Chicken Little Can’t Catch a Break

Screw you, Powerball. We didn’t want to win, anyway…


Before we begin the Gravy, remember to e-mail your events and goings-on to gravy@coloradoconfidential.com and we’ll include it here.

The legislature is back debating an emergency contraception bill, but now that a Democrat is in the governor’s office, things might end differently. As April M. Washington of the Rocky Mountain News reports:

Lawmakers are debating an emergency contraception bill for the fifth year in a row, but this time around the sponsors have a Democratic governor in their corner.

Previous legislation was either vetoed by a Republican governor or killed by a GOP-controlled committee.

The latest proposal, Senate Bill 60, would require hospitals to inform sexual assault survivors of emergency contraception and encourage pharmacies and rape assistance centers to provide information about the morning-after pill.

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee voted 6-2 Wednesday to forward the measure to the full Senate for debate.

Gov. Bill Ritter plans to sign the bill as it’s written, according to spokesman Evan Dreyer.


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Rep. Diana DeGette received a swell promotion yesterday when she was elevated to vice-chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. As Anne C. Mulkern of The Denver Post reports:

DeGette, D-Denver, jumped over 11 people who have more seniority on the Energy and Commerce Committee. Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., currently the longest serving member of the House and the chair of the committee, pulled DeGette her up to the post. Dingell has mentored DeGette since she arrived in Congress and the two are considered political allies.

“Potentially it’s a very big deal,” said Norman Ornstein, political analyst at the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington D.C. think tank. “It means she’s going to have some say over the agenda.”

It’s also a signal, Ornstein said, that Dingell trusts DeGette.

“For me it’s really a dream come true,” DeGette said.

DeGette will run the committee, one of the most prestigious in the House, in Dingell’s absence. The committee has extraordinary jurisdiction, handling everything from energy issues to medicine and public health, to telephone, Internet and television service, to investigations of corporate wrongdoing.

See, Toto, dreams really do come true. What little girl doesn’t stare at the sky and one day imagine becoming the vice-chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee?


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As the battle over whether or not to change Amendment 41 rages on, we may have our first victim. As Lynn Bartels of the Rocky Mountain News reports:

Kaela Mattson was on a waiting list to volunteer at Children’s Hospital even before she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. After doctors there saved her life, she pursued her dream of being a volunteer.

Kaela’s service led to a $900 scholarship that was to have been awarded on Saturday. She will attend the banquet, but the 18- year-old senior at Machebeuf High School has been told she can’t accept the money. That’s because her grandfather, who is her legal guardian, works for the state Department of Revenue in its gaming division.

Welcome to the post-election confusion of Amendment 41, the voter-approved constitutional amendment called the “ethics in government” measure. One provision outlaws gifts worth more than $50 to government employees and their families. That, some believe, impacts scholarships. Others disagree.

The legislature is set to debate the issue.

“‘Ethics in government,’ that sounds great,” said Kaela’s grandmother, Donna Mattson, of Denver. “Sure, I don’t want anybody on the take. But Amendment 41 is hurting my granddaughter.”

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The editorial board at The Denver Post takes another well-deserved shot at the laughably inept Denver Election Commission in an editorial today:

There is an inescapable irony about the slew of problems the Denver Election Commission is having with this month’s election. It was supposed to be the first step in restoring public confidence in the city’s troubled voting system. The city council has proposed replacing the commission with an elected clerk and recorder.

Instead, the election has become another laughingstock of democracy. The matter was hurried to the ballot, which features a confusing layout and a tight deadline. It’s an all-mail ballot, and now we learn that thousands of ballots were mailed to the wrong addresses. Even Mayor John Hickenlooper’s ballot was mailed to the wrong address.

Now, voters are left to watch the spectacle as officials from the Election Commission, the U.S. Postal Service and Sequoia Voting Systems point fingers and accuse one another of incompetence…

…We urge Denverites to vote “no” on the mail-ballot question. Though we support a change in the governing structure, we believe the public needs time to study the issue, and it should be settled in a proper election. That’s a far sight from what has been unfolding over the last week. According to election commission spokesman Alton Dillard, the ballot delivery problems stem from a rushed timeframe that didn’t allow for routine updating of voter databases…

…The November elections were an embarrassing debacle for a modern city. The hours-long lines, malfunctioning electronic poll books and lame excuses from election officials left many Denverites disgusted. To make a bad situation worse by scheduling an expensive snap election that the beleaguered commission is ill-equipped to handle is a travesty.

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Some bastard in Missouri was the only winner in the $254 million Powerball drawing last night.

Okay, so that might have been a little harsh. The winner could be a woman.


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Secretary of State Mike Coffman is still pushing the idea that voters should be required to produce proof of citizenship in order to be allowed to vote…even though there is no proof that non-citizens have actually been voting. Coffman sent out the following statement in response to Senate Bill 65, sponsored by Sen. Ted Harvey, which would require proof of citizenship to vote:

“Our nation is built on the rule of law, and Senate Bill 65 re-affirms the fundamental principle that only citizens of this country may vote.

As Americans, the right to vote is our most precious right and I wholeheartedly support Senator Harvey’s efforts to protect our voice.”

You’ve got to applaud Coffman’s belief in standing up to protect against problems that don’t exist. As the Rocky Mountain News reports, the legislature wasn’t fooled:

A Republican bill requiring Colorado residents to show a certified birth certificate or U.S. passport to vote died a quick death Wednesday, with critics calling it a “Chicken Little” solution to cracking down on illegal immigration.

Democrats have snuffed similar GOP measures five times during the past year, saying there is no documented evidence that illegal immigrants are registering to vote or lining up at the ballot box.

“I see it as a Chicken Little response to immigration,” said Sen. Peter Groff, D-Denver. “It’s a solution looking for a problem that doesn’t exist.”

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Former Gov. Bill Owens has a new gig as a senior fellow at Denver University’s Institute for Public Policy Studies. Under the terms of his contract, after five years he’ll be promoted to Senior Jolly Good Fellow.


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The following bills are scheduled to be heard in Senate committees today at the State Capitol:

SB-28: Metro Sewage Disposal District Boards 
Local Govt.-Upon Adj. in room 353
Senator Stephanie Takis (D-Aurora) will present SB-28, which concerns the Board of Directors of a metropolitan sewage disposal district.

SB-89: Voter Approval Annex Enclaves 
Local Govt.-Upon Adj. in room 353
Senator Lois Tochtrop (D-Adams County) will present SB-89, which concerns a requirement that annexation of an enclave be approved by a vote of the majority of specified persons in the enclave.

SB-6: Redundant Railroad Crossings 
Transportation-Upon Adj. in room 352
Senator Stephanie Takis (D-Aurora) will present SB-6, which concerns authorization for the abolition of a redundant, and unattended at-grade railroad crossing without a hearing before the PUC.

SB-77: Driver’s Education Permit Training 
Transportation-Upon Adj. in room 352
(Testimony Only)
Senator Stephanie Takis (D-Aurora) will present SB-77, which concerns a requirement of behind-the-wheel training for driver licensing.

SB-51: High Performance State Buildings 
A, NR & E-1:30 p.m. in room 353
Senator Ken Gordon (D-Denver) will present SB-51, which concerns a requirement for increased resource efficiency for state-assisted buildings.

SB-82: Fund Habitat Partnership Program 
A, NR & E-1:30 p.m. in room 353
Senator Ken Gordon (D-Denver) will present SB-51, which concerns the continuation of funding for the habitat partnership program in the division of wildlife.

SB-16: Minimum Compulsory School Age 
Education-Upon Adj. of Ed. in room 354
Senator Abel Tapia (D-Pueblo) will present SB-16, which concerns the minimum age for compulsory education.

SB-52: CSU Board of Governors Membership 
Education-Upon Adj. of Ed. in room 354
Senator Abel Tapia (D-Pueblo) will present SB-52, which concerns changes to the membership requirements for the Board of Governors of the Colorado State University system.

SB-4: Early Intervention Serv Coordinated Pmt 
H, H, & S-Upon Adj. of Health in room 356
Senator Brandon Shaffer (D-Longmont) will present SB-4, which concerns a coordinated system of payment for early intervention services for children eligible for benefits under Part C of the Federal “Individuals with Disabilities Education Act”. The bill requires the Department of Human Services to develop a coordinated payment system and requires coverage of early intervention services by public medical assistance and private health insurance.

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Jason Bane

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