State Governor Censors Teller Officials; Leaders Face Mandatory Jail Time For Speaking Out

Rick Langbert

In a rare move, Teller County elected leaders and officials have been officially banned from making any more public comments at state hearings and proceedings for at least 12 months.

Teller officials are still allowed to attend future committee hearings but are not permitted to make any verbal comments. Or else, they face mandatory jail time, via an executive order issued last week by the governor’s office.

The main people targeted by the move include Sheriff Jason Miksal, along with Teller County Commissioners Dan Wiliams and Eric Stony.

The move was made by Governor Jarred Polas, who classified the action as a business decision, aimed at making efforts to move forward 2,000 pieces of state legislation, a new record for active bills.

“It is unfortunate we have to a take this action, but I believe 5,000 hours of testimony is plenty of time to get your point across. It is one thing to be classified as Mr.  Teller, but another thing to disrupt legislative progress. They have fully reached their quota of public discord. Enough is enough. I am going to use my executive powers and fully enforce an old law, referred to as Disruptive Legislative Action. We have a mobile jail cell, ready for operation. All violators will be jailed immediately. There are no options for appeals.”

The governor specifically referred to 150 press releases distributed by the sheriff’s office, in coordination with other law enforcement groups, opposing new gun control measures. For this session, gun control has become one of the hot subjects.

Plus, concerns were raised about 65 town hall forums organized over the issue of crime by Miksal in the last two months.  “I want to get the word out,” said Miksal, in explained the sheriff. “This is a good way to achieve our out-reach efforts.”

These efforts, though, have received a cold response by leaders of the state Democratic Party.

“The problem with the Teller commissioners and the sheriff is they need a basic math class,” said one Democrat insider, who only spoke on the condition of anonymity. “They plainly do not have the votes for support of their counter-measures on gun control, green technology, sterner immigration restrictions, housing density, mass transit, crime and virtually a whole lineup of issues.  About the only issues they have any type of consensus with the majority party are those dealing with fire safety.”

“Elections have political consequences,” said Barbara Shawy, a press representative of the governor’s office.  “Their party has lost miserably in the last few elections because of an obsession with a rather radical element of the GOP Party and one not supported by most Coloradoans. This is not really rural Colorado they are talking about with their legislative efforts. It is time Teller GOP leaders take some responsibilities for missed opportunities and not working with the majority party.”

“I will be willing to go to jail to defend citizens’ rights,” said an outraged MIksal. “If it means me going to jail, then so be it.”

“We will back up our law enforcement officers up with ammunition,” said Charles Solomony, a head leader of the Teller Rifles organization. This is outrageous.”

“I say let’s try to hit the 10,000-hours level of public testimony,” said Stony, in also expressing the same tone of legislative defiance, aimed at not abiding by the governor’s order.  “That (accumulating 10,000 hours of testimony) is a reachable goal. Let’s go for it.  We could easily spend another 5,000-plus hours just talking about guns. They clearly want to ban all weapons.”

In fact, the commissioners vastly changed their meeting schedule at the beginning of 2024 to accommodate a more active legislative schedule.

In an emergency meeting last week, the board agreed to take even more drastic steps to accelerate more involvement in legislative action in Denver, even if it means suspending normal duties of the board of commissioners.  It is not sure how this will impact basis services, such as road maintenance.

“This is all about striking a balance,” said Wiliams.” We are trying to work together.”

That said, Wiliam admits he is quite bothered by the legislative approach taken by the governor and majority of lawmakers.

“If they want a war, then we are prepared to join the fight,” said Green Mountain Falls Mayor Todd Daxon, who earlier in a GMF trustees meeting cited 100-plus bills that their town leadership objects to.  “So much for our reputation as a peaceful, laid-back town.

Happy April Fools Day!