01_30_24 Headlines (PM) Kennedy Pickering
First hearing for housing bills, cash for people leaving prison and other issues at the Colorado legislature this week
With 101 days left in the 120-day state legislative session, key bills are officially making their way through committee hearings this week. On Monday, the Judiciary Committee discussed a bill that proposes a pilot program offering up to $3,000 to individuals leaving prison if they enroll in workforce development programs.
Today, the House Transportation, Housing & Local Government Committee is set to review several housing bills: The first– which is backed by Democratic leaders and housing advocates–aims to regulate tenant evictions and offers tenants a right of first refusal for lease renewals.
The other targets so-called “arbitrary” occupancy limits – and proposes that any limits be based on square footage. Legislators will review another renter-focused bill in February. It would impact short term rentals by reclassifying properties from residential to lodging. On Wednesday, legislatures will discuss a house Bill which limits companies from using algorithms to fix rent prices.
And to wrap up the week, on Thursday, three committee hearings are scheduled, one that looks at pay for state officials, another to ban to-go and delivery of alcoholic beverages, and one that would fund History Colorado to conduct a survey evaluating the way the racist state’s policies have impacted and continue to impact Black Coloradans.
Money pours into Colorado Democrats legislative primaries
With state elections 5 months away, Colorado Democrats have already raised $1.1 million in campaign funding. According to financial reports, Democrats have culminated sums around $100,000 for some House and Senate seats.
According to The Denver Post, Democrats’ spending in primaries has gone up in recent years. The rise comes in part as Republicans lose seats and political polarization increases.
70 businesses in Denver receive grant to offset negative impacts of homelessness encampments
About 70 Denver businesses will receive up to $15,000 in grant money to help mitigative negative impacts incurred because of homelessness.
The money comes from Colorado’s unspent $1.5 billion dollars in American Rescue Plan Act funding—or ARPA. State officials are distributing the grants based on businesses gross revenue and their proximity to homeless encampments.
In the last 2 years close to $7 million dollars in federal funding has been given to Denver businesses to help them combat the impacts of the pandemic.
Commission denies drilling application at Coyote Trails in Erie.
The Colorado Energy and Carbon Management Commission (CECMC) denied drilling permits for a Denver-based Extraction Oil and Gas last week. The commission voted 4-1 to deny the permits, which would have allowed for the additional drilling and hydraulic fracturing of 18 wells at Coyote Trails after Erie and Broomfield presented information opposing the drilling.
The proposed drilling pad is located outside Erie’s limits, near the intersection of Sheridan Parkway and Weld County Road 4. According to the Daily Camera, the cities of Erie and Broomfield were given 15 minutes to express their opposition to the drilling.
The CECMC approved Coyote Trails for 45 drilling pads in 2017, but only 27 wells were drilled at that time. The cities of Erie and Broomfield asked to be a part of the hearing due to the location being approved in 2017 which was before the passing of Senate Bill 19-181 that was signed in 2019 by Colorado Governor Jared Polis.
The bill gives local governments regulatory authority over the surface impacts of oil and gas developments.
Northern Coloradans file lawsuit to prevent construction of dam north of Fort Collin
The Army Corps of Engineers is now facing a lawsuit from Save the Poudre, a Northern Colorado environmental group. The lawsuit aims to prevent the construction of a new reservoir north of Fort Collins.
Save the Poudre is an organization that has been working to preserve the Poudre River for decades. Their lawsuit alleges that the Army Corps of Engineers improperly granted construction permits for the Northern Integrated Supply Project, or NIss, which would create a reservoir over a major section of Highway 287.
According to NISP, the reservoir would help store and distribute water to growing communities along the Front Range. Opponents say it is unnecessary and would cause irreparable damage to the ecosystem.