Political Gravy: Now Without Tuberculosis!

Today is the first day of June. There are 364 days left until May 31st.

The endless saga that is the debate surrounding Amendment 41 continues. As Lynn Bartels of the Rocky Mountain News reports:

A Denver District Court judge on Thursday blocked the gift-ban provisions of an ethics measure that voters approved last fall.

The ruling means lobbyists and others are free for now to give gifts – including meals and tickets to sporting events – to elected officials, government workers, contract employees and their families. Gov. Bill Ritter said the state will appeal.

Amendment 41 banned gifts worth more than $50 to such folks. But the law had unintended consequences. For example, ranchers with part-time government jobs declined blizzard aid for fear of running afoul of the law.

The measure also prohibited lobbyists from giving anything, including a cup of coffee, to a lawmaker.

In a blistering decision, Judge Christina Habas ruled that the provisions had a “chilling effect” on free speech and association. She blasted the measure’s wording, calling it “vague at best.”

“There is little doubt that the reach of Amendment 41 went well beyond what was anticipated or intended,” she wrote.

Habas also said that Senate Bill 210, which the legislature passed this year to implement the measure, “does not cure the problems associated with Amendment 41.

Quick! Get your free lunches now!

Andrew Oh-Willeke of Colorado Confidential has more on the ruling.


Governor Ritter will sign a series of bills today that will hopefully stem the tide of foreclosures in Colorado. As Will Shanley of The Denver Post reports:

Ritter will sign five bills during a ceremony at Brothers Redevelopment Inc., a Denver-based nonprofit that operates the state’s foreclosure hotline. The hotline was established last year in response to the thousands of foreclosures in Colorado. The state had the country’s highest rate of foreclosure filings per household last year.

“On balance, this is the right thing to do,” Ritter said Thursday. “We will watch how it is implemented so that the mortgage industry is still able to thrive.”

One of the bills, Senate Bill 203, will convert the state’s mortgage-broker registration system to a licensing system. Colorado was previously one of just two states that did not require mortgage brokers to be licensed, said Zachary Urban, a director with Brothers Redevelopment.

Urban said Alaska will be the only state without a licensing requirement.

He noted that the bills will not necessarily help Colorado residents with homes already in foreclosure. Rather, the bills will help prevent future foreclosures by reining in questionable mortgage brokers who have contributed to the foreclosure epidemic, Urban said.

Other metro-area officials echoed those comments.
“You will see a decrease in the number of foreclosures,” said state Sen. Peter Groff, D-Denver. “These bills will help stabilize the housing market and bring the unscrupulous mortgage brokers into line.”

Groff was the co-sponsor of another bill, House Bill 1322, that requires mortgage brokers to “act with good faith and fair dealing.”…

… Based on first-quarter filings, Colorado is on pace to record more than 37,000 foreclosures this year, about 30 percent above the 28,453 recorded in 2006, which was 31 percent higher than 2005, according to a report released last month by the Colorado Division of Housing.


Secretary of State Mike Coffman yesterday patted Montrose county officials on the head and told them they were doing a good job. As Beverly Corbell of The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports:

Montrose county has made “remarkable progress” in fixing its election process, four months after Colorado Secretary of State Mike Coffman called the county’s problems “the worst in the state,” according to a report released Thursday.

Coffman placed Montrose and three other counties on an elections watch list because of serious problems with the 2006 election. In Montrose, long waits and voting machine breakdowns at several polling places cause some voters to leave without casting their ballots.

Montrose County Clerk and Recorder Fran Long said that won’t happen again.

“We are seriously taking to heart our commitment to the citizens of Montrose County to reinstate voter confidence,” Long said.

Coffman spokesman Jonathan Tee said state election inspectors Stephanie Cegielski and Wayne Munster were happy with the improvements in the Montrose elections department.

“They were certainly very pleased with the progress they’ve made in a very short time,” Tee said. “One of the key concerns when we put Montrose on the watch list were security issues and Clerk Long recognized the importance of those issues.”

The report states that Montrose has made “remarkable progress in rectifying the identified deficiencies and implementing the measures contained within their security plan.”

The office has also been rearranged for better flow and increased work space, the report states.

Well, that’s certainly a relief. Thank goodness the Montrose office has increased its “flow.”


Boulder High School students want an apology from Fox News blowhard Bill O’Reilly, as The Boulder Daily Camera reports:

Students at Boulder High School want an apology from national television host Bill O’Reilly, who’s incensed over an April panel at the school that critics say encouraged young people to experiment with drugs and sex.

Boulder High sophomores Mansur Gidfar, 15, and Patrick Garrett, 17, have gathered 300 signatures on a petition asking O’Reilly to apologize for making “borderline slanderous” remarks on his show, “The O’Reilly Factor.”

Several of O’Reilly’s shows have featured sound clips from the Conference on World Affairs panel “STDs: Sex, Teens and Drugs,” in which adult panelists spoke frankly about sexual experimentation and drug use. The petition says the clips should be considered in full context, because panelists were encouraging students to think about the consequences of their actions if they chose to have sex or use drugs.

“I think the attack on the community, and watching our teachers and administrators torn down on national TV, is far more damaging than this panel could ever have been,” Gidfar said Thursday…

… O’Reilly could not be reached for comment.
The petition says his coverage has unfairly damaged the reputations of Boulder High, its officials, the city of Boulder and the Conference on World Affairs. Gidfar and Garrett have only circulated the petition around Boulder and Fairview High schools, but they said they plan to collect signatures throughout the city before sending it to O’Reilly.

Gidfar also created a group called “NEVER insult Boulder in front of me” on the social networking Web site Facebook, attracting more than 400 members.

Rick Bair, a Colorado resident and O’Reilly viewer who didn’t want his hometown published, said he found the panel discussion offensive and didn’t think O’Reilly was out of line in calling attention to it.

Let me get this straight

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