary to enforce their views of the U.S. Constitution, so I called Cooke and Spruell to find out. 

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Elected County Sheriffs and High-Stakes Politics Mix Poorly

We talked today about the last-minute desperation on the part of Republicans and their gun-advocate allies to kill some or all of a package of five gun safety bills that won initial passage in the Colorado Senate on Friday. A key tactic employed by Republicans and allies in this debate has been to flood the field with as any dire allegations about what these bills would do as possible, regardless of factuality. The goal being to keep the outrage bubbling harder than can be debunked–assuming the press even has the time or willingness, which they often don't.

As you know, county sheriffs in Colorado are elected officials–in a very many cases in this state, Republican elected officials who are eager for political advancement. This has made them a fast ally of the gun lobby and Republicans tryint to kill these bills, in marked contrast, for example, to appointed urban police chiefs much more inclined to support them. There are other factors in that divide, but this is the principal one.

This weekend, politicized, elected law enforcement converged with the aforementioned political desperation to kill this package of gun safety bills, and the general atmosphere of truthlessness cultivated by gun advocates.

And the results were not pretty. KRDO-TV Colorado Springs:

El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa dropped a bombshell over the weekend claiming Colorado Senate Democrats are threatening sheriffs' salaries because sheriffs oppose gun control legislation. But big questions remain about who the threats came from.

Maketa made the allegations Saturday morning on the Jeff Crank Radio Show on KVOR. He said he got an email from a member of the County Sheriffs of Colorado describing a verbal conversation that person had with someone connected to Senate democrats.

"Basically in that email, it said the Senate majority leadership, the Dems, are very upset with your opposition and testimony on the gun bills and they are stating we should reconsider our positions to gain a more favorable light for salary support from the Dems," Maketa said.

In a nutshell: that Senate democrats are delaying a measure to raise sheriffs' salaries because sheriffs are speaking out against gun control…

In a talk-radio setting, something like this coming from a sworn law enforcement officer is going to sound absolutely horrible. El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa's allegation, which he represents as fact even as he throws in that it's second hand information, is pretty nasty. We, and we don't think anybody who reads this blog in either party would condone a quid pro quo arrangement of silence for pay raises, even on an issue we support. That said, things like this probably do happen, and the picture can easily form in the public's imagination.

The only problem? There's no proof of any of it.

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County Sheriffs Throw Highly Embarrassing Gun Nut Tantrum

weldnugentAP reports via the Durango Herald:

Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith backed off his hard-line stance against gun-law enforcement Thursday after he said he would refuse to enforce unconstitutional laws, including gun laws. He warned universal gun registration would lead the government to “target and prosecute law-abiding Americans who are simply exercising their constitutionally recognized right to keep and bear arms.”

According to the Loveland Reporter-Herald, Smith said later his comments were misunderstood and that he was not trying to determine which new gun laws might be unconstitutional.

Meanwhile, Sheriff John Cooke in neighboring Weld County voiced vehement opposition to President Barack Obama’s sweeping plan to address gun laws. Cooke said he would refuse to enforce any part of it. [Pols emphasis]

“I’m not going to help him in any way. I’m not going to enforce it because it’s unenforceable, and because I don’t have the resources. The federal government doesn’t have the resources,” Cooke told the Greeley Tribune.

On the one hand, what we have here is pretty simple: a relatively few staunchly partisan Republican low-level officeholders who have found a national political debate they can glom on to in their official capacity. There’s little doubt that these public statements from a few county sheriffs are being coordinated by the very well-funded and organized ideological opponents of gun control, every bit as certainly as mayors around the country are organized by Mayors Against Illegal Guns. This in itself is not unusual.

But when you get past that, and realize that these are law enforcement officers in their official capacity arbitrarily declaring what laws they will enforce, you realize that it is actually kind of a problem.

As the AP report continues, Weld County Sheriff John Cooke has settled on his very own highly laissez-faire interpretation of the Second Amendment, whereby everything, blanket statement, President Barack Obama proposed this week to reduce gun violence is unconstitutional. Especially, says Cooke, Obama’s proposal for universal background checks, which would be “a step” toward possibleВ “mandatory gun registration.”

Notwithstanding the fact that universal background checks are not tantamount to universal registration, and even though nobody’s proposing such a law in Colorado, gun registration laws were considered constitutional in the recent Supreme Court of D.C. vs. Heller that outlawed outright bans on guns–and federal courts since Heller have upheld the constitutionality of gun registration laws. In short, registration is not confiscation, and this is doubly silly because no one is even proposing registration. It is an incorrect interpretation of the law, that requires a descent into “slippery slope” irrationality to even get off the ground. To characterize this as irresponsible behavior for any public official can fairly be called an understatement.

And what will Sheriff Cooke do if the state of Colorado, not the evil Obama administration, is the first entity that enacts universal background checks–as seems increasingly likely?

On a more fundamental level, what are we to say about law enforcement officers who arbitrarily declare, based on lowbrow and faulty interpretations of the law, that they won’t enforce the law? What are we to say about law enforcement officers who decide a law is “unenforceable,” based on the stunning insight that people can still break it? As if that wasn’t true of basically every law?

It seems to us these gentlemen might be better suited to a job that does not involve enforcing the law at all.

Sheriffs For Treason

(Wow – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Eight sheriffs from Colorado (one in eight of them) attended the the first convention of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association in Las Vegas, which was sponsored by organizations including the John Birch Society.  The group basically argues that county sheriffs have a right and duty to take up arms against the United States government because they claim that the federal government doesn’t have the authority that it has exercised in fact, with court approval, from the very outset of our Republic.

Among those in attendance from Colorado were Weld County Sheriff John Cook, Montezuma County Sheriff Dennis Spruell, Montrose County Sheriff Rick Dunlap, El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa, and El Paso County Commissioner Peggy Littleton.  

The Colorado delegates, however, disavowed the use of force against federal agents or simply didn’t go there in public comments one way or the other.

The United States Constitution establishes the supremacy of federal law over state law, places the courts in the position of making binding interpretations of the constitution, and defines treason to include taking up arms against the government of the United States.

To be clear, I am not saying that it is treason merely to propose and discuss a political theory under which treason is legitimate, and maybe even a duty of a local official.  Treason is defined on the basis of acts and not words in the United States.  But, to be equally clear, the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association is an organization of elected and appointed high government officials sworn to uphold the United States Constitution that argues that Sheriffs have a right to engage in acts of treason, and several of the members of this organization have either come extremely close to crossing that line, or have done so.

The organization clamis that: “The sheriff’s position overrides any federal agents or even the arrogant FBI agents who attempt to assume jurisdiction in our cases.”

Elkhart County, Indiana, Sheriff Brad Rogers, Sheriff Tony DeMeo of Nye County, Nevada, and Sheriff Dave Mattis of Big Horn County, Wyoming recounted instances in which they threatened to arrest federal government officials for doing their jobs in their counties for reasons consistent with this organization’s ideology.

Today’s front page story in the Denver Post was an important source for this post, but except for one quotation which it quotes itself from the online materials of organization in question, none of the material in this post is quoted from the story.

Sheriffs For Treason

Eight sheriffs from Colorado (one in eight of them) attended the a convention of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association’s inaugural in Las Vegas sponsored by organizations including the John Birch Society.  The group basically argues that county sheriffs have a right and duty to take up arms against the United States government because they claim that the federal government doesn’t have the authority that it has exercised in fact, with court approval, from the very outset of our Republic.

Among those in attendance from Colorado were Weld County Sheriff John Cook, Montezuma County Sheriff Dennis Spruell, Montrose County Sheriff Rick Dunlap, El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa, and El Paso County Commissioner Peggy Littleton.  

The Colorado delegates, however, disavowed the use of force against federal agents or simply didn’t go there in public comments one way or the other.

The United States Constitution establishes the supremacy of federal law over state law, places the courts in the position of making binding interpretations of the constitution, and defines treason to include taking up arms against the government of the United States.

To be clear, I am not saying that it is treason merely to propose and discuss a political theory under which treason is legitimate, and maybe even a duty of a local official.  Treason is defined on the basis of acts and not words in the United States.  But, to be equally clear, the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association is an organization of elected and appointed high government officials sworn to uphold the United States Constitution that argues that Sheriffs have a right to engage in acts of treason, and several of the members of this organization have either come extremely close to crossing that line, or have done so.

The organization clamis that: “The sheriff’s position overrides any federal agents or even the arrogant FBI agents who attempt to assume jurisdiction in our cases.”

Elkhart County, Indiana, Sheriff Brad Rogers, Sheriff Tony DeMeo of Nye County, Nevada, and Sheriff Dave Mattis of Big Horn County, Wyoming recounted instances in which they threatened to arrest federal government officials for doing their jobs in their counties for reasons consistent with this organization’s ideology.

Today’s front page story in the Denver Post was an important source for this post, but except for one quotation which it quotes itself from the online materials of organization in question, none of the material in this post is quoted from the story.

Debate Diary: Republican Candidates for Governor

The 2018 Primary election is five weeks from today. Ballots will start arriving in mailboxes in about two weeks. You know what that means…

…It’s “Debate Diary” time!

On Saturday, May 19, candidates for Governor met at the Garden Pavilion at Penrose House in Colorado Springs for a debate sponsored by the Colorado Springs Gazette, the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman, and El Pomar’s Forum for Civic Advancement. Republican and Democratic candidates for Governor participated in separate discussions, which served as the center point of the inaugural and (hopefully) annual Colorado Civic Barbecue.

We went back through the video of Saturday’s debate (thanks, KKTV!) for another of our world-famous debate diaries. Up first: the Republican field of candidates for Governor.

Let’s get ready to mumbllleeee…

*NOTE: When we do our “live” Debate Diaries, we normally list the most current update at the top of the page. But because we’re posting this entire Debate Diary at once, it makes more sense to write it out chronologically from the top-down; we’ll break out segments according to the timestamps provided by KKTV in order to make it easier for you to track down specific clips. As always, unless it is in direct quotes, consider all statements paraphrased in the interest of time and/or the prevention of carpal tunnel syndrome.  

 

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RMGO Desperately Works To Kill “Red Flag” Bill

Denver7’s Blair Miller reports–despite bipartisan support for legislation to temporarily remove firearms from persons in a mental health crisis while preserving due process rights, Colorado’s gun lobby led by no-compromise gun rights group Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO) is working overtime to lock down Republicans against the bill. As a result, the final vote in the House has been pushed back to Friday:

The bill, introduced Monday, would allow family members or law enforcement to ask a judge for a temporary extreme risk protection order that would allow officers to take firearms and ammunition away from people deemed to be in the midst of a mental health crisis.

The temporary order would stay in place for seven days, during which the person can petition to have their weapons returned…

Rocky Mountain Gun Owners and some Republicans have said the proposal is more of a gun bill and less of a mental health bill, as the bill’s proponents and state sheriffs and police organizations have said – in support of the measure.

The final recorded House vote on Friday will be a good indicator of how successful GOP backers of House Bill 18-1436 have been at winning over their own. Politically, this bill sets up a major predicament for Republicans, who have paid much lip service to the need to “focus on mental health” as a response to mass shootings in lieu of measures outlawing specific guns or gun components. Now, with just such an opportunity before them, we’ll see if Republicans really mean what they say about “focusing on mental health”–or if it’s just another deflection from politicians with no authentic desire to address gun violence.

We know that’s where RMGO stands. Now let’s find out if RMGO still owns the GOP caucus. If the right thing gets done here, we’ll be first in line to praise the Republicans responsible for making it happen.

Pleasantly surprise us for a change.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (May 1)

Mayday! Oh, wait…May Day! It’s time to Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY… 

► The New York Times obtained a list of questions that special prosecutor Robert Mueller would like to ask President Trump:

The open-ended queries appear to be an attempt to penetrate the president’s thinking, to get at the motivation behind some of his most combative Twitter posts and to examine his relationships with his family and his closest advisers. They deal chiefly with the president’s high-profile firings of the F.B.I. director and his first national security adviser, his treatment of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and a 2016 Trump Tower meeting between campaign officials and Russians offering dirt on Hillary Clinton.

But they also touch on the president’s businesses; any discussions with his longtime personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, about a Moscow real estate deal; whether the president knew of any attempt by Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to set up a back channel to Russia during the transition; any contacts he had with Roger J. Stone Jr., a longtime adviser who claimed to have inside information about Democratic email hackings; and what happened during Mr. Trump’s 2013 trip to Moscow for the Miss Universe pageant.

Mr. Trump said on Twitter on Tuesday that it was “disgraceful” that questions the special counsel would like to ask him were publicly disclosed, and he incorrectly noted that there were no questions about collusion. The president also said collusion was a “phony” crime.

The questions provide the most detailed look yet inside Mr. Mueller’s investigation, which has been shrouded in secrecy since he was appointed nearly a year ago.

 

► Teacher walkouts across the country aren’t just about low salaries, as Brian Eason reports for the Associated Press:

Teachers usually say a persistent funding shortage, which has cost public schools $6.6 billion since 2009, led them to walk off the job and close down schools last week. But among the biggest reasons for lagging pay is one of the least understood: The rising cost of state pensions…

…In Colorado, school district payments to the public pension fund have roughly doubled since 2006, from around 10 percent of payroll to 20 percent. That has squeezed personnel budgets when the state also was cutting funding during the economic downturn.

In that time, average teacher salaries have grown 21 percent, from $44,439 to $53,768, according to salary data from the National Education Association. But inflation in the greater Denver area has outpaced it, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, leaving teachers with an 8 percentage point drop in buying power.

 

► The Republican sponsor of boneheaded legislation that would have jailed teachers for going on strike has decided to pull his bill from consideration. As the Denver Post reports:

The Republican state senator who brought a bill seeking to prohibit Colorado teachers from strikingby threatening firings, fines or even jail time said Monday he will kill his own measure, citing concerns over lawmakers’ already large workloadin the waning days of this legislative session.

“We don’t have time to have two hours of testimony for a bill that won’t move forward,” said Sen. Bob Gardner, R-Colorado Springs. “You introduce bills for public policy discussions as much as anything, and the bill certainly caused that.”

Gardner’s legislation, Senate Bill 264, which came as thousands of teachers were gearing up to protest education funding and educator payat the state Capitol, drew swift outrage from teachers across Colorado and statehouse Democrats after it was introduced earlier this month.

Even Gardner’s fellow Republicans were wary of the bill.

Pulling the SB-264 from consideration will help mitigate some of the damage for Republicans in November, but this asinine bill should have never been allowed to move forward in the first place.

 

► The political future of Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) is now in the hands of a federal judge after a hearing Monday in which Lamborn’s campaign appealed a ruling from the Colorado Supreme Court that has left his name off of the June Primary ballot. As KRDO in Colorado Springs reports, a decision is expected to be made public by this afternoon.

 

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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RMGO Rages as Bipartisan “Red Flag” Bill Introduced

UPDATE #2: Rocky Mountain Gun Owners takes aim at GOP Rep. Cole Wist:

Cole “The Mole.” That will come in handy for Democrats someday.

—–

UPDATE: Press release from Colorado Ceasefire:

Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO) provide a process to enable families and law enforcement to temporarily remove guns from an individual who is at an elevated risk of danger to themselves or others. It is a civil legal procedure with due process for the affected individual.

Colorado Ceasefire has been promoting this legislation since it held a forum for behavioral health professionals, law enforcement and legislators in May of 2016. Our efforts ramped up, even in the face of a divided legislature, on December 31 st , when Douglas County sheriff’s deputies were ambushed, and Zackari Parrish fatally shot, by a shooter whose own mother had tried to take his guns away.

“There might have been a very different outcome on December 31 st if this bill had been law,” noted Mary Blegen of Colorado Ceasefire. “No one who is a danger to himself or others should have access to firearms, and 85% of Americans agree with that,” she concluded.

—–

As Denver7’s Blair Miller reports, a last-minute bill is being introduced with a surprising degree of bipartisan support to temporarily remove weapons from the possession of persons in the midst of a mental health crisis:

The measure will be named after Douglas County Sheriff’s Deputy Zackari Parrish, who was shot and killed while on duty on New Year’s Eve. The man accused of killing him and wounding several other deputies and officers had mental health issues and weapons – which Parrish and his fellow officers knew ahead of their encounter.

Unveiling the proposal Monday were lawmakers from both parties, several metro-area sheriffs, 18th Judicial District Attorney and Republican Attorney General candidate George Brauchler, and mental health professionals.

George Brauchler.

The measure, the Deputy Zackari Parrish Violence Protection Act, is sponsored by Rep. Alec Garnett, D-Boulder Co., and Rep. Cole Wist, R-Arapahoe Co. Both were praised Monday for their weeks of work on the measure.

Arapahoe County DA George Brauchler, the prosecutor who failed to put the Aurora theater shooter on death row and has been forced to juggle traditional GOP anti-gun control shibboleths with his responsibility to public safety, is commendably choosing the latter in support of the “red flag” bill:

“I’m skeptical of giving the government authority like this, but skepticism is not an excuse for inaction,” he added, saying Colorado’s version of the bill had the “most due process protection” of any bill in the country.

“Those who are out there who are going to characterize this as a gun-grabber bill…I tell you to read the bill,” Brauchler said. [Pols emphasis] “To do nothing at this point no longer makes sense…there’s nothing that so better balances the needs of public safety and mental health.”

With this legislation being supported by the principal Republican candidate for attorney general and a Republican cosponsor in the House, in theory there is a better change of progress being made on this long-vexing issue than we’ve seen in many years. Colorado already passed common-sense measures being debated nationally in response to mass shootings, like requiring background checks for private sales of guns and limiting magazine capacity. The next logical step–and according to some gun-policy activists, the more pragmatic step–is to develop a process to protect the public from gun owners in a mental health crisis while preserving a reasonable degree of due process.

Unfortunately, Colorado’s arch-enemies of common-sense gun safety, the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, are signaling early and loudly that they will not be on board:

A GUN CONFISCATION bill is moving through the Colorado legislature at a rapid pace, and your phone calls are needed to stop it!

This poorly written legislation drafted by anti-gun radical Rep. Garnett called the “The Extreme Risk Protection Order Bill” or “Red Flag Law”, is gun confiscation plain and simple. If passed, it would allow virtually anyone to report you ANONYMOUSLY as “emotionally unable” and have your right to bear arms stripped indefinitely, without due process. It also provides immunity for “good faith” lies to courts to obtain an order. There is no penalty in the bill for using the process to harass or intimidate you…

Who are Coloradans supposed to believe? Lawmakers in both parties, the Republican DA who prosecuted the Aurora shooter, Republican Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock, who lost a deputy to a deranged shooter that might have been stopped by this law–or Dudley Brown and RMGO? Lip service about “focusing on mental health” after mass shootings is the go-to response from Republicans who want to avoid regulating guns themselves, and here is just such a proposal. For the majority of Colorado residents, we would have to think this bill is a no-brainer.

In the RMGO-dominated GOP-controlled Colorado Senate? Sadly, we’ll have to wait and see. And based on RMGO’s bellicose first response, we’re not at all confident.

ICYMI: George Brauchler Gives Up on Maketa Trial

The squinty eyes of justice.

You may have missed this story that was announced late Friday afternoon ahead of a three-day weekend, which is exactly why it was announced late on a Friday afternoon before the start of a three-day weekend: Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler dropped all remaining charges against former El Paso County Sheriff Terry “The Shirtless Sheriff” Maketa.

As Blair Miller reports for Denver7:

Prosecutors on Friday filed to dismiss the two remaining charges against former El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa, signaling a possible close to the alleged extortion case.

Earlier this month, jurors in Maketa’s second trial acquitted Maketa of two counts of official misconduct and deadlocked on the two remaining counts: extortion and conspiracy to commit extortion, both felonies…

…Maketa was originally indicted by an El Paso County grand jury in May 2016 on nine counts relating to the allegation that he threatened to terminate a $5.2 million contract between the sheriff’s office and Correctional Healthcare Companies, Inc., which was the jail’s health care provider at the time.

Colorado Springs residents briefly attempted a recall campaign to rid themselves of Maketa after multiple charges of sexual misconduct and cronyism that led to some $4 million dollars in legal claims from former employees (click here for more details on the allegations). Maketa ended up serving most of his final term in office while then-District Attorney Dan May twiddled his thumbs in response to the many, many claims of impropriety against Maketa, and in 2016 the case was kicked over to District Attorney George Brauchler in the 18th Judicial District.

That’s Terry Maketa front and center in 2013 on the cover of “America’s First Freedom,” the National Rifle Association’s magazine.

Brauchler’s office failed miserably in its first attempt at prosecuting Maketa last summer; the “Shirtless Sheriff” was found not guilty on three charges while a jury deadlocked on four other charges in what was called a “media disaster” by political analysts. Brauchler signed off on a re-trial attempt that concluded earlier this month with two more not guilty verdicts on official misconduct charges and yet another deadlocked jury on extortion and conspiracy to commit extortion charges. As we wrote at the time:

Brauchler has already earned a reputation as someone who is more than willing to play loose with the facts in order to make himself look good, and he’s opened himself up to critics who say that he’s just not a very good prosecutor and should not be elected as the chief law enforcement officer of Colorado (not to mention critics from his own party who worry about his ability to effectively do his job while running for statewide office).

Brauchler’s complete failure to hold Maketa accountable is another black mark on his time as Arapahoe County District Attorney, which includes his failure to get the death penalty for Aurora Theater shooter James Holmes and Brauchler’s litany of excuses in the aftermath of that trial.

Following a disastrous attempt at running for Governor, Brauchler is now seeking the office of Attorney General. It probably goes without saying that he’s going to have a difficult time explaining to voters why he should be named the top law enforcement officer in Colorado despite his many high-profile prosecutorial failures.