Archive for the 'Colorado State Legislature' Category

Radio host fails to ask state senator if she’s concerned about a primary challenge

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

You need only to stick you toe into Colorado’s talk-radio world to know that state Sen. Laura Woods is a superstar on the Tea-Party airwaves, regularly receiving love from KLZ 560AM’s Ken Clark, KNUS 710 AM’s Peter Boyles, and others.

The last thing these guys want is to lose Woods in a primary next year, funded by deep-pocket Republicans. So you’d think they’d want to rally their listeners to stop this before hit happens. And Woods seems to be hinting that it will, judging from her continued criticism of establishment Republicans.

For example, in a May 14 interview with Clark, Woods said there’s “not a lot of difference” between mainstream Democrats and mainstream Republicans–raising the question of whether Woods thinks Colorado Republicans will field a primary candidate against her. But Clark didn’t ask the question.

Woods (at 4:15 below): “I think that for the establishment Republicans, and there is no doubt in my mind that Cory Gardner is one of them. and Democrats, there’s not a lot of difference. Where we see a difference is between conservatives and that group of people.”

Earlier in the interview, at two minutes, she referred to “squishy Republican committees,” further showing her displeasure with the GOP in Colorado.

I’m not saying this is unexpected, given Woods’ ride to power on the back of Tea-Party supporters, but I’m surprised the radio crowd doesn’t talk openly about the obvious possibility of a primary and how to prepare for it.

https://soundcloud.com/bigmedia-org/laura-woods-is-a-guest-on-freedom-560-am

https://soundcloud.com/bigmedia-org/laura-woods-is-a-guest-on-freedom-560-am

Businessman promoting “White Appreciation Day” now says he’s leaving Republican Party.

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

Edgar Antillon, who’s twice run for the Colorado State House and is promoting a “White Appreciation Day” at his rural Colorado BBQ joint, says he’s leaving the Republican Party.

Antillon lost his latest bid for the Colorado legislature just last year, and he’s still listed as an “active” Republican candidate on Colorado Secretary of State’s website.

But Antillon said in a Twitter exchange yesterday that he plans to close his campaign accounts as soon as possible, and he doesn’t consider himself a candidate currently.

“Never will I run as a Republican again,” tweeted Antillon, who led Mitt Romney’s Hispanic outreach effort in Adams County, Colorado. Antillon’s pro-gun activism has supported state GOP legislative efforts.

Antillon explained his position in a subsequent email.

Antillon: “I support gay marriage. Support a Ronald Reagan style amnesty. Support legalizing marijuana.

I once thought I was a Republican. I now know I’m not. Republicans claim to be the party of freedom…they are not.

I’m not a Democrat either though.”

Antillon is still promising to give white people a 10 percent discount on June 11 at his Rubbin’ Buttz BBQ in Milliken.

But in a development first reported by Denver’s NBC affiliate Sunday,  Antillon is now saying he’ll give everyone, regardless of race, a discount on his restaurant’s “White Appreciation Day,” which has gained national media attention.

He insists that it was never his intention to exclude non-white races from the discount, despite telling 9News’ on tape that Hispanics like himself would not get the discount. He reiterated to 9News that the point of White Appreciation Day was to bring Americans together.

“We’re not backtracking,” he told 9News. “We’re not clarifying anything. This was the intention from the beginning.”

He’s also said he received a bomb threat at his restaurant Friday.

 

9News omits fact that organizer of “White Appreciation Day” appears to be a well-known conservative activist

Saturday, May 9th, 2015

MONDAY UPDATE: Using info from a ColoradoPols commenter, I’ve confirmed that the co-owner of a BBQ joint that will give “white Americans” a discount is an active Republican candidate for the Colorado State House.

Edgar Antillon, who’s promoting his restaurant’s “White Appreciation Day,” ran as Republican for House District 32 (Commerce City) last year–and for House District 35 (Westminster) in 2010. He lost both times. His House Distric 32 campaign is active, according to state records.

The story about the discount for white people, originally aired by Denver’s NBC affiliate, has gone viral nationally. But news outlets,  including an AP story today, haven’t reported Antillon’s connection to the Republican Party.

Calls to Antillon’s restaurant, Rubbin Buttz, to find out if his “White Appreciation Day” has the backing of any of Antillon’s Republican colleagues were not returned. Neither did Antillon respond to an email seeking comment.

——-

Denver’s NBC affiliate, 9News, aired a story Thursday about a BBQ joint in Milliken, Colorado, that’s planning to give “white Americans” a discount later this month. From there, the story has gone viral nationally.

But news outlets failed to report that the co-owner of the restaurant, Edgar Antillon, who’s promoting his restaurant’s “White Appreciation Day,” appears to be the same conservative activist who ran as a Republican for the state legislature (District 35) in 2010, served as the Adams County chair of Mitt Romney’s Hispanic outreach effort, called “Juntos con Romney,” and organized extremist pro-gun events.

Calls to Atillon’s restaurant, Rubbin Buttz, to confirm Antillon’s background were not returned, but photos, as well as a Washington Times piece referencing his gun background, make me think it’s the same guy.

When Antillon made his legislative run in 2010, the progressive blog ColoradoPols drew on reporting from The Denver Post and provided some background on the Republican candidate,:

Antillon pled guilty to perjury after being arrested on two counts of felony impersonation in 2004. Antillon’s record includes fully 18 failure-to-appear counts on numerous mostly minor charges. Antillon told Bartels that family troubles as a youth made it difficult to appear in court, but he apparently has time to maintain a Youtube pseudonymous identity as “Juan a Be the Luchador” where he frequently poses with assault weapons (above). Antillon was personally introduced at the GOP state assembly by Frank McNulty, highlighting Antillon’s race as one they can, uh, win… “

In 2013, Antillon appeared again to organize a “Guns for Everyone” rally at the state Capitol. He and others vowed to pack concealed heat at the event, which turned out to be a bust but managed to capture the media spotlight anyway. Last year, he grabbed attention by advocating that legal marijuana users get gun permits. 

9News reported Antillon’s thoughts on his “White Appreciation Day:”

“We have a whole month for Black History Month,” Antillon said. “We have a whole month for Hispanic Heritage Month, so we thought the least we could do was offer one day to appreciate white Americans.”…

Antillon says the discount isn’t meant to discriminate, but instead bring people together. He added that he has been the target of racism in the past. He hopes opening up the discussion will prompt others to think differently about race.

“We’re all American, whether you came from a different country, or you were born here,” Antillon said. “We’re all American.”

“White Appreciation Day” is meant to bring people together? Looks more like a media stunt from a guy using his conservative-activist background to draw attention to his business. That should have been part of the news stories.

Eight great stories on the Colorado legislative session

Friday, May 8th, 2015

Below I’ve listed some of my favorite reporting about Colorado’s legislative session that ended Wednesday.

My favorite: The Denver Post’s John Frank wrote an accessible yet detail-rich article on the failed effort to secure funding for a wildly successful teen-pregnancy-prevention program. Read it here: IUD Jewelry Emerges at Colorado Capitol to Demystify and Educate on Birth Control

The Post’s Joey Bunch and John Frank teamed up to show how middle class reality connects to the legislature. Read it here: Fear and Worry in Colorado’s Middle Class Lures Politicos.

The Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby provided a cool look at the flaming arrows launched at Republican Rep. Dan Thurlow. Read it here: Thurlow Defends Record

Colorado Public Radio reporter Megan Verlee’ provides an outside-the-Capitol perspective on the teen-pregnancy issue. Listen here: For Colorado Teen Moms, There’s Help but Daunting Statistic

Colorado Public Radio’s Verlee demystified the complicated debate about the Earned Income Tax Credit. Listen here: 5 Things to Know about the Earned Income Tax Credit, a Proven Poverty Reliever.

Denver Post reporter Lynn Bartels explained how a bill offering help for the middle class was killed over one lawmaker’s concern that his rich constituents wouldn’t like it. Read it here: Upper Class Protected During Debate about Saving for College. 

Great in-depth reporting by the National Journal’s Nora Kaplan-Bricker about Colorado’s latest birth-control battle and teen pregnancy program. Read it here: The Big Battle Over a Little Device.

And finally, I can’t resist adding the Aurora Sentinel’s outstanding editorial on the failed teen-pregnancy prevention measure. (Sorry for the repeated citations of coverage of this legislation, but it generated the most inspired reporting.) Read it here: The birth of ignorance; get science right before voting on teen pregnancy bill.

Reporter uses measured language to spotlight repeated GOP infighting during legislative session

Friday, May 8th, 2015

Hey, the three of you out there who were following the state legislature. How many of you thought state senate President Bill Cadman was going to be able to control his own caucus this session? Seeing no hands, I’ll say none of you.

Still, if you’re a reporter, you can’t just say, “No one in their right mind thought Republicans would get along with each other and compromise with their leader. Are you kidding me? The party is ripped apart by wild ideologues who would rather see Cadman go down in flames than face the wrath of tea-party talk-radio hosts Ken Clark, Randy Corporon, and Kris Cook.”

If you’re a reporter, you don’t say it that way. But you can say that GOP infighting was surprising. That’s what Denver Post reporter John Frank said on The Denver Post’s TV video program, DPTV: On the Spot.

Denver Post Politics Editor Chuck Plankett: John, what were some of the biggest surprises you saw this session?

Denver Post reporter John Frank: At the start of the session, all eyes were on the senate Republicans. They had just taken power for the first time in 10 years in the senate, and President Bill Cadman was in the spotlight, trying to lead a caucus that had numerous divisions. So one of the surprises that I saw throughout the session was how many times his caucus split on major bills. It actually took President Cadman and the GOP leadership [help from] the Democrats to pass a number of these measures, whether it was major efforts on red lights or major fiscal bills. And how many times that caucus fractured was something we didn’t quite expect going in but there certainly wasn’t a lot of caucus discipline.”

Statesman reports Governor’s plan to try again on budget tweak–but the road through Senate will be tough

Thursday, May 7th, 2015

In a great article summarizing the death of a bill, changing the definition of the “hospital provider fee” under TABOR and thus freeing up $167 million for transportation and education, the Colorado Statesman’s Marianne Goodland reported that the Hickenlooper Administration hopes to bring the legislation back early next session possibly using a dramatic double-budget visual to spotlight the importance of the measure:

By next year, this will be more of an “on the ground” issue for legislators, [Hickenlooper budget director Henry] Sobanet said Tuesday. Once the budget request for 2016-17 comes out in November, people will start to see the impact of the hospital provider fee on available dollars. “It will be more real than an intellectual issue.”

Sobanet said the 2016-17 budget will be developed based on current law. However, he said he would work with the governor throughout the fall and decide if they would do a “budget A” and “budget B” that would show the impact of changing the provider fee.

Unfortunately, it looks like Hick’s dual budgets will have to be extremely persuasive to convince Republican Senate President Bill Cadman, whose party sent the bill to a kill committee after it passed the Democrat-controlled House on a party-line vote.

Goodland didn’t quote Cadman, but the GOP leader told KNUS 710-AM’s Krista Kafer Tuesday that the hospital-provider fee was the number-one bad idea proposed by Democrats.

Kafer:  I’m so glad Republicans have the state senate…  What is the number one bad  idea you guys stopped?

Cadman: Oh my god. How much time do you have left? Let me put my list together and come back on. I will tell you though, my predecessor said, you’re better to be known for the things you defeated here, than the things that you pass. I’d hate to say it right now, but probably wouldbe  the hospital-provider fee, as written, which was a multi-hundred million dollar hit into the TABOR situation, that died actually just as I was calling in.

Listen to Cadman discuss his opposition to the Hosp Prov Fee on KNUS 5.5.15

Goodland reported on a committee hearing Tuesday, during which the hospital provider fee won the support of most everyone who testified, including business interests. Those opposed? Only entity: the ideological anti-tax Colorado Union of Taxpayers.

Goodland reported on what’s at stake:

Hickenlooper’s budget director, Henry Sobanet, told the committee without passage of HB 1389, three out of four general fund dollars available in 2016-17 will have to go to K-12 education, to keep the negative factor from growing. The negative factor is a budgetary device, first employed in 2010, to allow the state to cut funding to K-12. The total cut was about $1 billion; it was reduced by $100 million last year and will be reduced by $25 million in the recently passed 2015-16 budget.

If HB 1389 were to pass, Steadman told the committee, it would free up $167 million for appropriations in 2016-17. That could go for transportation projects or to reduce the negative factor. Otherwise, in 2016-17, the budget will be bleak. “This isn’t how the state’s budget priorities should go,” he said.

 

 

Cadman’s claim of bipartisanship goes unchallenged on radio

Monday, May 4th, 2015

KOA 850-AM Morning News anchor Steffan Tubbs wouldn’t be expected to know all the ins and outs of the state legislative session, which ends Wednesday.

But if you’ve been following Colorado’s Republicans at all over the past three months, you know they’ve used their new-found Senate leadership to prioritize legislation (anti-choice, anti-immigrant, anti-working class) that’s divisive, at best.

Yet, Senate President Bill Cadman told Tubbs this morning:

“In a split legislature, you have to stay focused on the things that matter to both sides, and frankly to the 5.3 million people  who we represent,” Cadman told KOA at 2:45 below.

But that’s not what Cadman did.

Recall Cadman’s Republicans opened the legislative session by stripping money from the budget for a program to provide drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants–a program widely thought to make driving safer in the state.

Next, Republicans–upset over the use of birth control–deleted funds for an award-winning state-run program that reduced teen pregnancy by 40 percent and teen abortions by 35 percent.

They went on to block legislation to forcing corporations to pay taxes on profits currently hidden in overseas tax havens–and spending this money on schools. Similar legislation received bipartisan support in other states, yet it was torpedoed by the GOP here.

Onward Cadman went, finishing things off by taking advantage of a horrible Longmont murder to introduce fetal personhood legislation, modeled boiler-plate style, after a bill promoted by a national anti-choice group.

Democrats had partisan legislation of their own, for sure, but for Tubbs to let Cadman say he “focused on things that matter to both sides” defies how Republicans actually used the power handed to them by voters in November, when control of the state senate went to the GOP.

https://soundcloud.com/bigmedia-org/cadman-on-koa-morning-news-discussing-legislative-session

Denver Post editorials contradict each other on necessity of new law

Monday, April 20th, 2015

At the heart of Thursday’s Denver Post editorial supporting a personhood bill introduced by State Sen. Bill Cadman is the argument that Colorado needs a new law to penalize people like Dynel Lane, who faces over 100 years in prison for her alleged attack on Michelle Wilkins, who was pregnant and lost her fetus.

But just last year, The Post argued that existing Colorado law, specifically addressing crimes against pregnant women, was sufficient for cases like Wilkins’. The 2013 Crimes Against Pregnant Women law balances severe penalties for crimes harming fetuses with the preservation of abortion rights and the protection of pregnant women from criminal investigation.

Here’s what The Post said last week in its editorial endorsing Cadman’s bill:

A 2013 law made it a felony to unlawfully terminate a pregnancy, but it is a Class 3 felony with a sentencing range of 10 to 32 years unless the mother dies — when it becomes a Class 2 felony. The Class 3 felony is utterly inadequate.

But when The Post opposed last year’s personhood amendment, the newspaper argued that even a “horrific incident” did not justify a new law because “the state legislature already made the necessary statutory fix.” Here’s what The Post wrote last year:

The horrific incident laid bare a gap in Colorado law that did not allow authorities to charge the drunken driver with anything for the loss of Brady [an eight-month-old fetus].

The Yes on 67 campaign attempts to capitalize on this circumstance, saying the amendment is needed to protect pregnant mothers from violence. Proponents conveniently ignore the fact that the state legislature already made the necessary statutory fix.

It’s because of this 2013 “statutory fix” that Lane faces the 100-year prison term, because the 2013 Crimes-Against-Pregnant-Women law allows charges to be added on top of one another, over and above the Class 3 felony.

This severe penalties of Colorado’s 2013 law were apparently good enough for The Post last year, but now the statute is suddenly inadequate? What gives?

Clearly, both Cadman’s bill and Amendment 67 are attempts to take advantage of nightmarish incidents to pass different versions of “personhood.” Colorado’s 2013 law, considered the gold standard in balancing women’s rights with criminal justice, was a good argument against Amendment 67, as The Post understood at the time.

Newspaper editorials are supposed to be consistent and above-the-fray, so you’d expect The Post to point again to the 2013 Crimes Against Pregnant Women law and argue against Cadman’s personhood bill. But, alas, no, and the logic of the inconsistency escapes me.

Radio host now has an opinion of Dudley Brown

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

Before she interviewed Dudley Brown, who spontaneously called her show this morning, KHOW 760-AM’s Mandy Connell told her listeners she had no opinion about Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, which Brown directs.

After the interview, Connell, an arch conservative, said she had an opinion–and I’m guessing you will too if you listen below.

In this case, Brown talked as if he has more of a right to interfere in gun legislation at the state Capitol than the Independence Institute has because RMGO bought and paid for the state GOP Senate majority.  And he went on about it, implying he’d organize primaries against five Republicans who voted against a violation of state Senate rules yesterday.

Connell started the conversation, which was first reported by Complete Colorado, with a question about why RMGO was opposed to raising the limit on magazine capacity from 15 to 30 rounds.

Then she asked, “So, why take out Dave Kopel?  Why go after him?”

Brown: Well, look, I don’t want to go into personalities on a public format. Dave Kopel is a wonderful writer. On strategy, he’s horrid! Dave Kopel is actually a Democrat. He has always advocated for compromise at every single turn. Every time we’ve ever had a gun bill in Colorado, he’s always advocated for compromise. And in fact, Dave Kopel is the one who fixed the Democrats mag ban so it did not include shotguns. He showed Senator Mary Hodge how to do it, mechanically. Probably being the one who enabled it to pass. Now, I have no qualms about being honest. But in politics, I don’t want it to be about personality. I want it to be about principle and strategy.

But, in all honesty, we simply don’t agree with Dave Kopel and never have, and for that matter, the Independence Institute, none of whom got these legislators into office.

It’s our organization and our PAC that spent the money to elect the legislature and take the Senate from the Democrats. We were the biggest funders of Republican candidates in the last election. Far bigger than the NRA. And let me be clear, I don’t know if this is – you could ask them, but my understanding is even the NRA opposes this compromise. Now, if the NRA opposes a compromise because it’s too squishy on the gun issue, that pretty much means that it’s as far left as it can be because the NRA usually buys into every compromise. In this case, my understanding is that they opposed it, too. Look there aren’t the votes to pass a 31 round ban –the repeal of the 30 ban, to make it 31. But there aren’t the votes for repeal, unless the Republicans take the House and the Governor’s mansion, neither of which are assured…

Now, to those people who say, “Wait a minute!  I want to be able to buy my 30 round magazine!”  I say, “Shut your pie hole and go buy one!”  There are many retailers who sell them right now.  They ignore the law, and God Bless them for doing so. And in many cases, your District Attorney and your sheriff won’t be involved in any cases against you, anyway…

Connell said, “You’re saying, ‘Go break the law.’”

Brown: I’m saying, “Do what you want.” But, the fact is, the ban, really — it’s like jaywalking. There really is no ban, right now. It’s largely a ban on some of the businesses who manufacture and didn’t want to be here, anyway.

“Now, wait a minute, Dudley, here’s the thing,” replied Connell.  “You just said earlier you don’t want to make this about personalities, but the Facebook post by Rocky Mountain Gun Owners says, “Does Bloomberg have a sleeper cell in Colorado?  All of a sudden, Dave Kopel is fighting as hard as he can to save the magazine ban.  Maybe it’s because he’s a lifelong registered Democrat and a Ralph Nader voter.”   So, that hardly sounds like you’re arguing the issue.  It sounds like a personal attack.”

Brown: Well, that actually, we didn’t start this.

Connell: “We didn’t start it” is not a mature response.

Brown: We didn’t start the battle, Mandy!  But I can guarantee you, we’re ending it….

Connell: You know, Dudley,  I’ve got to take a break.  But, one thing I will say about Jon Caldara is he is no man’s puppet…So, you are saying you don’t want to make this personal, and yet you keep making personal attacks.  I just want to point that out.

Brown: That’s because, frankly, we were ambushed in a dark alley…From our perspective, this is a principled strategy.  Yesterday morning, if you followed what happened in the House, we forced a recorded vote on the entire House floor on the full mag ban repeal, Senate Bill 175.  Kim Ransom and Justin Everett and a number of others forced the recorded vote. And they had the chance. The Democrats had the chance to break ranks and vote with us. And they didn’t, of course. And five Republicans voted wrong.  And all five of those Republicans are suspect, and in danger in the next primary…

Connell: I appreciate the phone call.  [hang up with Brown]  I now have an opinion about Rocky Mountain Gun Owners.

Who wouldn’t?

https://soundcloud.com/bigmedia-org/mandy-connell-interview-with-rmgos-dudley-brown-on-his-spat-with-the-independence-institute

Media omission: Anti-choice activists push for fetal-homicide bill that could undermine civil rights of pregnant women

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

In a KNUS 710-AM radio interview yesterday, Colorado Senate President Bill Cadman said he’s “really hoping” to get a fetal homicide bill introduced “by the end of the week.”

KNUS radio host Dan Caplis, who’s a deep-red social conservative, urged Cadman to push for a law like California’s, which establishes a fetus as a potential victim of a crime.

Cadman replied that the California law is “definitely one of the models that we’re looking at.”

Pro-choice advocates, however, say the California law undermines civil rights protections of pregnant women, allowing for criminal investigations of pregnant women based on the legal rights of the fetus. They say any fetal homicide measure is unnecessary, as Colorado’s Crimes Against Pregnant Women Act is the gold standard insofar as it mandates severe penalties for perpetrators of crimes like the Longmont attack, while protecting abortion rights and the civil rights of pregnant women.

The Longmont attacker faces charges that could result in a 100-year prison term.

And if history is our guide, it’s unlikely that the anti-choice members of Cadman’s Republican caucus will go along with anything short of the California model.

In 2011, bipartisan support for a bill allowing for criminal prosecution for reckless crimes against pregnant women unraveled after attacks by anti-choice activists.

They were angry about language in the bill specifically stating that the legislation did “not confer the status of ‘person’ upon a human embryo, fetus, or unborn child at any stage of development prior to live birth.”

The Republican sponsor of the 2011 bill, Rep. Mark Waller, pulled his own legislation in frustration over the dispute about whether anti-personhood should be part of the language of the bill, telling journalists in 2011, “The right to life folks bring up a valid point when they said that this is a criminal justice provision. Why does this language need to be in there?”

Anti-choice forces in 2011 insisted on legislation modeled on California’s fetal homicide law, as they appear to be doing this year. As the Colorado Independent reported at the time:

Father Bill Carmody said he had met with Waller for close to an hour to express his concerns about the bill and had advocated for California style fetal homicide legislation.  He said he was concerned that though abortion had been decriminalized since 1967, the bill’s removal of the criminal statute would take Colorado back a step “if and when the Supreme Court overturns Roe v Wade.”

“The other problem is that other than in the title, there is no mention of the word child in the bill. It goes out of its way to say it is not a person. It goes out of its way to say it is not anything human, so bring manslaughter charges if it is not human.”

When Democrats got control of the state legislature 2013, they passed a law similar to the failed 2011 legislation.

Last year, Colorado Democrats passed another law allowing civil penalties to be filed against perpetrators of crimes against pregnant women.