Colorado House Republican leader resigns, Denver exploring possibility of hiring migrants to work for city

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    01_25_24 Headlines Kennedy Pickering



Embattled Colorado House Republican Leader Resigns After DUI Arrest

Mike Lynch, a Colorado House Republican, stepped down as minority leader Wednesday. This follows a report by The Denver Post a week ago about his DUI arrest in September 2022. Lynch told his fellow Republicans that the role had become a distraction.

Lynch has held the minority leader position since November 2022, after Hugh McKean, the previous leader, passed away. The Denver Post on Jan. 17 reported Lynch was arrested on two DUI charges and a weapons charge. He pleaded guilty and is serving probation until June.

Rep. Richard Holtorf, the Colorado House Minority Whip, said the caucus is meeting this morning to choose a replacement for Lynch and to have a second no-confidence vote. Lynch is also running for a U.S. House seat in Colorado’s 4th Congressional District.

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Long Waitlists in Colorado for Psychiatric Treatment in Criminal Cases

According to a report by The Colorado Sun, Colorado has one of the nation’s longest waitlists for people charged with crimes and needing psychiatric treatment.

The shortage means people who can’t stand trial or are found not guilty due to insanity often wait months in jail before getting mental health care. The Colorado Department of Human Services blames staff and nurse shortages, which have shut down parts of Colorado Mental Health Hospital campuses, including Pueblo and Fort Logan.

About 20 percent of state-run psychiatric beds in the U.S. have been lost since 2016. Colorado struggles to meet the requirement of providing mental health evaluations or treatment within 28 days of an arrest.

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Denver Explores Hiring Immigrants Amid Migrant Influx

Denver Mayor Mike Johnston’s administration is investigating ways to alleviate the financial strain caused by the recent influx of migrants. One proposal under consideration is facilitating legal employment for migrants.

Under a federal law passed in 1996, asylum seekers are required to wait at least half a year after filing an asylum petition before being able to obtain authorization to work in the US. Last week, Johnston requested the Biden Administration to advocate for a revision of the law.

In the meantime, Johnston’s team is also assessing whether this federal law applies to state and local governments. If it doesn’t, Denver might directly employ migrants despite the waiting period. Johnston told the Denver City Council that the influx of migrants into Denver could cost the city upwards of $180 million this year.



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Colorado’s New Gray Wolves Tracked on Released Map

Colorado Parks and Wildlife released a map Wednesday that shows where the state’s newly introduced gray wolves are wandering.

The map comes after state lawmakers criticized the agency for not being open about releasing the wolves in December. It uses data from the wolves’ tracking collars, showing areas of activity but not exact locations. The wolves include 10 released last month and two that migrated from Wyoming.

The agency plans to update the wolf location map every fourth Wednesday of the month.

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Boulder Chef Recognized by Prestigious Culinary Society

Chef Daniel Asher from Boulder’s River and Woods will be inducted into Les Disciples d’Escoffier this week. The society, honoring Auguste Escoffier, recognizes notable chefs.

Asher, who also contributes to KGNU’s Kitchen Table Talk and owns Acreage Cider House and Restaurant in Lafayette and Ash’Kara in Denver, is known for his advocacy in food equity, social justice, and regenerative agriculture.

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Kennedy Pickering


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