Sen. Mark Udall
DENVER — Another 2,320 Coloradans have had their health insurance policies cancelled in the aftermath of Obamacare, bringing the total to nearly 340,000, according to figures from the state Division of Insurance.
The Colorado Senate Republicans released updates Monday showing another 2,320 individuals had their health-care coverage dropped from two insurance providers, MEGA Life and Health and Mid-West National, as of June 5.
Republicans were quick to blast Democratic Sen. Mark Udall for the cancellations, noting that he voted in favor of the Affordable Care Act and has said he would do so again.
“Today’s announcement is yet another reminder that Sen. Udall lied to Coloradans when he promised them if they liked their healthcare plan, they could keep it under Obamacare,” said Republican Rep. Cory Gardner in a statement. Read more »
Gov. John Hickenlooper
DENVER—Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper now says he has regrets about signing last year’s bill limiting magazine capacity to 15 rounds, but it’s not too late for him to do something about it.
Republicans challenged Hickenlooper to get behind a repeal of the bill after he told county sheriffs that he was sorry for failing to consult with them on the measure; that a staffer promised he would sign the bill if it passed, and that the bill probably wouldn’t accomplish anything.
Secretary of State Scott Gessler called on the governor to convene a special session in order to repeal the magazine-limit law, also known as H.B. 1224.
“If he’s really sincere about the mistakes he’s made, he would call a special session beforehand to fix his mistakes,” said Gessler, who’s seeking the GOP gubernatorial nomination. “But I don’t think he’s going to do that.” Read more »
Protestors at Udall’s Denver office.
DENVER — Apparently nobody was buying Democratic Sen. Mark Udall’s Plan A — his attempt to win over independent voters by running as a political centrist — because Udall has shifted to Plan B.
In a dramatic pivot to the left, Udall made it known that he’s voting against legislation supporting the Keystone XL pipeline at Wednesday’s Senate committee hearing, and what’s more, he’s appearing with President Barack Obama at a July 9 fundraiser — in Denver.
Denver pollster Floyd Ciruli called it “a strange day for news about Senator Mark Udall,” while Colorado Peak Politics ran the puckish headline: “BREAKING: Mark Udall Gives Up on Senate Re-Election.”
It’s entirely possible that Udall did give up — not on his reelection, but on his strategy of playing to the center by casting himself as a moderate. Read more »
DENVER — The Loveland election on whether to ban fracking will be missing a few voters, namely military personnel stationed overseas.
Loveland spokesman Tom Hacker said the city clerk’s office did not mail out ballots to military or overseas addresses because “there is no requirement for that.”
While federal election law requires ballots to be mailed to service members, and state law requires the same for state and county elections, the law does not apply to city elections, said Rich Coolidge, spokesman for the Secretary of State.
The June 24 special election on Question 1 is being administered by the Loveland city clerk’s office.
B.J. Nikkel, campaign director for the Loveland Energy Action Project, which is opposing Question 1, called the omission of military voters unfortunate.
“Our men and women in uniform deserve all due respect and should be afforded every opportunity to exercise their opinions at the ballot box, even in a local election, because they serve our country preserving that right,” said Nikkel. Read more »
DENVER — No doubt Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper had hoped the uproar over the gun-control legislation he signed last year would have blown over by now, but he’s since learned that’s not the case.
The governor set off a fresh round of outrage at a recent forum in Aspen with county sheriffs who sued over the legislation, first by apologizing for failing to meet with them during the debate, and then by insisting he never spoke to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg about the bills.
Unfortunately for Hickenlooper, Complete Colorado ran a story after the Friday forum that included photos of phone logs obtained through an open-records request showing two incoming calls from Bloomberg on March 2, at the height of the legislature’s gun-control battle.
In a Revealing Politics video, Hickenlooper responds to a question by Weld County Sheriff John Cooke by saying, “Let’s stick to the facts. I never talked to Mayor Bloomberg.” Read more »
DENVER — The campaign over whether to ban fracking in Loveland took an ugly turn last weekend when a prominent fracktivist described former state Rep. B.J. Nikkel as a “trained talking dog” and compared her to a Nazi.
Phillip Doe, a Colorado activist involved in the Loveland anti-fracking fight, hurled insults at Nikkel in an article posted Friday in Counterpunch, a left-wing website, after hearing her speak at a rally.
“For some reason after Nikkel and her folks got done speaking, I kept thinking of Hitler’s Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels and how big lies gain acceptance,” said Doe in his article, “Lies, Damned Lies and Fracking Lies.”
Doe also referred to the “many whoppers dutifully trotted out like a trained talking dog” by Nikkel, whose remarks came at an event sponsored by opponents of Question 1, an initiative that would place a two-year moratorium on fracking in Loveland. Read more »
Rep. Jared Polis
BOULDER — For the record, the most despised Democratic politician at Wednesday night’s anti-fracking gathering at the Boulder Theater was Gov. John Hickenlooper, not Rep. Jared Polis.
But Polis was a close second. Having enraged top Democrats and the business community by sponsoring a slew of anti-fracking initiatives, he’s now infuriated the anti-fracking movement by agreeing to pull them as part of a Hickenlooper-driven compromise.
The draft agreement, which would need to be approved by the state legislature in a special session, gives localities more control over setbacks, inspections and noise reduction. Even so, activists want no part of it.
At Wednesday’s screening of the anti-fracking film “Dear Governor Hickenlooper,” the audience of several hundred broke out in boos when Frack-Free Colorado co-founder Allison Wolff called the draft bill “a secret deal that Hickenlooper and Polis are working on.” Read more »
Patty Fontneau, Connect for Health CEO
DENVER — Republicans renewed their call for an audit of the state’s Obamacare exchange after the board voted Monday to raise $13 million by imposing a tax on all health-insurance policies, even those obtained outside the program.
State Rep. Dan Nordberg (R-Colorado Springs) said Tuesday he would reactivate his push for a “broad and comprehensive performance audit” in light of the Connect for Health Colorado board’s latest decision.
“They have no problem levying a tax on hundreds of thousands of Coloradans who don’t even participate in the exchange, but can’t provide transparency on the $100 million in public funds they’ve already received,” said Nordberg. “This is an organization screaming for accountability.”
Connect for Health Colorado’s board voted 7-1 to approve the fee hike as part of its $66.4 million budget for fiscal year 2015, more than double the $26 million managers had previously discussed, according to Health News Colorado’s Katie Kerwin McCrimmon.
The fee hike comes after the board’s decision last month to give a $14,291 bonus and 2.5 percent pay raise to CHC CEO Patty Fontneau, a decision that left Republicans fuming. Read more »
Gov. John Hickenlooper
DENVER — The same Democratic group that picked up the tab last year for Gov. John Hickenlooper at an Aspen conference is reportedly now running campaign ads on his behalf, but members of the state’s ethics commission say that’s not a problem.
The Independent Ethics Commission agreed Monday to add to the record information from Compass Colorado indicating that the Democratic Governors Association is contributing to television ads aimed at giving Hickenlooper a clearer path to reelection.
Even so, commissioner William Leone said at Monday’s meeting the new information about the DGA’s involvement in the gubernatorial campaign would not have affected his April 14 vote to dismiss the ethics complaint against Hickenlooper filed last year by Compass Colorado. Read more »
Rep. Jared Polis
DENVER — Democratic Rep. Jared Polis has signed off on an agreement that would keep him out of the ballot battle over fracking until 2018 in exchange for local-control legislation, but the deal doesn’t say anything about Tom Steyer.
Or Food and Water Watch. Or Clean Water Action. Or Frack Free Colorado. Or Water Defense. Or Moveon.org. Or 350 Colorado.
In other words, Polis is just one piece, albeit a very rich one, of Colorado’s anti-fracking puzzle.
Like it or not, getting rid of the multi-millionaire Polis doesn’t dislodge the national movement that has quietly put down roots in Colorado as climate-change foes push for a breakthrough statewide victory.
“These are million-dollar entities that have invested in opening up offices in Colorado all over the place,” said former Rep. B.J. Nikkel, who runs the Loveland Energy Action Project, which is fighting Question 1, Loveland’s proposed two-year fracking moratorium. Read more »