Headlines June 3, 2021
Major Transportation Bill Approved in Colorado Senate
Colorado’s legislative session is wrapping up with a major a transportation package to expand transit headed to the Governor’s desk. Colorado lawmakers passed Senate Bill 260 Wednesday – a $5.4 billion dollar package that would charge a new set of road-user fees to fix highways, expand transit and supercharge electric vehicles. It’s the biggest and most complicated transportation-funding bill ever in the state for road improvements and includes much of the Colorado Department of Transportation’s 10-year priority project plan to address climate change and accelerate the transition to cleaner vehicles. It was a 41-24 vote along party lines, reflecting strong opposition from Republicans.
StandUpBolder Wants More Accountability About Shooting Fund
Several families and survivors of those killed in the March mass shooting in Boulder want funds raised by nonprofits to be distributed by a specialist – claiming the current process is not transparent. Boulder resident John Mackenzie, whose wife, Lynn Murray, was among those killed, announced that he and three other victims’ families and supporters have created a group called StandUpBolder to demand that government officials intervene and audit the handling of donations. The Associated Press reports that StandUpBolder is also asking that Kenneth Feinberg a Washington, D.C.-based attorney who oversaw compensation programs after the 9/11 terror attacks, the Aurora, Colorado movie theater attack and many other mass shootings. StandUpBolder has started an online petition to ask Gov. Jared Polis and Attorney General Phil Weiser to audit the donations and to appoint Feinberg. StandUpBolder has claimed that the nonprofit Colorado Healing Fund, is keeping 5% of donations for administrative costs and that they are making spending decisions without victims’ input with some of the money going to other nonprofits in the community. Community Foundation Boulder County and the Colorado Healing Fund — defend their work and feel there is no need for a specialist.
College Sweepstakes Announced for COVID-19 Shots
Like many other states, Colorado continues to encourage vaccinations for COVID-19 through financial incentives. The state will enter Coloradans ages 12-17 who have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine into a sweepstakes for a $50,000 college scholarship. The incentive was announced Wednesday by Governor Jared Polis. The first drawing will be held on June 7, with a total of 25 Colorado kids eligible to win. The Governor said the pandemic has had a significant impact on students and on education, noting an undergraduate enrollment decline over the last year and a half. He said any person in the 12-17 age group who had been vaccinated in the state would automatically be entered into the eligibility pool. Winners will have their scholarship money deposited into a 529 CollegeInvest account that will grow over time. The funds can be used for technical programs and credential programs, not just four-year institutions.
King Soopers Memorial Moved to MOB
Outside the south Boulder King Soopers Wednesday, volunteers worked to cleanup a makeshift memorial on a fence surrounding the area. Items are being transported to the Museum of Boulder. The Daily Camera reports that after all the items are removed from the fence, King Soopers plans to reset the fence facing table Mesa Drive and cover it in a black fabric sign emblazoned with #BoulderStrong with a mesh covering to protect it. The Museum will save and preserve the artifacts – guided by museum staff in other cities where mass shootings have occurred.
Senate Bills Seeks to Reduce Property Tax Rates
The Colorado Sun reports that State lawmakers have introduced an 11th hour bill to temporarily reduce property tax assessment rates, hoping to help Coloradans contend with skyrocketing real estate prices and the rising property tax bills that follow. The Senate bill would allow people to put off a portion of their increased residential property tax payments until they sell their property, starting in the 2023 tax year. Sponsors say the bill would preserve government revenue while aiding Coloradans contending with the economic downtown caused by the coronavirus crisis. The average price of a home in Colorado was $661,551 in April, up 36.4% over the past year.