No Threats Here

The wait is almost over. Today I’ll find out if I am the father of Anna Nicole Smith’s baby.

It’s tough to be a state legislator these days. Whether it’s lobbyists or anonymous e-mailers, the threats just keep coming. As Lynn Bartels of the Rocky Mountain News reports:

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation is trying to track down the author of an e-mail who threatened a state senator and her grandchildren over an education issue.

Sen. Nancy Spence, R-Centennial, said police are providing security at her grandchildren’s homes and at their schools while the CBI investigates the e-mail.
“The person who wrote it will be prosecuted,” Spence said Monday.

Spence on Saturday received the e-mail, which was signed “the edcation (sic) panthers.” She was told she and her grandchildren needed “to pay” for a recent incident in which a conservative blog posted an anti-school-choice e-mail from Rep. Mike Merrifield, D-Colorado Springs. That posting led to Merrifield’s resignation as chairman of the House Education Committee.

Spence is a leading advocate of school choice and has carried school voucher legislation.

You’ve got to love the signature: “the edcation panthers.”


Let the flags fly. Say that three times fast.

Sean McDonald of The Denver Post explains:

A stubborn geography teacher nearly lost his job in August to save his classroom’s display of three foreign flags.

In January, 12-year-old Ty Baker, wearing a suit and tie, asked state legislators to allow his school to fly 31 flags.
Monday, Gov. Bill Ritter embraced the efforts of both, signing a bill permitting the permanent display of foreign flags in public schools.

Under state law, it had been been a petty offense to permanently fly flags other than the American, Colorado or local flags on public buildings, including schools.
The new law also allows school boards to adopt their own flag policies.

The legislation came about after Carmody Middle School teacher Eric Hamlin refused in August to take down Chinese, Mexican and United Nations flags hanging in his Jefferson County classroom.

School officials reprimanded him for insubordination and placed him on paid leave, but eventually backed down. They offered Hamlin the opportunity to return, with one snag: The flags had to be rotated every six months so they remained a temporary teaching tool.


Speaking of new laws, Gov. Bill Ritter may soon be treated for carpal tunnel syndrome. As a press release from the Governor’s office explains:

Gov. Bill Ritter signed 18 bills into law today, including wildfire prevention, flag display and higher education measures.

With the signing of these bills, Ritter has now signed 140 bills into law (see attached spreadsheet for bills signed prior to today).

The governor today also vetoed House Bill 1122 regarding physical education teachers employed by school districts (see attached veto message).

Ritter hosted brief signing ceremonies in the Governor’s Office this afternoon for the following bills:

HB 1168, sponsored by Rep. White and Sen. Fitz-Gerald, concerning forest improvement special districts.

HB 1050, sponsored by Rep. Todd and Sen. Williams, concerning the display of flags.

HB 1242, sponsored by Rep. Levy and Sen. Veiga, concerning higher-ed loan repayment.

HB 1105, sponsored by Rep. Roberts and Sen. Penry, concerning Korean War specialty license plates.

HB 1204, sponsored by Rep. Gagliardi and Sen. Tochtrop, concerning inpatient admission podiatrists.

HB 1211, sponsored by Rep. Jahn and Sen. Tochtrop, concerning veterans’ nursing home advisory board.

HB 1275, sponsored by Rep. Rice and Sen. Penry, concerning forfeited property to the National Guard.

The other 11 House bills signed today: 1009, 1077, 1078, 1195, 1196, 1197, 1213, 1265, 1282, 1305 and 1310.

I’d look up the other bills mentioned and tell you what they did, but I’m much too  lazy for that. You can visit the Colorado Legislature Home Page and do it yourself, if you’re so inclined.


Governor Ritter’s plan to fund public schools by freezing property taxes received a boost yesterday. As Berny Morson of the Rocky Mountain News reports:

A statewide public policy group that includes numerous business leaders weighed in Monday on behalf of Gov. Bill Ritter’s tax plan to fund schools.
Colorado Forum Director Gail Klapper said in a letter to Ritter that the group agrees that the state school fund is headed for insolvency unless action is taken.

In addition to Klapper, the letter was signed by 67 business and professional leaders, including Dick Kelly of Xcel Energy and Nancy Tuor of CH2M Hill.

Transfers of state money to the 178 school districts to replace a declining property tax portion will deplete the state school fund by the 2011-12 academic year, Ritter believes. He proposes freezing the property tax rate statewide, eliminating declines that otherwise would occur under a 1994 school finance act.


The editorial board of The Denver Post weighs in today on the faulty electoral college system for choosing a President.

Maryland and Hawaii moved to the forefront of a hot political debate last week when their legislatures approved plans to cast their Electoral College ballots for the presidential candidate who wins the national popular vote.

If the states’ respective governors sign the bills, they would add fuel to an effort to essentially sidestep the Electoral College’s current system for electing a president.

The Electoral College is a rickety relic that gives unequal weight to voters depending upon where they live. It should be thanked for its service and consigned to history. But it will take a good deal of debate before any changes are made.

The goal of the National Popular Vote campaign is to ensure that the presidential candidate who takes office prevailed in the nationwide popular vote.

According to the U.S. Constitution, states have unfettered power to allocate their electoral votes and may change their state laws governing the awarding of their votes. The plan to direct those electoral votes to the winner of the popular vote would take effect only when enacted in identical form by states that control a majority of electoral votes – that is, 270 of 538.

Under the current, winner-take-all system, each state’s electoral votes go to the candidate who prevails in that state’s popular vote. Since even the smallest states get at least three electoral votes, smaller states have a disproportionately large voice. For instance, an electoral vote in Wyoming represents 164,594 people, but in California, it covers 615,848 people. Colorado has nine electoral votes, with each representing 477,918 people. Furthermore, states not “in play” are overlooked during presidential campaigns…

…he National Popular Vote effort has 305 legislative sponsors in 47 states. In Colorado, Senate Bill 46 is stalled in a House committee. We’d like to see House leaders shake it loose for further deliberation.

Faulty? Hey, it worked out fine for George Bush.


Tom Tancredo’s campaign for President is hiring. The job doesn’t pay very well, but they certainly need the help judging from this grammatical error-filled notice:

Description of Job Opening

This position will report directly to the Press Secretary. Main Duties: -Scheduling Media events -Editing press releases -Answering phones/emails -Administrative work and various other jobs as needed

We need someone with political and media experience, internships are perfect. Come work on a presidential campaign and gain valuable work experience. This is a great opportunity to get your foot in the door. College students and recent graduates are highly desired. This is a full time job and will require that you live within commuting distance to Vienna, VA.

Required Skills

-Scheduling experience -Excellent phone manner -Attention to detail -Extremely organized -High level of honesty and character -Editing skills -Typing skills -Proficient in Microsoft Outlook, Excel, Word, Access and Powerpoint -Administrative skills

Desireable Skills

-Campaign experience -Politically savvy -Conservative values -Journalism skills and experience -College degree preferred –

Recent graduates are highly desired

Annual Salary (US$)

20K-25K /annual