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Marianne GoodlandMarianne GoodlandJuly 13, 20185min290

Although the General Assembly is not in session, there’s enough going on outside of the legislative races, and inside it, too, to take another walk among the Mmmmmms.

Good luck…to Democratic Sen. Dominick Moreno of Commerce City, who was recently appointed to the Adams 14 school board. Now Capitol M did a little checking on this, because the idea that a state senator can be on a school board at the same time seems like a lot of work.

As it turns out, you can hold more than one office at a time but you can’t run for more than one office, so if Moreno gets ideas about running for the school board he would have to drop his re-election bid for the state Senate for 2020, for which he has already filed. According to spox Lynn Bartels of the Secretary of State’s office, you can’t have two campaign committees at the same time.

But there’s another thought Capitol M had about this. After this November’s election, Moreno will be the senior remaining senator on the Joint Budget Committee, given that the committee’s two Republican senators — Sens. Kevin Lundberg and Kent Lambert — will be gone due to term limits. Two other Democratic members of the House on the JBC will be gone, too: Reps. Millie Hamner and Dave Young (term limits there, too) which means the JBC brain trust will be Moreno and Republican Rep. Bob Rankin. Don’t go anywhere, either one of ya.

The chairmanship of the JBC swings back to the Senate for 2019. Should the Democrats take control of the Senate in November (given the possibility of a blue wave year, it could happen) Moreno would logically become the next chair of JBC. That’s a heavy lift: to run JBC at the same time sitting on a school board for a troubled district with a lot on its plate.

RMGO influence warning: Colorado CeaseFire this week called out the primary losses for Republicans backed by Rocky Mountain Gun Owners. Capitol M noticed it, too, in a post-primary review of what happened on June 26.

Capitol M took a second look. The top recipient of RMGO’s largesse in the 2018 primary was Republican Frank Francone of Littleton, who lost to Colin Larson by a razor-thin margin of 139 votes, about 1.2 percent. Francone was the recipient of RMGO’s largest donations for any primary candidate statewide, a total of $2,400. RMGO head Dudley Brown also gave Francone $250. But RMGO’s biggest spending, through its independent expenditure committee, went toward advertising in support of Francone, to the tune of more than $6,100. Ouch.

Ray Garcia, who now has among his credentials a third consecutive losing effort to win a seat in the state House, got his head handed to him when he took on Rep. Lois Landgraf of Colorado Springs. It was a contest Garcia lost by 31 points. Brown was also a contributor to Garcia’s coffers, for $150. It turned out to be sizable for a campaign that drew a grand total of $800 in contributions. Garcia spent about $4,000 on his losing effort.

Among non-legislative candidates, RMGO also backed Sheriff Chad Day of Yuma County, who caught national attention this spring when it was revealed he’d given a deputy sheriff’s badge to Trump moneyman Robert Mercer in 2016, a deal allegedly brokered by Brown. The sheriff’s badge allows Mercer to carry a concealed weapon anywhere in the United States without a concealed-carry permit. Day lost to Todd Combs by 15 points.

RMGO’s only win in the primary was in backing Sen. Ray Scott of Grand Junction, who defeated Rep. Dan Thurlow.

The bottom line: next session could play out differently on the issue of guns.

Note on featured photo: my favorite from the 2018 session, Rep. Hugh McKean of Loveland and one of his best buds.


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Joey BunchJoey BunchFebruary 26, 20183min1576

Here’s something you don’t hear often enough: Thank you, Ray Scott.

The rock-ribbed Republican senator from Grand Junction is a political slugger, but he’s found a soft side to get Democrats to the table on energy issues this session. He also is as strong an advocate for oil and gas, along with coal, as you apt to find in the General Assembly.

Last week, two Scott bills, both substantive, advanced with the strong support of Democrats.

Senate Bill 3 preserves the Colorado Energy Office and ensures it’s not overly focused on renewable sources. The legislation passed the Senate, 34-1, on Thursday — to the relief of most Democrats and environmental proponents hoping to keep the state’s hand, and dollars, in promoting renewable energy.

The only no vote in the upper chamber was Sen. Matt Jones, a Democrat from Louisville who leads the Senate Democrats’ efforts on clean air and renewable energy. He thinks the stay should keep its focus on energy sources for the future, and take position on fossil fuels effect on public health.

Scott said the landslide vote was the product of months of negotiations about what the office should be.

“Colorado is blessed to be an energy powerhouse among states, with a diversity of options available to us that other states can only envy, yet for too long our Energy Office was almost exclusively focused on a few technologies and ignoring all the others,” Scott said in a statement. “An all-of-the-above energy state needs and all-of-the-above energy office, which is what we’ll finally have if this bill continues to gain steam.”

The same day, the Senate Transportation Committee passed a bill, on a bipartisan vote, to toughen the state’s laws on contractors and excavators, working around energy and utility lines. Since the fatal explosion of a gas line in Firestone last year, Democrats have been calling for more regulations to safeguard the public from energy and utility lines, so this is bipartisan win on a partial solution, if it makes it into law.

The effort didn’t start with Firestone, however. Scott said he and Donovan had been working on it for 20 months with 58 stakeholders.

“This has been the most difficult and technical measure I have worked in my seven years in the building,” Scott stated.

The left can go back to hating him for his more conservative energy positions after this.


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Joey BunchJoey BunchFebruary 17, 201810min588