Headlines Feb. 11, 2022
Boulder County Approves Contractor For Marshall Fire Debris Removal
Boulder County approved a contract with DRC Emergency Services to remove debris from the Marshall Fire Thursday. According to the county’s news release, staff from Boulder County, Louisville, and Superior recommended DRC based on the firm’s ability to deploy dozens of crews, its competitive pricing, and its expected completion date of July 1, 2022.
The Texas-based company will begin debris removal on March 1 following a ten-day period during which other bidders can appeal the county’s decision.
Boulder County has not revealed the cost of the DRC contract. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) notified the county last week that it would cover much of the costs associated with the debris removal program.
FEMA has asked local officials to supply more information regarding cost removal for partially destroyed structures, including the removal of foundations. Property owners who have not yet opted into the county’s debris removal program will need to do so by Monday, February 14.
Governor Polis Announces Bills Targeting Public Safety
Governor Polis introduced a $113 million crime prevention and public safety package drawn up by state Democrats. The bills boost funding for mental health services, the public safety worker shortages, and co-responder models. The package also provides funding for efforts to train and recruit a diverse group of law enforcement officers and funding to help formerly incarcerated individuals re-enter the workforce.
The Colorado Sun reports that Republicans and some police groups feel the policies soften penalties for criminals and could hurt law enforcement agencies. They say the bills could make crime prevention more difficult and prioritize offenders over victims and public safety.
Republican lawmakers are backing six public safety bills that would increase funding to law enforcement, give grants to train officers, and prevent criminals from being re-released from incarceration if they have a history of multiple violent offenses.
Colorado Democrat Lawmakers Join Rally For Government Employee Union
Colorado House Majority Leader Daneya Esgar and Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg joined dozens of rally-goers Thursday on the steps of the Colorado Capitol calling for legislation to allow collective bargaining rights for public employees at the local level. Public Workers United, a labor group coalition, organized the rally to support legislation not yet introduced.
Colorado Newsline reports that current state law allows public employees at the local level to form a union. However, current statutes do not allow collective bargaining rights for those unions unless the voters of a local jurisdiction or the employer allow it. The demonstrators propose legislation to allow collective bargaining rights and other protections for a range of public employees, including those working for fire districts, public hospitals, and school districts.
Colorado Secretary of State Clears Election Probe Into Douglas County Clerk and Recorder
Colorado Secretary of State Jenna Griswold announced in a statement Thursday that her office concluded the investigation into a potential security breach involving Republican Douglas County Clerk and Recorder Merlin Klotz. Klotz faced allegations that he performed or allowed an unauthorized image copy of the county’s election server.
Griswold ordered the investigation after a third party put up a social media post attributed to Klotz. The post said a copy of the voting equipment server had been made.
Griswold says she is satisfied that there is no current threat to the county’s election system after receiving mandated responses from Klotz and other Douglas County officials. Their signed statements specified Klotz did not have access to the county’s voting equipment. They stated that only designated, authorized county election staff have that access. Authorized staff also confirmed that they did not create images of the hard drive and that no unauthorized person had physical or system access to the county’s voting equipment. In his statement, Klotz said the social media post was taken out of context from an email he had written.
Jefferson County Mask Mandate To End Tonight
The Jefferson County Board of Health voted Thursday to end the county’s mask mandate effective tonight at 11:59 PM for public indoor, school and childcare settings. A week ago, the board voted to keep the mask mandate in place until February 18th. A spokesperson for Jefferson County Public Health told The Denver Gazette the board rescinded the order after hearing from local leaders, residents, and listening to the best public health guidance available. The spokesperson also said decreases in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths motivated the board’s decision to move up the order’s end.