Archive for the 'Colorado State Legislature' Category

Windholz implies pro-choice supporters care less about women than opponents of choice

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

Colorado State Rep. JoAnn Windholz, who called Planned Parenthood officials the “real culprits” in last year’s clinic massacre in Colorado Springs, took to Facebook yesterday to condemn the Supreme Court’s decision affirming a women’s right to choose.

“The liberal leaning US Supreme Court once again protected the made up right of abortion,” Windholz wrote on Facebook, adding that that it “isn’t enough that the child is killed, now the mother is in danger as well.”

“So who cares about women more?” she asks in the post.

In fact, the Supreme Court based its decision on the fact that the Texas abortion restrictions, which, among other things, required that abortion clinics be equipped like complete surgical units, were not medically necessary.

Windholz: Who could find fault with a law that improves health and safety standards in order to protect women inside abortion clinics? You would think that the pro-abortion side would want to have additional safety measures in place for women. That is not the case. The liberal leaning US Supreme Court once again protected the made up right of abortion in a 5-3 decision (against 2013 Texas law) to not make it a necessary for abortion doctors to have admitting privilege at a local hospital. Why – because it would mean something went seriously wrong with an abortion. It isn’t enough that the child is killed, now the mother is in danger as well. So who cares about women more?

The court found that real intent of the Texas legislature was, in fact, to unconstitutionally limit a women’s right to an abortion by requiring clinic doctors to have, for example, admitting privileges, when the health benefit of such privileges is minimal.

Justice Stephen G. Breyer  wrote in the majority opinion, “Nationwide, childbirth is 14 times more likely than abortion to result in death… but Texas law allows a midwife to oversee childbirth in the patient’s own home.”

It’s unclear what Windholz means when she wrote, “So who cares about women more?”

And Windholz did not immediately return a call seeking an explanation.

But it appears Windholz does not believe that people or even Supreme Court Justices care about women if they support a women’s right to choose.

Shortly after the shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs last year, Windholz wrote on Facebook, as first reported by The Colorado Independent:

Windholz: Violence is never the answer, but we must start pointing out who is the real culprit. The true instigator of this violence and all violence at any Planned Parenthood facility is Planned Parenthood themselves. Violence begets violence. So Planned Parenthood: YOU STOP THE VIOLENCE INSIDE YOUR WALLS.”

Reporters should find out why Woods thinks her extreme comparison of police to Crips and Bloods is justifiable

Monday, June 27th, 2016

In a Facebook post Saturday, State Sen. Laura Woods (R-Arvada/Westminster) defended her comparison of police to Crips and Bloods.

Woods wrote that when some law enforcement officials confiscate property under Civil Asset Forfeiture laws, it’s a “direct violation of due process,” and she asks, “And what makes that any different than a gang member or a common street thug who takes something from you?” She also emphasized that she supports “law enforcement at every level.”

But she did not explain why the comparison of police to violent and murderous gang members was appropriate, especially for an elected official.

It’s one thing to criticize police appropriately, in an effort to improve things, and clearly asset-forfeiture abuse must be stopped, but Crips and Bloods? How does that comparison benefit Arvada?

Reporters should make an effort to find out why Woods, who doesn’t return my calls, thinks such an extreme comparison is justifiable.

Woods initially made the comparison on a talk radio show, affirmatively agreeing that police and Crips and Bloods are “no different” in some situations involving confiscation of property.

CALLER MIKE: Ok, so, Laura, these [police] are no different than the Bloods and the Crips that they’re constantly whining and crying about down in downtown Denver or Colorado Springs, or up in [Fort] Collins. I mean, how is law enforcement different from the people they’re fighting? I mean, if they can just take your stuff for no reason.

WOODS: Yeah, when they are taking stuff from innocent people with no conviction or no charges filed, they are no different.

CALLER MIKE: Yeah.

WOODS: Yeah.

Here’s Woods’ statement on Facebook:

To be clear …
There is a facebook site titled “Citizens for a Better Arvada (CBA)” which posted an article about me that needs some clarification. I’ve asked to join that group, and if they refuse to let me join, I can neither comment or post on that page.
To be clear …
The interview they are referring to was about Civil Asset Forfeiture, which, under Federal Law allows law enforcement to take your stuff … your cars, your home, your cash, anything of value … without first filing charges and getting a conviction. It’s a direct violation of due process.
To be clear ….
In the interview I indicated that a lot of local law enforcement agencies doing asset forfeiture the right way .. they get the conviction, and THEN they take the assets that were acquired with ill-gotten gains of criminal activity.
To be clear …
If there is no due process, if you haven’t been charged or convicted of a crime, why is it okay for law enforcement to take something from you? And what makes that any different than a gang member or a common street thug who takes something from you?
Listen to the entire interview. You’ll hear it was the host who brought up the Crips and the Bloods, but you’ll also hear that we were talking about WHEN NO CONVICTION HAS BEEN HANDED DOWN AND NO DUE PROCESS HAS BEEN MET.
TO BE CLEAR …
I do support law enforcement at every level, and I always have.

Media should take note when elected official says feds have taken away “virtually all citizens rights” and compares police to Crips and Bloods

Friday, June 24th, 2016

“We’re in a spot in our country where, at the federal level, they have taken away a bunch of states’ rights and virtually all citizens rights.”

Who said that? And what country are they talking about?

You’re right! It’s Westminster Republican State Sen. Laura Woods talking about the United States.

She’s agreeing with a KLZ 560-AM radio host who said, “I’m beginning to think that there is not a sector of government that doesn’t think they’re above everybody else.”

“Yeah, that’s probably a good assessment, right now,” Woods replied, apparently forgetting that someday she may need the help of firefighters, first responders, military personnel, or countless other public servants who sacrifice their lives for ours.

The overall topic was asset forfeiture, and Woods was angry about its abuse by police. But does this mean the police act like Cripps and Bloods?

CALLER MIKE: Ok, so, Laura, these [police] are no different than the Bloods and the Crips that they’re constantly whining and crying about down in downtown Denver or Colorado Springs, or up in [Fort] Collins. I mean, how is law enforcement different from the people they’re fighting? I mean, if they can just take your stuff for no reason.

WOODS: Yeah, when they are taking stuff from innocent people with no conviction or no charges filed, they are no different.

CALLER MIKE: Yeah.

WOODS: Yeah.

I have my problems with asset forfeiture, which has resulted in unfair confiscation of property by police. But are the problems on par with what we see from Crips and Bloods.

Here’s Wikipedia (sorry) on Crips:

The Crips are one of the largest and most violent associations of street gangs in the United States, with an estimated 30,000 to 35,000 members. It has been involved in murders, robberies and drug dealing, among other crimes.

On Bloods:

There is no known national leader of the Bloods but individual Bloods sets have a hierarchical leadership structure with identifiable levels of membership. These levels of membership indicate status within a gang. A leader, typically an older member with a more extensive criminal background, runs each set. A set leader is not elected but rather asserts himself by developing and managing the gang’s criminal enterprises through his reputation for violence and ruthlessness and through his personal charisma. The majority of set members are called “soldiers”, who are typically between the ages of 16 and 22. Soldiers have a strong sense of commitment to their set and are extremely dangerous because of their willingness to use violence both to obtain the respect of gang members and to respond to any person who “disrespects” the set. “Associates” are not full members, but they identify with the gang and take part in various criminal activities.

Maybe you don’t like using Wikipedia as a source, but you get my point about Woods, who’s not returning my calls and whose fate in November’s race against Democrat Rachel Zenzinger will likely determine control of state government. (Republicans hold the state Senate by a one-seat margin.)

When an elected official, even one like Woods who likes Trump, compares police officers to Crips and Bloods, it shouldn’t fly under the media radar, like this May 26 statement of Woods did.

Dems challenge state house primary candidate’s claim to be pro-choice

Monday, June 20th, 2016

In a Denver Post candidate survey, Pueblo-area Democratic state house candidate Alonzo Payne alleges that his primary opponent, Donald Valdez, “is anti-choice and is willing to force his own personal convictions on women, forcing them to have barriers to their own health care.”

You read that correctly. That’s a pro-choice Democrat attacking another Democrat for being anti-choice. A rarity in Colorado, where Democrats like to use the easy-to-understand abortion issue to distinguish themselves from the GOP–not from each other.

A look at Valdez’s Facebook page and further investigation turned up nothing on Valdez’s position on choice. So I called Valdez to find out if he’s anti-choice and why.

In an interview, Valdez insisted, “I’m pro-choice.” In fact, Valdez said he’d heard that Payne said in a “meeting” that Payne “is going to de-fund Planned Parenthood.”
Asked for the name of someone who heard Payne say this, Valdez said, “I can’t tell you their names at this time.”

In an interview, Payne told me he is pro-choice and that fellow Democrats heard Valdez state his anti-choice stance at the Rio Grande County assembly. Multiple sources I interviewed confirmed the comment by Valdez.

Alex Raines, a Payne supporter, was delegate to the Rio Grande County Assembly, where he heard Valdez say, during a question-and-answer session, that he would not support pro-choice legislation.

Raines, an attorney, was representing Payne at the country assembly, and told the group that, unlike Valdez, Payne was pro-choice.

“[Valdez’s] statement was that he supports a women’s right to choose for life,” Raines told me. After a number of questions from delegates who were confused about what “right to choose life” meant, Valdez said he “would not support legislation that allows a woman to terminate her pregnancy,” according to Raines.

Valdez denied saying this, adding that “we need a broader conversation” about what pro-choice is.

Another delegate at the Rio Grande assembly, Joe Schlabach, also said he witnessed the question-and-answer exchange with Valdez, and Schlabach concluded that Valdez “is pro-life” and “would support anti-choice legislation.”

As the secretary-treasurer of the Rio Grande Democratic Party, Schlabach said he is not endorsing a candidate in the race.

 

 

Woods calls Medicaid an “entitlement black hole”

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

Colorado State Sen. Laura Woods suggested in a radio interview last month that state Republicans wanted Gov. John Hickenlooper to cut health-care for children, elderly, the disabled, and other poor people in exchange for allowing the state to spend $370 million in TABOR rebates on roads, schools, and other state programs.

“All we had been asking, the entire [legislative] session, was for some real Medicaid reform — Medicaid expansion reform — real reform in that area,” Woods told KNUS host Jimmy Sengenberger May 14 (below). “Mr. Governor, if that’s what you want, then bring us some real reform ideas and an assurance that this money would not just be sucked into another health insurance expansion entitlement black hole, like all of — 38% of our state budget already is. And they wouldn’t come back with any ideas. So they really — you know, we gave them an alternative, [we] said, ‘Come to us with this.’ And they wouldn’t come back with any suggestions on that. So, that’s a long-winded answer to a good question.”

Medicaid, Colorado’s federal-state health care program for low-income people, is apparently what Woods refers to as an “entitlement black hole.” Under Obamacare, some 350,000 more Coloradans enrolled in Medicaid, bringing the total number of Colorado enrollees to over 1.1 million.

“Medicaid expansion has been a win on many levels for Colorado, largely because it has expanded health care access to so many Coloradans, putting Coloradans on the path to better health, and because it’s benefiting our economy,” said Natalie O’Donnell Wood, senior policy analyst at the Bell Policy Center. “Colorado’s rising Medicaid costs are and will continue to be largely attributable to the aging of our population, not Medicaid expansion.”

The federal government picked up most of the tab for Coloradans who enrolled in Medicaid as part of Obamacare. Despite this, Senate President Bill Cadman and other Republicans have falsely asserted that Medicaid expansion, under Obamacare, is busting Colorado’s budget.

Unlike Cadman, who doesn’t explain how he’d like Colorado to cut Medicaid, Woods has said she wants people to be poorer to qualify for Medicaid. But on KNUS, she suggested that in negotiations with Hickenlooper over the hospital provider fee, Republicans did not specify the Medicaid cuts they sought. The GOP wanted Hick to come to the table with “real reform ideas,” she said.

For Republicans, explaining how to cut Medicaid, and why, is tricky politically, and not only because the program covers segments of the population that elicit empathy among voters: children, the elderly, disabled, and poor people. Who should be cut? Or even, who should pay more fees?

The other problem for Republicans, in specifying Medicaid cuts, is that the reason Colorado’s Medicaid costs are increasing is not due to Medicaid expansion under Obamacare.

Instead, as the Bell Policy Center repeatedly points out, it’s the need for long-term care of the growing elderly poplulation. Long-term care is not covered by Medicare, which is federal health insurance for the elderly. Older poeple, who may have had private insurance when they were younger, turn to Medicaid when they’ve spent down their savings on long-term care.

So, if you’re a Republican, you run into political problems if you say, “Let’s get Medicaid costs under control by trimming the part that’s driving up costs: old people.” Many of whom, incidentally, were middle class before long-term care sucked away their money.

If you’re Laura Woods the political traps apparently don’t bother you, and you say Medicaid is an “entitlement black hole” and people need to be even poorer to qualify for it.

But if you’re Cadman or other Republicans, and you’re actually worried about what people might think (and vote) n if you propose cutting health care for vulnerable people, you chest thump without getting into the specifics.

State senate swing district could test Trump’s impact in Colorado

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

Depending on where you’re coming from, one of the most interesting, important, scary, fun, inspiring, or depressing questions about Trump’s triumph among Republicans is, how will he impact down-ticket races?

Here in Colorado, no down-ticket seat is more important than that of State Sen. Laura Woods, the Republican from Westminster. Control of state government likely depends on the outcome of her race, against Democrat Rachel Zenzinger, whom Woods defeated in a Republican wave year (2014) by 650 votes. Republicans hold a one-seat majority in the state senate, and Democrats control the house and governor’s office.

Woods is the only elected official in Colorado who’s proactively called Trump one of her “favorite” presidential candidates. She’s the closest thing Trump has to an endorser in Colorado, among elected officials.

“My favorites are Ted Cruz and Donald Trump,” Woods told KNUS radio hosts Chuck Bonniwell and Julie Hayden earlier this year. And she later affirmed her fondness for the candidate on Facebook and in an email to supporters.

Yet, despite all this, reporters have apparently not asked Woods to explain her stance on Trump and how she (and others) think it will affect her all-important race in November.

And Woods won’t return my calls.

In lieu of begging other reporters to talk to Woods, possibly as part of a look Trump’s impact on the makeup of the Colorado legislature, I offer this video, a new version of one posted previsouly.

TrumpWatch: Reporters Doing the Right Thing to Press Colorado Republicans on Trump

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

It was good to see 9News’ Brandon Rittiman and Kyle Clark press Republican U.S. Senate candidates last night about Trump’s racist comment that an Hispanic judge won’t give Trump a fair shake in court. And also, asking the candidates if they support the billionaire TV star.

It seems sometimes that reporters see Democratic statements, calling on Republicans to denounce Trump’s latest outrageous comment, as a political game. It’s politics yes, but legit. Republicans up and down the ballot should be asked why they support Trump–or don’t.

As it stands now, more Colorado Republicans are falling in line for Trump, who’s now pretty much clinched the GOP presidential nomination.

In fact, in a review of public statements on Trump, I can only find a couple former or current Republican elected officials or candidates who will say, flat out, that they won’t support Trump.

Yet, as I discovered in previous reviews, few elected Republicans are enthusiastically backing Trump. In fact, only two: State Rep. Don Corum and State Sen. Laura Woods.

Elected Officials Who Actively Like Trump

State Sen. Laura Woods has said Trump is one of her two favorite prez candidates (here at 25 min 50 sec), but she was backing Cruz.

A reporter characterized State Rep. Don Coram as a Trump fan.

 

Elected Officials Who Have Said They’re Backing Trump

State Rep. J. Paul Brown.

U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn.

State Rep. Clarice Navarro.

State Sen. Ray Scott.

State Rep. Dan Thurlow.

U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton.

 

Elected Officials Who Previously Promised to Back Trump, if He Became the Nominee.

Former State Rep. Greg Brophy (KHOW, March 16)

State Sen. President Bill Cadman.

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman‘s spokeman previously said her boss would “absolutely” back the GOP nominee, but now Coffman is having second thoughts.
SenCory Gardner (even through called Trump a “buffoon.” ) (even though only answered after being asked seven times) (even though he seems to be backtracking.)

El Paso County Commissioner Peg Littleton

State Sen. Tim Neville.

 

Elected Officials Who Are Undecided

State Rep. Kathleen Conti, who’s said, “I’m hearing growing support for [Libertarian] Gary Johnson.”

State Rep. Justin Everett.

State Sen. Kevin Grantham.

State Rep. Yuelin Willet

U.S. Rep. Ken Buck.

 

Former Elected Officials Backing Trump

Former Colorado Senate President John Andrews.

Former Rep. Bob Beauprez.

State Rep. Spencer Swalm is an “out-of-the-closet” endorser.

 

Former Elected Officials Who Will Not Vote for Trump

Former State Sen. Shawn Mitchell.

 

Candidates

These U.S. Senate candidates support the likely nominee: Businessman Robert BlahaRyan Frazier (But he’s hedging now KNUS 5.27.16), El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn, and former Rep. Jon Keyser (He reiterated  his support here.).

Former CSU athletics director Jack Graham previously said he’d support Trump, if the mogul got the nomination,  but now he’s at least temporarily withdrawn his support.

Casper Stockham, who’s the Republican challenging Rep. Diana DeGette.

 

Notable Republicans Who said, “We May Be Seeing the Final months of the Existence of the Republican Party”

Former Rep. Bob Schaffer

Colorado Springs GOP primary turns the Legislature’s smiles into snarls

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

A mailer  in Colorado Springs includes actual factual photos of state house candidate Larry Liston cross-dressing, but the attack letter fails to mention that Liston’s step into a dress was all part of a joke.

As reported by the Megan Schrader at the Colorado Springs Gazette:

One page of the letter includes two photos of Liston from Hummers, a skit put on by the minority party in the House chambers every year skewering the majority party. It also includes a link to a story about criticism Liston faced for calling unwed mother’s “sluts.” Liston later apologized for the statement. Another link in the letter takes readers to the 2011 voting log on Senate Bill 200, which created the state exchange for the Affordable Care Act and shows Liston voted for the legislation.

Liston said those are “gross misrepresentations.”

[Former State Rep. Amy] Stephens said there is a “long-standing House and Senate agreement” that anything in Hummers would not be used for or against someone in political campaigns.

“It’s just reprehensible that this would be violated,” Stephens said.

The mailer appears to be the work of GOP consultant Jon Hotaling in support of Rep. Janak Joshi (R-Colorado Springs), who’s facing a primary challenge from Liston. Hotaling defended the letter in the Gazette’s story.

Hotaling, who has ties to Jeffco State Senators Tim Neville (SD-16) and Laura Woods (SD-19), as well as failed GOP candidate Tony Sanchez (SD-22),  reportedly orchestrated similar dirty tricks in support of Rep. Doug Lamborn’s primary victory in over KVOR talk-show host Jeff Crank.

In that 2006 race, a mailer linked to Hotaling and his brother accused the ultra-conservative Crank of supporting the “homosexual agenda.” Crank still talks bitterly about the race.

On his radio show Saturday, Jeff Crank said, “I think Joshi is hanging out with the wrong people. I think he’s hanging out with the wrong crowd.
His campaign manager is known for these dirty, divisive tactics.”

“This kind of stuff is tearing our party apart,” said Crank on air, calling Joshi and his backers the “Pharasies,” slimy holier than thou characters from the Bible.

Colorado Springs Republican Bernie Herpin, appearing on Crank’s show Saturday, said Sen. Kent Lambert has admitted to signing the Liston mailer. But the mailer wasn’t Lambert’s idea, Herpin said. .Listen to Herpin on KVOR 5-14-16 here.

Humans not contributing to global warming, Glenn again says

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Darryl Glenn reiterated his belief last week that humans are not contributing to global warming.

Asked about the issue by KNUS 710-AM’s Jimmy Sengenberger Show May 7, Glenn, an El Paso Couty Commissioner, said:

Glenn: Climate change, we can debate that until the cows come home, for lack of a better way of stating that. The bottom line is, I do not believe that man is contributing to that factor. We need to stand up for energy independence, and Colorado needs to lead the nation.

Sengenberger: I think this issue is so overblown. But it is something that is very important to Millennials in particular, because they have gone through a college process and a K-12 education where this is something constantly ingrained in them. How can we appeal to Millenials, to young people, in your mind on the issue of energy, to say, ‘We need to be developing our energy infrastructure in this country and in the state of Colorado, not harming it.

Glenn: I agree. And it’s an extensive conversation.  You mentioned education. As conservatives, we cannot just concede education over to the Democrats. We really need to be actively involved. And that’s why I’ve been such a proponent of school choice and the other options that are out there, because the left is clearly out there driving the agenda, trying to shape the minds of the next generation.

Glenn’s position contrasts with the consensus view among scientists worldwide that human activity is contributing to climate change. Interestingly, Glenn’s stance has so little credibility that some journalists argue that it should be ingored as a legitimate opinion in news articles.

Glenn hopes to prevail in Colorado’s June 28 GOP primary and take on Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, who believes climate change is already affecting Colorado and who hammered his GOP opponent in 2010 for denying that humans were causing climate change.

A predatory lender’s empty threats to abandon its growing business in Colorado

Monday, May 16th, 2016

If you followed the debate over a bill allowing a predatory lender to charge millions more in high interest rates, you know that the key question, at the end of the day, was: Will OneMain holdings leave Colorado if it can’t make even more money here?

In a Denver Post op-ed over the weekend, I addressed this question by comparing last year’s debate about predatory lending to this year’s.

This year, the bill’s sponsor, State Rep. Jovan Melton (D-Aurora), was quoted as saying that OneMain will pack up its money bags and leave Colorado unless it’s allowed to make more cash:

“I’m running this [legislation] for progressive reasons,” Melton told The Durango Herald last month. “If we don’t do something about this now, then we’re going to lose that last company, which means the only option we’ll have left is payday lenders.” [BigMedia emphasis]

Trouble is, Melton essentially said the same thing last year, when a similar bill was under consideration, and, lo and behold, OneMain didn’t go anywhere.

“This is one of those issues where you almost have to hold your nose and still vote for it, because if you don’t, the branches will close, and the only option you’ll have is payday lending,” Melton told The Herald last year. [BigMedia emphasis]

A year has elapsed, and OneMain is still in Colorado, and payday lending is not the only option. In fact, OneMain’s business has grown, even as some branches have closed, following a merger and an industry trend toward online (and more efficient) business.

So now that House Democrats have killed the predatory-lending bill, who expects Colorado to “lose that last company,” as promised by Melton? Last year’s threat is probably the best yardstick we have, meaning it probably won’t be going anywhere.

And if OneMaind doesn’t leave, and the company or its supporters trot out a sob story next year about needing to flee Colorado because profts are so intolerably low here, we’ll know what to tell them.