Jovan Melton Archives - Colorado Politics
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Ernest LuningErnest LuningFebruary 24, 20183min1640

Khizr Khan, the Gold Star father who came under attack from Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign after offering to lend the Republican a copy of the Constitution, will appear at a rally on Tuesday for Jason Crow, a Democrat challenging U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman in Colorado's 6th Congressional District, Crow's campaign said Friday.


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Joey BunchJoey BunchFebruary 22, 20185min55
A working group of legislators met with prison officials about suspicious budget estimates Wednesday, and it was deemed adequate “good faith” in the Colorado House Thursday. A few weeks ago Republican and Democratic legislators hoed up a $1.4 million request for private prison beds in the current year’s budget. As a result, Gov. John Hickenlooper […]

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Joey BunchJoey BunchFebruary 22, 201810min1480

In the wake of a Columbine-style school shooting in Florida last week, Colorado lawmakers again weighed a trio of bills aimed at loosening up the state's gun laws. All three failed on a partisan vote, as they do each year, including one that would have allowed school staff to carry firearms with an existing concealed carry permit.


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Joey BunchJoey BunchFebruary 11, 20183min12910

Who knew this was a law already? Coloradans are guaranteed by law two hours on Election Day to vote, almost enough time for a round of golf if you don’t have any friends.

But that doesn’t really make sense anymore, since the legislature switched Colorado to mail-ballot elections in 2013; you stand in line only if you want to go vote in person.

Seeing that, Rep. Mike Weissman, D-Aurora, and Sen. Don Coram, R-Montrose, are trying to make the same amount of time make sense to use the allocation available whenever polling centers are open in the 8 to 15 days before the election. The idea is to give people time to register, vote, get a replacement ballot, enjoy a hot dog … whatever they need to do to participate in democracy.

Friday House Bill 1033 passed the lower chamber on a voice vote, as Democrat-sponsored bills tend to do with a Democratic majority. But Listen for yourself at the 44:03 mark by clicking here. (Does Rep. Jovan Melton, D-Aurora, have partisan ears?) The bill still must pass a recorded vote in the House, scheduled for Monday, to make it to the Republican-led Senate.

“The intent here is to make it easier for voters, election administrators and the business community,” Weissman told the chamber before the  voice vote.

The two-hour window allows enough time to register

He noted he had support from the Denver and Aurora chambers and no one spoke against the bill in committee (where it passed 5-4, with all the Republicans in opposition, joined by Democrat Adrienne Benavidez of Commerce City).

Republican Reps. Tim Leonard of Evergreen, Stephen Humphrey of Severance and Dave Williams of Colorado Springs said Friday that the bill is an unnecessary mandate on businesses and would have little impact on voter participation.

“The impact of this bill on voting would be extremely negligible, but the impact of another mandate on employers to be able to accommodate this quest for more voting turnout is significant,” Leonard said.

Added Humphrey: “This is not necessary and most employers are going ahead and doing this anyway.”

Fore!


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Ernest LuningErnest LuningJanuary 30, 201811min406

More than 150 politicos of all stripes packed the historic Carriage House at the Governor’s Residence at Boettcher Mansion in Denver Wednesday night for a session-opening shindig thrown by Colorado Politics. Republicans rubbed shoulders with Democrats, toasting the young political news website and the nearly 120-year-old publication it incorporated last year.


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Joey BunchJoey BunchJanuary 25, 20184min5710

The Black Democratic Legislative Caucus of Colorado held its annual opening reception this week. Also celebrated as the Historic Eight, this delegation is made up of six House and two Senate members working collectively to create and track legislation focused on Coloradans of color.

The intimate event took place at the Blair Caldwell African American Research Library in Denver’s historic Five Points neighborhood, rightfully so. Five Points is nostalgically known as the “Harlem of the West,” once serving as the epicenter of Denver’s thriving black business and social scenes.

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Three of the Black Democratic Legislative Caucus of Colorado members who gathered for a legislative preview this week are , from left, Reps. Tony Exum Sr., Jovan Melton and James Coleman. (Photo by Gabrielle Bryant/Colorado Politics)

Legislators, community members and supporters packed the third floor of the library to hear about the concerted effort the BDLC is putting toward policy during this session.

“I know this Black Caucus and, particularly, Janet Buckner, and all of them are actively trying to be sure that our K-12 system is the best it can be for the students they represent,” said Rep. Dave Young, D-Greeley.

Sen. Rhonda Fields of Aurora is also working on legislation aimed at helping Colorado kids get access to reduced copay lunches. The Expand Child Nutrition School Lunch Protection Act would, “allow school districts to increase access to a healthy meal during school hours for 1.4 million more students. Because hunger knows no age.”

Healthcare, housing, business and technology are also among the issues the BDLC are tackling this session.

“These are people who have their ear to the ground…listening to what people are saying and what they need. Because of that, they have special expertise to devise policy that is cost effective and can really make a difference in the community. That benefits everybody in Colorado. ” said Aaron Harber, host of “The Aaron Harber Show.”

Members of the BDLC are Sens. Angela Williams (chair)of Denver  and Fields, as well as Reps. James Coleman of Denver, Leslie Herod of Denver, Tony Exum Sr. of Colorado Springs, Janet Buckner of Aurora, Dominique Jackson on Denver and Jovan Melton (vice chair) of Aurora.


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Marianne GoodlandMarianne GoodlandJanuary 15, 20187min548
Here’s some of the notables and quotables from the first week of the 2018 Colorado General Assembly. ICYMI: Last October, Gov. John Hickenlooper called lawmakers back to the state Capitol for what was eventually a two-day session intended to fix a drafting error in Senate Bill 17-267. You do remember that, right? Apparently, memories are […]

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Gabrielle BryantGabrielle BryantJanuary 11, 20183min10300

As the legislative session started Wednesday you could feel the excitement and anxiety in both chambers. Priorities were laid out for the next 119 days, including working to improve Colorado’s roads, addressing a projected shortfall in state employees’ pension system, expanding rural broadband accessibility, tackling energy, solving the state’s opioid crisis and ensuring men and women who work at the Capitol feel protected and feel heard amid looming allegations of sexual misconduct.

Simultaneously, the Black Democratic Legislative Caucus, known as the “Historic Eight,” the largest number of black legislators to serve in Colorado at once, is also working on policy more specifically aimed at the advancement of people of color. The contingent is prioritizing education, small business creation, housing affordability and the criminal justice system.

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Rep. Jovan Melton, D-Aurora, discusses issues that disproportionately affect Coloradans of color. (Photo by Gabrielle Bryant/Colorado Politics)

“This legislative session will be pivotal to Colorado’s future as we believe what we do in the general assembly will have impacts on this year’s election,” said Rep. Jovan Melton, D-Aurora, the vice chairman of the caucus. “It’s important that the issues plaguing African-Americans across our state are not ignored and that our vote is not taken for granted.”

While they make up 8 percent of the legislature, black Coloradans are a mere 4.5 percent of the population, and voter turnout for this demographic has been consistently low in recent elections.

Sen. Angela Williams, D-Denver, who chairs the BDLC, said the group has hired a staff member to aid them in introducing policy and to “keep an eye out for legislation that might appear to be inequitable to our communities of color.”

Specific legislation details are expected to be rolled out in the in the coming days, as lawmakers formally introduce bills.

The BDLC’s annual legislative preview will take place on Jan. 22 on the third floor of the Blair Caldwell African American Research Library in Denver’s Five Points neighborhood.

Besides Melton and Williams. the caucus includes Sens. Rhonda Fields of Aurora and Reps. James Coleman of Denver, Leslie Herod of Denver, Tony Exum Sr. of Colorado Springs, Janet Buckner of Aurora and Dominique Jackson of Denver.

(Editor’s note: This story was corrected to reflect that Jovan Melton is from Aurora.)