Headlines May 6, 2021

Headlines May 6, 2021

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Boulder Mask Ordinance Extended

Boulder County residents will be under a mask order for an additional 30 days as the Public Health Department continues to monitor rates of COVID-19 cases, vaccinations and hospitalizations. On Wednesday, Boulder County Public Health Acting Executive Director Lexi Nolen said the extended order is meant to protect those who are not yet vaccinated, including children. It aligns with the updated state protocol as well as Jefferson County’s requirements. The extended order requires that people wear masks at indoor public settings regardless of their vaccination status. And all businesses must continue to post signs at entrances instructing individuals to wear masks upon entry.

Lawmakers Consider Bill Requiring Insurers to Cover Mental Health Exams

More changes coming due to COVID, as Colorado lawmakers consider a bill that would require insurers to cover annual mental health wellness exams. Colorado would be paving the way for the rest of the nation should it pass. According to sponsors, the bill is an attempt to treat mental health like physical health is treated –especially because COVID-19 has exacerbated mental issues for many in the state. The mandate would take effect in 2022 and cover about 650,000 Coloradans.

Colorado Businesses Working Towards Post-Pandemic Recovery

In a report released yesterday by CU Boulder and Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, Colorado is building momentum towards making a full job recovery from the recession by 2022. But many Coloradans are still in need of jobs due to the pandemic.

The latest report shows a record 44,000 new corporations, nonprofits and other entities filed initial documents with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office in the first quarter of 2021. This is a 29% increase of the previous quarter.

Many industries have rebounded well from the recession but the leisure and hospitality sector face challenges, with 46% of jobs lost last year. CU Boulders Leeds of Business Research Division is projecting Colorado will add 90,000 jobs this year with continued growth into 2022.

Colorado’s labor force growth ranked first in the country and the state’s per capita personal income is 10th-highest but Colorado’s unemployment rate is 0.4 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate of 6%.

Settlement Reached Over Immigration Enforment Requirements 

A settlement has been reached in a lawsuit filed by the state of Colorado against the U.S. Department of Justice over immigration enforcement requirements. Colorado and several other states are set to have funding reinstated after the Biden administration repealed a policy that requires states cooperate with federal immigration enforcement in order to receive funds. The action ends a dispute regarding $2.7 million in federal law enforcement funding withheld by the Trump administration over immigration enforcement requirements that began in early 2019. Colorado sued the federal government and in April 2020, a federal court sided with the state, ruling that the DOJ overstepped its bounds. But the Trump administration appealed the case. Now, the Department of Justice has dropped the case.

Polis Says Free Universal Pre-K Will Be Available By 2023  

Colorado’s Governor says by 2023 the state will offer universal pre-Kindergarten. That will include creating a Department of Early Childhood with the goal to improve the state’s ability to consolidate funding and offer easier, centralized access to resources for parents. Florida, Vermont and the District of Columbia currently offer free universal pre-K. At the same time, President Joe Biden has proposed taking the initiative nationwide, with $200 billion to fund universal early childhood education for all students for the two years before kindergarten. Colorado plans to get the program off the ground by using money from a tax on vaping products passed by voters in 2020. Under the state’s plan, by the start of the 2023-24 school year, every family in Colorado will have access to at least 10 hours a week of pre-K per child, if they want it. The state already has a universal kindergarten program, which passed in 2019.

CU Boulder Hold Virtual Graduation Ceremony Today

A virtual graduation ceremony will be held at noon today for the University of Colorado Boulder’s graduates. During the ceremony, CU Boulder will confer 9,300 undergraduate and graduate degrees from fall 2020 and spring and summer 2021.