Joey BunchJoey BunchFebruary 22, 201810min1797

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.


Joey BunchJoey BunchFebruary 11, 20183min13570

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.”



Joey BunchJoey BunchFebruary 8, 20184min2460

Colorado lawmakers began laying the bricks of a firewall for consumers who might be victims of identity theft as a result of such breaches as the Equifax hack last year. They started with children and at-risk adults.

Most children don’t have credit histories, and often their clean credit is used in “family fraud,” by someone who knows the child or at-risk adult

The State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee voted 7-2 to pass House Bill 1233, sponsored by House Speaker Crisanta Duran and Republican Rep. Polly Lawrence.

“Securing personal information is a growing priority for adults,” parent Jessica Duke told the committee. “And it should be for children, too.”

Reps. Tim Leonard, R-Evergreen, and Stephen Humphrey, R-Severance, voted against the bill “for today,” because they want to be sure the legislation doesn’t create a credit report for a child simply by a parent asking the credit reporting agency if one exists.

The bill appears broadly supported, however.

The legislative effort this session is driven by the last year’s Equifax data breach. Hackers gained access to 145 million Americans’ Social Security numbers, birth dates and addresses, a trove for identity thieves to create phony credit accounts. At least four bills are expected this session, in response.

The Duran-Lawrence bill would allow parents or guardians to freeze, at no charge, credit reports opened in the name of a child 16 and younger or an at-risk adult.  Children’s Social Security numbers can be stolen from schools, doctor’s offices or even cell phone accounts.

“This bill gives parents a lock and a key for their children and dependants’ credit,” said Danny Katz, director of the Colorado consumer advocacy group CoPIRG. “Most importantly that lock and key are free of charge. Parents and guardians should not have to pay to protect their children and dependants from problems they didn’t create.”

Equifax already is waiving any fees to place a credit freeze on its credit reports until June 30.

Rich Jones of the Denver-based Bell Policy Center was pleased to see the bill includes older Coloradans, who have a designated financial guardian.

“We think given the aging of our population here in Colorado, a growing number of people are going to need some of that protection,” Jones said.

Rep. Dave Williams, R-Colorado Springs, sought to give consumers more protection over their data by requiring consent. He cited the power and, clearly, the vulnerability of bureaus such as Equifax. House Bill 1063 wasn’t voted on Wednesday, as Williams sought more time to amend it.

A half-dozen opponents said it was too broadly written and would create unintended consequences, including making it harder to do employee background checks and impeding earnest consumers’ ability to get credit.

“Our concern is the consumers who have the most to hide will hide the most,” Eric Ellman of the Consumer Data Industry Association told the committee.


Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirOctober 10, 20172min4170

Tom Tancredo says he’s taking the public’s temperature, gauging its appetite for yet another gubernatorial run. A more world-weary reading of the former congressman/forever firebrand’s ad hoc stumping around the state is that it’s a case of, “Oh please, no! Really? Me? You want me to run for guv? Again?”

Either way, Colorado’s favorite fusion politician — part alt-right/populist rabble rouser, part off-again-on-again Republican — will make a whistle stop Oct. 21 at the libertarian-ish Independence Institute in Denver for a breakfast hosted by the Colorado Union of Taxpayers. He will keynote CUT’s annual Taxpayer Champion and Guardian Award Breakfast, honoring members of the General Assembly who vote right — hard right — on taxing and spending issues. So, the right will be leading the right at the event.

Here’s more, courtesy of CUT:

Come To Honor and Thank:
Senate Champion Vicki Marble
House Champion Tim Leonard
Senate Guardians Chris Holbert and Jim Smallwood
House Guardian Stephen Humphrey
Guest Speaker:
The Honorable Tom Tancredo


That’s Saturday, Oct. 21 at 8 a.m., at the Independence Institute’s citadel just east of downtown, 727 E 16th Ave, Denver CO 80203. (Parking is free.) The cost is $20 to non-CUT members but free for those who are up to date on their 2018 membership. RSVP: 303-747-2159 or


Joey BunchJoey BunchAugust 28, 20175min2200

A formal hearing into an ethics complaint filed against Rep. Kim Ransom of Lone Tree isn’t likely to take place before October, based on discussions of the complaint today with the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission.

The complaint, filed last year by Lone Tree resident Charles Bucknam, alleges Ransom accepted a gift that exceeds the state’s constitutional limits. The commission decided in January that the complaint had enough merit to move forward with a formal investigation.

That investigation, conducted by commission staff, was completed last month and obtained by Colorado Politics.

Ransom was one of 10 lawmakers who was named an awardee by the non-profit Principles of Liberty organization, which is headed by Rich Bratten. Bratten and wife Laurie are long-time conservative activists; Laurie is a staffer to U.S. Rep. Ken Buck and before that handled communications for the Republican Study Committee of Colorado, an ad hoc group of conservative state lawmakers. Rich Bratten runs a variety of conservative groups; he also served as executive director of the Republican Study Committee of Colorado.

The complaint against Ransom alleges she accepted a $600 “Gold Pass” to the 2016 Western Conservative Summit as one of 10 lawmakers who were slated to receive an award from Principles of Liberty. The Gold Pass allowed lawmakers to attend the summit and receive free meals.

The state’s ethics law limits gifts to lawmakers to those valued at $59 or less. But there are exceptions to the law, pointed out by Ransom’s attorney, Mark Grueskin of Denver, in his response to the complaint.

The biggest loophole may be that elected officials can accept gifts from nonprofits that receive 5 percent or less of their funding from for-profit sources. “As far back as 2015, Rep. Ransom spoke with House of Representatives partisan legislative staff who related that, at the behest of one or more legislators, the Office of Legislative Legal Services (‘OLLS’) had reviewed the propriety of legislators’ acceptance of a Gold Pass to the Western Conservative Summit,” wrote Grueskin in his response.

According to Grueskin, the legislature’s legal services staff spoke to the director of the Centennial Institute, which is part of Colorado Christian University, which sponsors the annual summit. The Centennial Institute verified that CCU was a nonprofit entity that receive less than 5 percent of its funding from for-profit entities. There would be “no ethical barrier” to accepting the Gold Pass to attend the summit, Grueskin wrote.

In his complaint, Bucknam seeks sanctions of a misdemeanor and a $1,000 fine levied against Ransom.

Nine other lawmakers were notified they would receive the Principles of LIberty Award, given to those who received A-plus ratings for their final votes on legislation reviewed by the organization.

Ransom was the only lawmaker of the 10 who notified the Secretary of State that she had accepted the Gold Pass on a quarterly gifts and honoraria report filed in October, 2016.

The other awardees included Reps. Patrick Neville of Castle Rock, Stephen Humphrey of Severance, Justin Everett of Littleton, Lori Saine of Firestone, Tim Leonard of Evergreen, Perry Buck of Greeley, and Sens. Tim Neville of Littleton, Vicki Marble of Fort Collins and Jerry Sonnenberg of Sterling. All 10 attended the Western Conservative Summit and accepted the award, although how many of the 10 accepted the passes is unknown. Bratten did not respond to an email or phone call seeking that information.

Humphrey, Leonard, Tim Neville and Sonnenberg did not file third quarter gifts reports for 2016, a potential violation of the state’s ethics laws. The other five did file those reports but said they had received nothing of value for the quarter that began on July 1 and ended on Sept. 30, 2016. The Principles of Liberty award was given during the summit’s Saturday evening event on July 2.

Under state law an elected official who fails to file a gift report or files an incomplete or inaccurate report is guilty of a misdemeanor and can carry a fine of between $50 and $1,000.

No ethics complaints for accepting the passes were filed against the other lawmakers, nor were there any ethics complaints filed for failing to file the required reports. The statute of limitations for an ethics complaint is one year.


Ernest LuningErnest LuningJune 26, 20178min225

A group of liberal advocacy organizations for the first time released combined legislative scorecards this week, conglomerating assessments of the 100 Colorado lawmakers’ votes last session on key legislation the organizations said they plan to present to voters next year. A Republican who received among the lowest overall scores, however, dismissed the endeavor as a “political stunt” and told Colorado Politics he doubts the predictable rankings — Democrats good, Republicans bad — give voters any meaningful information.


John TomasicJohn TomasicApril 4, 20176min4751

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper on Tuesday signed a state campus free speech bill passed with wide bipartisan support in both chambers of the Legislature this year. “Once we limit free speech to a zone, we indicate to our students that free speech does not exist anywhere beyond that zone,” state Sen. Tim Neville, a Littleton Republican, said at the bill signing ceremony. At a brief press conference beforehand, Neville goofed with House sponsors Stephen Humphrey, an Eaton Republican, and Jeff Bridges, a Greenwood Village Democrat. The men stood in a mock free speech zone roped off from reporters and covered their eyes, mouths and ears, like the “see no, speak no, hear no evil” monkeys of <a href="" target="_blank">Japanese lore</a>.


Ernest LuningErnest LuningFebruary 17, 20177min2091

Although it starts with a splash of levity, the House Republican caucus’s weekly video update quickly moves onto more serious ground. “This is Jim Wilson from Salida, Colorado,” says state Rep. Yuelin Willett, R-Grand Junction, as his serious gaze dissolves into a grin and an imposing figure enters the frame, shooing away the imposter. “Not even close,” says Wilson. “I’m the real Jim Wilson.”

Peter MarcusPeter MarcusFebruary 10, 20177min175
Democrats early Friday morning shot down a trio of bills pushed by abortion opponents following an 11-hour marathon hearing that saw an effort to reverse abortions. The bills that were rejected by the House Health, Insurance and Environment Committee on party-line votes included: House Bill 1086, sponsored by Reps. Justin Everett, R-Littleton, and Dan Nordberg, R-Colorado Springs, which […]

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