Farewell Barbaro. Farewell. On to the Gravy…
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The special election in Denver comes to a close today. The election, which will decide whether to dissolve the Denver Election Commisson in favor of an elected clerk and recorder, is being held entirely by mail ballot. If you still have your ballot, make sure that you do not mail it because it won’t arrive in time; instead, drop it off in person at any of the locations listed here.
Republican Mark Paschall, a former Jefferson County Treasurer, was indicted yesterday on charges that he solicited a kickback before leaving office last fall. As Charley Able of the Rocky Mountain News reports, Paschall was caught on tape discussing the kickback. Doh!
Former Jefferson County Treasurer Mark Paschall is heard on tape apparently soliciting a kickback from a top aide who alerted authorities after she said Paschall persisted in going through with a scheme to pocket $9,000.
A transcript of the conversation recorded by Jefferson County investigators is part of a grand jury indictment released Monday charging Paschall with two felonies that could send him to prison for up to three years. Paschall, a fiscal conservative elected on a promise to keep an eye on taxpayers’ dollars, was defeated in a bid for a second term in last year’s Republican primary. He could not be reached for comment.
During his last remaining days in office, Paschall authorized a $25,000 bonus for Kathy Redmond, his administrative coordinator and longtime associate. Paschall told Redmond that the bonus would amount to $18,000 after taxes and he expected her to give him half, according to the indictment.
Paschall was briefly a candidate for congress in CD-7 before ceding the GOP field to Rick O’Donnell.
The discussion over Amendment 41 just keeps on going, and going, and going…
As Jeri Clausing of The Denver Post reports:
…And Gov. Bill Ritter says he has to keep asking the same question when presented with gifts, such as a Harvard T-shirt and hat he was given after speaking to a group of graduates last week. “Is it worth less than $50?”
Welcome to life after Amendment 41, which bans elected officials from taking even a cup of coffee from lobbyists and prohibits any elected officer or government worker from accepting anything worth more than $50 from anyone else.
And while it has changed eating habits at the Capitol, the one thing it hasn’t done – lawmakers and lobbyists concede – is affect the access or influence of the state’s top lobbyists. In fact, it may have given them greater access by reducing venues for part-time lobbyists and constituents from around Colorado to mingle with their elected representatives.
The amendment, passed by voters in November, has put elected officials, lawmakers and government workers across the state on edge with broad language that some legal experts say even prohibits the children of government workers from accepting scholarships.
The Rocky Mountain News provides a brief list of upcoming bill hearings today. Among them:
Included in yesterday’s legislative work was movement on two other bills:
The House approved and sent to the Senate a measure that would make it a crime to display any flag other than the U.S. or Colorado flag on a permanent flagpole located on a public building. The Senate unanimously approved a measure directing the education department to adopt a formula to measure the year-to- year progress of each child on statewide achievement tests. The bill by Rep. Michael Merrifield, D-Manitou Springs, and Sen. Sue Windels, D-Arvada, now goes to Gov. Bill Ritter for his signature. (House Bill 1048)
Emergency contraception legislation has made it through the state senate. The Denver Post tells the tale:
The Colorado Senate on Monday endorsed Sen. Betty Boyd’s years-long effort to ensure rape victims are told about emergency contraception, giving initial approval to a bill that would require hospitals to provide information about the so-called morning after pills.
The bill would exempt health-care workers with religious or moral conflicts from having to talk about the issue, but it would require that hospitals – even Catholic institutions – find someone on staff to relay the information.
Boyd, D-Lakewood, who for years has been trying to make emergency contraception available to rape victims, hopes this is the year she will finally get the proposal through. Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter is expected to support it. Lawmakers passed her bills in 2005 and 2006 but Republican Gov. Bill Owens vetoed both.
Salazar had cited in particular the Agriculture Committee and its energy subcommittee, which will have as a focus the development of renewable energy. The energy subcommittee will oversee programs such as the bio-energy program, grants and loans for development of renewable energy, and development of ethanol plants.
“I believe that Colorado could lead the country in renewable energy creation and use by utilizing our agriculture; they go hand-in-hand,” said Salazar, a potato-seed farmer in the San Luis Valley in southern Colorado.
The Agriculture Committee also will be active as it studies reauthorization of the 2002 Farm Bill. On the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Salazar said he wants to ensure funding for services in remote areas.
Salazar said he wants to make sure veterans receive promised benefits and services while he serves on the Veterans Affairs Committee.
Bloggers will be congregating in Denver for the 2008 Democratic National Convention in a program being organized by Progress Now. As The Denver Post reports:
Denver-based Progressnow action and DailyKos.com founder Markos Moulitas are planning ProgressCon2008 – a national convening of bloggers, Internet organizers and nonprofit leaders.
“We’re already making plans for this location to serve as a headquarters away from home for progressive bloggers, net- roots organizers, and nonprofit representatives from across the country,” Progressnowaction’s Bobby Clark said in a release.