Headlines January 1, 2021
Colorado Minimum Wage Increase Starts Today
Starting today, many low-wage workers across the U.S. are getting a pay bump. Twenty states including Colorado are raising their minimum wage rates — some by pennies, others by a dollar or more — as part of the previously-scheduled adjustment for cost-of-living gains or to ratchet up toward goals like $15-an-hour minimum pay. In New Mexico, the minimum wage will increase to $10.50, up $1.50 from the current $9 wage. And in California, the rate for employers with 26 workers or more will rise from $13 to $14 an hour, the highest state-wide baseline in the country. Colorado’s minimum wage will bump up by 32 cents, meaning the minimum wage will now be $12.32.
Colorado Boosts Fees at Six State Parks
2020 saw a big jump in visitors at some of Colorado’s state parks, and beginning today the state says it needs to increase fees for those parks.
Starting New Year’s Day, visitors into six Colorado state parks will pay $1 more for what Colorado Parks and Wildlife is calling a “high-use fee”.
Lake Pueblo, Golden Gate, Staunton, Castlewood Canyon, Roxborough, and Highline State Parks will all pay the $1 more increase to mitigate 2020’s extra expenses and resource strains. The state parks are in need of maintenance funds after a year of record park visitation, record drownings, and increased protocols for COVID-19.
The pay increase will help in trash collection, temporary staffing, and additional wear-and-tear on facilities.
Cherry Creek, Chatfield, Boyd Lake, and Eldorado Canyon State Parks have already added high-use fees.
Eldorado Canyon State Park typically hits capacity every day during the summer. CPW has begun working with Boulder to offer a shuttle service during those busy months. Other state parks may do something similar to help with congestion.
Passes to the 42 Colorado state parks can be purchased at CPWshop.com.
January Marks Onset of New Colorado Laws
Starting today employers will face new requirements when it comes to posting job openings and promotions that are available within the company. The bill is aimed at preventing wage discrimination between employees for performing the same duties.
A second bill requires employers to offer 48 hours of paid sick leave for employees. It stemmed from the COVID-19 pandemic and allows employees to begin accruing paid sick leave as soon as their employment begins. That sick leave can then be carried forwards in subsequent calendar years up to 48 hours. Employees will be able to use the sick leave for a mental or physical illness, to care for a sick family member, for instances of domestic abuse or assault, or in instances where a child’s school has been closed.
Another new law taking effect today that came out of the pandemic expands the qualifications for who can apply for unemployment insurance. And it prohibits landlords from asking a tenant about their citizenship status. It stemmed from an incident where an immigrant who came to the U.S. as a child was asked about his immigration status and country of origin while filling out an application and was denied housing. The new law prohibits landlords from including the question on a housing application.
Making the enrollment process for health care coverage, particularly for people using Colorado’s state exchange, easier to understand is the aim of another bill. It creates an easy enrollment program to offer free or subsidized health care coverage for people who are uninsured.
Finally, starting tomorrow retail marijuana stores will be able to begin delivery if it has been approved in the local jurisdiction. Medical marijuana delivery began last year.
Longmont Homeowners See Electric, Water Rate Hikes
Longmont’s electric and water rates are increasing in January. The 2021 municipal water and electric charges are the second year of rate hikes in a multiple-year rate hikes schedule.
New Year’s Day Closures
It’s Friday – but it’s also a holiday and that means most places are closed today. Parking is free at city parking garages, parking lots, and on-street pay parking areas today.
Steamboat Woman, 103, Survives Covid-19
Good news in the COVID battle today. Colorado’s Lucile Ransom has been through a lot in her life. As a little girl, she lived through the 1918 pandemic. She suffered the loss of a child, recovered from two broken hips, and survived breast cancer at age 80. Now at 103, she has survived COVID-19. Ransom, is the oldest resident living at her retirement community in Steamboat Springs.