Headlines September 23, 2021

Headlines September 23, 2021


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Ethics Commission Nixes Proposal To Pay For Security Detail For Colorado’s Secretary Of State

The Democratic Association of Secretaries of States political action committee has asked the state’s Independent Ethics Commission to pay for the private security of Secretary of State Jena Griswold. Members of the commission, which include former and current Colorado attorneys, denied the request Tuesday, saying using state funds for private security violates Article 29 of the Colorado Constitution. Commission members expressed concern private security would cover Griswold while working for a political action committee.

The attorney for the political action committee urged commission members to consider the payment of private security as a benefit to the state rather than a gift as Griswold has recently reported an increased volume of threats since the 2020 election. According to the PAC’s attorney, the Colorado State Patrol has not stepped in to provide security for Griswold because the threats- mostly through social media – do not rise to the threshold of state police support.

Colorado County Officials Warn State Leaders Pediatric Mental Health System Is Stretched On All Fronts

County-level officials are sounding alarm bells over pediatric mental health care for those in the child welfare system. Leaders from the Colorado Human Services Directors Association and Colorado Counties Inc. sent a joint letter to state officials early in September advocating the state system of treating children with extreme mental health issues is dire and dangerous. The news organizations The Colorado Sun, 9News and the Colorado News Collaborative obtained a copy of the joint letter and reported on the concerns by county officials yesterday. According to the Colorado Sun, county officials are calling on state leaders to not ignore kids in the child welfare system in the distribution of federal aid for mental health resources and other measures.

Delta Variant Strains Boulder Valley Health Care Resources

Local healthcare leaders discussed the persistent challenges presented by the pandemic at a CEO Roundtable on Health Care yesterday. Biz West Media reports despite the high vaccination rates in the Boulder County area, the healthcare community is still feeling the struggle of long hours, a worker mental health crisis, supply chain disruptions, worker shortage, destructive political discourse, and a wave of patients seeking treatment for elective procedures that were held off during the height of the pandemic. According to BizWest, healthcare workers are being pushed to the limit as industry-wide staffing shortages are being felt more acutely. Healthcare leaders did note that a positive byproduct of the pandemic has been the de-stigmatization of mental health as people are more comfortable admitting they are struggling and seeking services.

Louisville City Council Approves Mixed-Use Development Plan With Conditions

The Louisville City Council narrowly approved a plan to convert the long-time vacant, former Phillips 66 site located along U.S. Highway 36 into a mixed use commercial development. The proposed development called Redtail Ridge faces continued controversy and the addition of a dozen conditions which limit the scope of the project and increase sustainability requirements. Tuesday night’s vote ended a yearlong approval process for the development which was scaled back as residents and council members expressed concerns over loss of open space, the overall scope of the project, economic viability, traffic congestion, and environmental degradation. Under the current plan, council members have expressed that the developer has not provided evidence that there is a significant demand for more office and industrial space.

Colorado Politicians Urge Interior Department To Seek Alternatives To Bison Cull

Governor Jared Polis is urging the U.S. Department of Interior to relocate a dozen bison located in Grand Canyon National Park to live and roam free at the Southern Plain Land Trust in Bent County, Colorado. The National Park Service opened a lottery system last spring to select a dozen trained shooters to kill the bison which the agency says is damaging vegetation, historical sites, as well as contaminating limited water supplies. The Washington Post reports more than 45,000 people have applied to the lottery. Congressman Joe Neguse is also urging the Department of Interior to come up with an alternative to killing animals and has suggested non-lethal methods such as live capture and methods to limit herd fertility.

Childcare Affordability Tops Agenda At Longmont Conference On Early Childhood

Governor Polis spoke at a Longmont conference yesterday sponsored by the Early Childhood Council of Boulder County. Attendees included local officials, childcare providers, and business leaders. According to the Longmont Leader, the governor touted his administration’s accomplishments in advancing early childhood education and echoed other speakers who said much more needs to be done to boost early childhood resources in the state. The governor’s office estimates infant care costs nearly 10 percent more than the average rent in Colorado and that over half of parents have missed out on employment opportunities due to lack of access to affordable child care. The Longmont Leader reports Nicole Riehl, CEO of Executives Partnering To Invest In Children, told the conference audience that women are most likely to stop working and people of color are especially hindered in finding and advancing in jobs due to non-affordable child care. Riehl urges employers to provide greater support to working families and advocate for more child care facilities in Boulder County.

SEIU Local 105 Applauds State Care Worker Raise To $15/hour

Colorado home healthcare workers may see an increase in their minimum wage to 15 dollars an hour. The Joint Budget Committee of the state General Assembly has approved a plan to raise the wages for direct care workers in settings funded with state dollars. The measure was announced Tuesday. The minimum wage increase aims to benefit those who provide hands-on care to older adults and individuals with disabilities and includes personal care workers, homemakers, direct support professionals, and others. The Medicaid rate increase that will allow the wage increase for direct care workers will initially be funded through federal American Rescue Plan Act funds.

HelloFresh Delivery Workers Seek Unionization

In other labor news, around 400 HelloFresh workers in Aurora are seeking unionization along with hundreds more of their colleagues. Business at the German meal kit company boomed during the pandemic, but workers say not enough has been done to ensure their on-the-job safety. Workers held an online event last night with political and faith leaders. KGNU will have more on this story this afternoon during the Metro Show at 3pm.