Headlines – May 9, 2023 Alexis Kenyon
Colorado Legislative Session Ends
The Colorado Legislature has wrapped up its 2023 session, adjourning at midnight last night with a mixed bag of results.
Over the course of the session that convened in January, lawmakers addressed such issues as property taxes, gun safety, and abortion.
While State Democrats are hailing victories on issues they say are most important to Coloradans, State Republicans said their minority caucus was denied the opportunity to collaborate.
Democrats say their achievements this session include legislation to curb housing costs, such as the proposal to redirect a portion of TABOR refunds toward property tax relief.
Lawmakers passed, and Governor Jared Polis has signed into law, at least four major pieces of gun safety legislation, as the state and the nation continue to confront a record wave of gun violence. New laws include raising the minimum age to buy a firearm to twenty-one, and an Extreme Risk, or “red flag,” law, that expands those who can petition to keep guns from the hands of those deemed a risk to themselves or others.
Second Amendment advocates are challenging two of those new gun safety laws in court.
Lawmakers also passed bills that protect abortion patients and providers against out-of-state investigations, prohibit “deceptive” advertising from crisis pregnancy centers, and expand insurance coverage for abortion.
In a defeat for the governor, lawmakers rejected a housing proposal that would have imposed state mandates and stripped local governments of their authority over land use and zoning
Just Cause Eviction Bill Dies
In another Democratic setback, a measure dubbed the “Just Cause Eviction Bill” died in the State Senate. With only an hour left on Sunday night, Colorado lawmakers debated changes to the State’s property tax legislation and left the just cause eviction bill or House Bill 1171 without a vote.
The just cause eviction bill would have prevented landlords from evicting tenants who did not breach their lease agreement. Supporters said the bill would have decreased evictions and given tenants 30 days to leave if they received an eviction notice. As it stands, tenants have only 10 days to find a new place, often leaving many people – especially the disabled – unhoused.
In many states, including Colorado, landlords are not required to give a reason for eviction at the end of leases and in month-to-month housing situations.
In March, about 2000 Denver renters faced eviction – more than double pre-pandemic levels, according to The Denverite.
Melissa Mejia, the head of State and Local Policy with the Community Economic Defense Project, said that thousands of Colorado families are at risk of losing their homes because of historically high rents.
Close to 39,000 evictions in Colorado happen each year, according to state estimates.
After it fell, Representative Javier Mabrey, one of the bill’s supporters, tweeted, “We had the opportunity to make real change and protect our most vulnerable citizens, but we fell short.”
11,000 Colorado Student Borrowers To Receive Loan Forgiveness
More than 11,000 student loan borrowers in Colorado are among over 600,000 nationwide to have been approved for Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness is for public employees like teachers, law enforcement, and those in social services, who have made at least 120 qualifying monthly payments on federal student loans. The announcement by the U.S. Department of Education yesterday forgives the remaining balance for eligible borrowers and coincides with Public Service Recognition Week.
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said the Biden-Harris Administration is committed to Public Service Loan Forgiveness for those who have spent a decade or more in services to their communities and the country.
End Of Covid Means No More Free Home Tests For Coloradans
The federal public health emergency for COVID-19 ends on Thursday.
While the pandemic is no longer considered an emergency, health experts say it is still important to get vaccines and treatments, especially for those in high-risk groups. Also, this will be the end of free, at-home COVID tests, but rec centers in Denver will be giving out free at-home tests while supplies last.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment says the phone-based Exposure Notification app will be decommissioned Thursday. Users will receive a notification on their phones saying that the service is no longer operational and a prompt to delete their app. The exposure notification app was used because the COVID virus could spread before people had symptoms. It would spread so quickly that it would overwhelm manual contact-tracing efforts. Reports of new COVID cases are averaging below 200 per day in Colorado, which is as low as it’s been since the summer of 2020. Since the start of the pandemic in 2020, more than 1,100,000 people in the United States have died from the coronavirus. Of those, more than 15,000 were Coloradans.
Waterway Restoration Agreement Will Restore Platte River In Denver
A major waterway restoration agreement aimed at restoring a six-and-a-half-mile stretch of the South Platte River has been signed in Denver.
The Waterway Resiliency Program is an intergovernmental agreement expected to restore the South Platte from 6th Avenue to 58th Avenue in Denver and Adams Counties.
Officials are calling the multi-million dollar plan an investment in flood risk management, ecosystem restoration, and recreation.
Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Assistant Secretary Michael Connor signed the partnership agreement yesterday. The agreement establishes project goals, cost sharing, and funding reimbursement requirements, and designates the City and County of Denver as the project lead.
In a press release, the city said the project team will work to further define program plans.
CU Commencements: Polis at CU, Biden at Air Force Academy
CU Boulder’s Class of 2023 graduates this week. Commencement ceremonies are scheduled at Folsom Field at 8:30 Thursday morning. The commencement speaker is Governor Jared Polis.
On June 1st, President Joe Biden will deliver the commencement speech to the 2023 Air Force Academy graduating class. It’s the third time Biden has delivered the address at the Colorado Springs academy: the first two times during his terms as Vice President.
Biden will become the ninth President to speak at an Air Force Academy graduation.
Headlines – May 9, 2023 Alexis Kenyon