Lawmakers abandon common sense for legal chaos

Last year, the Colorado General Assembly demonstrated the good sense to pass Senate Bill 115, recogning that property owners are not liable for actions committed on their property by criminals.  It didn’t matter, legislators agreed, if the property owner operated a controversial business.  Ultimate responsibility for harm rests with the person who pulled the trigger.

This bipartisan legislation, which passed the Senate 34-0 and the House 64-1, came in response to a lawsuit arising from the 2015 shooting at a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs.  A 2021 shooting at a Boulder King Soopers provided further context, re-assuring legislators that it is unreasonable to hold any business responsible for, in the words of Justice Melissa Hart, “the irrational actions of a mass murderer.”

Lawmakers wisely concluded responsibility for criminal violence rests with the perpetrator and shouldn’t fall on property owners just because they may have “deep pockets.”

Less than a year later, some legislators now propose that Colorado turn this logic on its head in order to make another controversial industry – firearms manufacturers and retailers – liable for others’ irrational actions.  This is akin to holding car manufacturers responsible for drunk drivers or, worse, for a deranged individual who uses a vehicle to run down pedestrians. (more…)

Blue in Colorado

“Democracy,” wrote H.L. Mencken, “is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.”  A majority of Colorado voters have made it clear that they want to be governed by Democrats.

With Democrats presiding over a struggling economy, widespread crime and social disorder, this result is dumbfounding.  Surely, Coloradans were ready to restore some measure of political balance?

Instead, voters soundly rejected Republican candidates across the board.  Democrats won every race in which both parties devoted resources.  They even won some seats they expected to lose.  Lauren Boebert’s tentative win in the 3rd Congressional District could be considered the exception, but the fact that this “safe Republican” district will be decided by less than 0.5% is more evidence of Colorado’s blue avalanche.

This was a back-breaking election for Republicans in Colorado.  Too many voters won’t even consider a candidate with our party’s label. (more…)

Recommendations for Colorado ballot questions

Here’s my plain-and-simple explanation of and recommendation for statewide issues on the Colorado ballot for 2022:

Amendment D, New 23rd Judicial District Judges.  In 2020, the legislature created the new 23rd Judicial District by removing Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln counties from the 18th Judicial District.  This amendment makes it easier to assign some judges from the 18th to the 23rd Judicial District.  I will vote YES.

Amendment E, Property Tax Exemption for Gold-Star Spouses.  The existing property tax exemption for seniors and disabled veterans would be extended to include surviving spouses of U.S. service members who died in the line of duty or from service-related causes.  I will vote YES.

Amendment F, Charitable Gaming.  Currently, nonprofits that have existed for at least five years can receive a license to conduct bingo and raffles for charity.  This measure would reduce the licensing requirement from five years to three and allow the legislature to further reduce that requirement.  It would also allow charity workers to be paid.  I don’t see the problem in existing law, so I will vote NO.

Proposition FF, Free Public School Meals.  The “tax your neighbor” lobby is again trying to undermine Colorado’s flat-rate income tax by increasing taxes on any Coloradan with income over $300,000 to create a program to make public school meals “free” to all students and to increase pay to food-service workers.  FF is absolutely a scheme to figure out what it will take to get Coloradans to raise taxes on “the rich,” like California does.  Today, 37% of students, mostly from low-income families, are eligible for free or reduced-cost meals at school.  So why increase taxes by $100 million to provide free lunches to middle- and upper-income families who already pay their own way?  Our flat tax is fundamentally fair, and this program is unnecessary.  I will vote NO.

Proposition GG, Tax Information in Blue Book.  Special interests want to be sure that anytime a tax cut comes to a vote, the ballot information booklet (aka “Blue Book”) includes a chart showing the average savings to taxpayers at different income levels.  They think voters won’t vote for a small tax cut if it will save each taxpayer only a few bucks.  However, those small amounts add up to big bucks to pay for bigger government.  This year’s Blue Book provides the exact chart that Prop GG would require so we obviously don’t need a new law.  I will vote NO.

Proposition 121, Income Tax Rate Reduction.  Amends Colorado statutes to reduce the state income tax rate from 4.55% to 4.40%.  Certain state lawmakers don’t like it when Colorado citizens put the brakes on government to make even a modest reduction in taxation.  Those same lawmakers shamelessly pass numerous “fee” increases to avoid asking voter permission.  Prop 121 would reduce state government revenue by an estimated $382 million, a small amount compared to the new fees imposed without our consent.  I will vote YES.

Proposition 122, Legalize Psychedelic Drugs.  Much of Colorado’s current decline traces back to legalizing so-called “medical marijuana” in 2000 and recreational marijuana in 2012 which led to more drug use by adults and easier access by kids.  Some “doctors” signed medical marijuana cards for anybody who could say, “Ouch!”  Proponents of 122 are using the same strategy, calling this initiative “access to natural medicine,” a euphemism for psychedelic mushrooms.  The last thing Colorado needs is more legalized drugs.  I will vote NO.

Proposition 123, Income Tax for Affordable Housing.  Dedicates 0.1% of state income tax receipts to fund “affordable housing programs.”  Most problems related to housing affordability are the direct result of short-sighted laws passed by local and state governments.  Giving those same governments more money to “fix” the problems they created is “like giving liquor and car keys to teenage boys.”  I will vote NO.

Proposition 124, Liquor Licenses. Prior to 2017, a person could own just one liquor store; the limit increased to three this year.  Prop 124 would immediately allow ownership of eight liquor stores and later eliminate any limit whatsoever. Competition usually drives down prices, right?  Well, it’s hard to argue that Colorado lacks competition with nearly 1,600 liquor stores across the state.  Even my small hometown has three times more liquor stores than grocery stores.  Plus, some liquor distributors prefer to supply only big box stores but not mom-and-pop shops.  I will vote NO.

Proposition 125, Wine in Grocery and Convenience Stores.  When I’ve shopped at grocery stores that sell wine, it seems their prices are higher than the neighborhood liquor store.  If convenience is your primary consideration, vote yes.  If you prefer to buy from the neighborhood liquor store, vote no.

Proposition 126, Delivery of Alcohol.  Allows anyone who can legally sell alcohol to also contract with delivery services to deliver alcohol to customers.  I really don’t care.

Colorado is a mess. Have voters had enough?

Not long ago, Colorado was one of the safest, most prosperous states in the nation.

Today, Colorado is a mess.  Crime is soaring. The economy is faltering.  Energy prices are rising.  Schools are struggling.

Many of today’s problems are the predictable result of “progressive” policies adopted during the four-year reign of Gov. Jared Polis and large Democrat majorities in the legislature.

In the next few months, Colorado voters will decide if they’ve had enough.

Democrats pursued legislation that was tough on law enforcement and soft on criminals.  They passed bills to make it easier to sue police officers but harder to keep violent criminals behind bars.

Not surprisingly, Colorado suffered the fourth-highest crime increase in the country.  From 2018 to 2021, murders soared by 75% from 237 to 414.  More homicides were committed in Colorado in 2021 than during the infamous “summer of violence” in 1993, both in raw numbers and per capita.

In those same three years, motor vehicle theft nearly doubled to 41,719 – more than 100 per day – in 2021.

“Colorado, historically, has been a remarkably safe state, well below the national averages . . . We can’t say that any more,” Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen told Colorado Public Radio.  He dismissed assertions that the COVID pandemic was responsible for the crime wave.

In a bipartisan report, former district attorneys Mitch Morrisey, a Democrat from Denver, and George Brauchler, a Republican from Douglas County, described an “undeniable and blistering increase in crime.”

That report from Common Sense Institute connects the increase in crime to “social justice” legislation passed during the last four years, leading to:

  • Declining prison population (down 23% since 2008).
  • Increasing use of personal recognizance bonds even in violent crime cases.
  • Decriminalizing possession of four grams or less of Schedule II controlled substances, such as fentanyl, from a felony to a misdemeanor.

An investigation by Denver’s CBS4 found repeat felons and others charged with violent felonies received cash-free bonds or probation.

Simultaneously, Democrats’ war on affordable energy are making it more expensive to cool and heat our homes and to drive our vehicles.  Meanwhile, they drive energy-producing jobs out of state.

“Coloradans face steep increases in energy bills this winter, with some (paying) as much as 50% more compared to last winter,” reported Colorado Politics which specifically noted “actions by state regulators and policymakers” driving up energy bills.

After Colorado voters said “no” to draconian restrictions on oil and gas production, Polis and Democrat lawmakers defied voters by passing Senate Bill 181 which brought drastic reductions in drilling permits and a major employment contraction in the energy industry.

Prior to SB 181, Colorado issued 30 or more location drilling permits every month which allowed energy producers to develop long-term plans.  However, just five permits were issued in all of 2021 and only 22 so far this year.  Colorado has lost 3,400 energy sector jobs since 2020.

While Polis uses deceptive taxpayer refund checks in a shameful scheme to buy votes, gas prices could soon jump by another 51 cents a gallon because Polis asked the federal EPA to enact more severe ozone standards in Colorado.

Just this week, election-year Polis began to backpedal.  Voters should remember than in his last election, he also claimed to oppose draconian oil and gas regulations but imposed them anyway after the election.

Likewise, the Governor and legislature show little regard for agriculture, Colorado’s second-largest industry which is responsible for producing safe, clean meat, grains, fruits and vegetables to feed the state’s growing population.

“It’s as if the governor pays lip service to agriculture one day and then slaps it in the face the next,” editorialized the Sterling Journal-Advocate.

The problem with progressive lawmakers is that they “know” so much based on so little real-world experience.  The current crop of progressive legislators is remarkably young and sorely lacking in experience outside government or politics.

So, Colorado voters now must choose.  Continue to elect progressive Democrats and expect more of the same or give Republicans a chance to show whether they can return sanity to our state.

American equality is truly revolutionary

Equality of all citizens is a uniquely American concept.

Historian G.K. Chesterton said, “America is the only nation in the world that was founded on a creed.”  That creed comes from the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

This declaration came at a point when slavery was nearly universal.  Native Americans made slaves of conquered tribes and of blacks.  In Africa, blacks and Muslims sold slaves to other continents.

Yet, influential Americans some 250 years ago recognized that making slaves of their fellow human beings was immoral.  They also knew that they were being ruled unjustly by England.  The founders knew that their 13 free and independent states needed an alliance to ensure their survival. (more…)

Will Republican voters be suckered again by Democrats’ scheme?

Sometimes it seems Democrat strategists know the minds of Republicans better than Republicans know themselves.

Consider the current scheme by Democrats to spend millions to influence the Republican primary.

Organizations funded by Democrats are running ads to promote U.S. Senate candidate Ron Hanks and governor candidate Greg Lopez.  One of their favorite messages is that Hanks or Lopez is “too conservative for Colorado.”

Remember, they are intentionally sending this message to Republican voters.

I’ve heard or read Republicans respond:

  • “They may have intended these ads to be negative, but these ads gave me the information I needed to know that they ARE who I want to vote FOR!”
  • “I hear Republican positions that I agree with followed by ‘too conservative for Colorado.’ That makes me more likely to vote FOR them.”

That’s no surprise to Democrats.  In fact, it’s precisely what they want Republicans to do. (more…)

Re-election is Democrats’ true priority

God saw fit to stop at ten commandments, but politicians can’t leave well enough alone, so a series of “Eleventh Commandments” apply to them.  One of those admonishes:  Thou shall not make the voters more cynical.

This year, Democrats at our State Capitol are breaking that commandment, too.

With polls showing that Colorado voters may finally be ready to end their four years of unrestrained power, Democrats are discarding their professed priorities like a sinner headed for confession – hoping voters will forgive and (especially) forget.

So, let’s take a little walk down memory lane and remember this journey through Election Day.

Last week, Gov. Jared Polis and legislative Democrats tossed aside 30 years of fierce opposition to Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) which they’ve blamed for everything from crumbling roads to failing schools.  Instead, they held a press conference to tout “their” plan to send every taxpayer a $400 check barely one month before voters receive their general election ballots.

There’s just one problem: that money already belongs to taxpayers. (more…)

Indian mascot commission seeks to re-write dictionary

The state commission charged with adjudicating which Colorado schools must expunge their “American Indian mascots” devolved further into a kangaroo court last week.  Chaired by Lt. Gov. Dianne Primavera, the Colorado Commission on Indian Affairs was required to “identify each public school in the state that is using an American Indian mascot” by July 28 of last year.

More than eight months later, the commission is now considering whether to add seven new schools as potential violators for using “Thunderbird” as their mascot.  At an April 6 meeting, CCIA began discussing whether these mascots violate the law which prohibits “names, symbols or images that depict or refer to an American Indian tribe, individual, custom or tradition.”

Ironically, when the commission released its initial list of schools with affected mascots last July, it did include one with a Thunderbird mascot – Johnson Elementary in Montrose which fields no teams and merely displays a Thunderbird logo.

So, how did CCIA find little Johnson Elementary but fail to notice at least seven other schools, including Aurora’s Hinkley High School and Cherry Creek’s Thunder Ridge Middle School, that use the same mascot? (more…)