Headlines December 9, 2021
Kaiser Permanente Labor Agreement Averts Strike
Kaiser Permanente Colorado ratified a new contract Wednesday, averting a strike by about 2,000 of its workers. According to the Denver Post, conditions successfully negotiated by the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 include pay raises and greater patient safety.
A union lawsuit filed in October against Kaiser will continue despite the new contract. It alleges patients have been put at risk because of understaffing.
Gunfire at Rocky Mountain National Park Shutters Entrance
An exchange of gunfire yesterday at Rocky Mountain National Park resulted in the closure of a park entrance and part of U.S. 34 near the site of the incident. A park ranger exchanged gunfire with a suspect in a car that he stopped at the Fall River Entrance. The ranger was shot but avoided serious injury because he was wearing a ballistic vest. One of the suspects was wounded and taken to the hospital. A second suspect, also in the car, was taken into police custody.
The two suspects were reported to be part of a vehicle pursuit earlier that morning, outside of the park. National Park spokesperson Kyle Patterson announced in a news release that the FBI will lead an investigation into the shooting.
Denver City Attorney Proposes Bill Against “Ghost Guns”
The Denver City Attorney’s Office introduces a proposal to close a loophole in city’s gun laws around owning a “ghost gun.” The proposal, introduced to the City Council on Wednesday, would make owning non-serialized firearms, often called “ghost guns”, illegal.
The Denver Gazette reports that ghost guns are homemade firearms that don’t have serial numbers or markings, which makes them unable to be tracked to their maker, seller or original owner. The guns are put together by buying pre-made parts and assembling them at home, or by 3D-printing non-serialized parts.
Currently, Denver’s weapons code allows for ghost guns because the law considers the parts used to assemble firearms to be components and not firearms themselves. That allows firearm parts to bypass regulations.
City Attorney Kristin Bronson said that this allows minors and people with criminal records to get guns without background checks. Without a serial number, ghost guns also make it more difficult to solve crimes and get insight into gun trafficking patterns.
The City Council safety committee unanimously approved the bill yesterday. It now moves on for a final vote on Jan. 3.
In Denver, 38 ghost guns used to commit crimes have been recovered by police since November 2019. Nationally, nearly 24,000 ghost guns were found by law enforcement at crime scenes between 2016 and 2020.
Boulder Launches “Learning Together” Phase of Reimagining Policing Project
The City of Boulder is seeking community feedback in its Reimagining Policing Project.
From now through April, citizens can join Boulder Police town halls held online where various topics around policing will be covered. Planned topics include an overview of the police budget, use of force complaints, harm prevention and alternative response models.
The first town hall is Dec. 20th. Additional information is available on the Boulder Police Department’s website, and a written feedback can be found on the website of Be Heard Boulder.
Polis Announces Draft Plan for Universal Preschool Program
Colorado Governor Jared Polis and leaders in education, human services, and other state-run departments released a draft report yesterday outlining key recommendations for a universal preschool program. The voluntary program will give Colorado families access to 10 hours per week of high-quality early care and education for all young children in the year before they attend kindergarten.
Headed up by the new Department of Early Childhood, the voter-approved program is set to launch in 2023. The plan highlights the importance of putting local leaders in charge of programs, rather than state employees, to tailor education to each community’s specific needs.
Polis said that he was proud of progress on the effort to save Coloradans money and to offer, quote “a world class care and education system.” The document has been posted online for public feedback. That and listening session registration are at earlychildhoodcolorado.org
Dems Urge Pelosi to Censure Boebert
House Democrats introduced a resolution Wednesday to remove Colorado Republican Representative Lauren Boebert from her committee assignments because of her anti-Muslim rhetoric. Massachusetts Representative Ayanna Pressley led a group of nearly three dozen Democrats who demanded that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi take action to censure Boebert.
The resolution follows the circulation of videos in which Boebert referred to Minnesota Democrat Ilhan Omar as a supporter of terrorism. In an interview with CNN on Sunday, Omar said she has received threats as a result of Boebert’s words. Omar played a voicemail of a graphic death threat at a press conference last week.
In her weekly press conference yesterday, Pelosi sidestepped the topic, saying that it was up to GOP leaders to address the quote “disgraceful, unacceptable behavior of their members.”