Headlines March 24, 2022
Lawmakers Urge President To Keep Space Command In Colorado
Colorado’s congressional delegation is urging President Biden to keep the U.S. Space Command in Colorado Springs. In a letter to Biden, Democratic Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper, along with bipartisan representatives said moving the military base would risk national security in light of Russia’s war on Ukraine.
The Trump administration chose Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs as a temporary home to Space Command in 2019. It was to remain there until at least 2026, but in 2021 Trump moved Space Command to Huntsville, Alabama. Officials are reviewing that decision. Space Command’s missions include missile warning and defense, and national security communications.
Colorado House Draft Bill Targets Fentanyl Dealers
Bipartisan lawmakers introduced a Colorado House draft bill this week to crack down on illegal fentanyl. The bill would make a drug dealer liable for sentencing under Colorado’s harshest felony drug charge in cases of overdose deaths. That means up to 32 years in prison and up to $1 million in fines.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that drug dealers mix with counterfeit drugs that look like oxycodone. The highly addictive drug is deadly in tiny amounts and last year led to the deaths of over 750 people in Colorado. Some Republicans and addiction experts are criticizing the bill because they want stronger penalties for people caught possessing fentanyl.
Polis To Sign Abortion-Access Bill Into Law
Governor Polis has said he will sign the measure, House Bill 1279, into law.
The Colorado Sun reports that after 13 hours of debate, the bill passed the Senate by a 20-15, party-line vote on Wednesday. Earlier this month, House lawmakers debated the bill for 24 consecutive hours—one of the longest debates in the legislature’s history.
Democrats introduced the legislation in response to questions about the future of Roe v. Wade. The U.S. Supreme Court will soon have a chance to overturn the landmark law in a Mississippi case. The ruling could potentially open the door for abortion restrictions in Colorado at the county or municipal level.
Without the protections in Roe v. Wade, conservative Colorado counties or municipalities could try to pass local measures banning or significantly limiting abortion access. With Gov. Jared Polis’ signature, the new bill could challenge those local measures in court.
Douglas County School District Names New Superintendent
Douglas County school officials voted Tuesday to name Erin Kane the new superintendent. The Board of Education’s majority conservative directors led the vote. The job opened up in February when the board fired former superintendent Corey Wise, saying that they did not feel supported by him and wanted to take the district in a different direction.
Students and teachers protested Wise’s removal. The board still faces a lawsuit alleging that members violated the state’s open meeting law when making the decision to fire Wise.
Avalanches Hit Loveland And Berthoud Passes
An avalanche on the west side of Loveland Pass slid into an SUV on Wednesday. No injuries were reported and transportation officials cleared the snow, allowing the SUV’s occupants to drive away. Also on Wednesday, search and rescue teams investigated an avalanche at Berthoud Pass after receiving a report that two people were possibly caught in the slide. A rescue dog and avalanche equipment confirmed there were no victims.