Each day brings about 8,000 new things (rough estimate) that demand the attention of The Denver Post’s politics team.

This week, The Spot is narrowing in on the main issues in front of lawmakers and leaders — gun laws, changes to policing and the top educators in the metro area — as well as calling your attention to things you may have missed.

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Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post

A woman who only wanted to be identified as Rowan looks at hundreds of flowers put into the fence surrounding the King Soopers on Table Mesa Drive on March 23, 2021 in Boulder.

Capitol Diary • By Alex Burness

What to expect on gun policy

Colorado Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg says this could be the week his fellow Democrats lawmakers roll out their slate of legislation in response to the King Soopers shooting.

Well, it’s Thursday afternoon, more charges were just filed against the man who faces several already in the Boulder shooting, and the Capitol press corps hasn’t seen any of the new bills yet.

As previously reported, we have a good idea of what the package is likely to include: strengthening background checks to prevent people with violent misdemeanor convictions from purchasing guns; a beefed-up awareness campaign around 2019’s “red flag” law, which allows people to petition courts to seize guns from people who are dangers to themselves or others; new funding for mental health initiatives; and a repeal of the state law that prevents local governments from enacting their own gun laws above and beyond the state’s.

All of that would be on top of three other bills related to gun violence this session, two of which were signed into law this week. (Here’s a story on the third.)

Some policies are conspicuously absent from that list above, namely an extended waiting period for new gun purchases and a state ban on “assault-style” weapons. Fenberg has been clear that he doesn’t want to introduce a bill that won’t pass, so if you don’t see these more controversial policies debuting, you can be assured that the votes aren’t there.

This is a good reminder of the limits of Colorado’s blue wave. Democratic majorities do not guarantee the passage of big-ticket liberal priorities, because many of these Democrats — Gov. Jared Polis included — are still quite moderate. This is why the death penalty repeal took two years, why the paid family leave bill never passed the legislasture, why the eviction moratorium fizzled last year in the Senate.

It may well be the reason this forthcoming post-Boulder shooting gun bills package won’t go as far as it could.

More Colorado political news

Public safety director Murphy Robinson speaks ...

AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post

Denver Public Safety Director Murphy Robinson speaks about his role as both a black man and a public official who oversaw the city’s response to protests in the streets of Denver during a rally focused on unity, love, community, respect and understanding at Civic Center Park in Denver on Wednesday, June 3, 2020.

Mile High and Federal Notes • By Justin Wingerter and Conrad Swanson

Policing recommendations on the way for Denver, but Congress is stuck

Denver’s Reimagine Policing and Public Safety Task Force will cement more than 100 recommended changes for public safety next Thursday, a little over a week after Chauvin was found guilty in Minneapolis on murder and manslaughter charges.

The large task force — made up of more than 100 people — began meeting weekly in September, co-lead Robert Davis said. In January, the city’s Public Safety Director, Murphy Robinson, pulled all four law enforcement representatives out of the process, complaining the group hadn’t produced any results.

Recommendations are now on the way, Davis said — at least 114 of them that currently are being looked at by a group of the task force’s teenagers before the final approval.

The full list is expected out next month, around the anniversary of Floyd’s death.

“I cannot see how after the verdict (Tuesday), after the protests that took place last summer, and the protests that are promised for this summer, how they’d be able to say ‘We know, we heard, we just don’t care,’” Davis said.

Robinson had promised to consider the group’s recommendations to see what could be adopted and a spokesman for Mayor Michael Hancock echoed that pledge.

Hundreds of miles away in Washington, D.C, the only Black member of Congress in Colorado history watched the Chauvin jury’s verdicts with fellow Congressional Black Caucus members around a single laptop.

“Let’s also be clear that this must be the first step of many in true accountability and change,” Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse said in a statement a short time later. “The House of Representatives passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act as a much-needed and comprehensive first step to ensure justice and equality for all. The Senate must take this bill up — immediately.”

Just as mass shootings usher in a million news releases about gun laws, killings by police bring calls for changing the policing system. Both have an abysmal track record in Congress in recent years.

The Floyd bill last year and this year passed the House with very little Republican support, and a Republican policing reform bill died in the Senate last year because it had very little Democratic support.

Some conservatives worry about disincentivizing police work. Four hours after the Chauvin verdicts were read, Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert spoke at a telephone town hall about a recent road trip through her southwest Colorado district, during which she talked with sheriffs and police chiefs.

“We heard about the staffing issues police forces are having and how the demonization of police nationally is having a negative effect locally,” Boebert said. “Of course, there has been some local issues that have come up with law enforcement from the state legislature, but right now it’s a really difficult time to be a police officer in America.”

Rep.-elect Lauren Boebert (R-CO) arrives to ...

Sarah Silbiger, Getty Images

Rep.-elect Lauren Boebert (R-CO) arrives to the Hyatt Regency hotel on Capitol Hill on Nov. 12, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

More federal politics news

More Denver political news

  • Denver will soon become even more pot-friendly after the City Council unanimously agreed to overhaul the marijuana industry. It paves the way for weed delivery, more dispensaries and different types of consumption clubs and party buses.
Arlo Martin, 13, is doing homework ...

Hyoung Chang, The Denver Post

Arlo Martin, 13, does homework at the kitchen of his home in Centennial on Wednesday, March 10, 2021.

The suburbs • By John Aguilar

Top educators find a home

Since July, when Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent Jason Glass announced he was stepping down as head of Colorado’s second-largest school district, two more of the state’s largest school districts that serve the Denver suburbs saw their superintendents step aside.

That lapse in leadership for more than 200,000 students ended this week when Douglas County School District named Corey Wise as the new permanent superintendent of the 63,000-student system. His appointment follows the announcement last month of new superintendents for Jeffco Public Schools (Tracy Dorland) and Cherry Creek School District (Christopher Smith).

Dan Domenech, executive director of the American Association of School Administrators, told The Denver Post in November that the exodus of top school executives in 2020 was “without doubt due to the pandemic and the tremendous pressure that they’re working under.”

Now, the question is how these new leaders in education will guide their suburban districts out of the pandemic, which has wrought havoc on student learning and progress.

It won’t be easy, said Bret Miles, executive director of the Colorado Association of School Executives.

“I’m concerned about it through all of our levels. I think we are going to see more teacher retirements this year than typical,” Miles told The Post late last year. “We could see a real stress on the system of people ready to walk away.”

Denver Public Schools is still looking to replace Susana Cordova, who resigned as superintendent of Colorado’s largest school district in November.

More suburban political news

  • Douglas County and the Tri-County Health Department are back at their fight over COVID-19 health directives, with Douglas County commissioners sacking a health board member.
  • RTD made a concerted effort to keep routes that serve low-income and transit-reliant neighborhoods during the pandemic.

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