Headlines – April 13, 2023 benita
Juul Labs To Pay Settlement To 6 States, Including Colorado
The e-cigarette maker Juul Labs has agreed to pay Colorado over $30 million as part of a multistate settlement. Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser announced Wednesday that the company has settled a lawsuit claiming their marketing targeted young people, and misrepresented the health risks of their nicotine vaping products.
The state’s investigation into Juul’s marketing tactics found they used so-called brand ambassadors to distribute free samples, and hired social media influencers to help introduce addictive vaping to young Coloradans. This is the largest settlement Juul has had to pay for its role in the youth vaping crisis.
Juul will also pay New York, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Mexico and the District of Columbia from a total settlement fund of $462 million.
Federal Judges Appeal Abortion Pill Ban
Three federal judges ruled Wednesday that the abortion pill mifepristone can still be used for now. The decision temporarily narrowed a ruling by a lower court judge in Texas who had attempted to reverse the Food and Drug Administration’s 23-year-old approval of the drug.
Colorado joined a multi-state coalition of attorneys general to challenge the Texas judge’s decision. The case is expected to go to the Supreme Court.
Boulder Sees 5 Fentanyl Overdoses In 36 Hours
Boulder police are warning about a possible tainted or new strain of fentanyl in Boulder. Emergency workers have responded to five overdoses in the last 36 hours.
There have been 25 reported cases of drug overdoses this year.
Colorado House Democrats Advance Eviction Protections
Colorado House Democrats advanced a bill Wednesday to protect Coloradans who rely on public assistance programs from evictions. Democratic Rep. Junie Joseph of Boulder said the bill would help protect renters from being pushed out of housing over issues that could be worked out through landlord-tenant mediation.
House Bill 1120 would require a residential rental agreement to include mandatory mediation if the renter receives financial assistance from the government because of low-income or disabilities. Rental agreements would also have to include language stating the tenant has a right to mediation conducted by a third party at no cost before the landlord can file an eviction complaint with the court. In addition, renters who had not committed substantial violations could not be removed from the property by law enforcement officers for at least 30 days after the entry of judgment.
Much-Delayed Westminster Road Rage Trial Begins
A long-delayed murder trial is finally underway in Adams County District Court. The defendant is accused of killing a thirteen-year-old boy nearly five years ago, in what prosecutors say is a case of road rage.
Twenty-seven-year-old Jeremy Webster is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Vaughn Bigelow in June of 2018.
In opening arguments yesterday, prosecutors said Webster followed Meghan Bigelow’s car into a Westminster parking lot after being cut off in traffic.
Meghan Bigelow testified that Webster screamed at her, and that she yelled back at him. Bigelow said he was about to drive away, but stopped when she got out of her car to get images of his car’s license plate with her phone. When Webster exited his car, Bigelow said he had a gun, so she told her three sons to run. She walked in a different direction, but Webster followed her and shot her twice, including once in the head. Prosecutors said Webster then chased her boys and fatally shot thirteen-year-old Vaughn Bigelow, and wounded eight-year-old Asa Bigelow. A witness to the shootings was also wounded.
Webster has been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, according to The Associated Press. He has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, but prosecutors told jurors that the evidence will show he knew what he was doing.
The trial, delayed in part by the pandemic, is expected to last through April 27.
Denver Man Arrested For Stalking Rep. Neguse
A man who investigators say made repeated threatening phone calls to Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse of Lafayette is in custody, and facing charges of stalking, retaliation against an elected official, and bias-motivated crime.
Michael James Kennedy of Denver was arrested last week. He remains in custody on a $50,000 bond until he is transferred to Boulder County for a preliminary hearing on May 1.
In the phone calls, the 59-year-old suspect, who is white, allegedly made references to white supremacy and threatened to shoot Neguse, who is black, and who supports gun safety laws.
This is the second case involving allegations of threats against Neguse.
Colorado Officials Confirm Sulfur Dioxide Spike At Suncor Refinery
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment confirmed finding higher than normal levels of sulfur dioxide near the Suncor refinery in Commerce City Wednesday morning. Air monitors operated by the grassroots nonprofit Cultivando registered two separate and short spikes in sulfur dioxide. The Suncor refinery reported a brief malfunction in one of its sulfur recovery units yesterday.
The Suncor facility has only recently returned to normal operations after a months-long reduction in the wake of a December fire.
Headlines – April 13, 2023 benita