Headlines March 14, 2022
Broad Support For Small Businesses Tax Credit For Local News Advertising
Colorado lawmakers have advanced a bill that would create a new tax credit for small businesses and residents spending money on advertising and underwriting in local news outlets.
The bill aims to support local media and businesses that have struggled during the pandemic. The tax credit will allow local businesses to reach larger audiences while supporting the local media ecosystem.
Businesses that have 50 or fewer employees would be eligible to receive up to $2500 in tax credits for advertising or underwriting expenses. Individual taxpayers can receive as much as $250 in tax credit from spending money on local news memberships, subscriptions, or donations.
Colorado Rep. Lisa Cutter, who introduced the bill, said, “This is one way we can help local media, and in the process, help our communities grow stronger.”
Reproductive Health Equity Act Passed After Longest Debate In History
The Colorado State House of Representatives effectively passed the Reproductive Health Equity Act over the weekend after their longest debate in modern history. Lawmakers spent close to 24 hours debating the Reproductive Health Equity Act, from Friday morning all the way into 10 AM on Saturday.
The bill, HB 1279, bans government interference with reproductive rights on all levels at a time in which many Republican-led states are passing legislation to restrict access to safe and legal abortions.
Specifically, it declares that “every individual has a fundamental right to use or refuse contraception; every pregnant individual has a fundamental right to continue the pregnancy and give birth or to have an abortion; and a fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus does not have independent or derivative rights under the laws of the state.”
Though the House of Representatives has a heavy majority of Democratic representatives, procedural tradition dictates that the House debate the bill until reconciliation. The Republican representatives stalled the session by reading an excess of materials slowly on the house floor.
The debate concluded with a preliminary voice vote to support the bill on Saturday morning. It will face a third reading and formal vote today.
Over $516 Million For 73 Colorado Colleges And Universities Under American Rescue Plan
One year after its approval, the state has agreed to give $516 million dollars of American Rescue Plan Act funding to 73 colleges and universities in Colorado. According to the office of congressional representative Joe Neguse, the U.S. Department of Education’s Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund will distribute the money, which is the largest onetime deployment of funds, to higher education establishments in state history.
According to a survey conducted by the American Council on Education, ARPA funding has already helped 93% of colleges to provide direct financial support to students at risk of dropping out and 70% of colleges to continue to employ faculty, staff, and other employees.
This new round of funding will distribute $162 million to Colorado community colleges and nearly $144 million to Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs). Front Range Community College will receive almost $30 million. Colorado State University will receive $50 million, and the University of Colorado will receive $51 million in aid.
Colorado Oil and Gas Regulators Reject Drilling Permits Near Homes
The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission voted against granting new drilling permits to Kerr-McGee to develop new wells in the community of Firestone. The environmental group 350 Colorado says this marks the first time the state’s oil and gas regulators have ever denied a drilling permit. Regulators cited a 2019 law that prohibits drilling within 2000 feet of homes and schools as the basis for the permit rejection.
Delivery Drivers Impacted By High Gas Prices
High gas prices are forcing delivery and car share drivers to decline more orders and deliver shorter distances.
Some delivery driving apps, including Uber, are implementing surcharges of 35 to 45 cents on orders to help drivers compensate for gas. Uber said that these charges are temporary and will go directly to the delivery drivers.
However, drivers are still changing to ensure they minimize their gas intake as much as possible, including only accepting orders within a few mile radius or reducing the number of hours they work.
Art Theft Forces End Of The Waiting Room Gallery
The Waiting Room Gallery on Larimer Street in Denver’s RiNO district is no longer showcasing artwork after an individual broke in and stole artwork on Feb. 24.
The individual stole 8 pieces from the second floor that were worth $27,000. None of the works were covered by insurance.
The gallery’s curator asks the community to keep an eye out for the stolen artwork, images of which are posted online at thewaitingroomgallery.com.