First reported in The Colorado Senate Press Office on Wednesday, September 29th, 2010
COLORADO SPRINGS—Senator John Morse (D-Colorado Springs) stood with state and local leaders, including members of Colorado Springs area law enforcement, to celebrate Katie’s Law going into full effect today.
“DNA is a powerful tool for law enforcement,” said Sen. Morse. “This law will save lives, prevent crime, and ensure that criminals are brought to justice.”
Sen. Morse sponsored Senate Bill 241, named for Katie Sepich, whose brutal rape and murder was solved with the help of DNA evidence. Her killer had been arrested previously, but his DNA was not collected until later. Had this law been in effect, her killer could have been found much sooner, perhaps before taking Katie’s life. The bill was signed into law in 2009.
First reported in the Gazette on Monday, August 16th, 2010
Two state Senate candidates who accuse each other of plagiarism produced documentation Sunday that didn’t quite get to the bottom of their competing claims.
Republican Owen Hill and Libertarian Doug Randall each are running against incumbent Democrat Sen. John Morse in Colorado Senate District 11, which covers much of Colorado Springs’ downtown, west-side and southeast neighborhoods.
The campaign websites for Hill and Randall each contain extended passages on various issues — jobs, education, fiscal policy — that are almost identical. Each candidate accuses the other of stealing the words.
On Sunday, Randall provided The Gazette with printouts that he said were e-mails between him and his sister and brother. The printouts contained passages that bear a strong resemblance to those on both candidates’ sites. They were drafts of his issue statements, he said, and he passed them along to his siblings for their feedback in May and July.
Well, then, case closed, said Chris McIntire, a spokesman for the Hill campaign. The same passages have been on Hill’s website since January.
First reported in the Gazette on Sunday, August 15th, 2010
Two Colorado Springs candidates for the same state Senate seat apparently think alike — exactly alike — according to their websites.
They even sing harmony on business issues.
“Small businesses are responsible for the majority of job creation in the United States,” Randall and Hill state on their sites. “In addition, small businesses are growing at a faster rate for women and minority owners than it is for the population at large.”
And while it’s clear that either the two candidates were separated at birth or somebody is lying, supporters of Randall and Hill say the words are the sole creation of their candidate.
“It is Owen’s original content,” Hill spokesman Chris McIntire said. “If anything, they are trying to copy us and trying to get publicity.”
“I can produce plenty of documents to prove that I wrote that stuff,” said Randall, a carpenter who said he’s been honing some of the political phrases since 1979.
Randall said he has filed a complaint with state campaign regulators.
“I figure a federal crime has been committed,” he said.
“My understanding is, from Doug, that Doug had written the stuff, and he noticed it was on his opponent’s website and was not pleased with that discovery,” said David K. Williams Jr., chairman of the Libertarian Party of Colorado.
McIntire said Hill was busy campaigning and didn’t have time to discuss the matter.
First posted on StopDirectFile.org on Wednesday, August 11, 2010
If anyone qualifies as a political enigma, Senate Majority Leader John Morse may be at the top of the list. A Democrat from traditionally conservative Colorado Springs, Morse made a career out of law enforcement and holds several advanced degrees including a PhD in Public Administration and an MBA. His tenure as a Sergeant in the Colorado Springs Police Department eventually led him to a long-term position as Police Chief in Fountain where he made community policing a hallmark of his department. StopDirectFile.org had the extraordinary opportunity to interview the lawmaker about criminal and juvenile justice issues. Judging from that interview, it is safe to say that Senator Morse stands at the pinnacle of leadership in the State of Colorado and it is our privilege to endorse him.
STOPDIRECTFILE.ORG: You’ve spoken a lot about the importance of Community Policing. What is community policing?
SENATOR MORSE: Community Policing is actively engaging the community in identifying and resolving the issues that lead to crime and disorder. So often, the police sort of figure out for themselves what the problems are or what they want to address and leave the community out of it. We sort of police on to the community instead of policing from within the community. So, community policing is actively working with the community to figure out what issues are important to them and how those issues should be addressed.
STOPDIRECTFILE.ORG: What in your background and experience most informs your work as a state legislator?
SENATOR MORSE: I touched on the fact that I was a paramedic. The CPA also informs my work a great deal as I spent a year on the Joint Budget Committee. That was huge. After I left my position as Police Chief in Fountain, I was president and CEO of Silver King Senior Services, a non-profit organization that enables people over 60 to stay in their homes as long as possible. That taught me about seniors and the importance of senior issues. One of the things I learned at Silver King, that seems to be common sense, is that dental work is so important because as you age into your 80s and 90s you lose your teeth. If you pay attention to seniors’ diet and see that they get at least one hot meal a day, the benefits are enormous, but if their teeth don’t support their nutrition their health deteriorates rapidly. Medicare doesn’t cover dental so when their teeth start to go bad you can just watch them lose their lives.
First reported in The Gazette on Wednesday, August 11, 2010
The conservative ascension that vaulted two longshot GOP candidates to victory in Tuesday’s primary election was still sending shock waves through the party Wednesday.
The two — gubernatorial hopeful Dan Maes and Senate contender Ken Buck — unseated the GOP’s old guard by leveraging the strength of the party’s new, energetic right wing, a coalition of Tea Party enthusiasts, small government fans and voters angered by health care legislation.
“It shows that the insurgents are strong and the white bread, mainstream Republican types are not in favor,” said Sean Paige, a conservative Colorado Springs city councilman and frequent speaker at Tea Party events.
Maes scored a narrow 5,000 vote victory over longtime GOP stalwart Scott McInnis, who served six terms in Congress. A businessman from Evergreen, Maes didn’t have enough campaign money for advertisements and was a virtual unknown a few months ago, but he had a group of fervent followers who pushed him over the top.
“What difference did they make? Well he won the election,” said Colorado Springs Republican state Rep. Kent Lambert, among the few local Republican elected officials who signed on to the Maes cause. “They have had it with the establishment and they would rather have a common Joe citizen representing them rather than someone who is a political professional.”
Another mainstream GOP candidate went down Tuesday. Senate hopeful Jane Norton, once the frontrunner, was defeated by Weld County prosecutor Ken Buck, who grabbed the new conservatives to win with 52 percent of the vote.
First reported in the Colorado Independent on Monday July 12, 2010
DENVER – Cuts to higher education hit community colleges and smaller institutions especially hard, some educators claim. As a result, a potential 50 percent cut to higher education funding next year could jeopardize a system that is tasked with helping underprivileged and minority students make their way into four-year institutions, as well as with providing a trained workforce for Colorado businesses.
Sen. John Morse, D-Colorado Springs, has said that the state faces a $1.7 billion budget gap next year and will likely have to cut $600 million from education, half of that coming from higher education. Nancy McCallin, president of the Colorado Community College System (CCCS), told the Colorado Independent that in the face of a possible $300 million cut to higher education next year, she fears her system will be disproportionately affected as it has been in past years. The cuts could lead to the elimination of some programs, she says.
As first reported on KKTV.com on Monday, June 21st 2010
DENVER (AP) - Colorado lawmakers are hoping the latest revenue figures show state income at least held steady over the past quarter.
New figures are expected to be announced Monday by the Governor's Office and the Legislature's Budget Committee.
In March, Natalie Mullis, the Legislature's chief economist, said the state was expecting to have an extra $262 million for next year's budget because of improving revenues.
But she said lawmakers would still have to cut more than $1 billion to balance next year's budget, which begins July 1.
Senate Majority Leader John Morse, a Colorado Springs Democrat, says the shortfall has since risen to an estimated $1.7 billion and will force lawmakers to cut more money from higher education and public schools.
Congressional roadblock could cost Colorado $211 million
First reported in The Gazette on Saturday, June 19th 2010
State politicians are fretting over a possible $211 million budget shortfall caused by congressional reluctance to prop up faltering state budgets.
Congress is fighting over a $40 billion lifeline for states to pay for health care to low-income people. Republicans and some Democrats in Congress are balking at the spending proposal because of the ballooning federal debt.
But Colorado and 28 other states planned on getting the health care cash when they drafted budgets this spring. And if the $211 million isn’t forthcoming, lawmakers or Gov. Bill Ritter will have to carve it out of the state’s $7 billion budget for the fiscal year that starts in July.
Ritter on Friday said the money is needed here because the state, dependent on property and income taxes, isn’t expecting a rapid reversal of its fiscal fortunes.
“The state’s revenue lags the turnaround,” he said.
The General Assembly paved over a $1 billion shortfall during its session that ended May 12 with a series of cuts, including $200 million from public schools, and $130 million in extra income generated by revoking a string of sales tax exemptions.