Christy Le Lait says her campaign has examined about 500 of the 10,137 validated signatures to recall Morse. (Secretary of State Scott Gessler already threw out 6,061 signatures found to be invalid).
If the campaign's claims are true, that means 10 percent of examined petition signatures were forged. Le Lait says the forgeries — confirmed by contacting the supposed "signer" — were found in multiple petitions, meaning more than one gatherer may have engaged in the illegal practice.
In addition, Le Lait says around 200 signers have retracted their signatures, saying they weren't aware the petition was for a recall election.
Despite the revelations, Le Lait says her campaign would need to prove that about 3,000 signatures were forged or have been retracted in order to prevent a recall election. Though volunteers are reviewing the remaining petitions, the work is labor-intensive and it will likely be difficult for the campaign to meet that goal by the Wednesday deadline.
The Morse campaign is also challenging the petition because it says the wording does not meet the state Constitution's requirements.
(The Independent has contacted the Basic Freedom Defense Fund, which spearheaded the recall, about the forgery allegations. We'll update this blog if and when a representative responds.)
A Lot of People for John Morse today revealed that the group behind the petition to recall Senate President John Morse, the Basic Freedom Defense Fund, has forged numerous signatures on their petitions, calling into question the legitimacy of their operation and the validity of the rest of their signatures.
Statement from Christy LeLait, Campaign Manager, A Whole Lot of People for John Morse
Rick Alberston — doesn’t live in Colorado, has not been here in over a year.
Mary — who is 91 years old, clealy remembers the circulator coming to her yard and then telling him to leave her property — her name has been added.
Mary Beth — the circulator came to her home 3 times. Her husband signed. She and her son did not, but their names are on the petition.
Alan — Didn’t sign, his name is even spelled wrong.
Karen — “I did not sign this petition. I am a gun owner and I support Sen. Morse. I am appalled by my signature being forged.”
But, to me, the saddest one of all, is the gentleman whose door we knocked on last week. He couldn’t understand why we would think that his wife’s signature was on the petition because she passed away 2 years ago.
As of right now, we have identified 50 forgeries but over multiple packets. Hundreds are implicated now and we are inching our way into the thousands.
Again and again the recall effort has come under fire for using illegal and fraudulent practices to obtain signatures. Now, recall circulators have been caught forging the names of Colorado Springs residents on recall petitions.
Several of these circulators, many of whom were paid workers from out-of-state, were found to have criminal backgrounds. Others have been accused of similar fraudulent activities in other states. Their efforts in Colorado Springs were so bad that over 6,000 of their signatures have already been tossed out as invalid.
This is fraud. This is identity theft. The people and groups responsible for bringing this type of fraud and deception into our neighborhoods should be held accountable.
It’s time to put an end to the deceit. Voters of CS deserve a full investigation before anyone demands an election. Imaginary signatures does not a recall make.
Well, that was quick.
Apparently, the Dems aren't going to take the Morse recall sitting down. According to a press release from A Whole Lot of People for John Morse, Catherine Kleinsmith, a registered voter from Colorado Springs and constituent of SD 11, has already filed a legal challenge claiming all the signatures are invalid.
The rationale? A technicality. According to Kleinsmith, the petitions didn't expressly mention that a "successor" would be chosen, as required by the Colorado Constitution. Here's the release in full:
A WHOLE LOT OF PEOPLE FOR JOHN MORSE ANNOUNCES LEGAL CHALLENGE TO RECALL PETITION
Protest to Secretary of State’s Presumption of Sufficiency Would Nullify Recall Attempt
Colorado Springs, Colo. — Petitions filed with the Colorado Secretary of State to recall State Senator John Morse are all invalid, according to a legal challenge filed by Catherine Kleinsmith, a registered voter from Colorado Springs and constituent of SD11. The challenge would nullify the purported sufficiency of the signatures and result in a judicial declaration that no election can be held to recall Senator Morse.
According to the protest, the Colorado Constitution requires petitions be drafted to expressly include a demand for the election of a successor to the recalled official. While the petition circulated by Robert Harris, Paul Paradis and Daniel Mach addresses their personal views about the basis for the recall, nowhere does it state a requirement of the election of a successor to Senator Morse.
“The Constitution is clear, just as the courts are clear: no recall petition is valid without this specific language,” said Mark Grueskin, an election lawyer representing Kleinsmith. “This requirement makes sense. After all, these recall proponents held out the bait of a recall of Sen. Morse without alerting petition signers to what comes next — an expensive election to designate a successor for just one year.”
“It’s just so ironic that these interests, seeking to force an election that most District 11 voters don’t want, would skip over key portions of the Colorado Constitution,” said Christy Le Lait, campaign manager for the issue committee, A Whole Lot of People for John Morse. “This group claims to hold the Constitution so sacred. You have to wonder, since someone inside their organization just breezed through the Constitution and the recall statutes, will they take responsibility for it now?”
In filing the protest, Kleinsmith hopes to put an end to the recall process that will unnecessarily drain her town’s resources. “The citizens of Colorado Springs know full well that recall elections are not a means to solve policy disagreements. Our county budget is already strapped and we can hardly afford to meet the basic needs of our community. To spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a recall election is a waste of our limited resources.”
# # #
While there's no word yet if this challenge has dampened their spirits, the El Paso County Republicans were sounding downright jubilant in a release sent out an hour ago:
Colorado GOP Statement on Morse Recall
GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo.—Today, the Colorado Secretary of State verified that petitioners collected more than the necessary amount of signatures to begin the recall process of Democratic state Senate Pres. John Morse of Colorado Springs. Morse now has the dubious distinction of being the first state legislator to face recall in Colorado history.
Organizers needed to collect 7,178 signatures, yet the Secretary of State Office reported that a whopping 10,137 valid signatures were verified and accepted. The amount of signatures collected is particularly troubling for Morse, as he was only elected with 13,866 votes in 2012.
Colorado Republican Committee Chairman Ryan Call released the following statement regarding today’s announcement—
“Today’s news is unprecedented, and serves as a necessary reminder to Gov. Hickenlooper and the radical Democrats in the state legislature that they must represent the people of this state, not their extreme special interests.
“The Colorado Republican Party is prepared to unite and mobilize behind a single Republican candidate that will be chosen by the people of El Paso County to defeat radical liberal John Morse in the recall election.”
And just a few minutes ago, one Republican did broach the subject of a successor:
Jaxine Bubis Announces Her Candidacy as the Republican Candidate
In the Senate District 11 Recall Election
Colorado Springs, Colo — Local small-business entrepreneur and community advocate, Jaxine Bubis, announced today she intends to run as the Republican candidate to beat John Morse in the upcoming Senate District 11 recall election.
“I’m prepared to hit the ground running,“ said Bubis. “We’re ready to get our message out to the voters.“
Jaxine has made a name for herself in grassroots political circles volunteering for a number of candidates and conservative based issues. She grew up in Colorado Springs and touts herself as a Constitutional conservative.
“I joined with the majority of constituents in asking our elected officials to protect our constitutional rights only to be blatantly ignored,” continued Bubis.
“If given the honor to represent the people of Senate District 11, I pledge to protect those rights and will always keep an open door for the people.”
Bubis has an impressive list of endorsements by leaders from Colorado Springs and across Colorado.
“I’m truly humbled to get the endorsements from people I see as true leaders in the fight to protect our rights,” concluded Bubis.
Visit www.JaxineforColorado.org for more information about Bubis, to view her list of endorsements, and to help her campaign for Senate District 11.
——- ORIGINAL POST, TUESDAY, 3:03 P.M. ——-
Morse and his supporters have a 15-day protest period during which to dispute the signatures. If that effort fails, his election would take place 45 to 75 days later.
Morse was targeted because he helped usher through new state gun control laws, including limits on the size of magazines and expansion of background checks. Morse says he was motivated by scenes of carnage at mass shootings in Aurora and Newtown, Conn.
Sen. Morse recall petition deemed sufficient
Denver, Colorado - Today Secretary of State Scott Gessler announced the petition to recall Senator John Morse (SD-11) was found sufficient as required by statute. Statement of Sufficiency (PDF)
On June 3, 2013, the proponents of the recall effort submitted 16,198 petition signatures to the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State's office began an immediate line-by-line review of the signatures. The proponents were required to gather 7,178 valid signatures, equaling 25 percent of all the votes cast in the previous election for Senate District 11. The total number of valid signatures on the petition was 10,137.
Under Colorado law, there is a fifteen day protest period, during which any eligible elector can file a protest with the Secretary of State. Barring a successful protest, at the conclusion of the protest period, the Governor will be responsible for setting an election date. The election date will be held between 45 - 75 days from the end of the protest period.
Petition verification summary
Total number of qualified signature lines 16,198
Total number of entries rejected (invalid) 6,061
Total number of entries accepted (valid) 10,137
Number of valid signatures required 7,178
While the party ordinarily chooses candidates via caucus and primary, in this case it will select a contender less formally. Party Chairman Jeff Hays invited all 62 Senate District 11 precinct leaders to a May 29 meeting to discuss possible candidates and strategies.
The Party also will draw on its volunteers for the campaign effort.
The recall campaign against Morse turned in 16,046 signatures, more than twice what was needed. But Secretary of State Scott Gessler must confirm that enough signatures are valid in order to compel an election.
Pueblo Freedom and Rights is already declaring victory in its attempt to force a recall election of Democratic state Sen. Angela Giron.
It would seem to be a bit early, given that all the 501(c)(4) has done is hand over about 13,570 signatures to Secretary of State Scott Gessler; Gessler's office still has to verify the legitimacy of 11,285 of those. By contrast, in the case of Colorado Springs Sen. John Morse — who, of course, led Dems like Giron down the "anti-freedom," gun-regulation path — petitioners turned in more than 16,000 signatures early last week, when they only needed 7,178 valid ones for a recall.
But according to Pueblo Freedom and Rights, the ones they've gathered are "known to be carefully gathered highly-reliable signatures." So there's that.
Recall of anti-2nd Amendment Colorado State Senator Angela Giron Succeeds
Pueblo Grass Roots Group Makes More State History* With Successful Recall Effort
Pueblo, CO, June 10, 2013— Pueblo Freedom and Rights, www.pueblofreedomandrights.org is a 501(C) (4) Colorado grassroots group heading the recall of anti-2nd Amendment Colorado state senator Angela Giron (D - Pueblo Colorado). The group submitted over 13,570 District 3 voter recall petition signatures to the Colorado Secretary of States' Office exceeding the 11,285 signatures necessary. Additionally these are known to be carefully gathered highly-reliable signatures.
The submitted petition signatures and addresses will be submitted to and verified by the Secretary of State. It is expected that Democrats will further challenge the petitions and signatures to include court challenges to draw out the process. If the count still exceeds 11,285 Giron will be given five working days from that time to decide whether or not to resign her office.
If Giron resigns within the five-day period, state Democrats can appoint a replacement from their ranks. If she does not resign, a date for the special election is set. It is expected that that the Governor and Democrat Party including Bloomberg money may try to extend any election so as to prepare a campaign to try to save Giron should she try to run to stay in office.
"Giron's disregard for the majority of her constituents to vote no on anti-2nd Amendment issues and her general disregard of our Constitution and the rights of the citizens of Colorado demonstrates she must be removed from the senate." — Victor Head, President of Pueblo Freedom and Rights (PFR).
More information about PFR is available at the PFR website,
Pueblo Freedom and Rights
P.O. Box 11891
Pueblo, CO 81001
*Before the Morse and this recall effort no Colorado state legislator has ever been successfully recalled.With the filing against state senator Giron and the massive recall count against Colorado Senate President Morse concerned Colorado citizens have made state history twice in eight days.
A few years ago, prisons were overcrowded.
We just couldn't get enough of them. Now, we have the opposite problem: Prisons sitting empty. There are — as the press release below notes — a variety of reasons for this. But it's safe to say that new laws that have given drug offenders a chance to get treatment instead of spend time in the slammer have contributed.
The state plans to hold a meeting Tuesday in Colorado Springs to talk about what should be done with empty facilities.
More information is below:
Public Meetings to be Held to Discuss Future Prison Utilization
DENVER — Thursday, May 30, 2013 — During the week of June 10 - 14, the Colorado departments of Local Affairs and Corrections and the Governor’s Offices of Economic Development & International Trade and State Planning & Budgeting, will co-host meetings in communities across the state which are home to a state public or private contract prison. The purpose of the meetings is to discuss the State’s plan forward for appropriately utilizing state prisons and assisting communities which may be adversely impacted by changes in utilization or prison closures.
Because of a variety of factors, Colorado’s prison population has been declining in recent years and there is an excess capacity of prison beds. In 2012, the Colorado General Assembly commissioned the Prison Utilization Study which directed the Office of State Planning and Budgeting to contract for a system-wide analysis that identifies the most appropriate and cost-effective uses of the available public and private inmate beds. Pursuant to statute, the Office of State Planning and Budgeting will work with the legislature’s Joint Budget Committee to develop a plan going forward.
The 90-minute meetings will include representatives from each of the hosting entities and allow time for questions from and open discussion with the audience.
About the upcoming meetings, Gov. John Hickenlooper said, “We are committed to doing everything we can to identify the impacts that changes in prison operations may have on local communities. These meetings allow for a critical dialogue in this process.”
The schedule for these community meetings is as follows:
• June 10: Sterling, Burlington, Limon
• June 11: Colorado Springs, Crowley, Las Animas, Trinidad
• June 12: Pueblo, Canon City, Buena Vista
• June 13: Delta, Rifle
• June 14: Hudson
A list of meeting dates, times and locations follows.
SCHEDULE - COMMUNITY MEETINGS TO DISCUSS PRISON UTILIZATION
JUNE 10 — 14, 2013
MONDAY, JUNE 10, 2013
Sterling, Burlington, Limon
Community Meeting: Sterling, Logan County
Time: 9 a.m.
Address: Northeastern Junior College
100 College Ave
Hays Student Center, 2nd Floor Ballroom
Sterling, CO 80751
Community Meeting: Burlington, Kit Carson County
Time: 2 p.m.
Address: Burlington Community Center
340 S. 14th Street
Burlington, CO 80807
Community Meeting: Limon, Lincoln County
Time: 5 p.m.
Address: Limon High School Cafeteria
874 F Ave.
Limon, CO 80828
TUESDAY, JUNE 11, 2013
Colorado Springs, Crowley, Las Animas, Trinidad
Community Meeting: Colorado Springs, El Paso County
Time: 8:30 a.m.
Address: Citizens Service Center
Pikes Peak Workforce Center, Room 1020
1675 Garden of the Gods Road
Colorado Springs, CO 80907
Community Meeting: Crowley, Crowley County
Time: 12:30 p.m.
Address: Crowley County Senior Center
401 Colorado Ave.
Ordway, CO 81063
Community Meeting: Las Animas, Bent County
Time: 3:15 p.m.
Address: Las Animas Elementary School
Las Animas, CO 81054
Community Meeting: Trinidad, Las Animas County
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Address: Trinidad State Junior College Student Center
600 Prospect St.
Trinidad, CO 81082
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, 2013
Pueblo, Canon City, Buena Vista
Community Meeting: Pueblo, Pueblo County
Time: 8 a.m.
Address: Pueblo County Courthouse
Board of County Commissioners Chambers
215 W. 10th Street
Pueblo, CO 81003
Community Meeting: Canon City, Fremont County
Time: 10:30 a.m.
Address: City Hall
128 Main Street
Canon City, CO 81212
Community Meeting: Buena Vista, Chaffee County
Time: 3 p.m.
Address: Community Center
715 E. Main Street
Buena Vista, CO 81211
THURSDAY, JUNE 13, 2013
Community Meeting: Delta, Delta County
Time: 9 a.m.
Address: Delta Courthouse
501 Palmer St.
Delta, CO 81416
Community Meeting: Rifle, Garfield County
Time: 1 p.m.
Address: Colorado Mountain College Auditorium
3695 Airport Road
Rifle, CO 81650
FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2013
Community Meeting: Hudson, Weld County
Time: 9 a.m.
Address: Hudson Fire Station Training Room
702 Cedar St.
Hudson, CO 80642
The recall push, led by the Basic Freedom Defense Fund, officially comes as a reaction to Morse’s advocacy for the state’s new gun control laws, most notably a limit on ammunition magazines and a requirement for background checks. Paid petition-gatherers, however, have been filmed using other rationale, including a claim that Morse wants to repeal the state’s Make My Day law.
Morse, a former police chief, says that’s not true, adding that his legislative aim was to stop or slow mass shootings, like the ones in Aurora and Newtown, Conn.
“There were 20 6-year-olds that were shot in the face,” he said. “I mean their little bodies were carried out with their Power Rangers T-shirts covered by a sheet. There are people who think we should do nothing about this, but I’m not one of them.”
The recall election is not automatic. Gessler is required to throw out invalid signatures, or those from people who don’t live in Morse’s district. Opponents need 7,178 valid signatures to force an election.
While Morse has said in the past that he would not step down from his seat to avoid the recall, he was more evasive on that point at a June 3 press conference, saying only that he wouldn’t resign “now.”
This just in from Christy Le Lait, who's working to keep Sen. John Morse from being recalled:
A mass mailing funded by the NRA and coordinated with Basic Freedom Defense Fund has gone out to voters throughout Senate District 11 supporting the recall effort of Senate President John Morse and urging voters to join up with BFDF to remove Sen. Morse from office.
“Basic Freedom Defense Fund has released numerous statements to the media and on their website claiming to be a grassroots organization,” stated Christy Le Lait, representative for A Whole Lot of People for John Morse, the issue committee fighting the recall attempt. "But we know now that mailers and robo calls going out in our community are being funded by the national gun lobby. This isn’t about local voters anymore, this is about an influential outside group trying to come in here and push us around. SD11 voters need to know who’s really behind this recall.”
Here's the mailer:
Gov. John Hickenlooper has signed the bill known as "Breakfast After the Bell" into law.
The law means that schools with higher levels of impoverished children will be required — with some exceptions — to serve a free breakfast to all students after the start of the school day. Such programs have been shown to radically increase participation, and lawmakers note that children perform better after eating something in the morning.
Still the bill hasn't seen support from all corners.
Some school districts, including Colorado Springs School District 11, have complained that the bill does not provide additional funding for implementing the program. They say federal reimbursements won't cover the costs of Breakfast After the Bell, meaning it could hurt other nutrition programs. Read more here.
Hick Signs ‘Breakfast After the Bell’
(May 15) — A bill to help make sure more Colorado schoolkids get a decent breakfast was signed into law today by Gov. John Hickenlooper.
The governor went to Rose Hill Elementary School in Commerce City today to sign HB13-1006, sponsored by Reps. Dominick Moreno (D-Commerce City) and Tony Exum Sr. (D-Colorado Springs). The bill will phase in a requirement that schools where at least 80 percent of the students qualify for federal free or reduced-cost lunch will serve breakfast to all students after the official start of school.
Hungry children don’t learn as well as their better-fed peers, but many students who qualify for existing before-school breakfast programs don’t get to school in time to eat, some of them because of the stigma of acknowledging that their families are too poor to feed them. When the Adams 14 School District went from school breakfast before the bell to an after-the-bell meal, the participation rate went from 30 percent to 98 percent.
“Breakfast after the bell gives students from low-income families an equal chance to learn and succeed,” said Rep. Moreno, who qualified for free in-school meals on his way to becoming valedictorian of his high school class.
By serving breakfast during attendance-taking and announcements, schools that have already initiated Breakfast After the Bell have been able to do it with no reduction in instruction time.
“This is a significant part of making sure our students get a good education,” Rep. Exum said.
The vast majority of the cost of Breakfast After the Bell is covered by an existing federal program.
As the effort to recall John Morse continues — and attracts big money on both sides — the El Paso County Democratic Party is holding an event where supporters of the Senate president can thank him and fellow local Democratic lawmakers for their "hard work and bravery."
Here are the details:
Morse, of course, has been a target since shepherding through a spate of gun-control measures during the 2013 legislative session. Signature-gatherers have until June 3 to collect 7,000-plus signatures in their effort to get a recall election OK'd.
In an effort to effectively rebrand the state, Making Colorado isn't playing around. The initiative, launched just last month, wants to incorporate as much public input as possible. And in order to cast a wide net, it's enlisting the help of one high school junior from each of Colorado's 64 counties.
Each teen would be an ambassador of the program and keep their hometowns and county residents apprised of progress in the branding process. They'll publish information on MC on social media and also supply MC with a "multi-media story that showcases what makes their community special, which will be highlighted on the Making Colorado blog."
These go-betweens will not only learn some valuable ombudsman-esque experience, but interact with the MC branding team through webinars happening this summer "to learn about marketing and social media strategy from some of Colorado’s top professionals in the industry." And a lucky few will be selected to serve on MC's Making Colorado Brand Council, where they'll learn from the pros firsthand.
Being a junior and a Colorado resident are the only stipulations, and you can nominate teens (or yourself, oh precocious one) easily through the MC website. Applications will be accepted through June 6.
It appears that the grassroots effort to recall Sen. John Morse has attracted some monied supporters.
We recently wrote about the Basic Freedom Defense Fund, the organization behind the statewide effort to recall a number of Democratic legislators in response to their votes on the gun bills, as well as the El Paso Freedom Defense Committee, its local offshoot. At that time, it appeared that the activists behind both had very little in the way of outside support.
Now, according to ColoradoPols, that seems to have changed. "One of the most prominent (and ethically questionable) petition signature gathering firms in Colorado, Kennedy Enterprises, has been hired to take over petition drives for some or all of the recall campaigns presently underway."
Pols goes into some detail about Kennedy, which is located here in the Springs, noting: "In 2010, Kennedy conducted the paid petition gathering campaign on behalf of the "Bad Three" anti-tax initiatives, Amendments 60, 61 and Proposition 101."
Plus, someone leaked video of a signature-gathering training session. It is clear from this video that Morse is the target.
Now that Kennedy appears to be involved, any notion that this effort to recall Morse is just a group of grassroots activists hitting the streets to flex their democratic muscle needs to be dismissed. It might have started that way, but professional signature-gathers don't come cheap.
As an example of the kind of money we are talking about (and the tactics Kennedy is willing to employ): According to a 2007 document, in a pitch to Colorado AFL-CIO, Kennedy proposed "to insure that the 'Right to Work' initiative does not qualify for the Colorado Ballot in the 2008 general election."
For $2 million, Kennedy would essentially corner the market by buying up all the professional signature-gatherers in the state and having them sign a contract with a clause stipulating that "they cannot circulate the Right to Work initiative."
Of course, the AFL-CIO didn't want to see the Right to Work initiative succeed (and it didn't), but according to sources the union didn't take Kennedy up on this proposal.
See it by downloading this PDF:
With the signature of Gov. John Hickenlooper on HB 1258, Colorado has overturned the 2006 law, SB-90, that instituted myriad law-enforcement requirements intended to make it life harder for illegal immigrants.
We wrote about SB 90 when it was signed into law.
But on the day of the protests, Gov. Bill Owens signed into law the first in a series of piercing immigration bills, several of which give powerful tools to local law enforcement. One bill which some touted as the country's toughest against illegal immigration effectively bars people without papers from getting government benefits. Another allows the Colorado State Patrol to act like federal agents, in part by bringing undocumented people to the state's main detention center in Aurora. And finally there's Senate Bill 90, also known as the "anti-sanctuary bill," which compels peace officers to report arrested undocumented immigrants to the feds.
According to the press release from Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition:
In 2006 Colorado, along with South Carolina, became one of the first states in the nation to pass controversial “show me your papers” legislation. Colorado’s SB-90 required police to report people suspected to be undocumented to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the time of arrest. SB-90 was a testing ground that gave way to controversial laws like Arizona’s SB 1070 and its copycats.
“A diverse, bipartisan coalition came together to repeal what was a harsh, anti-immigrant law,” said Bob Norris of El Comité de Longmont. The Community and Law Enforcement Trust Act — supported by The County Sheriffs of Colorado, the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police, Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, the Colorado Municipal League and others — will repeal Colorado’s SB-90 in its entirety.
“In Colorado we have lived through the effects of extreme enforcement measures that undermine the trust necessary for police to effectively do their jobs,” said Rebecca Vasquez, steering committee member of the Campaign to Unite Colorado. “Repealing SB-90 is an important first step towards restoring trust. When our communities engage and tell our stories we can create positive change. We want thank the state legislators, the Governor, and key allies that have helped us to set an example for the country that 'show me your papers' laws are not the solution to our broken immigration system.”
While El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa opposed HB 1258, Arapahoe County Grayson Robinson testified in favor of the legislation. As Robinson told us:
[HB 1258] simply eliminates a "duplicative and an unnecessary cost."
As he points out, Colorado sheriffs participate in Secure Communities, a federal program that checks a person's status automatically when he or she is booked into jail. Secure Communities is superior to the 2006 law for a number of reasons, he says, including the elimination of "concerns or allegations of bias-based policing."
On Saturday, Democratic Rep. Tony Exum Sr. will be holding a town hall to discuss the School Finance Reform Act.
From the Denver Post:
The new finance formula would revise the way money is distributed to schools, with greater emphasis on at-risk students and English-language learners and increased transparency in the way funds are spent. It would go into effect only with passage of an initiative for a $1.1 billion tax increase.
Exum is the first-term representative for Colorado Springs' House District 17, which covers the southeastern past of the city.
He will be speaking for an hour, starting at 10:30 in the morning at Sand Creek Library, 1821 S. Academy Boulevard (map here).
Better late than never.
Yesterday afternoon at 4:55, way past our deadline to send the paper to the printer, we received an e-mail from the city of Colorado Springs.
It was in response to a request for comment from Colorado Springs City Attorney Chris Melcher. The Indy submitted the request to Cindy Aubrey, the chief communications officer for the city, last week.
We were looking to include Melcher's point of view in a story about House Bill 1160.
Here's the gist of that story (that can be read in full here):
Is the Legislature preparing to "decriminalize" theft?
Pretty much, says Dan May, district attorney for the 4th Judicial District. May, whose office covers El Paso and Teller counties, is one of a few people speaking out against a bill that recently passed the House on a unanimous, bipartisan vote.
Based on work done by the Colorado Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, HB 1160 essentially does two things. The first, which was the impetus for the bill, is to clean up the theft statutes in the state criminal code.
As May explains it: "consolidating them all into one section, and then sort of redefining it in an easier-to-handle method to understand all the little theft laws." He has no problem with this, he says.
What he does have problems with is how these theft statutes are redefined in terms of monetary value. Most concerning: This bill would raise the threshold at which a misdemeanor becomes a felony, from $1,000 to $2,000.
"It will decriminalize theft to some degree," says May, "because you are making a much greater population of misdemeanors."
Anyway, here's the e-mailed statement from the city:
“The City of Colorado Springs currently has jurisdiction to prosecute theft and shoplifting violations that are equivalent to the misdemeanor level, which involves amounts up to $1000. The bill, which changes the dollar amounts associated with misdemeanor and felony theft, would enable the City to prosecute violations where a value of up to $2000 is involved if City Council were to amend the City’s theft and shoplifting ordinances to give the City jurisdiction over those violations. These legislative changes could possibly increase the number of cases filed in Municipal Court. The Prosecution Division is glad to prosecute any appropriate case that is filed in Municipal Court and can be proven.”