March 9, 2023
Headlines — March 9, 2023 Stacie Johnson
State House Committee Passes Bill To Protect Homeowners From Underinsurance
Colorado lawmakers in the House advanced a bill out of committee Wednesday that aims to require insurance companies to offer a variety of homeowner policies, including repair and replacement coverage, extended replacement, and inflation protection. The stated aim of the bill is to combat underinsurance of homes in disaster-prone areas. House Bill 1174 would also require the Colorado Division of Insurance to hire an independent third party to compile an annual report that provides estimates of reconstruction costs for every region of the state.
Colorado would be the first state to compile such data for homeowners, according to CBS Colorado. State Insurance Commissioner Mike Conway says the data will help homeowners know if their insurance estimates are aligned with the value of their homes.
HB 1174, whose primary sponsor is Rep. Judy Amabile of Boulder, will next go to the House Appropriations Committee.
Colorado Lawmakers Hold First Committee Meeting On Rising Utility Costs
Colorado lawmakers also met this week to look into rising utility costs in the state. In Tuesday’s meeting, State Senate President Steve Fenberg questioned Colorado public utility models following a steep increase in utility rates. The committee aims to address why utility bill rates have been climbing while utility company profits – and applications for energy assistance – are high. Colorado public utilities operate under the regulatory compact, meaning Xcel Energy can essentially operate as a monopoly while keeping consumer prices reasonable.
Colorado House Passes Bill Capping Out-Of-Pocket Costs For EpiPens
The Colorado House passed a bill Wednesday that aims to cap out-of-pocket costs for EpiPens. EpiPens are the trademark auto-injector medicine that counters severe allergic reactions. Along with requiring insurance companies to cap the out-of-pocket cost, House Bill 1002 would also provide an affordability program for uninsured Coloradans. Sponsors to the bill say although EpiPens cost $8 to make, a two-pack costs $690 without insurance and they also expire after 12 months. According to the Denver Gazette, nearly 566,000 Coloradans have life-threatening food allergies, including just over 100,000 minors.
Golden West’s Assisted Living Completes Closure With Many Residents Moving Out Of Boulder
Golden West, a Boulder-based nonprofit that provided assisted living care at its Mezzanine center, completed its closure March 4. The organization told the Boulder Reporting Lab that all the center’s former 33 residents, which included long-time Boulder residents, have moved and scattered to different parts of Colorado, including one person moving to Washington, D.C. Golden West announced in January it had to shut down the Mezzanine because of financial reasons.
Residents and staff told the Boulder Reporting Lab the transition was emotional and challenging as many residents struggled to find another place they could afford. The Mezzanine home was one of the last in Boulder to accept Medicaid and, according to county officials, at least four assisted living centers in Boulder County have closed in the last year.
Colorado AG Report Says Social Media Creates Ease For Illegal Drug Sales
The Colorado Attorney General released a report Wednesday on the ease of ordering illegal drugs through social media. Social media platforms and apps like Facebook, Snapchat, and WhatsApp were all reportedly hot spots for drug trafficking in the 182 page report. It also detailed ways customers and dealers communicated through code like emojis that were symbols for different types of drugs.
Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said the report shows that the platforms have been inconsistent with their approach to halt the trafficking of illegal substances on their sites. Companies like Tik Tok, Meta, and Snapchat already have guidelines prohibiting the advertisement of illegal substances on their site, but not enough is being done to completely solve the issue. Weiser has urged social media companies to look further into the matter and create stricter guidelines to fight it. Nearly 2,000 Coloradans died from drug overdoses in 2021, and the current report identifies social media apps as a primary marketplace for acquiring illegal substances.
Boulder Library District Seeking Board of Trustee Applicants
The selection committee to the new voter approved Boulder Library District is accepting applications for community members who live in the district to become part of the seven-member board of trustees. The new board will help develop the initial governance and district budget. It will also coordinate the transferring of Boulder Library’s assets and liabilities from the City of Boulder. The district includes the City of Boulder and unincorporated parts of Boulder County. Members to the selection committee include Boulder County Commissioners Claire Levy and Marta Loachamin, Boulder Mayor Aaron Brocket, and City Councilperson Nicole Speer. Interested applicants must apply by 5pm on March 29 at the Library District webpage of the Boulder County website.
Groundbreaking For New North Boulder Library Set For April 5th
The Boulder Library Foundation announced Wednesday the rescheduled groundbreaking for the new North Boulder Library will occur next month. Library officials originally planned the event for mid-February, but delayed it due to cold and snowy conditions. The new 11,000 square foot building slated for 4500 13th Street will have a public plaza, an outdoor maker space, a playground, and a learning garden.
New Greeley Library Set To Open In May
Construction crews in downtown Greeley are nearing completion of the 62,000 square foot Library Innovation Center or LINC for short. The LINC building, which is at the former location of the Greeley Tribune, is part of the Weld County High Plains Library District. High Plains officials expect the building will open in May.
Thornton Officials Break Ground On New Community Center & Anythink Library Branch
Thornton officials broke ground on the new 40,000 square-foot community center last month. The new facility will include a 10,000 square foot branch of the Anythink Library. Along with recreation and library spaces, plans for the new building include a coffee lounge, teen area, and a community makerspace. Outdoor amenities include playing fields, a skate park, and a meditation garden.
East High Chapter of Students Demand Action Hosting Gun Violence Summit
The Denver East High School Chapter of Students Demand Action is hosting a gun violence summit today starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Boetcher Concert Hall of the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Organizers say students have had to face shootings of two students this year alone including one that resulted in the death of classmate Luis Garcia. State Reps. Elisabeth Epps, Alex Valdez, and State Senator Chris Hansen, along with school administrators and law enforcement will join the summit to discuss the ongoing gun safety crisis in schools. Planners are requiring attendees to go through security check-in upon arrival.
Headlines — March 9, 2023 Stacie Johnson