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The Republican-controlled Senate Tuesday voted down a “right to disagree” bill that opponents view as either an untested or euphemistic version of the religious freedom bills introduced in recent years by conservatives around the country that many believe risk diluting the nation’s anti-discrimination laws. All of the Democrats in the chamber were joined by three Republicans in opposing the bill — Sens. Don Coram from Durango, Beth Martinez Humenik from Thornton, and Jack Tate from Centennial.

A perennially contentious proposal, this year’s religious freedom restoration bill, HB 17-1013, died a faster, quieter death than in years past. Sent to the state house committee on State, Veterans, and Military Affairs — a Democratic “kill committee” — in January, the bill’s fate was a foregone conclusion. While the political tumult over the bill declined dramatically, it nonetheless remains a fascinating case study in divergent conservative viewpoints on the topic.

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In 164 pages, the U.S. Department of Justice eviscerated the Chicago Police Department. After a year-long investigation, the DOJ found the CPD “engages in a pattern or practice of unconstitutional use of force.” The detailed report details a systematic failure, not only in the CPD, but the entire city government for its failure to oversee and provide adequate resources to avoid such an outcome. While the rest of the country may look at the DOJ report and snicker at Chicago, it should serve as a warning to state and local governments across the country. It would be easy to get lost in the dramatic headline and believe that Chicago is an unfortunate, but unique circumstance. But in an era when police conduct across the country has come under ever-increasing scrutiny, Chicago could foreshadow future revelations across the country. Every state and municipality should take this chance to review and revise its police training programs and conduct standards.

Dylann Roof is set to die. A federal jury recently sentenced the unapologetic mass-murderer to the death penalty. More than any other individual, his case brings the contrast between political positions on capital punishment to a head. Roof’s sentence draws a clear distinction between pure death penalty opponents and anyone who struggles with the issue. I find myself in the latter camp; I am not an anti-death penalty purist. My concerns about use of the death penalty span a broad range of arguments. Both empirical data and anecdotal stories demonstrate that the death penalty has been imposed against innocent people. Statistical analysis suggests that the death penalty is not effective as a deterrent; it is only punitive in nature. And then there is the moral question. I am a Christian and believe in the miracle of life. Ending the life of another human being will always conflict with that belief.

Shocking video showing four black youths torturing a disabled, white captive spread across the internet and media outlets recently. Almost immediately, some politicians and members of the media began calling for hate crime charges. No policy conflicts me as much as hate crimes. The rationales for adopting hate crime legislation are powerful and moving. Yet, I’ve always struggled with the concept of the motivation for an action being a crime itself in addition to the actual, underlying criminal act. For example, there is no question heinous crimes occurred in Chicago. Holding a person bound and gagged for days, making threats of abuse, and using a knife to cut into the boy’s scalp all constitute serious felonies. The list of charges should be long with corresponding prison sentences.