Headlines May 19, 2021

Headlines May 19, 2021

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Proposed Camping Ban in Aurora Is Criticized

A proposed ban on urban camping in Aurora is being criticized by elected leaders in the city.

Mayor Mike Coffman is expected to introduce a ban later this week. In a string of Tweets Coffman, a Republican and the former U.S. representative from that area, said the measure would prohibit camping in Aurora.

Councilmember Juan Marcano called the proposed ban inhumane and a waste of taxpayer dollars and a waste of police resources – adding that it’s the kind of bad public policy that will appeal to some people’s worst instincts while producing no positive results.

The Denver Post reports that a camping ban in Colorado’s third-largest city would follow similar moves in Denver and Boulder.

Denver has faced legal challenges to its ban, as the city has struggled to enforce the measure in an environment of rapidly escalating home and rental prices and lagging inventory.

The Boulder City Council in January agreed to continue enforcing its camping ban, though several council members felt more discussion was needed about providing additional services and safe spaces for those experiencing homelessness.

Boulder Council Gets Update about Mask Wearing from County Health

The about-face last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID led to a special update on the topic at last night’s Boulder City Council meeting.

Lexi Nolen with the county health department said there is still community spread of COVID, but cases have declined overall since mid-December, as vaccinations have steadily risen. She also provided advice on face-coverings.

“If you are not yet vaccinated, we strongly recommend that you wear a mask,” says Nolen. “If you are not yet vaccinated, you will still be required to wear a mask in a health care facility setting, school, or jail.  And in fact in a school setting, the congregate setting and the health care settings masks will still be required regardless of vaccination status, because in a school setting most people are not vaccinated, and in the health care long term care facility setting those are just very high risk settings with high risk folks in them. The state’s face covering order is in effect until June 1st and our local order will align to match that timeline for the most part.”

Nolen said the Health Department has not heard of a case in Colorado where someone with the vaccine has died of COVID. She reported that 70% of Boulder County’s adult population has been vaccinated and noted that the less-dense areas of the county have the lowest vaccination rates.

CU Regents to Vote on Kennedy’s Departure

The Regents of the University of Colorado are scheduled to vote this morning on an agreement outlining the terms of CU President Mark Kennedy’s departure.

Last week it was announced that Kennedy would be stepping down in the coming months after about two years on the job.

He was censured weeks ago by the CU Boulder faculty and students for his handling of diversity issues.

An agenda for today’s meeting says that it will begin with a vote to allow the expiration of Kennedy’s employment at the end of his followed by a vote to approve a transition agreement and release.

Details about the agreement, including a payout, have not yet been made available.

A spokesperson for the university previously told The Denver Post that Kennedy’s looming departure was precipitated by the Board of Regents, who recently flipped from a Republican majority to Democratic for the first time in nearly four decades.

Legislature Advances Measure to Improve Health Care for Incarcerated Pregnant Women

A bill pending at the Colorado legislature seeks to improve health care for pregnant women, including those who are incarcerated. The effort comes about three years after a woman filed a federal lawsuit after giving birth in a Denver jail cell with no medical care.

The Denver Post reports that Diana Sanchez gave birth alone in her cell after deputies and nurses allegedly ignored her pleas during about five hours of labor. She settled with the city of Denver on her behalf and that of her son, for nearly half a million dollars.

The bill in the legislature would establish requirements for facilities incarcerating pregnant women to have staff training, policies to promote health and safety, and connect women in their postpartum period to community resources.  The measure was passed by a committee of the state House of Representatives yesterday.