Headlines September 14, 2021
Biden to Speak Today at National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Arvada
President Joe Biden will be speaking this afternoon at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory at its Flatirons campus in Arvada. This will be the President’s first visit to Colorado since taking office in January. According to the Denver Post, Biden’s speech will address climate change and the nation’s infrastructure – topics currently before Congress as legislators debate budget reconciliation and an infrastructure package. Colorado will be the President’s last stop on a two-day tour of Western states.
Governor Jared Polis Criticizes Federal Regulatory Delays Releasing COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shots
Colorado Governor Jared Polis on Monday criticized federal regulatory delays in its releasing of coronavirus vaccine booster shots.
Governor Polis dismisses concerns that the vaccine booster shots are unnecessary and could be better used elsewhere.
The Colorado Sun reports that while Polis laid out the state’s plans to distribute booster shots to nursing homes he also discussed his disagreement of an article in the medical journal The Lancet by two departing, vaccine regulators with the FDA. They argued that vaccines offer strong protection long after their second dose is administered and booster shots are unneeded and that vaccine supplies could be better spent on providing protection to unvaccinated parts of the world.
Polis doesn’t agree saying that doing a better job of preventing even mild illness among vaccinated people could help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Federal officials have already approved booster shots for people with weakened immune systems.
Polis said about 2.4% of Colorado have already received a booster shot. His administration plans to have booster shots at nursing homes later this month.
State officials say that there are enough doses to handle the demand for boosters while continuing to make the vaccines widely available for those who are unvaccinated.
50 Protesters File Lawsuits Against Denver and Final Charges Dropped Against Aurora Protest Leaders
Fifty people who demonstrated or were protest bystanders in the wake of George Floyd’s death last year filed two federal lawsuits yesterday against the City of Denver. The Denver Post reports one of the lawsuits represents eight people seriously injured by police and the other lawsuit, with 42 plaintiffs, alleges Denver Police subjected them to unwarranted tear gas, pepper spray or projectiles as they demonstrated peacefully or were within the vicinity of protests. The Office of the Independent Monitor has previously found that police used excessive force against protesters who were simply “verbally objecting” to police and not posing any threat. Two officers have faced formal discipline.
In Aurora, 18th Judicial District Attorney John Kellner has dropped all remaining charges against three people who led protests last year over the death of Elijiah McClain.
Free Shuttle Service Pilot to Begin in Denver’s Montbello Neighborhood
The Denver City Council has unanimously approved a pilot program that will offer a free shuttle service to residents of the Montbello neighborhood. The pilot program will be run by Northeast Transportation Connections which will provide shuttle rides, on-call only, every weekday from 6 am to 8 pm throughout the neighborhood. Residents will be able to request a ride via an app or by a call-in line. According to the Denver Gazette, the pilot is expected to begin this fall and conclude in early 2023 with an option to renew through 2027. The approved contract by Northeast Transportation Connections was over $555,000 and the service will utilize a plug-in hybrid minivan, one battery-electric sedan, and one large passenger van with wheelchair accessibility.
66+ Coloradans Can Now Renew Driver Licenses Online
The Colorado Department of Revenue announced yesterday Coloradans age 66 and older now have the option to renew their driver’s licenses online as long as their license or ID photo does not need to be updated. The state’s change was prompted by the Driver’s License Electronic Renewal by Seniors Act. Also provided under the new legislation, drivers 21 to 80 must attest they have had an eye exam within the past year to renew their licenses electronically. Previous state law required an exam within the last three years of online renewal. For drivers 80 and over, a signed statement from an optometrist or ophthalmologist will need to be submitted indicating the driver has had an eye exam within the last six months along with the exam results.
The Denver Gazette reports that anyone who is concerned about a senior’s ability to drive can email the Department of Revenue for information about a re-examination request due to physical or mental constraints.
Child Tax Credit Redemption Now Available Through App in English and Spanish
A statewide campaign was announced yesterday aiming to get eligible Colorado families the Child Tax Credit and stimulus payments. Now through October 15th, families can use a mobile application in order to file a simplified 2020 tax return with the IRS which verifies eligibility for advance Child Tax Credit and stimulus payments. After October 15th, the IRS will only accept paper applications until next year. The online portal is available at getctc.org and is available in English and Spanish. Information from the Governor’s press release indicates GetCTC was developed by Code for America whose Navigator Program Manager previously led Tax Help Colorado, a local volunteer income tax assistance site.
Applicants without a pre-existing IRS login will still need to create an account with ID.me, a third-party contractor which requires extensive personal and biometric information to register.