Headlines Feb. 16, 2022
BVSD and SVSD Will Lift Mask Orders
Both the Boulder Valley and St. Vrain Valley School Districts said yesterday that they will lift mask requirements inside schools after Friday. Relaxation of the mask mandate comes after the Boulder County Board of Health unanimously agreed to pull back indoor mask orders on Friday at 5 p.m. for public settings, including schools and childcare centers. Other districts, including Jefferson County, have already done so, and Denver schools will do the same at the end of the month.
However, federal law still requires masking on school buses in all districts.
CU Boulder to Continue Masking Requirement
Officials at the University of Colorado Boulder will continue masking requirements on its campuses. CU Boulder has announced they are consulting with Boulder County Public Health and may consider making masking optional indoors if there’s progress on required vaccination boosters, and fewer community infections.
Boulder County Announces Assistance for Those Impacted by Smoke
Boulder County officials announced yesterday that financial assistance will now include homeowners and renters displaced by smoke or ash contamination from the Marshall Fire. Residents interested in receiving these benefits need to apply with the county, and if qualified, could receive up to $2,500 for a household of one or two people, or $5,000 for three or more. Residents can submit applications online at www.boco.org/MarshallFireAsstance.
Sexual Assault Bill Seeks to Clarify Outdated Law
The state legislature is currently reviewing a bill that would clarify an outdated sexual assault law. The measure passed out of committee yesterday.
The Denver Post reports that as it currently stands, the felony rape statute does not include the word “consent,” and is not clear. Sponsors propose changing the language to define an act of sexual assault as “sexual intrusion or sexual penetration, knowing the victim does not consent.” The sponsors say the change would cause less confusion among jurors.
Vote Without Fear Act Would Ban Open Carry of Firearms at Polling Locations
A bill that would ban open carry of firearms in close proximity to polling places is currently pending at the Colorado State Capitol. The Denver Channel reports that the “Vote Without Fear Act” passed a committee test, with members split along party lines. The measure would prohibit someone from openly carrying a gun within 100 feet of drop-off ballot boxes, polling places, and vote counting centers.
Free School Lunch Bill Introduced
A bill is being considered by the state legislature to make free school lunches possible for any student regardless of economic background. The sponsors say the bill would aid in removing the stigma towards families around what it takes to qualify for a free or a reduced-cost school lunch. The hope is that the measure will streamline the current complicated process that many bills must go through to show they qualify.
Polis Announces Bid for Second Term
Colorado Governor Jared Polis announced his bid yesterday for a second term. Polis, accompanied by Lt. Governor Dianne Primavera, said that his agenda will include regulating the cost of living and policy around crime. His re-election bid cited his past record of managing the response to the coronavirus, efforts to hold down health care costs, and expansion of early childhood education.
Longmont City Council Moves Toward November Election to Fill Vacant Seat
Longmont City Council is moving forward to conduct a special election to fill a vacant seat this November. The Longmont Times Call reports that last night, the council directed city staff to go forward with the November date despite earlier hopes that they could fill the vacancy by April 5. The vacancy occurred as council member Joan Peck was elected mayor. The Longmont council now has six members, instead of its usual seven.
Prisoners Accuse State of Engaging in Slavery and Involuntary Servitude
Yesterday, prisoners currently being held in corrections facilities across Colorado filed a class action lawsuit against Governor Polis and other state officials, claiming that the Colorado corrections department is violating the state’s constitution against slavery and involuntary servitude.
According to a release, the complaint claims that correction facilities are forcing prisoners to work against their will, under threat of punishment that includes social isolation, and extended incarcerations. The prisoners also claim that by paying only pennies per hour to a captive workforce, the state is violating Amendment A, which prohibits slavery and involuntary servitude. The plaintiffs in the case are not seeking money but for an order preventing the state from continuing to compel their labor.