Ernest LuningErnest LuningDecember 1, 201713min5104

The aftershocks were still coming days after a Republican vacancy committee picked a replacement for former state Rep. Clarice Navarro, the Pueblo Republican who resigned to take a position with the Trump administration in early November. Judy Reyher, a Swink resident and former Otero County GOP chair, won the appointment to Navarro’s seat on a 6-5 vote when the House District 47 panel met Monday night in Fowler, about half way between Pueblo and La Junta in southeast Colorado, but that was only the beginning.


Joey BunchJoey BunchOctober 8, 201712min526
We got to see @repjamescoleman's @BarackObama impression tonight! @DenverDems #coleg — Lynn Bartels (@lynn_bartels) October 8, 2017 Today is just the most recent example of how TABOR is used to sabotage the simplest and most practical efforts to meet Coloradans' expectations of their state government. #coleg #copolitics — Scott Wasserman (@sjwasserman) October 3, 2017 […]

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Joey BunchJoey BunchSeptember 30, 20178min656


Joey BunchJoey BunchSeptember 16, 20178min523
Opposite of leadership is blaming bill drafters for your own bad legislation, then wasting even more taxpayer dollars. #copolitics #coleg — Rep. Patrick Neville (@PatrickForCO) September 15, 2017 Leveraging a drafting error no one saw & that has bad effects for ppl is cynical politics that ppl hate. Quit it GOP. #coleg #copolitics — KC […]

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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirSeptember 8, 20175min787


Remember that high school teacher or college prof who was known as “an easy A”? The one you didn’t have to worry about too much around finals?

No such luck for the 100 members of Colorado’s General Assembly — at least, not when it comes to the report card just issued on the lawmakers for the 2017 session by tax-hating, spending-cutting, government-curbing conservative advocacy behemoth Americans for Prosperity-Colorado.

Only six lawmakers — all of them in the state Senate, all of them members of the GOP majority — earned an A grade. The six “Champions of Freedom,” as AFP dubs them, are Sens. John Cooke, of Greeley; Vicki Marble, of Fort Collins; Tim Neville, of Littleton; Jim Smallwood, of Parker; Jerry Sonnenberg, of Sterling, and Jack Tate of Centennial.

In stark contrast, 17 state senators — basically, all of the upper chamber’s Democrats — flunked. That’s right: a big, fat F.

Things look even worse in the House. All 37 of the lower chamber’s majority Democrats — plus three Republicans:  Reps. Marc Catlin, of Montrose; Polly Lawrence  (currently running for state treasurer), of Roxborough Park, and Lang Sias, of Arvada — rated an F.

And AFP handed out no A’s to House members. Not a one.

The grand total: six A’s and 57 F’s.

Of interest: Sonnenberg and Tate were among the Republicans to vote for Senate Bill 267, the “rural sustainability” measure that raised revenue for a number of budget items while raising the ire of the political right.

Also noteworthy was who didn’t make the Senate’s A-list: longtime fiscal conservative stalwarts like Sen. Kent Lambert, of Colorado Springs, who earned a B, and Sen. Kevin Lundberg, of Berthoud, who came home with a C.

Some of the House’s reputed righties also didn’t seem to impress AFP. Rep. Perry Buck, of Windsor — whose significant other is swamp-draining 4th Congressional District Republican U.S. Rep. Ken Buck — got a D. Rep. Justin Everett, of Littleton — another candidate for state treasurer whose Wikipedia page says he “has been described as a ‘Combative Conservative,’ and is one of the most constitutionally conservative members of the Colorado House” — got a C. Rep. Tim Leonard, the Evergreen Republican? Also a C. Rep. Dave Williams, of Colorado Springs: C. Even House Republican Minority Leader Patrick Neville, of Castle Rock, only got a B.

What’s the basis for the grades? The organization issued a press release accompanying the report card today, offering insights on methodology:

In an effort to provide the most comprehensive accountability tool to citizens, AFP-Colorado scored nearly 1,800 individual votes on a wide variety of legislation. Bills scored include those that relate to our Budget Colorado Public Policy Agenda: SB 267, the “Sustainability of Rural Colorado” bill, HB 1242, a sales tax increase for transportation funding, and SB 61, a bill that sought to equalize funding for charter schools from local property taxes.

AFP-Colorado State Director Jesse Mallory — who not long ago worked closely with the Senate Republicans as their chief of staff — was quoted in today’s press release:

“We are excited to release this year’s scorecard, a tool we use to hold members accountable and commend those who advance economic freedom … We plan to promote this scorecard throughout the state to inform Coloradans on how their legislators voted. …”

In other words, he thinks the F students might have some ‘splainin’ to do.

Depending, of course, on how much their constituents care.


Joey BunchJoey BunchAugust 29, 20175min360
Denver made its practice on immigration a policy backed by a city ordinance Monday night. The City Council unanimously passed the Public Safety Enforcement Priorities Act, sending the clearest message yet to the Trump administration that Denver won’t assist in a federal crackdown on undocumented immigrants. The U.S. Constitution reserves immigration enforcement to federal authorities, […]

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Joey BunchJoey BunchAugust 27, 20176min586

Rep. Dave Williams is accusing Denver Mayor Michael Hancock of pandering to the “alt left” with a city policy not to help enforce federal immigration laws. The Republican from Colorado Springs is calling on President Trump to crack down on Denver.

The Denver City Council is set to vote Monday night on the Public Safety Enforcement Priorities Act,  proposed by the mayor policy “to reduce fear within the immigrant community and clarify for everyone that Denver is not engaging in immigration enforcement.”

“Your support for this so-called ‘public safety’ ordinance is troubling to say the least,” Williams wrote to Hancock, according to the letter dated Aug. 22 that Williams provided to the Colorado Springs Gazette. “After reading the proposed measure and considering its merits, one can easily determine that this is nothing more than attempt by your office to pander to the alt-left and other open border (sic) militants, while further endangering citizens and lawful immigrants who reside in Colorado.”

Hancock dismissed Williams’ assertion Sunday.

“We are not going to engage in an obvious effort by Mr. Williams to create some headlines for himself,” Hancock told Colorado Politics Sunday. “Should he care to educate himself on the ordinance and why it does not violate federal law, we are glad to refer him to Google search. With a little effort, he would clearly see Denver is taking positive actions to unite people and protect their rights, safety and contributions to our city.”

This month, when the proposal was announced, Hancock said, “With these next steps, Denver will send a clear message that every person, no matter their immigration status, can feel safe when interacting with the city and law enforcement, and know that our No. 1 priority is the safety and health of everyone in Denver.”

In addition to the ordinance Hancock supports, his office said he is working on an executive order on the same subject to:

  • Create a legal defense fund for immigrant
  • Create a working group of experts, stakeholders and city staff to track the impact of Denver policies.
  • Make sure city employees and law enforcement get training on laws and legal rights.
  • Teach immigrants and refugees about their rights.
  • “Protect victims and witnesses regardless of their immigration status.”
  • Assist children and families who are separated because of deportation.

The U.S. Constitution vests immigration enforcement with federal agencies, primarily Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Those, like Williams, who oppose policies that make it easier for undocumented residents to remain in the U.S. illegally, say local governments should not adopt policies that could make it harder for federal agents to do their jobs, however.

In the last legislative session Williams sponsored a bill that would have allowed government officials in jurisdictions deemed “sanctuary cities” to be arrested or sued for violent crimes committed by undocumented residents. He cited Denver, Aurora and Boulder.

“It’s pretty obvious this bill violates the U.S. Constitution,” Denise Maes, public policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, said at the time. “Fourth Amendment rights are fundamental foundations of our democracy, and this bill is contrary to that.”

She and other opponents argued that immigrants would be less likely to report crimes they witness or are the victims of, if they are afraid to talk to police because of immigration status.

Williams went on to write in his letter to Hancock last week, “It is disgraceful that you would rather pander to the radical, alt-left special interests by promoting unlawful activity while refusing to protect or even acknowledge the victims of illegal immigration.”

In another letter dated two days later, on Thursday, Williams told Trump he is a Latino lawmaker and wants the president to assign additional resources to Colorado to block “sanctuary city politicians who are attempting to pass policies that will attract more criminals to Colorado.”

He concluded the letter, “It is clear that Denver officials are determined to allow criminals to run loose on the streets and deny Coloradans their rights to safety and justice. As such, your administration is our best hope to stop this lawless behavior.”

President Trump has proposed deputizing local law enforcement to help, however. He also has proposed withholding tax dollars from sanctuary cities.

Editor’s note: This story was corrected to say that Hancock’s executive order would further extend the proposed ordinance, but his order on the same subject is not part of the ordinance that he supports.


Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirAugust 15, 20173min245

Liberal Colorado blogger Charles Buchanan wrote the other day that he detects a subtext in the strident tweets of some of the state’s arch-conservatives:

Note all the Trumpian hashtags: #MAGA #DrainTheSwamp, etc.. During the election cycle, I noticed that candidates who tweeted with the #MAGA hashtag would get a bunch of retweets from bot-like twitter accounts about the same time every day.

He points to state House hardliner Dave Williams, the Colorado Springs Republican state representative and inveterate Twitter presence, as exhibit A. Williams’s tweets are typically peppered with the ritual hashtags of his ilk. Like this one:

Surmises Buchanan:

In fact, I would bet legislators like Williams use the #MAGA hashtag in every tweet because it gets them retweets by those bots.

Buchanan adds:

But the most disturbing thing about this internet troll-like behavior is the use of the hashtag #LiberalTears. … This is a state legislator, whose job is theoretically to help the people and state of Colorado, admitting that what actually motivates him is hurting people. Williams might not know this, but a large percentage of the people he represents are liberals. Is his idea of a statesman someone who tries to make the people he represents cry?

One point of order: Williams represents red-as-rare-beef House District 15 in Colorado Springs. Just how large a percentage of his constituents are in fact liberals?