Headlines April 5, 2022
Polis Signs Reproductive Health Equity Act Into Law
Gov. Jared Polis signed into law the Reproductive Health Equity Act Monday which protects a woman’s right to abortion under Colorado state law.
The protections also ban local governments from restricting or interfering with an individual’s right to reproductive care and say that a fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus does not have independent or derivative rights.
The legislation passed along party lines after facing heavy Republican opposition, including a nearly 24-hour, Republican-led debate.
Supporters for the bill sought passage in response to a Mississippi lawsuit that’s set for the Supreme Court’s June docket. The lawsuit challenges Roe verses Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that bans states from outlawing abortion.
The Associated Press reports Colorado was the first state to decriminalize abortion in 1967. Before Monday, Colorado’s law did not explicitly protect a woman’s right to choose.
Colorado joins New Jersey, Oregon and Vermont in codifying the right to abortion throughout pregnancy according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that supports abortion rights.
Judge Drops Criminal Charges Against Danish Man Accused of Starting 2018 Spring Fire
A judge has dropped charges against Jesper Joergensen, a Danish man accused of starting the 2018 Spring Creek Fire in Southern Colorado which burned more than 140 homes and 108,000 acres.
Authorities found Jorgensen, who was set to be released from a state mental hospital Monday, incompetent of standing trial on multiple occasions. Last month, the Costilla County Sheriff’s Office said they don’t have the resources needed to monitor Joergensen’s medication and ensure Joergensen has the mental competency to stand trial.
Authorities accused Joergensen of starting the Spring Creek fire while he was cooking outside and charged him with 349 counts of arson.
The Costilla County Judge said he hoped Joergensen, who is undocumented, would be deported but says the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have no intention of doing that.
An ICE spokesperson said Monday morning that the agency was awaiting information on the case. It wasn’t clear what would happen to Joergensen after his release from the state mental hospital in Pueblo on Monday.
State Introduces Bill To Ban Forever Chemicals
State lawmakers introduced a bipartisan bill last week that, if passed into law, will prohibit the sale of products containing perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances otherwise known as forever chemicals or PFAS.
A growing body of research links forever chemicals to all kinds of adverse health impacts from liver disease, to cancer, to birth defects. A range of common products contain PFAS, which the industry commonly uses as lubricants or repellents, including cosmetics, nonstick surfaces, clothing, carpet and firefighting foam.
The proposed legislation allows some exemptions to the firefighting substances but requires firefighters to report the use within 24 hours to state officials.
According to The Denver Post, the Environmental Working Group released an analysis last year claiming oil and gas companies compromised more than 500 Colorado water supplies with PFAS discharge.
The House Energy and Environment Committee will hear testimony on the bill in mid-April. If passed, the bill would go into effect next year.
Boulder City Council and Boulder County Commission to Hold Joint Hearing on Proposed Library District
The Boulder City Council and the Boulder County Commission will hold a joint hearing tonight to consider a resolution that will allow the formation of a countywide Boulder Public Library District.
Supporters of the measure say that a library district, supported by county property tax, will allow a more stable source of funding for library services that have faced cuts and reductions under municipal control.
The Daily Camera reports that if the City Council and the County Commission approve the resolution, a property tax increase supporting the new district will likely be on the Nov. ballot
Both entities will also need to negotiate an intergovernmental agreement and seat a board of trustees.
The City Council will vote on the resolution after the hearing and the County Commission will place its vote on Thursday.
Erie High School Presents Vietnam Veteran His High School Diploma 58 Years
Erie High School awarded Vietnam veteran Ron Cardenas his official high school diploma after waiting for 58 years last week.
Cardenas joined the U.S. Marines during the height of the Vietnam War in 1964 during his junior year of high school.
Despite earning all the necessary credits, when he returned from the war, the school did not allow him to graduate. Cardenas blames widespread discrimination against the Hispanic community.
Despite this, Cardenas and his family have been lifelong Erie High School supporters. The school held a special ceremony to acknowledge Cardenas for his service and commitment to the community last week.
Superior Board Of Trustees Vote To Install Treatment System To Improve Drinking Water
The Superior Board of Trustees voted unanimously Monday to install the granular activated carbon treatment system to the town’s water treatment plant.
Since the Marshall Fire, Superior residents have complained that the town’s drinking water has a smoky taste and odor.
Although both the state health department and Boulder County Public Health have tested the water and have deemed the drinking water safe, the town has consulted an outside contractor to address the smoky flavor and odor.
The contractor, Corona Environmental Consulting, concluded the granular activated carbon treatment system will be the best fix for the problem.