Headlines April 22, 2021
Additional Charges Filed Against King Sooper Shooting Suspect
43 additional charges were filed Wednesday against the suspect in last month’s mass shooting at King Soopers in South Boulder. Most of the new charges are for attempted murder of police officers and people in the store. The suspect—Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa—was already charged with ten counts of first-degree murder for the victims killed in the shooting. In addition to the new attempted murder charges, the Boulder District Attorney’s office also ten counts of felony possession of a prohibited large capacity magazine. The suspect is scheduled for a status conference on May 25th. By then it’s expected that a mental health assessment will be completed.
Environmental Groups Drop Case Against Windy Gap Firming Project
The settlement agreement ends the litigation over the Colorado River water diversion and reservoir project. The $15 million settlement is to address concerns about the proposed project’s water quality and ecological effects in Grand County.
KUNC reports that the Windy Gap Firming Project includes the construction of Chimney Hollow Reservoir west of Loveland. The new reservoir would hold water transported across the Continental Divide from the series of reservoirs at the Colorado River’s headwaters in Grand County. The stored water would be set aside for a group of growing Front Range cities.
The settlement agreement signals the end of a years-long legal battle to build in some environmental protections to the Windy Gap Firming Project’s construction and operation.
Despite the additional funding, representatives from the environmental coalition that sued to halt construction remained alarmed about the project’s legal success, and said the $15 million is a drop in the bucket.
Gary Wockner, director of Save the Colorado, one of environmental groups who initiated the lawsuit, feels that the settlement is not a win. He said that the $15 million barely cushions the massive negative impacts caused by the Windy Gap Firming Project.
Bill Passes Helping Ex-Prisoners Gain State ID
Colorado legislators passed a bill Wednesday that will make it easier for people exiting the prison system to obtain state-issued identification.
SB-153 calls on the Department of Corrections to create a program through which offenders will be able to secure identification prior to release. It builds upon a pre-existing administrative rule that came into effect in 2013 and has since gained broad bipartisan support.
Kyle Piccola with Healthier Colorado, an organization backing the measure, says, “Upon exiting the prison system, people face so many hurdles as it is, and we wanted to make sure that having an ID isn’t one of them.” Piccola believes having a state ID is crucial to accessing employment and housing and opening a bank account. He notes a quick transition to self-sufficiency is in the broader interests of society. “The first period of time after release is an extremely important time to make sure that somebody settles securely… and obtaining a state ID before you exit the prison system is one of those barriers that we’re going to eliminate right off the bat.”
SB 153 enjoyed ample bipartisan support and Gov. Jared Polis is expected to sign it into law.