Headlines June 22, 2020

Headlines June 22, 2020

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A statewide ballot measure that would lead to a Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program officially launched its campaign today.

Representatives of Colorado Families First, the group behind the ballot measure spoke today on a press conference call and outlined the need to have a measure that would give workers in the state access to paid family and medical leave benefits.

Alta Reese, a home care worker and member of Colorado Care Workers Unite shared her story of having to go back to work just weeks after giving birth by caesarian section.

“Families in general need that time to bond with their family and do what they need to do and be the best they can be,” she said.

The campaign started with three different ballot measures but is now focusing on gathering signatures for Initiative #283 which would give an exemption from paying premiums to businesses with fewer than 10 workers.

For the measure to get on the statewide ballot this November, the campaign must collect approximately 124,000 valid signatures by August 3.

Today a coalition of conservation groups filed a lawsuit against the Colorado Air Pollution Control Division for issuing an air-pollution permit for an oil and gas well in Adams County.

The lawsuit was filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club in Colorado.

According to a statement from the plaintiffs, the oil and gas air-pollution permit is one of thousands the Air Pollution Control Division has issued to oil and gas operations that does not require any testing of the actual pollution coming from the oil and gas well.

They also say that the agency does not evaluate the cumulative impacts of air pollution from this oil and gas well pad.

The entire Denver Metro/North Front Range area, including Adams County, has been out of compliance with national air quality standards for more than a decade.

The City of Boulder will host a virtual town hall meeting this Thursday to give community members an opportunity to ask questions of the final candidates for the city’s first ever Independent Police Monitor position.

The Monitor will be a civilian who will establish and lead the operations of the Independent Police Oversight Office. The goal is for them to provide independent oversight that’s aimed at improving police policy and operations while ensuring the community receives efficient and lawful police services.

Boulder City Council last October gave unanimous final approval to recommendations from the Police Oversight Task Force to install a monitor that would investigate complaints against officers, along with a new panel of community members to evaluate the monitor.

According to a press release, the city is currently narrowing the finalist list to one or two candidates.

The virtual town hall will be hosted Thursday, June 25 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. This will be an online session and interested community members will need to register in advance. Find out more at https://bouldercolorado.gov/.

 

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The City of Boulder announced plans Friday to implement an emergency order that will give the city new ways to address large gatherings on private property.

The move comes as the city has seen a spike in new coronavirus cases, many of which have been traced to parties on the Hill near the CU campus.

The order amends the definition of a Public Nuisance, and officials can now pursue abatement, if a property repeatedly has noise violations or hosts large gatherings.

According to a statement from the city, recent parties and subsequent increase in transmission of COVID-19, particularly among student and youth populations, suggest that warnings and education are not changing behavior.

The city claims that 12 residences have already been identified as repeatedly violating the public health orders on large gatherings.

If any of those 12 properties violate the code again, the city says the result is likely to include mediation with property owners and tenants to address the problem.

If there is still a failure to comply, it could result in revocation of rental licenses, which would also force tenants to vacate.

On Sunday Boulder County reported 14 new coronavirus cases, but no new deaths. The increase yesterday was the smallest since last week when officials announced a surge of new infections.

Every year PrideFest brings out thousands to celebrate LGBTQ rights and life, but this year that could not happen due to COVID-19. So the event went virtual with various media organizations participating in among other things a virtual Pride Parade.

Daniel Ramos, the Executive Director of One Colorado told Denver7 that it looked much different this year when most celebrated Pride from home instead of marching down the street or dancing together for Pride weekend.

Also going virtual was a rally noting the Supreme Court’s ruling last week affirming transgender rights.

There were other marches and rallies around the metro area.

In Longmont on Friday afternoon a crowd gathered downtown for the Defend Black Lives protest. The Daily Camera reports that the event was part of a pledge called In Defense of Black Lives, demanding the defunding of police, and investment in black communities.

The Longmont rally also marked Juneteenth, the anniversary of the day in 1865 when enslaved black communities in Texas finally received the news that they were free.

And in Boulder, employees of Twitter’s office gathered across from Central Park on Friday to participate in a Black Lives Matter protest they organized in honor of Juneteenth.

Erin Simpson, a manager at Twitter told the Daily Camera that this is the first year the social media company honored Juneteenth as a holiday.

And in Denver’s Stapleton neighborhood, hundreds gathered on Saturday to celebrate the impending change of the area’s name. 9News reports that the development is currently named for former Denver Mayor Benjamin Stapleton, who was a member of the KKK. But the neighborhood association is putting together a list of new names that they will then allow the public to vote on.

And in downtown Denver, hundreds of skateboarders gathered in the Push for Progress rally, at the state Capitol and then rode two miles to Commons Park.  This year the participants used the ride to speak against racism and police brutality.

A dark money political action committee is supporting former Governor John Hickenlooper who faces Andrew Romanoff in the Democratic primary election on June 30th to challenge Republican Cory Gardner for his senate seat in November.

The Colorado Sun reports that allies of Hickenlooper are rushing to his aid to launch a major television ad buy including a spot slamming Romanoff’s immigration record.

Romanoff has apologized at length for his stance on prior measures.

The mysterious group supporting the former governor is known as – Let’s Turn Colorado Blue – and is registered to a Denverite named Mannie Rodriguez but separately lists its address as a house in Lafayette.

Rodriguez said in a written statement, “Let’s Turn Colorado Blue is made up of people who know that our best shot at defeating Cory Gardner is with former Governor John Hickenlooper, a proven and effective leader who will look out for all of us.”

Curtis Hubbard, a spokesman for Let’s Turn Colorado Blue and a vocal Hickenlooper supporter, declined to say where the group’s funding is from.

Meanwhile, both Democratic Senators Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker threw their support behind Hickenlooper in posts on social media.

On Friday, a federal judge decided that the State of Colorado is not required to enforce the Trump administration’s rollback of laws that protect water.

The U.S. District Court for Colorado placed a stay on the enforcement of the new changes to WOTUS, which stands for waters of the US.

KDVR reports that the Clean Water Act protects streams, wetlands, and rivers from pollution and previously included streams that run because of melting snow or precipitation, and wetlands that aren’t connected on the surface to larger bodies of water.

But the Trump administration’s new rule would have left much of those bodies without protection from pollution and development.

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, whose office sued the federal government, said that the rollback of important protections would create irreparable damage to Colorado.

A spokesperson for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said that the ruling allows them to preserve the rigorous review and issuance of permits that allow projects to go forward if they protect waters and the environment in the state.

Meanwhile, a federal Judge in California on Friday rejected a request for a nationwide injunction against the new rule. Other suits attacking the regulation are pending across the country.