Headlines Feb. 23, 2022
Community Partners To Distribute At-Home Testing Kits
Colorado’s health department is expanding the availability of free, rapid antigen testing kits to detect COVID-19 infections at home. Authorities are building on the model developed to enlist libraries, fire stations and other community sites to distribute free, high-quality masks.
As with the KN95 masks, supplies of the at-home testing kits are limited. The state health department urges members of the public to verify the kits are available at their nearest participating location before going to pick them up.
More information is available online at covid19.colorado.gov/testing.
COVID-19 Data Lag Anticipated After Holiday And Freezing Temperatures
Closures due to the Presidents Day holiday and freezing temperatures may cause a lag in data on COVID-19 cases throughout the Front Range. The state’s data dashboard was not updated on Monday and cold weather has closed down dozens of testing locations across the Denver Metro area and into the mountains today as they did yesterday.
Public health officials in many Front Range counties relaxed masking rules in recent weeks in response to sharp declines in Omicron case rates.
SCOTUS To Hear Colorado-Based Discrimination Case
The United States Supreme Court announced yesterday it will be taking up a Colorado case.
Denver-based graphic designer Lorie Smith is challenging Colorado’s anti-discrimination law, saying it violates her free speech and religious rights. Smith argues that having to provide wedding design services to same sex couples runs counter to her religious views and that an anti-discrimination law that prevents her to posting her refusal to serve same sex clients inhibits her free speech.
As part of the high court’s announcement, it said it would only take up the free speech issue of the case by deciding if the law requiring an artist to speak or stay silent violates the free speech clause of the First Amendment.
Colorado was also the origin of similar case to go before the Supreme Court; that of the baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.
Denver City Council Approves Armando Saldate As Director of Public Safety
Denver City Council voted 12 to 1 last evening to approve Mayor Michael Hancock’s nomination of Armando Saldate as the city’s new director of public safety. Saldate most recently served as the assistant deputy executive director of the department and has over 30 years of experience in law enforcement. Councilperson Candi CdeBaca was the lone vote opposing Saldate’s nomination.
According to the Denver Post, CdeBaca blames Saldate for damaging relationships with police reform advocates and causing his predecessor, Murphy Robinson, to remove all public safety department personnel from the community-led Reimagine Policing and Public Safety Task Force.
The Denver Post reports Saldate told council members he is committed to starting a productive dialogue with the task force and that he has already reached out to Dr. Robert Davis, the coordinator of the project.
Proposed Bi-Partisan Ballot Initiative Seeks To Limit Property Tax Increases
A ballot proposal aims to limit the assessed value of Colorado properties in order to provide tax relief for property owners. Republican State Representative Colin Larson of Littleton and Democrat State Representative Alex Valdez of Denver filed the ballot proposal last week.
If passed, the initiative would limit the variability of property values used by county assessors by a rate of 3% or inflation, whichever is less.
The lawmakers, along with civic and business leaders, are backing their measure as a recent report by Colorado Concern says skyrocketing property values are leading to higher tax burdens for many property owners across the state, especially as values rise by as much as 30% over the next four years.
If the state’s title-setting board approves the proposal filed by the lawmakers, supporters will then need to collect close to 125,000 signatures in order for the proposal to make it to an election ballot.