BACK FOR MORE? New Issue Committee Seeks Ballot Initiative to Ban Concealed Carry on College Campuses

UPDATE: We cited a Westword story that claimed Toltz’s family owns the Dependable Cleaners.  While this is technically true as the Toltz family does own the Dependable Cleaners chain, Ken Toltz is estranged from the Toltz family.  You can call off your boycotts of Dependable Cleaners, PeakNation™.  Steve Toltz called the Michael Brown Show today to clarify the relationship and assure his customers that he is not supportive of his brother’s activities – financially or otherwise.  Listen to the exchange below:

Apparently, the spanking that Democrats received when they tried to ban concealed carry on college campuses last legislative session no longer stings as badly as it did then.  A new issue committee, ironically named Safe Campus Colorado, filed late last month would seek to put on the ballot an initiative to “amend the current concealed carry law to exclude college campuses from the concealed carry law.”

The registered agent for this ill-conceived committee is none other than Ken Toltz, the well-funded, but failed, 6th Congressional District Democratic candidate whose family owns the Dependable Cleaners chain.  Toltz also is known for cashing in on Obama’s inauguration via

What’s puzzling is that Toltz would volunteer to venture into those dangerous waters.  While the Democrats in the state legislature shoved through five bills relating to gun control, the college campus concealed carry ban was the bill they couldn’t force feed Coloradans.  The bill was pulled by its sponsor, extremist Democratic state Sen. Rollie Heath, after the debate turned ugly for Democrats. During the debate, several rape victims testified and about-to-be-recalled newly-resigned former state Sen. Evie Hudak condescendingly told victims that “the statistics are not on your side”, causing a national uproar. continue…


TONE DEAF: Democrats Select Trial Lawyer & Tax Hike Cheerleader For New Senate Leadership

Senate Democrats chose not to listen to their caucus members urging moderation and selected two extreme liberals for their new leadership today after Senate President John Morse was recalled from office last month.

Senate Majority Leader Morgan Carroll (D-Aurora) – a trial lawyer on the left-wing fringes of the Democratic Party – was selected to replace Morse as Senate President. Senator Rollie Heath (D-Boulder), who led the failed Prop 103 tax hike campaign in 2011, took Carroll’s position at Majority Leader.

More moderate members of the Senate Democratic caucus are likely to be displeased, as they hinted they would be to Lynn Bartels of The Denver Post last week.

Senator Mary Hodge (D-Brighton) and Senator Cheri Jahn (D-Wheat Ridge) both expressed hopes last week that their colleagues would select a leadership team other than Carroll and Heath, instead adding at least one moderate voice to the mixture.

“I think everybody wants some moderation in the House and the Senate,” Jahn told Bartels.

The selection of Carroll and Heath is also a rejection of the advice of former Democratic Governor Bill Ritter, who advised Democrats to not be only the party of the Denver-Boulder corridor.

“The Democratic Party cannot be the party of metro Denver and Boulder,” Ritter told the New York Times. It has to be the party who understands the values, views and aspirations of people who live outside of those areas.”

With a 50% disapproval rating in the latest Quinnipiac poll, Democrats must figure their majority is already in peril so they might as well push through whatever they can get in 2014. We’ll see if their candidates feel the same way on the first Tuesday in November 2014.


TO MODERATE OR NOT? Colorado Democrats Debate Leftward Lurch Of Caucus In Leadership Fight

Did Democrats sleep through the recalls?

The historic recall elections of Senate President John Morse and Senator Angela Giron have caused some Democrats to reflect on the sharp leftward shift their party took in the last legislative session. While some openly pine for a more moderate agenda, it’s not clear that Democrats will take that path.

As Lynn Bartels of The Denver Post reported:

With the swearing-in comes a power struggle for new leadership, and an attempt by Republicans to have a say, although Democrats will still hold the majority, at 18-17.

Conventional wisdom says Senate Majority Leader Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora, would be the logical choice to succeed Morse as president, but not everyone thinks that’s the direction the Senate should go when the leadership election is held later this month or in early November.

Carroll has declined to discuss the leadership race, but several Democrats said she has told them she is running for the post and they believe she has the votes.

Sen. Rollie Heath, D-Boulder, is running for majority leader, a position that would be vacant if Carroll is elected Senate president.

The problem for Democrats is both Carroll and Heath are left wing politicians from the metro area – the exact recipe that got Democrats in the bind they’re in right now.

Former Democratic Governor Bill Ritter warned about this in the New York Times the day after the recalls:

“The Democratic Party cannot be the party of metro Denver and Boulder. It has to be the party who understands the values, views and aspirations of people who live outside of those areas.”

In an implicit repudiation of Carroll and Heath as outside the mainstream, Senator Mary Hodge (D-Brighton) told Lynn Bartels she thinks that leadership team would be lacking a “moderate voice”:



PAPER AIRPLANES: With Wildfires Raging, Coloradans Must Wonder Why Democrats Didn’t Fund Tankers

As Colorado once again deals with devastating wildfires, many Coloradans are likely wondering why we still refuse to prepare for what is an inevitable issue — putting the fires out. In fact, a legislative fix was proposed this past session by State Senator Steve King (R-Grand Junction) to buy a set of air tankers, but Democrats voted against spending a mere $17 million to buy the planes.

While the bill, SB245, was signed by Governor Hickenlooper to create an air tanker fleet, there was no money attached to it. That’s led the press to refer to the endeavor as “paper airplanes” as they exist only on paper at this point.

What fools voted against funding the tankers?

That would be Democratic Senators Rollie Heath, Jesse Ulibarri, Pat Steadman and Mary Hodge.

Governor Hickenlooper also has culpability in this outcome. For a governor who bragged he didn’t veto a single bill because he was allegedly so effective at managing the legislative process to his liking, why couldn’t he manage to get $17 million for such a critical need as planes to fight wildfires?

To be sure, should Democrats have decided to spend the money on common sense things like air tankers in a state annually beset by wildfires, rather than banning guns or teaching sex ed to kindergartners, the tanker fleet wouldn’t be up and running for this current raft of fires.

But, with the Democrats voting against the tankers, they probably won’t be ready for next wildfire season either.

When reporters cover this latest foreseeable tragedy, we hope they remind readers that it was Democrats who decided their tax money was better spent banning standard capacity magazines than fighting wildfires.

Priorities matter.

UPDATE: A reader writes in to point out SB245, the air tanker bill, was classic Hickenlooper — with the governor making an empty gesture by signing the bill without any actual dollars attached to it. It allowed him to claim he did something without actually doing anything.

Think of it as partially commuting the death sentence for a real tanker bill that would have had real funding and real muscle behind it. 

Even when it comes to something as easy as forest fires, Hick is a weak suck.


HEY MIKEY, WHY DO YOU WANT MORE? Despite Revenue Gains, Senator Mike Johnston Stills Wants A Tax Hike

With the economy recovering and tax revenue increasing, you would think the calls for tax hikes would begin to recede, but then you would misjudge the aim of tax hikers.

They’re like a fat kid in a candy store — give ‘em one piece and they just want four more.

As the Associated Press’s Ivan Moreno reported yesterday, the state’s general fund is already increasing by $600 million over last year, and the overall budget surpassed $20 billion this year, with it expected to cross $22 billion next year:

Under the Senate spending plan, general fund expenditures, which lawmakers control, were expected to be about $8.2 billion next year, compared to $7.6 billion in the current budget year. The state’s total budget, which includes federal money and cash funds, would be about $20.5 billion.

That hasn’t stopped State Senator Mike Johnston from forging ahead with his plan to ask for a $1 billion+ tax hike from taxpayers this year. Or was it $2.75 billion?

We’ll say this for the tax hike set, at least they picked a better face forward for this campaign compared to 2011′s disastrous Prop 103. Zach Morris beats Mr. Burns any day as a poster child for policy.

Of course recent tax receipts may not keep pace with Magpul and associated industries leaving the state and many hunters boycotting Colorado over it’s gun control legislation. So maybe the tax hike is meant to make up for that lost revenue?

What’s the reason, Mikey? Why do you want more?


JOHNSTON’S TAX HIKE: What Coloradans Get for Their Money

Stevenson: “If we want equal outcomes for all children in Colorado, we’re going to have some unequal funding — that’s what equity is about.”

Yesterday, the Peak explored the different proposals to pay for Democratic Senators Mike Johnston and Rollie Heath’s one billion dollar education funding tax hike.  (Hint: They’re all income tax increases.)  But, why do Johnston and Heath need another billion dollars from Colorado’s taxpayers?  What exactly is in this bill?

The bulk of the bill deals with how education funds are dispersed throughout the state.  According to the Denver Post, the way the funds are distributed would be based on a three-part model from Rhode Island.  Here’s how it’s explained:

“First, the legislature would set an average state-local ratio — Johnston proposes a 64-36 split, Colorado’s current ratio. Next, each district’s property tax base per pupil would be adjusted to reflect the local median income and students on free and reduced lunch, a common measure of poverty.

Districts that lose funding as a result could increase local taxes to make up the difference or just absorb the loss.”

So, while this bill is paid for primarily through a statewide income tax increase, it would appear that local districts have a strong incentive to also increase property taxes once funds are redistributed. Additionally, smaller districts would be further encouraged to pass property tax increases due to a program that would offer matching state funds.

One of the largest complaints about the bill is its redistribution of funds.  EdNews Colorado sums it up pretty well:

“The central feature of the plan is a significant shift of funding to districts with the highest concentrations of at-risk students and English language learners. That would benefit districts like Denver and Aurora. Large districts with a lower concentration of such students, such as Cherry Creek, Douglas County and Jefferson County, would receive smaller increases in per-pupil funding.”

Even Democrats acknowledged that this could be too large a hurdle for Colorado’s voters.  Jeffco Public Schools Superintendent Cindy Stevenson nonsensically told the Denver Post:

“I think we can make it make sense, but there has to be a really good, clear message.  If we want equal outcomes for all children in Colorado, we’re going to have some unequal funding — that’s what equity is about.”

Proponents of the bill also claim that it has additional transparency measures built in so that taxpayers can see how school districts spend money.  The bill also would provide separate funding for special education programs, a $600 per year per pupil grant to schools to pay for previously “unfunded education reforms”, and an “Innovation Fund” for under performing school districts.

But, overall, with Johnston’s original claim that his reforms would cost $2.75 billion and the ability of the state to ratchet up income taxes, again, is this bill worth the harm it will pose to the financial stability of middle class families?


COLORADANS BE DAMNED: Senate Dems Pass Gun Control Legislation

Despite protests and letters from constituents expressing dismay over the radical overreach by House and Senate Democrats, Senate Democrats forwarded their extreme gun legislation yesterday.  Here is where the legislation stands, and the next step for each.

  • HB1228: To require purchasers to pay for mandatory background checks HEADED TO HICKENLOOPER, who has indicated he would sign the legislation into law
  • HB1224: To ban magazines that would hold more than 15 rounds.  PASSED IN SENATE, Going back to House to vote on amendment
  • HB1229: To require universal background checks, including on private transfer of guns PASSED IN SENATE, Going to House to vote on amendment
  • HB1226: To add college campuses to the list of places exempt from concealed carry allowances Pulled by Senate Sponsor Democrat Rollie Heath
  • SB195 – To ban online firearm training and defines a “handgun training class” as a physical location at which a certified instructor offers a course (i.e., no online or video courses) HEADED TO HOUSE
  • SB196 – To hold liable manufacturers and sellers of certain semi-automatic weapons in Colorado for crimes committed with the guns they’ve manufactured or sold Pulled by Senate sponsor
  • SB197 – To prevent anyone convicted of domestic violence or who has been the subject of a restraining order from possessing a gun HEADED TO HOUSE

To tally, that’s one bill headed to the governor’s desk and four headed to the House.  Two of the bills headed to the House require approval of amendments and two require full vote.  The amendment to HB1224 bans any shotgun magazines that hold more than 28 inches of shotgun shells.  The amendment to HB1229 is a provision that would allow gun repairs without the background checks required for transfers.

While Mayor Bloomberg lost a battle in New York yesterday when his “Big Gulp” rule was struck down, his group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, is still winning battles in Colorado to the detriment of Coloradans.

UPDATE: Former Republican State Rep. BJ Nikkel adds some snark:


FIRST VICTORY: Concealed Carry Ban Dies Due To Conservatives Who Fought Back

Sen. Giron hugs Kim Weeks after confirming her “no” vote on Concealed Carry Ban on campus at 6:55pm

UPDATE 4: Revealing Politics just published an op-ed by rape survivor Kim Weeks, who shares her horrifying experience at the hands of a rapist who stayed in her home for two hours as he raped her.  A must read, but not for the faint of heart.  Kudos to Kim for having the courage to share her experience with the world.  Did this op-ed cause Sen. Giron to change her vote?

UPDATE 3: There has been no word yet on how successful Mayor Bloomberg’s lobbyist, Adam “Machine Gun” Eichberg has been on forcing the concealed carry bill to the Senate floor. He’s been lobbying swing Senators furiously, possibly with promises of soft money support in their coming election efforts, but so far nothing has leaked publicly.

UPDATE 2: Senate President Morse and Senator Heath should listen to their favorite liberal blogs. They say the concealed carry bill has been a public relations disaster for Democrats, and that spiking the bill would make most sense. As Colorado Pols wrote after it was reported the bill was dead: “Democrats believe this leaves them in a more defensible position, and at this point, they’re probably right.”

Listen to your liberal base. End the public relations disaster and kill the “whistle” bill.

UPDATE: Senator Rollie Heath now saying he may bring the bill up. He-Said-She-Said civil war within Democratic Caucus playing out in full view thanks to Lynn Bartel’s coverage. Wanna bet whether Mayor Bloomberg’s top lobbyist (a.ka. Machine Gun Eichberg) or Joe Biden had something to do with Senator Heath changing his mind? 

Let there be no doubt at all, the tail is wagging the dog and the Democratic Senators themselves are just along for the ride. Bloomberg and Biden should just come down here and cast votes.Until then, it is chaos, pure chaos, in Democrat Senator Land.


After a hard fought battle by gun rights supporters, online and on the ground, legislative Democrats have decided to pull their bill banning concealed carry on college campuses.

Breaking just now via The Denver Post‘s Lynn Bartels and Kurtis Lee:

The sponsor of a bill banning concealed weapons on college campuses plans to kill his measure Friday, Democrats have confirmed.

Four Democratic sources close to the matter said the bill’s sponsor, Rollie Heath, D-Boulder, plans to kill the bill and it won’t be brought up for debate on the Senate floor.

House Bill 1226 already cleared the House and a Senate committee earlier this week amid controversial comments made by a House Democrat and one in the Senate about rape on college campuses.

Republicans have hammered Democrats over the rape remarks, jeopardizing a bill that already was in trouble. Two Democratic senators had openly said they were against it, Republicans needed only one more Democrat to kill the measure.

This is just the first battle in a larger war to stop the Democrats gun grab.

The next battle is stopping HB1224, the ban on standard capacity magazines over 15 rounds, that would kill hundreds, if not thousands, of Colorado jobs. Magpul Industries, and a number of companies reliant on Magpul’s business, will leave the state if the bill passes.

Not only that, but the Outdoor Channel has threatened to leave the state if it passes too.

Save Colorado jobs, stop HB1224. Spread the word.

And if you’re tweeting today, make sure to use the hashtags #COleg and #StandWithBrophy.

A reminder of how we got here, per 9News’ Kyle Clark:

As Colorado Public Radio’s Megan Verlee reports it was our loyal readers of Peak Nation™ and Revealing Politics that helped crush this bill:


MORE GUN LAWS: Democrats Push for Purchaser-Funded Background Checks

Colorado Bureau of Investigation SealDemocrats introduced two new gun control laws pertaining to background checks, as part of the assault weapons ban that wasn’t.  The first bill, HB1229, would require background checks for the transfer of all firearms and the second bill, HB1228, would require purchasers (not the government) to pay for the background checks.  HB1229, sponsored by Democratic State Reps. Rhonda Fields and Beth McCann and Democratic State Sen. Morgan Carroll, reads:

“Unless a specified exception applies, before any person who is not a licensed gun dealer transfers or attempts to transfer possession of a firearm, he or she shall: Require that a background check be conducted of the prospective transferee; and Obtain approval of the transfer from the Colorado bureau of investigation (bureau) after a background check has been requested by a licensed gun dealer.”

The bill further reads that the firearm dealer may not charge a fee greater than ten dollars to perform the background check.  Violation of this law is a Class 1 misdemeanor.  There are a few exceptions to this requirement – transfer of an antique gun, transfer between immediate family members defined as siblings, children, parents, and grandchildren, transfer due to death of previous owner when recipient is executor of the estate, a temporary transfer in the home of an unlicensed transferee if he or she is not prohibited from possessing firearms and believes the firearm is necessary to prevent imminent death or harm, or a temporary transfer at a shooting range or while hunting.

HB1228, introduced by Democratic State House Rep. Lois Court and Democratic State Sen. Rollie Heath, requires the recipient of a firearm pay for the mandatory background check (as described above) with the CBI.  The summary of the bill reads:

“The Colorado bureau of investigation (CBI) shall impose a fee for performing an instant criminal background check pursuant to the transfer of a firearm. The amount of the fee shall not exceed the total amount of direct and indirect costs incurred by CBI in performing the background check.”

A Peak source believes the cost for the CBI background check is approximately $12, which combined with the payment the gun dealer would charge of no more than $10, brings the total to around $22 for the background check.  This seems funny to us — demanding that people pay to exercise a basic right enshrined in the bill of rights. Doesn’t the Left constantly complain about the cost of photo ID to vote being unconstitutional?


STRATEGIC MERGER: Gill Underwrites PBS Merger, Critics Silent

Can you imagine the uproar from the left and the mainstream media if one of the Koch Brothers decided to purchase a Public Broadcasting System station?  But, where is the outrage when uber-rich, politically-motivated Tim Gill opts to fund the merger of Rocky Mountain PBS-owned KUVO, and I-News Network in Colorado?  Here is what the Denver Post had to say about the merger:

The ambitious plan is rooted in last summer’s $1.3 million Gill Foundation gift of the Gill building in Colorado Springs to RMPBS. The building, known as the Tim Gill Center for Public Media, is home to more than 20 small southern Colorado media groups, including college and community radio stations.

Also troubling – the Denver Post article notes that KBDI-Channel 12 in Denver and Colorado Public Radio may be part of the deal.  But, Denver Post journalist Joanne Ostrow, who wrote the article, doesn’t even mention Gill’s name until three-quarters of the way through the article.  Might it be helpful to note here that Tim Gill is one of the largest donors in Colorado, not to mention nationwide?

The question is – who will serve as a check and balance against Gill’s very obvious political leanings?  Perhaps it might be RMPBS CEO Doug Price?  Actually, not likely.  An email uncovered by Complete Colorado in 2011 shows that Price is nothing more than a tax-and-spend liberal.

When Rollie Heath, a State Senator from Boulder, put forward Prop 103, a massive tax increase to fund bloat and waste from unions in schools that died a painful 70-30 death at the ballots, Price sent Heath the most bizarre display of sycophancy we’ve seen in years.  Essentially, Price tells Heath that Heath is his hero.  Here’s an excerpt:

….While it is my responsibility in this job to remain impartial as much as is possible on political matters I don’t want to be silent when important work is done. Rollie I do think your effort on Prop 103 was nothing short of heroic. The conversation advanced the point even if the vote was unsuccessful. I am and always will remain a huge Rollie Heath fan and you should know in many ways I’ve chosen to model my own second act in professional life after your own. You’re a good friend and a great mentor. Thank you for all that you do for me and for Colorado. (Peak emphasis)

We just threw up in our mouths a little.

Is Rocky Mountain PBS going to simply become a mouthpiece for the left, if it isn’t already?  Who knows.  The real issue here – again – is why isn’t the media asking the tough questions?


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