Headlines June 23, 2021

Headlines June 23, 2021

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Governor Signs Three New Domestic Violence Bills into Law

Yesterday, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed new measures into law that seek to help victims of domestic violence.

House Bill 1255 sets up a process to ensure that persons subject to a domestic violence related protection order turn in their guns.

Someone accused of domestic violence and who has such an order is now required to provide information – within seven business days of that order – about all the guns they own, including where they are stored.

Nearly 12,000 protection orders will require persons to surrender their guns under the new law, according to a state analysis. And the Denver Post reports that in the city of Denver -even under the old law – 10 firearms per month have been turned in during the last two years.

One of the other laws Polis signed allocates $15 million to victim support services especially those who have been subjected to domestic violence and sexual assault; and the third new law increases training standards for court employees in connection with domestic violence.

COVID Vaccinations in State Reach 50 Percent

The state health department released data yesterday showing that half of Colorado’s population is fully immunized against COVID-19. That equates to 2.8 million fully vaccinated Coloradans.

The number of people hospitalized with the coronavirus continues to fall. Less than three hundred were in hospital – the lowest level since early October.

While the U.S. is likely to fall short of President Biden’s goal to vaccinate 70 percent of all Americans by July 4th, Governor Polis said on Facebook that he is confident Coloradans can meet that goal in part due to the weekly lottery drawing for those who are vaccinated.

Meanwhile, the state is calling unvaccinated people to encourage people to get a vaccination appointment. Colorado Public Radio reports that because the state is not trying to sell anything, the calls are not a violation of the state’s No Call Registry.

About half a million people will be called – their numbers coming from publicly available information.

In Boulder County the health department reported 9 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, two new hospitalizations and no new deaths.

On the West Slope, hospital beds in Mesa County are again at more than 95 percent capacity as of yesterday. But, The Daily Sentinel reports that the two-week count of new cases has declined in recent days.

Bennet Introduces Abandoned Oil and Gas Well Bills

Colorado Senator Michael Bennet has introduced a couple of bills that would fund the cleanup of abandoned oil and gas wells on federal lands.

Bennet, a Democrat, reintroduced measures that he had pushed last year.

A release from Bennet’s office states that the pair of bills would restore local governments’ and tax payers’ role in public land management decisions, while ensuring they are not left on the hook for future cleanup and remediation costs.  Bennet’s release also referred to 57,000 orphaned wells that dot the U.S. and pose threats to public health and safety.

The Daily Sentinel reports that Bennet’s measure would modernize bonding requirements for companies to ensure sites are reclaimed and the costs covered.

Animal Cruelty Initiative Rejected by State Supreme Court

An initiative aimed at animal cruelty was rejected by the Colorado Supreme Court on Monday.

The measure proposed removing an exemption for livestock in state laws for animal cruelty and would have expanded the definition of a sex act with an animal.

Initiative 16 would have made artificial insemination against the law, and would have required that ranch animals live 25% of their lifespan before heading to slaughter.

The Colorado Sun reports the state high court ruled that the measure violates a clause in the state constitution because the ballot question covers unrelated topics.

Proponents of the measure will have to file a new one if they choose to move forward.

Representative Greene to Be El Paso County Republicans’ Key-note Speaker 

Republicans in El Paso County will feature controversial U.S. Congressmember, Marjorie Taylor Greene from Georgia as their key-note speaker at the GOP’s dinner in August.

The event is the annual Lincoln Day fundraiser. Colorado Politics reports that Greene, a strong ally of former President Donald Trump, has triggered outrage and was removed from her committee assignments after it was discovered she had made social media posts calling for the execution of Democratic leaders, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Greene also said, among other things, that the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Fla., was a “false flag” operation meant to scare Americans into supporting gun control.

Wildfires Continue to Burn across Colorado 

Firefighters across the state continue to battle multiple wildfires. The Sylvan Fire in Eagle County led to mandatory evacuations yesterday evening. The fire has grown to more than 3, 300 acres with no containment.

The Oil Springs Fire in Rio Blanco County has grown to more than 7,000 acres with no containment.

And the Muddy Slide fire continues to burn in Routt County.

An air quality health alert for wildfire smoke has been issued by state health officials for part of Routt County and Eagle County. Moderate to heavy smoke from the Muddy Slide wildfire in southern Routt County, the Sylvan wildfire in Eagle County, along with several other in-state and out-of-state wildfires, will continue to impact that area today through Thursday morning.