Due to a Democratic majority in both the House and the Senate, the legislative term that ended on May 8 will go down as one of the most productive and progressive in the history of Colorado. It provides a sharp contrast to the do-nothing session headed by Republicans in 2012. The Republicans, you will recall, threw out a huge chunk of the legislation produced by their session in a maneuver to prevent the Civil Union bill from coming to a vote.
The 2013 session, on the other hand, produced legislation on a wide range of issues. Here are some of the highlights:
- Colorado Economy—This session produced several bills designed to boost the state’s economy. The Keep Jobs in Colorado Act puts Colorado companies first in line for state contracts. The Advanced Industries Accelerator Act makes Colorado more attractive to high-tech businesses. The Economic Gardening Pilot Project bill supports start-up businesses. And finally, the Renewable Energy bill creates jobs in the renewable energy field by broadening the definition of renewable energy to include sources such as methane capture and woody biomass, helping farmers find a way into the renewable energy business.
- Civil Unions—Colorado took a step forward on the civil rights path with legislation that authorizes any two unmarried adults, regardless of gender, to enter into a civil union by obtaining a license from a county clerk and recorder.
- Gun Safety—Several bills were passed in this area. Foremost among them was a bill mandating universal background checks for all gun purchases. Other legislation limited the size of magazines, protected victims of domestic violence, required gun purchasers to pay for their own background checks, and prohibited concealed-carry training performed entirely on-line.
- Election Reform—The Voter Access and Modernized Elections bill puts an end to the worst voter suppression abuses of partisan Clerk and Recorders and makes it easier for Coloradans to cast their vote by providing a mail-in ballot to everyone, by giving them a choice of how to vote, by employing modern Information Technology to verify votes, by ending the “inactive voter” category, by allowing for secure same-day registration, and by mandating more convenient early voting.
- Education—the ASSET bill provides in-state tuition rates for undocumented students. Another bill takes on the issue of funding for public education, with an eye to achieving a better balance between urban and rural school districts. The Breakfast After the Bell bill, sponsored by District 17’s Rep. Tony Exum, makes sure that low-income students will start the school day ready to learn.
All in all, a very productive session, and one in which three politicians from El Paso county—Rep. Pete Lee, Rep. Tony Exum and Senator John Morse played leading roles. As President of the Senate, John Morse took the lead in guiding the bills mentioned above through the state senate.
But this legislative success has not come without a political price. A group based in Durango has tried to recall four Democratic legislators: Michael McLachlan, Evie Hudak, Angela Giron, and El Paso County’s Sen. John Morse. On May 21, the recall effort against Rep. McLachlan officially ended when the Basic Freedom Defense Fund failed to turn in the needed signatures. You can find the details of the recall effort against Sen. John Morse here. In El Paso County, BFDF volunteers and paid signature collectors have until June 3 to get the signatures needed for a special election to recall Sen. Morse. The special election, if it is scheduled, will cost El Paso county between $150,000 and $250,000.
Sen. Morse has earned our support by standing up against the NRA and the gun lobby, and against the fossil fuel special interests, and by standing up for voter rights and marriage equality. A local group named “A Whole Lot of People for John Morse” has formed to support him against the recall effort. Here’s what you can do to support him in his fight against being recalled:
- If you are approached to sign the recall petition, decline to sign.
- If you have already signed the petition, but feel it’s purpose was not honestly represented to you, or that you were threatened by the signature collector, please give us a call at 719-425-2211.
- Stay in touch with us on-line. Check out A Whole Lot of People for John Morse’s web page , Facebook page and blog to stay up to date with what’s going on. Like and Share the Facebook page with your Facebook friends.
- Most importantly, volunteer to phonebank, canvass, or write letters to the editor on Sen. Morse’s behalf. Please use the Volunteer links on the web page or blog, or call use at 719-425-2211.
I’m a Republican, a lover of the Constitution and a gun-owner. I used to be considered somewhat conservative, but fringe members of my party are starting to make me look like Michael Dukakis. I’m tired of being lumped in the same category as people who refuse to acknowledge that gun violence in this country has gotten out of hand. We need our representatives to know the importance of protecting the Second Amendment, but we also need to meet half way on this issue and agree that an additional hurdle or two won’t really hurt us and may help prevent a criminal from getting a gun.
There was a time in this country when we the people elected someone to represent us and we either agreed with the job they did or we disagreed with it. Sometimes we disagreed so much that we voted for a different person when the next election came around. Frankly, I’m not sure taxpayers will stomach dishing out $250,000 every time a few of us disagree.
This is how our electoral system was set up and I think it’s worked pretty well for us so far. But I guess I was taking it all for granted, because now when some fringe groups don’t like how our elected officials vote on just one issue, no matter how popular the issue is with the rest of the public, they try to exact revenge through costly recall elections.
The bill to require background checks on private sales and the ban on the sale of high-capacity magazines was enough to make them want to recall legislators who voted for them including State Senator John Morse, who represents most of Colorado Springs. It should be noted that both of those bills were quite popular with Coloradans (83 percent and 62 percent in favor, respectively, according to a Denver Post poll from this year). In a few national polls, support for background checks was closer to 90 percent and for NRA members it was about 80 percent.
A lot of Republicans seem to have forgotten that none other than Ronald Reagan supported some gun control measures. He supported the original assault weapons ban. He also supported the Brady Bill, which required background checks for people buying from gun shops and a waiting period before a buyer could get their gun. He wanted to make guns less accessible to criminals. So do most Coloradans.
It’s time for us all to be a little more reasonable. Wacky, fringe politics are wrecking the Republican Party and hurting our state. Signing a recall petition is like signing a $250,000 check we can’t afford. And I don’t know about you, but I could use a break from all the elections.
If you follow the developments of the 2013 Colorado State Assembly, which includes the Senate and House of Representatives, we can all take pride in the fact Democrats are in the majority in both houses. Accordingly, we’re seeing a number of progressive bills working their way through the legislative process. While the media focus is mostly on gun bills, here’s some proposed legislation sponsored by our local legislators, a summary of other bills to watch, and a word about the Legislative Watch Committee (LWC).
Our local legislators are receiving an astonishing amount of calls and emails from Second Amendment advocates, NRA members, and gun owners. So your email to Pete Lee, Tony Exum, and John Morse may be buried in the mix. If you support the gun safety bills currently going through the legislative process, now would be a great time to email or call the El Paso County elected Democrats with a word of support to counteract the bombardment they are getting from the NRA.
Click “Read More,” below, for the rest of this article.
If you have seen the news you know that the Peak Dems office has been a target for vandalism. Our locks have now been glued three times, two times requiring new locks which has turned out to be incredibly expensive–it turns out that commercial locks are very hard to remove especially when filled with gorilla glue. To date this has cost us $1200.00. Good news though–the perpetrator has been caught and is currently in jail. We have gotten a restraining order against him and hope that he finds something new to occupy his time.
We are currently getting information about installing cameras in the office. While it appears that this gentleman was not necessarily politically motivated, this has caused us to rethink our security here at the office.
If you would like to help us with the cost of this insanity, please Donate. The unplanned expense of replacing the locks is having an impact on our budget. And if you haven’t been by the office lately, stop by and visit. After the last several weeks we could all use seeing some friendly faces.
On Saturday, February 9, some 120 persons gathered in the Carnegie Room in Penrose Library for a Town Hall meeting, a favorite arena of authors, educators, and political leaders.
While most were constituents from HD-17 & 18, the audience included city and county leaders, educators, business people, attorneys, and “townie” activists of all stripes. On this occasion, people were anxious to meet Pete Lee and Tony Exum and hear them explain their respective legislative agendas and respond to questions.
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From President Obama’s Inaugural Address: For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it. We believe that America’s prosperity must rest upon the broad shoulders of a rising middle class. We know that America thrives when every person can find independence and pride in their work; when the wages of honest labor liberate families from the brink of hardship. We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American; she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own.
. . . .
It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law –- for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity — until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia, to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm.
Click “Read More,” below, to see video or read the complete speech
The second annual Will Rogers Gala Dinner drew 350+ progressive partiers to the Antlers Hilton downtown.
Photos with the (virtual) President by Studio Los Dos are here.
Photos by Wendy Nelson of Blue Fox Photography are here. Log in with your email address and the password “bluefox”
Click “Read More,” below, for a list of special guests and speakers
There’s something new happening in Colorado Springs for Democrats and our friends: 2nd Thurdays In celebration of a successful campaign season and a thank you for all of your hard work, we will be providing appetizers at the December gathering. Also – don’t miss the drawing for a FORWARD 2012 T-Shirt. Please RSVP so we [...]
Thank you for all your help to get Tony this close to winning.
HANG IN THERE WITH US!
Only 12 days until Election Day
The opposition is out there in frenzy, with negative mailers etc…
The GOP is starting to put push polls against our candidate into the field. Please be on the alert and let us know ASAP if you hear of one.
This is a very close race; your help will make a difference!
How you can help:
1. Vote, and make sure all friends and neighbors who support Tony Early Vote at the Citadel Mall or turn in the mail in ballot now.
2. Make GOTV calls to Democrats at Peak Dem office any time from 10am to 8pm M-Th, Noon to 6pm Friday & Saturday, Sunday 1 to 4pm
3. Help with ballot chasing, by being a driver, or being a door knocker.
Volunteer Election Day:
1. Be a Official poll watchers: check on the people who have voted and call in the list to Karen
2. Make calls to our voters who have not voted
3. Ballot chase: go to the homes of people who have not voted and leave a note on the door as a reminder to vote
4. Help put out yard signs at 6:30am around your precinct polling location
If you don’t have the time, you can make a donation on line at www.tonyexum.com
To volunteer or for more information
contact Karen 232-3429 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Vote for Doskor Hanchett, Jr. for County Commissioner District 4 and vote “Yes” on “Ballot Issue 1B” to repeal the deceptive “2010 Term Limit Ordnance”.
Hello fellow Democrat,
As you probably are aware, Doskor Hanchett, Jr. is running for County Commissioner District 4. But running a political campaign is costly, and we depend on the financial help of loyal supporters like you to keep moving toward victory.
That’s why I’d like to ask you to give a small amount to the candidacy of Doskor Hanchett, Jr. Your money will help pay for campaign debt that has been accumulated and expenses that will be realized in order to win this election. By becoming a supporter, you can become an even more important part of the political process.
Please click the following link to make your contribution: www.ElectDoskorHanchettJr.com, or mail them to
Committee to Elect Doskor Hanchett Jr,
P.O. Box 17031
Colorado Springs, CO 80935.