Headlines — March 7, 2023

March 7, 2023

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    Headlines — March 7, 2023 Alyssa Palazzo

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Gun Purchase Waiting Period Bill

A gun safety measure aimed at establishing a mandatory three-day waiting period for purchasing a firearm has cleared a State House committee.

The House State, Civic, Military, and Veterans Affairs Committee passed House Bill 23 12-19 yesterday by a 7-4 vote.

Boulder Representative Judy Amabile said waiting periods save lives because they give others a chance to intervene in cases where people are considering using a gun for self-harm or against others.

Under current law, gun buyers must undergo a background check, but those often take fewer than three days.

State Regulators Order Xcel Energy To File Fees And Timelines

State regulators have given Xcel Energy 45 days to file fees and timelines for connecting its solar power customers to the electric grid.

Citing an “unprecedented number of complaints” about Xcel Energy’s inaction, the Colorado Public Utilities Commission ordered Xcel to file fees and timelines or be prepared to refund customers if deadlines aren’t met.

That order comes more than a year after the Commission approved rules that require utilities to submit the fees.

Property owners and solar power installers say they have waited for months to get applications approved and that Xcel has not been responsive to complaints.

One regulator told the Denver Post that oversight of Xcel needs to be improved.

VP Harris Denver Visit Discusses Climate Crisis

Vice President Kamala Harris made her first visit to Colorado in two years yesterday, and as KGNU’s Steve Miller reports, spent much of her visit discussing climate change.

Vice President Kamala Harris spoke at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities yesterday, where she highlighted recently enacted policies by the Biden administration, including the $1 trillion infrastructure bill passed by Congress in 2021. 

The Colorado Sun reports that Vice President Harris also brought up increasing water storage and the potential for the U.S. to step further into electric school bus manufacturing.

Harris said the administration is working with new satellite technology that maps water around the globe, showing trends and where water is being lost. She said she would like to see that information distributed to farmers so they can make decisions about when and what kind of crops to use.

Governor Jared Polis also spoke, adding that having the vice president here in Colorado made sense to discuss the environment, climate, and sustainability. He said in Colorado, like other parts of the west, extreme drought threatens agriculture and the recreation industry.

Colorado Man Charged For Jan. 6 Insurrection

A Colorado man will be sentenced this June for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection in Washington, DC.

26-year-old Robert Gieswein pleaded guilty yesterday to two Federal charges of assaulting or interfering with a federal officer. In exchange for his pleas, prosecutors will drop nine other counts against him.

Each of the counts he pleaded guilty to carry penalties of up to eight years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Gieswein, of Woodland Park, was among thousands of rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol building. The Denver Post reports that Gieswein appears in a video wearing military garb and spraying a police officer as the officer attempted to keep the crowd at bay.

The Jan. 6 insurrection was an attempt to stop the certification of the 2020 presidential election, won by Joe Biden.

Colorado Man Pleads Guilty To Neguse Threats

Meanwhile, another man is facing 10 days in jail and eight years of probation for threats made against the office of Colorado Representative Joe Neguse.

47-year-old Travis David Chaudoir pleaded guilty to retaliation against an elected official, harassment and theft. He spent six months in jail before the case was resolved and was sentenced on Friday.

According to the Daily Camera, he made hundreds of threatening calls to Neguse’s Boulder office last May and similar calls to his Washington, DC, office. The Camera reports that police have copies of voicemails in which Chaudoir says, quote, “I want you all dead.”

The District Attorney’s office says Chaudoir may still be imprisoned if he fails to comply with conditions attached to his probation.

Denver Safe Outdoor Spaces Support 

The City of Denver’s support of Safe Outdoor Spaces will continue through at least 2024. 

Denver’s City Council approved a contract amendment yesterday with Colorado Village Collaborative to continue to support operations at three temporary, managed campsites for people experiencing homelessness.

The approved amendment will provide more than $7.5 million to Colorado Village Collaborative. Most of the budget comes from federal funds available through the American Rescue Plan Act. 

Safe Outdoor Spaces, or SOS, initiative is an alternative to congregate shelters. Currently, there are eight SOS locations across Denver. According to Denver’s Department of Housing, Stability Safe Outdoor Spaces have provided shelter for over 490 unhoused people in the city. Each gets their own tent, cot, sleeping bag, and storage unit, as well as access to bathrooms, food and other services.

Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock said that SOS sites are working and that the Colorado Village Collaborative has proven its shelter alternative is effective.

DMV Resume Operations Following Yesterday’s Outages

Drivers’ license offices in Colorado are expected to resume normal operations today after outages forced them all to close for much of yesterday.

So far, the outage has been described only as, quote, “a technical issue,” with no specific cause given.

By late afternoon Monday, the DMV website said that all state driver’s license offices were operating normally.

The Department said they’ll be reaching out to those who had appointments scheduled for yesterday to reschedule or offer alternative services.

Boulder County Grass Fire

Authorities have not yet stated the cause of a grass fire that burned two acres in East Boulder County yesterday.

Emergency crews from several districts responded to the fire, described as “slow-moving,” with flames about a foot high. It burned near 95th Street and Blue Heron Way. Mountain View Fire Rescue said they had it extinguished by mid-afternoon, though crews remained on the scene to make sure it was completely out.

There were no reported injuries, and no buildings were damaged.

The Daily Camera reported that in addition to Mountain View Fire Rescue, emergency crews from Lafayette, Louisville, and Boulder Rural Fire Rescue responded to the call.

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    Headlines — March 7, 2023 Alyssa Palazzo

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