Archive for the 'Colorado State Legislature' Category

In covering teen pregnancy-prevention program, reporters should emphasize that IUDs stop pregnancy from occurring

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

The Ft. Collins Coloradoan advanced a story Monday that Boulder Rep. KC Becker is working on a bill to provide $5 million in funding for a state teen-pregnancy prevention program that, in a privately funded multi-year pilot phase, reduced teen pregnancies by 40 percent and teen abortions by 35 percent–and saved Colorado tens of millions of dollars to boot!

The Coloradoan quoted Sen. Kevin Lundberg, who’s the Assistant Republican Majority Leader, as objecting to such funding because the program relies on the distribution of free or no-cost intrauterine devices (IUDs) and other long-lasting pregnancy -prevention implants, and Lundberg (along with twice failed gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez) believe IUDs cause abortions.

But IUDs work before pregnancy occurs!

“Any statement that IUDs aren’t contraception simply isn’t medically or scientifically accurate,” said Dr. Jennifer Hyer, a Denver Ob-Gyn, in a statement distributed by NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado. “As a licensed, practicing Colorado OB-Gyn I recommend IUDs for my patients all the time. They are among the most effective forms of contraception, especially for at-risk women, because they automatically prevent pregnancy. That’s why Colorado’s program was so successful, and access to long-acting contraceptives needs to continue if we want to keep reducing the teen birth and abortion rate.”

The Coloradoan correctly pointed out that the “definition of pregnancy used by CDPHE and other scientists has pregnancy beginning at the implantation of the fertilized egg.”

The definition of pregnancy is so central to the debate around this teen-pregnancy-prevention bill that the Coloradoan should have been even more explicit, saying that the mainstream scientific community, meaning the scientific establishment of nerdy medical people, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, have defined pregnancy as beginning at implantation, not before.

Pregnancy: Is established only at the conclusion of implantation of a fertilized egg.
34 This scientific definition of pregnancy is also the legal definition of pregnancy, accepted by governmental agencies and all major U.S. medical organizations.

So Lundberg’s personal belief that IUD’s work by “stopping a small child from implanting” is not only wrong, but it’s not relevant.  (By “small child” Lundberg was referring to zygotes, or fertilized eggs, which are formed prior to pregnancy, which starts once the egg implants in the uterus.)

In an RH Reality Check piece yesterday, I reported:

Under the Family Planning Initiative, about 30,000 IUDs and other long-lasting contraceptive implants were distributed during a five-year pilot program. Participating clinics in 37 of Colorado’s 64 counties serve 95 percent of the state’s population.

The initiative saved $23 million in Medicaid costs since it started five years ago, and continuing the family planning initiative will save $40 million in Medicaid funds, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has estimated.

Republicans hold a one-seat majority in Colorado’s senate, but observers say the teen pregnancy program funds may still clear the chamber, even without the support of Lundberg, who chairs the Health and Human Services Committee. Becker, the state house sponsor, has said her bill has a Republican co-sponsor, who has yet to be named.

Scientists used to think that birth control worked, in some cases, by stopping implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterine wall. But scientists now say that not only emergency contraception but other forms of birth control prevent implantation.

 

Media omission: Republicans propose discrimination-restoration law

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

Last year, conservative talk-radio hosts wrapped their loving arms around a baker for discriminating against a gay couple by refusing to bake them a wedding cake.

The baker said his cake-selling preferences flowed from his religious views, but, as a judge nicely articulated, it was actually factually illegal discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Radio hosts did live broadcasts from the cake shop, hot bigotry was served to anyone listening, and the baker was fined by the great State of Colorado.

Now Colorado Republicans are proposing a law, like they did last year, allowing student clubs to violate campus anti-discrimination policies and still receive university benefits (funds, facilities, etc.). Sponsors include Tim Neville and Laura Woods on the State Senate side, and son Patrick Neville and Stephen Humphrey on the House side.

Similar legislation, allowing raw discrimination against women, gays, or potentially any of us, is under consideration across the country. One, for example, could allow restaurants to refuse service to LGBT people. Or pharmacists to stop filling prescriptions for birth-control pills. Another would permit adoption agencies to reject potential same-sex parents.

Collectively, these bills are referred to as religious-freedom-restoration bills, but a more accurate name is discrimination-restoration legislation. Political observers expect CO Republicans to introduce broader discrimination restoration bills this session, beyond the narrow university-focused proposal currently on the table.

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers was on the radio last month, urging listeners, who were upset about the bigoted baker, to push their legislators to enact bills that allow discrimination under the guise of religious freedom.

Suthers: I think what’s different, Jimmy, and 1964 and the time of the Civil Rights cases is, if a black person when into a restaurant in the South in 1963 and was refused service, he couldn’t walk into a restaurant next door and get service, for the most part.  Everybody was refused service. That’s not the atmosphere we have today. We have this guy, who as a matter of his religious beliefs, would prefer not to do that. We have plenty of guys down the street who are perfectly willing to do it. I just don’t think it’s the same atmosphere. I think the legislature ought to be sensitive to that fact. But the Colorado legislature, with the majority at certain points in time, has not been.

I asked Denise Maes, Public Policy Director of the American Civil Liberties of Colorado, which brought the initial complaint against the baker who refused service to the gay people, to respond to Suthers’ comment:

Maes: The Attorney General is arguing that one should be able to break the law and discriminate because others “down the street” aren’t or won’t.  He misses the entire point and ignores the damage done both to the people who are discriminated against and the business community at large.  No one wants to live or do business in a state where discrimination is the law of the land.

Totally agree.

Suthers himself agrees that, as of now, the law of land forbids the cake-baker-type of discrimination. That’s why, as AG, he pursued a case against the baker, Suthers said on the radio. Below, Suthers explains how he sees Colorado law now. It’s a nice articulation of the way things stand. The problem is, Suthers wants to toss this out the window.

Suthers: We have a law in Colorado, our Public accommodations law. And a couple years ago when Democrats were in charge of both houses, they inserted sexual orientation along with race and gender as protective classes. And so in Colorado, essentially, sexual orientation has essentially the same protection as race in terms of anti-public discrimination laws.

So, if you have a business, whether it be a motel business, restaurant business, cake shop, and hold yourself out to the public, you must abide by this public accommodations law. And in this case, it was alleged, that a gay couple who’d been married in another state, wanted to have a celebration in Colorado, went into this cake shop, were very frank with the owner about what they wanted to do, and he refused to bake them a cake, despite the fact that they could have walked a blocked and got the cake at another bake store….it does appear this individual violated the public accommodations law, so the case was brought…”

Sengenberger: “We’re talking about First Amendment freedom of religion, and if gay activities are in violation of that, and they want to run their business in accordance with their religious views, do they not have legal protection?”

Suthers: “Only if the practice is part of the practice of religion. Therein lies the problem, Jimmy. The reason why I think the state is going to win this case throughout is that baking cakes is not the exercise of religion. If you told the Catholic Church they had to marry gay couples, then you’re violating the First Amendment. It’s complicated, and there is a long line of cases about it, but sadly enough, I think the State is going to win this case.”

Suthers nails it, doesn’t he? The only problem is, he actually wants to make baking cakes a religious activity! And not just baking but everything. Taking photos of a wedding, issuing marriage licences, counseling gay students. Suthers wants religion to be everywhere and in everything, allowing discrimination against anyone anywhere. That may sound extreme, but the potential is seriously there.

It’s what discrimination restoration bills, like the one proposed here in Colorado, would do.

LISTEN TO SUTHERS ON KNUS’ JIMMY SENGENBERGER SHOW, AIRED DEC. 20, 2014. (@ 1:36:00)

CORRECTION: An early version of this post named Patrick Neville as Tim Neville’s brother, instead of as his son.

Media omission: Battle over Colorado Republican Party leadership looms

Monday, January 12th, 2015

On KLZ 560-AM’s “Wake Up with Randy Corporon” Friday, former Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve House officially announced his bid to dislodge Ryan Call from his job as Chair of the Colorado Republican Party.

“My phone rings all the way until 10 o’clock at night with people calling me the last three or four days, saying ‘I’m glad you’re going to do it. It is time for a change,’” announced House, whose intention to run against Ryan Call was reported by the Colorado Statesman last week.

Call has weathered a barrage of criticism over his two terms as state chair, mostly from the “liberty” or “Tea-Party” wing of the state GOP for not doing enough to support “grassroots” Republicans.

In November 2013, for example, now State Senator Laura Woods, who was using the name “Laura Waters,” blasted Ryan Call for obstructing the recall effort against Democratic State Sen. Evie Hudak.

On KNUS Peter Boyles’ radio show at the time, Woods, who was organizing the Hudak recall effort, indicated she hadn’t voted for Call as GOP chair, and she said that, thanks to Ryan Call, “at certain doors and in certain phone calls, we’re even fighting against our own party.”

This year, Woods, with heavy support from Rocky Mountain Gun Owners and despite opposition from committees like Protect and Defend Colorado, squeaked by Republican Lang Sias in the GOP primary. She went on to narrowly Democrat incumbent Rachel Zenzinger to take the Westminster State Senate seat, which Woods has to defend again next year, making it a key battleground for control of the Colorado Senate.

The GOP central committee is scheduled to vote on the Call-House contest March 7, but this may change to accommodate the schedules of Republican congressional representatives, House said on air. Call is running with Vice Chair Mark Baisley.

On KLZ, House emphasized the need to help Republican County Chairs respond to the on-the-ground needs of candidates immediately, without obstruction–and with adequate resources.

“Every single county in this state, and there are some that do a great job, needs to better funded, more stable, more capable of training and recruiting candidates so we can win races,” said House on air, adding that Ryan Call has improved things a bit but not enough. “We’re not going to win races from the top down.” He added he will not take a salary.

And, music to the ears of talk-radio hosts like “Righty” Corporon, House offered to set up a regular time to be on KLZ radio and elsewhere to take phone calls and discuss issues.

“Office hours with the chairman will be a big thing for me,” said House, promising to make himself available in multiple venues and platforms to interact with Republicans.

Radio-host Corporon told listeners that Ryan Call has refused to go on his radio show, despite promises to do so.

“I’m blessed in part because I live in a country that has a constitution that is a framework for a just society in my opinion,” House told Corporon. “We don’t adhere to it the way I really want to adhere to it. But it gave me opportunity. So if you start to see that under threat, if you see that this state may not live under conservative principles, constitutional principles, capitalism, you have to get involved to defend the lifestyle you’ve been given.”

Pueblo GOP County Chair called in and endorsed House, because, she said, he believes in “bottom-up, not top-down, management.” House also appears to have the support of  State Attorney General Cynthia Coffman.

 

Wider perspectives needed on TABOR impasse

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

In a piece yesterday outlining the partisan agendas at the state legislature, Denver Post reporter John Frank reported that state Senate and House Republicans are unified in wanting to return tax-surplus funds to taxpayers, as stipulated by TABOR.

Frank wrote Democrats are split on the issue, noting that Senate Democrat Morgan Carroll “supports a move to seek voter approval to spend the money if it comes from an outside ballot initiative effort.”

For perspective, reporters covering this apparent impasse should seek opinions of partisan leaders away from the Capitol, including the bipartisan leaders of Referendum C, which was approved by voters in 2005 and allowed Colorado to hold on to funds that would otherwise have been returned to taxpayers under TABOR.

Opinions from outside-the-dome could be surprising.  In an interview with Colorado Public Radio’s Ryan Warner, Colorado Treasurer Walker Stapleton said he was open to not returning TABOR refunds:

Warner: “You were a vocal critic of Amendment 66, which would have raised taxes to pay for education. In the way that you got involved with that, would you throw your support behind something that you felt was responsible and meant the state held on to the TABOR refunds?”

Stapleton: “Absolutely. TABOR is the popular whipping post, but Gallagher and Amendment 23 have also created a Gordian Knot of automatic ratchets in the budget and we need to free ourselves of automatic ratchets and get more control over where we spend dollars and more results-oriented spending for our budget going forward in the future. But I’m not opposed reflexively to anything, other than I’m opposed to anything that doesn’t give taxpayers a voice in where their money is being spent.”

Stapleton also said: “The more hopeful way to look at it is, if we in government do a good job and do our jobs in hopefully explaining to people where money is going to go and why resources are needed, that people will be reasonable enough to support fixes to our budget problems in Colorado.”

Getting below the surface with Dr. Chaps

Monday, January 5th, 2015

In what appears to be his first comment on his legislative activities, State Rep. Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt told Rocky Mountain Community Radio’s Bente Birkland last month:

Dr. Chaps: I feel like I’m drinking from a fire hose. There has been so much information thrown at us, and the budget process is very complicated. You have the Joint Budget Committee. You have the Appropriations Committee. You have the Finance Committee. And then you have the fiscal-note staff.

I’m just honored to be here, following the footsteps of all the people who’ve gone before us for 150 years.

The Colorado General Assembly convenes this week, and reporters from across the country will naturally be drawn to Klingenschmitt, as they should be. But does he deserve to be quoted even for the “drinking-from-the-fire-hose” cliche?

I say yes. He’s a star, having most recently been named one of “America’s 20 Craziest Politicians” by GQ magazine. (The men’s magazine zeroed in on his battles against lesbians.) People are legitimately curious about him.

But the key in covering Klingenschmitt will be to find out if what you think he’s saying comports to what he’s really thinking. Like the fire hose comment. Seems innocuous enough to a normal person. But with Klingenschmitt, you never know until you ask him about it. When else, for example, did Dr. Chaps feel like he was drinking from a fire hose? And what does it mean to him?

 

Media omission: Campaign-finance lawsuit turns up Koch activity in Woods/Sias race

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

Yesterday, I wrote about a couple of campaign-finance lawsuits, filed by conservative Matt Arnold’s Campaign Integrity Watchdog, which  could possibly expose whether top Republicans in Colorado knew about GOP-funded attacks on gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo.

Arnold has filed numerous other campaign-finance complaints this year on a variety of topics. See them by clicking on “Complaint Search” here and typing “Campaign Integrity Watchdog” in the “organization” line.

One complaint, in particular, illustrates Arnold’s persistence and shows the public benefits of disclosures required by campaign finance laws. Its story starts during this year’s GOP primary after Arnold noticed a website and Facebook ads attacking Republican State Senate candidate Laura Woods. This was clearly direct campaign activity, said Arnold, but the website didn’t disclose who paid for it, as required by Colorado law.

But the website’s host was listed, and after Arnold’s Integrity Campaign Watchdog filed a lawsuit, a judge issued a subpoena requiring the company to disclose who paid for the site. Arnold said the hosting company disclosed that it was working for GOP operative Alan Philp, who’s now associated with Aegis Strategic, a Koch funded outfit set up to elect “winnable” candidates.  Its president is talk-radio host and former Republican congressional candidate form Colorado Springs, Jeff Crank.

The case dragged on all summer, Arnold said, but eventually Philp “fingered Protect and Defend Colorado as responsible for the Woods website.”

So Arnold pursued a case against Protect and Defend Colorado, a registered campaign committee that supported GOP state senatorial candidate Lang Sias and opposed state senatorial candidate Laura Woods.

A hearing is scheduled, and Arnold, who’s not being paid for his work, says he now faces big bad lawyers from Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber, Schreck, who are representing Protect and Defend Colorado.

“It’a people playing dirty in primaries. I was a victim of it, when I ran for CU Regent,” says Arnold. “So I’m sensitive. When your whole point is to hide behind a proxy server while you’re smearing someone, I think that’s despicable. If you want to criticize someone, man up and do so publicly, but don’t hide behind a shield of anonymity.”

An earlier version of this article referred to Aegis Strategic as Aegis Consulting, and it did not name Jeff Crank as President of the company. Sorry for the error

 

Media omission: Two CO State Senate leaders suggest helping to pay for TX border security program

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

As House Republicans are poised to vote to stop Obama’s executive order to halt deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants, two Colorado State Senators are saying Colorado should contribute tax dollars to Texas Governor Rick Perry’s efforts to secure the southern border.

Calling Obama’s action “nuts” and arguing that “you’ve got to first secure the border,” Assistant Republican Majority Leader Kevin Lundberg said in a recent radio interview that Texas has “spent probably $100 million in the last several months helping to show that you can secure the border. I’m all for Colorado stepping up and being a part of the solution.”

Tea Party radio host Ken Clark, who asked Lundberg about immigration during the interview, aired Nov. 19 on KLZ 560-AM, responded enthusiastically to Lundberg’s idea to give state money to Texas.

“Senator, that is something I would definitely applaud funding. I think that is very important,” Clark told Lundberg on air. “I think it affects all of us, even here in the state of Colorado. Senator Marble, what say you?”

“…I agree. It’s exactly the way I feel,” responded State Sen. Vicki Marble, who’s the new Republican State Senate Caucus Chair.

Both Marble and Lundberg told Clark they believe Texas is demonstrating to the federal government how to secure the border.

“We could secure the border if the federal government would show some backbone, even as the state of Texas has,” Lundberg told Clark.

“If people could just go down [to Texas] and see, and have the opportunity to see what we saw and do what we did, they would understand,” Marble told Clark. “This is so critical. And I agree with Senator Lundberg on what he said about the steps to take. I believe it is very necessary.”

Lundberg said Texas legislators asked him, during a November fact-finding mission to the Texas, if Colorado could help pay for Texas’ border security efforts.

Listen to Marble and Lundberg here:

https://soundcloud.com/bigmedia-org/co-state-senate-leadership-backs-spending-co-tax-money-on-border-security

Partial transcript of the discussion on KLZ 560-AM Nov. 19:

HOST KEN CLARK: It was interesting, because we were able to see firsthand just how simple a problem this is to solve and how we don’t have any will on the federal level to solve this problem. Senator Lundberg, I’ll start with you.

SENATOR KEVIN LUNDBERG: You’re right! We could fix it. We could secure the border if the federal government would show some backbone, even as the state of Texas has. Now, I’ll have to tell you, I was down in Texas this last weekend discussing this very issue with some members of the Texas legislature, and they did suggest that maybe Colorado could help foot the bill for the security that Texas is providing. They’ve spent probably $100 million in the last several months helping to show that you can secure the border. I’m all for Colorado stepping up and being a part of the solution. It’s just that, not being a border state, we don’t have quite the prerogative they do. And yet, we can’t let this rest. This is a big issue that’s not going away. Indeed, the President, maybe in the next twenty-four hours, will start rushing down the other direction, towards more and more amnesty. That’s nuts! That’s just going the wrong direction. You’ve got to first secure the border. We can do it. We need to do it. In the Colorado Senate, we need to talk about it. And we need to promote it, but we’ve got to realize that we can’t do it on our own.

CLARK: Senator, that is something I would definitely applaud funding. I think that is very important. I think it affects all of us, even here in the state of Colorado. Senator Marble, what say you?

SENATOR VICKI MARBLE: Senator, that is something I would definitely applaud funding. I think that is very important. I think it affects all of us, even here in the state of Colorado. Senator Marble, what say you?

SENATOR VICKI MARBLE: […] I agree. It’s exactly the way I feel, and what I saw, and was my take-away from the Texas trip down to McAllen. It is a crucial point. And beyond — if people could just go down and see, and have the opportunity to see what we saw and do what we did, they would understand. This is so critical. And I agree with Senator Lundberg on what he said about the steps to take. I believe it is very necessary.

More on why we know immigrants aren’t spreading disease

Monday, December 1st, 2014

Last week I reported that Tea-Party radio hosts Ken Clark (KLZ 560-AM) and Peter Boyles (KNUS 710-AM), along with Colorado’s GOP State Senate Caucus Chair Vicki Marble, believe undocumented immigrants are spreading disease in America.

How do we know that Marble is wrong when she says undocumented immigrants “bring the disease. They bring whatever from across the border — things we haven’t seen in decades and thought we eradicated. Our whole country is at risk.”

There’s no credible evidence for this, like there wasn’t for attacks on immigrants throughout American history, but how do we know these kinds of things?

“You have to assume that if [undocumented immigrants] get sick they are going to get medical care or die,” said Dr. Michelle Barron in the infectious disease department of the University of Colorado School of Medicine. “There is a long list of diseases that hospitals must report to the health department. Tuberculosis. Measles. Let’s say you came to the emergency room after traveling in Russia, and you have measles. That’s considered 24-hour-reportable. You would then be contacted by the health department and asked questions about vaccinations and where you’ve been. They would identify how big of a scope this would be.”

“Public health departments actually report these things,” Barron continued. “There’s public reporting. The information wouldn’t be hidden in the background because of a political agenda. It’s part of the reporting that has to happen. If there is a trend, that would be investigated.”

And, she added, if a serious disease outbreak occurred, it would be “all over the news,” not left to the investigators on talk radio only.

But what happens if we can’t find the immigrants, I asked.

“The public health department has lots of experience hunting people down,” she said. “They will go to your door. There are always the few people who won’t talk or answer the door, but they have their networks of people who will talk, even in homeless communities. Homeless people don’t want to get disease either. They will talk. The public health department is more savvy than people realize.”

How to convince skeptics like Clark and Marble?

“Really and truly, you have to trust that the health care workers are doing the right thing,” said Barron. “If you have already decided what you feel about this, no matter what evidence you are presented with, you are not going to believe it.”

For more information, including a transcript of the Marble interview, click here.

Marble invites Tea-Party radio host to report from Senate chambers

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

I criticized conservative KLZ talk-radio host Ken Clark yesterday for spreading misinformation about undocumented immigrants, but one thing Clark and I agree on is that the Colorado General Assembly should figure out a way to be more open to non-journalists who report or comment on the happenings there.

And it looks like the new Republican leadership in the Colorado Senate may be planning to shake things up, and help guys like Clark get more access.

I’m not sure what the fairest way to handle access and/or press credentials is, but whatever Senate Republicans do, I hope it’s even-handed.

Judging from this interesting conversation on the topic (below), there are hints it will be fair (a promise to give everyone a “even shot” and hints that it won’t be (a personal invitation to Clark to report from the Senate “chambers”).

The discussion occurred Nov. 19 on KLZ’s 560-AM’s nooner show, Freedom 560, among Clark, Sen. Kevin Lundberg, Assistant Majority Leader, and Sen. Vicki Marble, GOP Senate Caucus Chair. The topic was Clark’s desire to have more access at the Capitol:

CLARK: Well, and I’m going to ask you one more question, and this is on a personal note, because as you are both painfully aware, I have been personally kicked off the floor of the House. I’ve been personally kicked off the floor of the Senate, and I was denied press credentials, because — whatever. They came up with a whole bunch of different excuses, and the press credentialing is controlled through the Senate. So, I guess I can assume that you guys aren’t going to kick me off the floor of the Senate this year.

LUNDBERG: [laughs] Ken, I have no intention of doing that. We need that transparency that allows everybody on, including incredibly popular radio hosts who talk about political issues every day of the week.

CLARK: Senator Marble?

MARBLE: I agree. I think you should have a seat right next to the [Senate] President, Bill Cadman.

CLARK: [laughs] We’ll see if Bill goes for that!

LUNDBERG: Well, I’m just going to give you an even shot with everybody else, Ken.

CLARK: Well, Senator Lundberg and Senator Marble, it was you two that went to bat to make sure that that [ban] was revoked, and it didn’t last very long. I think on the floor of the Senate, it was maybe a fifteen minute ban. That was it, because you guys raised holy hell and got that reversed. So, I appreciate that, I really do. I’m not holding out any hope for what might happen to me on the floor of the House. I will wear Kevlar. I will make sure that I am well protected. So, that will be good.

LUNDBERG: [laughs] Say no more.

CLARK: I think it’s going to also be imperative—and I’ll leave you with this, and I’ll give you each the last word. Senator Marble, I’ll start with you. It is going to be imperative that when you guys have bills that are coming through the Senate that you let people like me, Rich Bratten, Randy Corporon, Kris Cook, John Rush, —people know what is coming through. And I will be down there, fighting the battles with you guys on a daily basis. but it’s imperative that you reach out to us and make sure that we know the good things that you guys are doing so we can spread the word. And Senator Marble, how are you going to do that?

MARBLE: By keeping in very close touch with you, which, having you down at the Senate — you know — chambers, and having you at the Capitol everyday isn’t going to be very hard. If you don’t have the information, then it’s our fault. And I definitely can’t wait for the people of the state of Colorado to have a front and center seat with you, right there, giving the play by play. It’s about transparency, and believe me, we could not applaud your efforts of making everything transparent more. I thank you so much.

CLARK: Well, you know, that’s just kind of what we do. I go down there to watch how the sausage is made, and it ain’t pretty. It’s not. Senator Lundberg?

LUNDBERG: Ken, you’re right! It’s a pretty ugly process. And, as it Winston Churchill observed, it’s the worst form of government except for everything else. And so, it’s got it’s wrinkles and warts that we have to look past and work beyond. But my goal is to —as it always has been— to make sure people can see as much of what is happening as possible. I continue to publish during session, a weekly email report that if anybody goes to my website — KevinLundberg.com —they can sign up directly, there. And of course, Ken, any time I can be on the air and talking with you, I’d be glad to, as well as everybody else there at KLZ. And I’ll admit, I talk on a few other radio stations as well, because I want the entire state to know what we are doing.

Listen to Clark, Marble and Lundberg talk about about press access at state Capitol 11-19-2014

Radio host mum as Sen. Marble delivers falsehood that immigrants bring “disease” thought to have been “eradicated”

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

Warning: KLZ talk-radio host Ken Clark tells me the following blog post is a “hit piece consisting of lies and deceit in order to continue to manipulate the public and your readers at the expense of an elected official who is simply trying to protect her constituents.” If only this were true….

The elected official Clark refers to is Republican State Sen. Vicki Marble. At issue is a searing falsehood Marble delivered to Clark on his nooner Freedom 560 show on KLZ 560-AM Nov. 19:

Marble: “Those illegals infiltrate into the system, of the United States, and they bring the disease. They bring whatever from across the border — things we haven’t seen in decades and thought we eradicated. Our whole country is at risk.”

A lengthy search (still in progress) for a factual basis backing up Marble yielded nothing, and I asked Clark why he didn’t correct her on air:

Clark: The evidence is overwhelming that we are facing a health risk due to our administrations failure to protect our boarders and as a result are continuing to put our citizens at risk. Senator Marble is 100% correct when she states this fact and by failing to accept the truth and the evidence you are simply attempting to attack a public servant rather than seek the truth. She has been briefed by the Colorado Center for Disease Control as well and is privy to information that is not public, maybe you should try to get some information from them. [BigMedia emphasis]

I asked the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment if there was any evidence that undocumented immigrants are bringing any disease, much less ones that we thought were eradicated, into Colorado.

“CDPHE is not aware of any such evidence,” was the simple answer from Mark Salley, CDPHE spokesperson.

Clark provided me with numerous links, none of which named a specific illness thought to be eradicated and brought to the United States by undocumented immigrants.

You can find Marble’s comment at the 2:45 mark on this audio recording:

https://soundcloud.com/bigmedia-org/state-sen-vicki-marble-claims-immigrants-bring-eradicated-disease-to-us

Like other people, undocumented immigrants get sick with chicken pox, scabies, lice, and even tuberculosis, but, again, there’s no evidence that they are spreading these illnesses in our country. There’s speculation, yes, but nothing much more.

Marble’s comment goes beyond the usual Tea-Party regurgitation of this speculation by accusing immigrants of introducing eradicated diseases, raising the specter of polio, lepers, etc.

This summer, Tea Party activists were up in arms about diseases allegedly being brought by migrant children crossing the border into the U.S. These concerns were shown to be basesless.

The New York Times reported in July:

Carrie Williams, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of State Health Services, said there have been only three cases of tuberculosis reported among the undocumented children who have come into Texas. More than 1,000 cases are reported annually in Texas.

She also said that while there have been cases of scabies among the children, “it’s not outside the norm of what we would expect and not exotic to the United States.”

What does seem to spread in the United States is not diseases from immigrants but falsehoods from talk-radio hosts. KNUS host Peter Boyles broke the misinformation back in September that undocumented immigrants are spreading disease in Colorado. And now the rot has jumped to KLZ.

Maybe it’s time to fumigate the offices at both KLZ and KNUS?

Here’s a transcript of the conversation between Clark, Marble, and State Sen. Lundberg on Nov. 19, 2014.

CLARK: There are a lot of national issues that are affecting us here in the state of Colorado, things that the President is doing are absolutely appalling and unfortunately does affect us here. We’ve got a situation where we’ve got—we’ve got respiratory diseases cropping up in Colorado. Not many people are talking about that. We’ve got the scare of Ebola going on. We’ve got an open border with an insurgent of — a surge of insurgents coming across that border into the Unitded States. And we have potential for amnesty being granted this week. I’ll start with you, Senator Lundberg. What can we do, in the state, to combat some of these things? [pause] Senator Lundberg, are you with me? [pause] Do I still have Senator Lundberg? Senator Marble, are you there?

MARBLE: Yes, I am.

LUNDBERG: Ken, I was on —

MARBLE: Oh, there he is!

LUNDBERG: Sorry! I was on mute.

CLARK: Oh, okay! We’re back.

LUNDBERG: Got some quiet, yeah. When it comes to the immigration issues, we are held hostage by federal policy in almost every respect, even though we could get tougher with our requiring people to be here legally before they enjoy all of the benefits of living in Colorado. You know, we tried that back in 2006 with a special session and supposedly came up with some legislation that toughebned things up, but they only went a teeny little direction down the right path. You know, with just the Senate, we’re not going to make much progress — we can talk about it, we can pass bills, we can run resolutions, and get those though the Senate, but it’s not going to become law until we take the next step and take the House back, as well.

CLARK: Well, I would agree with you. Senator Marble, could you respond to that as well?

MARBLE: I’d just like to say that without leadership in the Governor’s position, we’re never going to see reforms here in the state of Colorado, as far as illegal immigration goes. What has happened in the state of Texas has been because of the actions taken  by Governor Perry. And he put together a very good, multi-level layer of agencies to protect the United States from illegal immigration. And I say “to protect the United States”, not just Texas, because those illegals do not stick around once they cross the border. Those illegals infiltrate into the system, of the United States, and they bring the disease. They bring whatever from across the border — things we haven’t seen in decades and thought we had eradicated. Our whole country is at risk. The illegals, they migrate to other states at will, and that’s why I say, if we don’t have a governor step forward and take leadership, like that of Governor Perry of Texas, we don’t have a snowball’s chance in you-know-what of doing anything.

CLARK: Well, and what is interesting, though, is I was a part of a coalition that went down to the border. Both of you were in that coalition, as well. In fact, I believe I was your guest. I went down with you guys. And it was interesting because we were able to see first hand just how simple a problem this is to solve, and how lack of will — we don’t have any will on the federal level to solve this problem. Senator Lundberg, I’ll start with you.

LUNDBERG: You’re right! We could fix it. We could secure the border, if the federal government would show some backbone, even as the state of Texas has. Now, I’ll have to tell you, I was down in Texas this last weekend discussing this very issue with some members of the Texas legislature, and they did suggest that maybe Colorado could help foot the bill for security that Texas is providing. They’ve spent probably $100 million in the last several months, helping to show that you can secure the border. I’m all for Colorado stepping up and being a part of the solution. It’s just that, not being a border state, we don’t have quite the prerogative they do. And yet, we can’t let this rest. This is a big issue that is not going away. Indeed, the President, maybe in the next twenty-four hours, will start rushing down the other direction towards more and more amnesty. That’s nuts! That’s just going the wrong direction! You’ve got to first, secure the border. We can do it. We need to do it. In the Colorado Senate, we need to talk about it, and we need to promote it. But, we’ve got to realize that we can’t do it on our own.

CLARK: Senator, that is something Ix would definitely applaud funding. I think that is very important. I think it affects all of us, even in the state of Colorado. Senator Marble, what say you?

MARBLE: Well, unfortunately, I can’t hear what Senator Lundberg is saying, so i have no idea what that was. I just —. I don’t know—.

LUNDBERG: The audio is a little low for us hearing one another.

CLARK: [Clark paraphrases Senator Lundberg’s remarks]

MARBLE: I agree! It’s exactly the way I feel, and what I saw, and was my take-away from the Texas trip, down in McAllen. It is a crucial point. And beyond — if people could just go down and see and have the opportunity to see what we saw and do what we did, they would understand. This is so critical. And I agree with Senator Lundberg on what he said about were the steps to take. I believe it is very necessary.

Here’s Ken Clark’s entire email response to my request for a statement:

Clark: Pretty quick search of some of the news out there, pretty easy to find and most of the stories have imbedded links to the reports and documentation that back up the assertions. The evidence is overwhelming that we are facing a health risk due to our administration’s failure to protect our borders and as a result are continuing to put our citizens at risk.

Senator Marble is 100% correct when she states this fact and by failing to accept the truth and the evidence you are simply attempting to attack a public servant rather than seek the truth. She has been briefed by the Colorado Center for Disease Control as well and is privy to information that is not public, maybe you should try to get some information from them.

Jason, I have been to the boarder, so has Senator Marble, we have both seen first hand and have spoken with the people on the ground about what they/we are in fact facing. Denying these facts in a not so veiled attempt to discredit a siting Senator further demonstrates your bias when it comes to journalism. I would hope that you will start to seek and report the truth as this situation will continue to escalate based upon recent events. Now, Like Gruber, you have decided to put together a hit piece consisting of lies and deceit in order to continue to manipulate the public and your readers at the expense of an elected official who is simply tying to protect her constituents.

Protecting our borders is a national security issue first and foremost. Most of the good folks down on the border realize this, they are concerned about terrorism, they’re concerned about disease. they are concerned about the unknown factors coming across that border on a daily basis. The administration has been involved in a cover-up of where these people are headed throughout the United States since the beginning. And I believe every citizen of the United States has a right to know.

Let me know if you need me to do any more research for you.

http://www.westernjournalism.com/obama-adminstrations-immigration-policy-responsible-new-mystery-virus-causing-paralysis-children/

http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/immigration/item/19260-disease-rampant-among-illegal-immigrants-housed-in-u-s-facilities

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/oct/6/diseases-still-problem-illegal-immigrant-families/?page=all

http://www.examiner.com/article/cdc-admitted-disease-imported-as-states-data-reveals-illegal-immigrant-links

http://krqe.com/2014/07/09/report-claims-illegal-immigrants-carry-deadly-diseases/

http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-Texas/2014/08/07/Feds-Bend-CDC-Rules-for-Sick-Illegal-Immigrants

http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2014/06/illegal_immigrant_flood_bringing_disease_outbreaks.html

http://www.nationalcenter.org/P21PR-Immigrants_Health_Schools_090214.html

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/08/01/unaccompanied-illegal-immigrant-kids-exposed-federal-agents-to-lice-scabies/

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/06/24/potential-for-a-public-health-disaster-illegal-immigrant-surge-leaves-officials-with-no-idea-which-diseases-are-coming-across/

http://www.judicialwatch.org/blog/2014/07/illegal-alien-minors-spreading-tb-ebola-dengue-swine-flu/

http://toprightnews.com/?p=3650

http://www.wnd.com/2014/10/mystery-virus-found-where-illegal-alien-kids-sent/

http://dailycaller.com/2014/07/31/dhs-report-tuberculosis-and-scabies-spreading-in-migrant-holding-facilities/

http://www.oig.dhs.gov/assets/Mgmt/2014/Over_Un_Ali_Chil.pdf

http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Border-agents-in-Texas-warned-not-to-talk-to-media-5550807.php

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/14/border-patrol-media_n_5495545.html

http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-Texas/2014/06/13/Border-Patrol-Agents-Threatened-with-Criminal-Charges-for-Speaking-to-Reporters

This post was updated 11/25/14 with links from Clark that I left out of my original post.