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Jared Polis weighs in on the death penalty, Prop 112, and being America's first openly gay governor - KUSA

KUSA — Governor-Elect Jared Polis sat down with Kyle Clark Wednesday to discuss his historic victory in Tuesday night’s election.

Polis will be the nation’s first openly gay governor.

During a 10-minute conversation with 9NEWS, he weighed in on the death penalty, whether he would accept a request from President Donald Trump to send Colorado National Guard troops overseas, and an election where Democrats had an overwhelming victory in Colorado.


The success of Democrats but the failure of Prop 112, tax increases

Colorado voters chose Democrats to fill the state’s major offices while at the same time saying no to tax increases or restrictions on the oil and gas industry.

Polis said he did not see a disconnect between these two outcomes.

“Those are not things that I was running on or supported either,” he said. “I think there are Democrats and Republicans who fall on both sides of those.”

Among the most notable results was the failure of Proposition 112, which would have mandated a 2,500 buffer zone between oil and gas development and “occupied structures” or “vulnerable areas.” The oil and gas industry spent $40 million campaigning against the proposition.

RELATED | Democrat Jared Polis defeats Republican Walker Stapleton to become Colorado's next governor

Polis has advocated for a 2,000-foot setback in the past, but during his interview with 9NEWS, said he also believes there should be more “stability” for the oil and gas industry in Colorado.

“It’s not just the environmental community and neighbors that are effected, I think the oil and gas industry should be there to solve it too,” Polis said.

The death penalty

The same day Polis was elected, Chris Watts – who was accused of killing his pregnant wife and two young daughters – accepted a plea deal to avoid the possibility of the death penalty.

In a news conference, Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke argued that it wasn’t worth it to pursue the death penalty in Colorado given that no one has been executed since 1997.

Polis has said that he would sign a repeal of the death penalty, and in his interview with 9NEWS, argued that he would sign a bill to abolish the death penalty should the legislature present it to him.

“I feel it’s not cost effective, it’s not an effective deterrent, and you know I do have a problem with some of the ways it’s been implemented from a racial bias perspective as well,” Polis said.

The governor-elect pointed to the fact that the three people currently on death row in Colorado are African-American as proof of this racial discrepancy – especially since the white Aurora theater shooter received life in prison.

On being America’s first gay governor

The fact that Polis is openly gay was not a point of discussion during the campaign but was something numerous national media outlets highlighted during his victory.

“When it comes to fixing our traffic and our roads, it doesn’t really matter if you’re gay or straight,” Polis said.

He said he thinks it’s a “point of pride for Colorado” that it is an inclusive state, and pointed to the fact it also elected the nation’s first Native American senator.


Polis said he was “absolutely” willing to keep the provision in what’s known as the Taxpayers Bill of Rights to allow Coloradans to vote on tax increases.

Trump and the National Guard

In the past, Polis said he would refuse to allow President Donald Trump to send the Colorado National Guard to the Mexico border – prompting a hypothetical question about whether he would deny a request to send those same troops overseas.

“I didn’t personally support the Iraq War, but I still would have responded to the Commander in Chief’s...


Department of Justice says it will continue to enforce federal law after Prop 1 passage - Detroit Metro Times

Proposal 1 to legalize marijuana for recreational adult use was passed in Michigan by a healthy margin on Tuesday, but the chief federal law enforcement in the state are reminding residents and visitors that "marijuana continues to be an illegal drug under federal law."

"Because we have taken oaths to protect and defend the Constitution and the laws of the United States, we will not unilaterally immunize anyone from prosecution for violating federal laws simply because of the passage of Proposal One," United States Attorney Matthew Schneider and Andrew Birge wrote in a statement Thursday.

Michigan became the 10th state in the nation and the first in the Midwest to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Young people were particularly supportive of legalizing marijuana. In a survey conducted by EPIC/MRA for the Detroit Free Press in late October, 73 percent of young voters between the ages of 18 and 34 said they supported the legalization effort.

because this issue is one where the folks in the federal government who are opposed to it are clearly losing," said Hovey. "We also have an incoming AG who will have a different opinion than our federal officials."

Dana Nessel, the incoming Attorney General, has long said that she is a proponent of Proposal 1 and was endorsed by multiple political action committees behind the legalization campaign.

"I just have come to see that the war on marijuana is an abject failure," Nessel told the Oakland Press last week. "I've seen hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars used to investigate, test, prosecute marijuana cases and I just think we just came from talking about the opioid epidemic, right, I think it's a much bigger crisis."

In the statement, the Justice Department continues to focus on crimes that involve marijuana rather than prosecution of marijuana users or low-level offenders.

"The federal government is more concerned with trafficking between states, and that's where we have seen them cracking down, as they should be," said Hovey.

Matthew Abel, an attorney at Cannabis Counsel, said that today's statement showed the need for reform at the federal level.

"It's not surprising that the federal government is going to be the last to reform marijuana laws, but it really is about time," said Abel. "Are Senators Stabenow and Peters going to represent the people or the old guard, that's the question."

Still, according to Abel, recreational users in Michigan have no reason to worry unless they are violating one of the eight federal priorities, which include using marijuana as minor or interstate trafficking, or are using marijuana on federal property.

"I wouldn't carry it into the McNamara Building," he said.

Lucas Maiman is a fall intern at Metro Times.

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California election results: Father of Prop 7, Daylight Saving Time initiative, says 2019 is goal - The Desert Sun

California election results: Father of Prop 7, Daylight Saving Time initiative, says 2019 is goal Kansen Chu, D-San Jose, the author of California's Prop. 7 says he'll introduce a bill in Sacramento in January. Check out this story on

The California assemblyman behind Proposition 7 – the daylight saving time measure that voters passed overwhelmingly on Tuesday night – said Wednesday he plans to introduce a bill as soon as the legislative session starts in Sacramento next year that would make daylight saving time permanent in the Golden State.

If approved, that would mean that Californians would “spring ahead” in 2019 and never fall back – assuming the federal government OKs the change.

“This is not a partisan issue; it’s a health issue, and a quality-of-life issue,” Assemblyman Kansen Chu, D-San Jose, said in an interview with The Desert Sun.

A similar law, the Sunshine Protection Act, took effect in Florida in July. Florida’s move to adopt year-round daylight saving time was approved by lawmakers in March; Gov. Rick Scott signed the legislation days later.

In Washington, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) introduced the Sunshine Protection Act of 2018 to allow states to stay on daylight saving time year-round. A companion bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.), and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), co-sponsored Buchanan’s bill.

The Sunshine Protection Act of 2018 would repeal parts of the Uniform Time Act of 1966, which required all states that observe daylight saving time to “spring forward” and “fall back” on the same dates each year. (Prior to that, states were adopting their own “spring forward” and “fall back” dates, creating confusion, said Chu.)

But neither of the bills has made it out of committee in Washington.

“The Rubio-Khanna legislation is moving, but like any other bill in D.C, it’s moving at a very slow pace,” said Chu.

Chu said he was motivated to put Proposition 7 on the ballot after hearing the complaints of numerous constituents, who disliked “falling back” and the early sunsets in wintertime. “This was brought to me by the people,” said Chu. “I’m honored and privileged to be able to voice their concern.”

With 100 percent of precincts reporting as of noon Wednesday, Proposition 7 had passed with 59.9 percent of the vote statewide – or more than 4.1 million ballots. Only six counties out of 58 in California were opposed to the measure: Del Norte on the Oregon border (where 51.2 percent of voters said no) and a cluster of counties in the central valley (Madera, 52 percent opposed; Fresno, 53.1 percent; Kings 53.5 percent; Tulare, 51.7 percent; and Kern, 52.6 percent.) In nearby Merced County, exactly half of voters were opposed and half were in favor.

“It’s not just people in Silicon Valley” who dislike going onto standard time in the winter, said Chu in discussing the county-by-county results. “I’m actually surprised it didn’t get more votes. I thought it would pass with 80 percent.”

Chu said he hasn’t yet had the chance to discuss daylight saving time with Governor-elect Gavin Newsom. “I will definitely initiate a conversation with him,” Chu said.

As for the legislature, Chu said he expected to encounter some resistance (“it comes with the territory,” he said) but he didn’t anticipate any organized opposition. “That’s why I didn’t spend any money to campaign for this proposition,” he said.

Chu said he did hear from a few people who were confused by the wording of Proposition 7 in the state's official voter guide. “It’s hard to explain something with a limit of only 250 words,” he said. A few people questioned whether adopting daylight saving time year-round would present a danger to...