Headlines – April 12, 2023

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    Headlines – April 12, 2023 Alyssa Palazzo

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Federal Proposal To Reduce Colorado River

The federal government is floating a set of three proposals to prevent the Colorado River from drying up as it moves through drought-stricken Arizona, Nevada and California.

The first of the three options is for the Bureau of Reclamation to take no additional action, and the river’s conditions would likely continue to diminish.

For the second option, federal officials would decide in the coming weeks if they plan to impose water cuts based on the system of water-rights seniority known as prior appropriation. This proposal would deeply affect newer and fast-growing cities in Arizona.  

The third option makes broad cuts affecting the California parts of the river which in recent years has held up negotiations. 

The proposals follow a multi-decade drought affecting the country’s largest reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell. 

Federal officials are accepting public comments for a 45-day period which started yesterday. 

Colorado Gun Lawsuits Bill

Gov. Jared Polis has moved to weaken legislation intended to make filing lawsuits against the gun industry easier in Colorado. 

The Colorado Sun reports that the governor’s office met with an ad hoc committee of legislators last week to remove provisions intended to prevent children and criminals from obtaining weapons via gun retailers and “implement reasonable controls” when buyers intend to hurt themselves or others.

These measures were a part of Senate Bill 168 proposed by Democrats earlier this year. Supporters of the original bill continue to support the amended version, while expressing disappointment that it doesn’t go as far as the original. 

Three additional bills affecting gun laws are pending the governor’s approval.

Hospital Community-Benefit Bill Advances In House

The Colorado House of Representatives voted to pass a bill yesterday aimed at strengthening healthcare services for communities statewide. 

This bill aims to direct hospitals’ community benefit spending towards underprivileged communities by implementing community feedback and restricting the amount of out of state spending that qualifies as community benefit despite being beyond Colorado’s borders. 

The legislation would require the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing to hold weekly stakeholder meetings to ensure fair representation in the spending plan.

Boulder County Rep. Judy Amabile sponsored the bill, which passed out of the House yesterday by a vote of 48 to 13. 

City Launches Building Home To Support Recently Housed Community Members

The City of Boulder has launched a new program called Building Home to help newly housed community members transition into and maintain stable housing.

This new program will work with Permanent Supportive Housing, or PSH, which supports people currently experiencing homelessness. 

Building Home will match someone newly housed to someone who has been in the PSH for under two years. 

Megan Newton, the policy advisor for Housing and Human Services, said in a city press release that the effort supports “an essential safety net that has been shown to increase the success of newly housed community members remaining in housing.”

The services intend to build a sense of community, help with housing retention, reduce feelings of isolation, and teach life skills to the participants. 

Low-Income Energy Assistance Program

The Colorado Department of Human Services is encouraging eligible Colorado residents to apply for the state’s low-income Energy Assistance Program or LEAP.

Eligible households can get support covering winter home heating bills. 

The program sends a one-time payment directly to the household’s utility provider. The average benefit is around $441.

Theresa Kullen, manager of the LEAP program, says “the recent reduction in SNAP benefits and the cost of heating up more than 35 percent over the last two winters, the choice between heating or eating is real for too many in our communities.”

Coloradans earning less than 60 percent of the state’s median income may be eligible.  

The deadline to apply for LEAP assistance is May 1.

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    Headlines – April 12, 2023 Alyssa Palazzo

Alyssa Palazzo

Alyssa Palazzo

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