Sen. Scott says hometown newspaper trying to silence his free speech

The Colorado Statesman: A political quarrel erupted earlier this month, garnering the attention of national media, after a state Republican lawmaker accused his hometown newspaper of publishing “fake news” and was subsequently threatened with a lawsuit.

At the center of the fray: Sen. Ray Scott, The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel and the delay of a hearing for Senate Bill 40, which would update the state’s open records law.

Scott told The Colorado Statesman that as chair of the state Senate’s Veteran and Military Affairs committee, he was asked for the delay to address security concerns brought forth by legislators and a “substantial list” of public entities.

“In the spirit of doing our job, we delayed it,” Scott said. “In fairness to the sponsors, I was trying to give them time to get the thing fixed.”

The episode started with a Feb. 8 Daily Sentinel editorial urging Scott to move the measure along. The Grand Junction lawmaker responded the same day with social media posts calling the newspaper liberal and accusing it of running a “fake news” story.

“They have no facts, as usual, and tried to call me out on SB 40 [known] as the CORA bill,” Scott posted in part on Facebook. “They haven’t contacted me to get any information on why the bill has been delayed but choose to run a fake news story demanding I run the bill.”

Daily Sentinel Publisher Jay Seaton wrote a rebuttal in an editorial the following Saturday, claiming “false character assassination that can’t go unchallenged” and ending the piece with “to borrow a phrase from another famous Twitter user, I’ll see you in court.”

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