Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Redistricting – Failure is an option

Tom Morris, of the legislature’s legal services, discusses redistricting and what comes next if state law makers don’t reach an agreement.

Lawmakers vote to make-over the Governor’s Energy Office

Lawmakers on the House Agriculture, Livestock, & Natural Resources Committee voted Monday in favor of a measure aimed at a make-over for the Governor’s Energy Office to promote traditional fuels as well as renewable ones.

The sponsor of House Bill 1312, Rep. Jon Becker, R-Fort Morgan, says the restructuring is needed to be more inclusive of current energy technologies.

In addition to changing the name of the Governors Energy Office—known as GEO-—to the Colorado Energy Office, HB 1312 also would refocus the mission of the office to promote conventional energy technologies, not just renewable energy technologies, and would reduce the number of state employees under the energy office. Cost efficiencies and market support would be a part of the mission of the office.

The agency was created in 1977 and named the Governor’s Office of Energy Management and Conservation. In 2007, then-Gov. Bill Ritter renamed the office the Governor’s Energy Office and made it the centerpiece of his oft-touted “New Energy Economy.”

According to the GEO’s website, the stated goal of the current administration is to “continue to shape it into an organization that will effectively, efficiently and elegantly advance energy efficiency and renewable clean energy resources, while also focusing on increasing business and job creation in Colorado.”

Rep. Ray Scott, R-Grand Junction says that picking winners and losers among energy sources is not a solution to improving the environment.

‘The largest polluter in Colorado is Mother Nature,” said Scott. “I’m an ‘all of the above’ kind of guy and I’d like to see all these technologies succeed in Colorado.”

Despite the reconfiguration of the energy office, a legislative mandate requiring 30 percent of energy generated by utilities come from renewable sources by the year 2020 remains in place.

HB 1312 is now headed to the House Appropriations Committee for consideration.

Via - Colorado News Agency

Colorado Senate passes education tax check-off

Monday, a bill that would offer Coloradans a new tax check-off for early childhood education passed in the Senate.

Senate Bill 109, creates a new income tax check-off to collect donations for the Public Education Fund, which would be created by the bill. The “Public Education Fund Tax Check-off,” allows Coloradans to support early childhood education by adding a voluntary donation option on Colorado tax returns.

Senate President, Brandon Shaffer (D-Longmont), the sponsor of the bill, offered the following comment:

“In a year where we have had to make serious cuts to our budget, no state program, including education, has gone unscathed, but with the passage of SB-109, we are sticking to the pledge to find innovative ways to support the education of our kids. This bill gives Coloradans the opportunity to support schools and is an innovative way to do more for children and their future.”

The bill now heads to the House for consideration.

Sarah Palin pays "Tribute to the Troops" at Colorado Christian University

Former Alaska governor and GOP vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin praised American troops, intelligence officers, and even former President George W. Bush, during a speech Monday evening on the Colorado Christian University campus.

Palin appeared with Retired Lt. Gen. William Boykin.

Rep. Mike Coffman – What’s next with “Radical Islam”

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CD6) talks about what we can expect in the future from Radical Islam after the United States successful mission against Osama bin Laden.

Colorado Political News Brief – 5.3.2011

Fed warning causes pot law changes
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill Monday that would change rules for how pot can be cultivated and sold. Changes included reducing the number of plants that can be grown and laws banning felons from working in the industry. It also would allow testing of plants to determine dosages….. Read More

Adultery is one step closer to being legal
The Colorado Senate approved and sent to the House a measure repealing the crime of adultery. The bill also repeals the related crime of contributing to ``sexual immorality'' by providing a place for unmarried people to have sex….. Read More

Obama portrait hangs in the Capitol
Colorado Springs artist Sarah Boardman began painting President Barack Obama’s portrait on Nov. 8, but it wasn’t just for kicks. Rather, it was to hang on the third floor of the state Capitol rotunda, with portraits of the other 43 presidents. It’s a responsibility that Boardman took very seriously….. Read More

GOP takes another shot at immigration enforcement
People who conceal illegal immigrants would face criminal charges and employers who fail to show proof that their workers are in the country legally would be fined under a Republican proposal….. Read More

Are Colorado’s lawmakers selling votes for food?
Five years ago, Coloradans made it illegal for lawmakers to accept even a cup of coffee from a lobbyist, but now a lobbying firm's billing records show $1,700 worth of meetings and meals with 16 lawmakers over a two-year period….. Read  More

Turnout key in Denver’s municipal election
At this point, who'll make that runoff is still up in the air: The only thing that's certain is that the two top vote-getters in the mayor's race will be the two people who convince the most voters to drop off their ballots in this all-mail election. Denver has just under 300,000 registered voters, and about 225,000 of those are considered active -- but that doesn't mean they've been active in this election, where the turnout thus far has been very light….. Read More

Senate keeps business personal property tax
A Colorado state Senate committee killed a bill Monday that would have created a two-year timeout on the business personal property tax, saying that its costs to local government revenues outweighed any potential sales-tax revenue increase….. Read More

Monday, May 2, 2011

Rep. Diana DeGette on America’s budget woes

Colorado’s senior congresswoman Diana DeGette discusses the budget problems that America is facing and what taxes need to be increased to bring the federal deficit under

Colorado Senate considers credit for energy-efficient improvements

Energy-efficient home improvements could be financed through easy-term credit under a proposal that debuted last week in the Senate Agriculture and Energy Committee.

Senate Bill 32, by Sen. Mike Johnston, D-Denver, would create a loan program for homeowners wanting to install energy-efficient improvements like new windows, doors and insulation. The loans would be facilitated by public utilities like Xcel Energy as well as bank’s and would benefit from eased borrowing criteria that would extend credit to those who may not otherwise qualify.

For homeowners to be eligible, an energy audit first would be performed on their homes to identify inefficiencies. Payments for the low-interest loans would be made alongside a borrower’s utility bill—a bill that Johnson projects will be lower thanks to the enhanced energy efficiency from the improvements.

Committee action on the legislation was postponed to a later date, pending amendments.

Johnson says the concept is motivated by environmental concerns but also produces economic benefits for homeowners who invest in improvements for their home.

Sen. Greg Brophy, R-Wray, questioned the wisdom of granting the loans without the leverage of prudent risk-assessment tools.

“The only people you can really help with this are the ones that couldn’t get these loans on their own. So, effectively, this is just another give-away program,” said Brophy.

Via - Colorado News Agency

Rep. Perlmutter’s statement on Osama bin Laden

Rep. Ed Perlmutter, (D-CD7) issued this statement on Sunday night:

"This is a moment of justice. The United States took out an enormous threat to the safety and security of our country. Osama Bin Laden was the leader and symbol of Al Qaeda and the architect of 9/11. Terrorism threats still remain, but Bin Laden's death is a significant development against the war on terror and a huge blow to Al Qaeda. As President Obama said, we must continue to remain vigilant. I know our special operations forces, intelligence and homeland security community is prepared to handle threats to our security. I am proud of all of those who serve and protect our nation and their diligence, determination and unwavering courage in this ongoing battle against terrorism."

Rep. Mike Coffman’s Statement on Death of Osama bin Laden

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CD6) released the following statement today after the President announced that United States forces had killed Osama bin Laden:

“This will bring closure to the attack on 9/11 but it will have nothing to do with ending the global war on terror. After 9/11, U.S. efforts to target the leadership of al Qaida caused Osama bin Laden to keep his head down causing him to lose operational control of al Qaida ending his ability to initiate attacks against the United States. At that point, al Qaeda became more of a decentralized movement instead of a structured organization,” Coffman said. “However, since Osama bin Laden was seen as the spiritual leader of radical Islam we should be prepared for stepped up attacks against American targets as well as a strong reaction by Pakistani Islamic militants against their government for their cooperation.”

“Congratulations to our special operations personnel who conducted this successful mission,” Coffman said.

Sen. Bennet’s reaction to bin Laden's death

Senator Michael Bennet issued the following statement Sunday evening, after the announcement of the death of Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden:

"Almost 10 years ago, extremist terrorists launched a vicious attack on our country that killed thousands of innocent men, women and children. Tonight, the families affected by this tragedy and all Americans received the welcome news that the architect of this attack was killed thanks to the competent and courageous efforts of American forces. While this development does not mark the end of our efforts, the death of Osama bin Laden does mark very significant milestone in our fight against Al Qaeda and violent extremism across the globe."

Colorado Political News Brief – 5.2.2011

Colorado’s ‘Hire a Ho – Get Schooled’ bill
Last week a House Judiciary Committee backed a bill that would raise fines for soliciting a prostitute and use the additional funds to create so-called “john’s schools.” …. Read More

Is Richard Skorman behind the latest dirty politics in Colorado Springs?
A new political committee whose stated purpose is to “educate the voters of Colorado Springs regarding their mayoral candidates” came out swinging with a quarter-page ad in the Sunday paper….. Read More

Linkhart still laboring under the delusion he can win
Linkhart, who issued a release early Friday stating that a poll produced three weeks ago showing he was not in the top three candidates was inaccurate, said his name on the top of the ballot and considerable city-wide leadership experience would win him the election….. Read More

Denver changes policy on service Pit bulls
Denver has tenaciously defended its pit bull ban. Years of lawsuits, protests and bad press have done nothing to unmoor Denver's political leadership from their conviction that this particular breed of dog is far too dangerous to allow within city limits... until now. … Read More

Udall: ‘Death of bin Laden a major milestone’
Colorado Sen. Mark Udall, who serves on key Senate intelligence and armed forces committees, issued the following statement on Sunday night’s announcement by President Barack Obama that U.S. special forces killed 9/11 mastermind Osama Bin Laden….. Read More

New district would include Aspen, Boulder & Grand Junction
What kind of congressman or woman would it take to represent a district encompassing both Boulder and Grand Junction, with Aspen smack dab in the middle? …. Read More

Friday, April 29, 2011

Americans for Prosperity TV ad - “Skorman’s liberal policies”

Americans for Prosperity, a 501(c) group, has began airing a television ad targeting Colorado Springs mayoral candidate Richard Skorman.

The spot claims Skorman’s “liberal policies would kill jobs in Colorado Springs.”

Lawmakers take on graffiti.

A panel of lawmakers agreed this week to tighten up the penalties for graffiti.

Senate Bill 256, sponsored by Sen. Lucia Guzman, D-Denver, and Sen. Steve King, R- Grand Junction, gives law enforcement the ability to file a single misdemeanor charge against those who tag on an ongoing basis over a six-month period. Currently, the perpetrators can only be charged for a single occurrence, which doesn’t always meet the statutory minimum for the dollar amount of damage inflicted.

The bill also has a component that allows for restorative justice, providing an opportunity for offenders to compensate victims monetarily or otherwise in exchange for some leniency in sentencing.

Guzman says the bill is part of a solution for an ongoing problem.

“My community wants a way to get a handle on this problem,” said Guzman. “It also gives offenders a way to acknowledge what they’ve done and to do something about it.”

King alluded to past attempts at addressing the problem, citing where they fell short.

“In the past, all we’ve come up with is trying to pass laws about the illegal possession of crayons and spray paint regulation,” said King. “This bill allows for the ability to take appropriate action against the taggers and puts it in the right context.”

The measure is now headed to the House floor for consideration.

Via - Colorado News Agency

Lamborn earns top score for his voting record

The Club for Growth, the nation's leading free-market advocacy organization, announced that Congressman Doug Lamborn (CD5) has earned the annual Defender of Economic Freedom award. The award honors Members of Congress who have a strong, consistent voting record on economic growth issues. Lamborn is the only Member of the Colorado delegation to receive the award. Lamborn earned a 100 percent score for his 2010 voting record. Additionally, he is one of only five Members of Congress recognized for a lifetime ranking of 100 percent.

“My record in Washington reflects my commitment to expanding freedom and shrinking government. With record-high gas prices battering families, and an economy that is sputtering on empty, we must get control of federal spending and promote policies that will help our nation’s job creators.”– Congressman Doug Lamborn (CO-05)

“With his score of 100%, and a lifetime score of 100%, Rep. Lamborn has demonstrated that he is on the side of economic freedom not just at election time, but every time. The Club for Growth values Members of Congress who stand on principle over political expediency. The people of Colorado are lucky to have strong pro-growth representation in Congress.” - Chris Chocola, Club for Growth President

Club for Growth publishes an annual scorecard so Club members and the public can monitor the actions and the voting behavior of Members of Congress on economic growth issues. The Club conducted a comprehensive examination of each lawmaker’s record on pro-growth policies and computed a score on a scale of 0 to 100. A score of 100 indicates the highest support for pro-growth policies. Those lawmakers scoring 90 or higher in 2010— and who also have a lifetime score of 90 or higher—receive theDefender of Economic Freedom award.

Senate Dems Kill Anti-Tax Increase Measure

Thursday Senate Republicans testified in favor of Senate Resolution 11-004 a measure calling on members of the General Assembly to oppose any tax increase before the State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee.
“The people of Colorado and the business community have said loud and clear, they do not want any more taxes,” said Senate Minority Leader Mike Kopp. “We need to honor their wishes and pass this resolution confirming our commitment to not raising taxes.”

Assistant Minority Leader Bill Cadman added, “We heard the concerns of Colorado citizens over the issue of taxation and we believe them. We are committed to protecting families and businesses from additional financial burdens.”

Democrat committee chairman Senator Rollie Heath has been a vocal advocate for raising taxes and a critic of Republican efforts to ease the tax burden in Colorado.

Senate Minority Whip Scott Renfroe added, “Governor Hickenlooper has repeatedly stated there is no appetite in Colorado for tax increases. We call on Senate Democrats to join the Governor in adopting this philosophy.”

The resolution died on a party-line vote with Democrat Senators Bacon and Boyd joining Heath in voting ‘no.’

Rep. Cory Gardner on America’s budget woes

Colorado’s freshman congressman Cory Gardner discusses the budget problems the country is facing and what needs to be done to bring the Federal deficit under control.

Colorado Political News Brief – 4.29.2011

James Mejia isn’t Satan
Republican, Democrat and unaffiliated voters in Denver do have the opportunity to vote for a mayoral candidate whose experience, vision and commitment to Denver clearly qualify him as “exceptional.” …. Read More

Romer way ahead in raising money
If it comes down to money, Chris Romer is going to be pretty tough to keep out of one of the top two slots when ballots are finally counted on May 3….. Read More

Garcia secures money for teacher reviews
Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia is raising “tens of millions of dollars” to pay for a new teacher-evaluation system that will replace the current seniority system in public schools….. Read More

Redistricting map splits Larimer County between 2nd, 4th CD’s
Democrats on Thursday proposed a redistricting plan that would split Larimer County between two congressional districts. The eastern part of the county, including the population centers of Loveland and Fort Collins, would be in the 4th Congressional District. The more sparsely populated western part of the county would be in the 2nd Congressional District ….. Read More

Hickenlooper praises water agreement
Leaders from Grand, Summit and Eagle counties stood with representatives from Denver Water, the Colorado River District, the ski industry and other main stem Colorado River Basin water interests to announce a historic proposed agreement, the “Colorado River Cooperative Agreement.” ….. Read More

‘Homemade Jelly’ bill moves forward
Senate Bill 258 passed out of the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Thursday. The measure would allow non-perishable food such as jams and jellies to be sold at farmers markets and similar venues….. Read More