Headlines January 15, 2021

Headlines January 15, 2021

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State & Local Covid-19 Statistics

There are 822 patients currently hospitalized with the virus in Colorado as of yesterday and the seven-day, moving average positivity rate decreased to 6.47%, according to the latest data from the Colorado Dept. of Public Health and Environment.

Additionally, 223,827 people have been immunized with one dose of the vaccine as of Jan. 14, and 46,897 have been immunized with two doses. Both vaccines currently authorized are about 95% effective and require two doses to achieve immunization.

The Boulder County Public Health Department reported Thursday that one resident with COVID-19 died and that there are 78 new cases.

Opponents of Space Command Move Look to Biden

When President-elect Joe Biden takes the reins next Wednesday, Colorado lawmakers will ask him to overturn a decision made by President Donald Trump to move the U.S. Space Command in Colorado Springs to Huntsville Alabama. It’s already likely that a congressional probe will be requested to determine how the decision was reached – which many suspect was purely political.

Several Pentagon insiders and lawmakers say the move bypassed the military’s top pick of Colorado Springs, the unit’s current home.

9news.com reports that Colorado Springs Republican U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, a Trump loyalist, decided to break with the administration. Lamborn believes that the administration’s decision was probably made when political advisors gave bad information. He went on to say that competition between any other facility would have Colorado on top, and he added that relocating SPACECOM would materially damage national security.

Colorado Governor Jared Polis said that reports say that the in-depth military process found Colorado Springs to be the best location for military readiness and cost. Polis feels that this move threatens jobs in the Springs area and could cause serious economic damage.

The U.S. Space Command had been temporarily located to Colorado Springs in 2020 and the Air Force decided to keep the command in Colorado Springs until at least 2026.

If Congress is to investigate what motivated the decision, information requests made by the public would be taken into consideration.

Environmental Activists Want Trump Policies Overturned

A government watchdog group, Accountable.US, is calling on President-Elect Biden and Congress to reverse harmful Trump administration policies that jeopardize climate protections and were finalized over the last four years. Charging that most were favors to industry and former lobbyists for large corporations that focused on maximizing profits, not protecting the environment, spokesperson for the group, Chris Saeger says the incoming Biden administration and Congress are duty-bound to fix the damage done over the past four years as quickly as possible.

Some of the protections they hope the new administration will restore include the halt of any lease sales or oil production in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; reinstatement of rules to prevent fracking companies from abusing weak state regulations; and reinforcement of strong standards for vehicles’ fuel and carbon dioxide emissions. The group is also calling on the Biden administration to reinstate reputable climate scientists who were removed and replaced by science skeptics by the Trump administration.

New ID System Adopted in Colorado

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment will partner with ID.me to implement an identification verification system required under the latest federal stimulus package that officials also hope will cut down on the amount of fraud within both the regular and federal unemployment insurance system. Colorado has until Jan. 26 to implement the federal ID verification requirement.

At the same time, state officials don’t expect to start paying extended unemployment benefits until late January or early February, matching their earlier projections. Congress approved the new benefits with the second stimulus package late last month. The law includes between 11 and 15 additional weeks of unemployment benefits for both regular unemployment and the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, along with a $300 boost for 11 weeks.

Colorado Teachers Want Lawmakers To Approve New Resources

With the Colorado Legislature back at work this week, the state’s largest union of educators is calling on lawmakers to increase funding, make classrooms safe, and help attract and retain top-notch teachers. Amie Baca-Oehlert with the Colorado Education Association says she’s looking forward to working with lawmakers to ensure that educators get the resources they need to provide students with a quality public education, regardless of their ZIP Code or the amount of money their family earns.
“In a time where we are trying to address the needs in a global pandemic in educating our students, we need the Legislature to prioritize funding for our students, and for our public schools,” said Oehlert.

Last spring, lost revenues in the economic fallout of the public-health emergency led to state lawmakers increasing what’s known as the budget stabilization factor, or the amount the state would underfund public education, to more than one-billion dollars. Baca-Oehlert believes it’s time for the state to find new revenue sources. That includes closing corporate tax loopholes, which she says take vital resources out-of-state during a time of great need for public services, including schools.

Boulder Interviews Police Panel Applicants

Interviews will continue today for Boulder residents who have applied for a spot on Boulder’s first community police oversight panel. The panel will review complaint investigation files and can make disciplinary, policy, and training recommendations to the Boulder Police Department, according to the city.

In addition to the police oversight panel, the city last summer hired its first independent police monitor. The 18 finalists who will interview for the panel were selected from 53 applicants. The interviews began yesterday and resume today from 4:30 to 7 p.m.; and next week on Tuesday and Wednesday. The interviews are being streamed live on the city’s website at bouldercolorado.gov.