Headlines for May 11, 2022
Legislative Session Enters Final Day
Today is the final scheduled day of Colorado’s legislative session. In the past 24 hours, lawmakers have passed and shot down several bills.
After a vote of 35-30, the House sent the fentanyl bill to increase criminal penalties back to committee. This is a win for lawmakers who argue that increased punishment would not work to curb addiction.
A bill to protect car owners from predatory towing practices has passed. The bill, HB22-1314, is adding rules to tow truck companies that include taking a photo of the car before towing and giving a warning notice 24-hours before they tow. Property owners will also need to authorize towing 24 hours before towing. If companies fail to complete any of these, the tow truck company may not charge or retain any towing fees.
Also passed Tuesday, health care facilities must have written policies and procedures for visiting rights according to a new Republican-sponsored Senate bill. The new law also prohibits health care facilities from enacting visiting restrictions to curtail the spread of the pandemic.
In the last days of the session, Colorado Republicans – a minority in both chambers – paused the last flurry of activity with an extended filibuster. This forced Democrats to concede on a list of bills, including one that would have prevented police from lying to children to get confessions, a bill to curb greenhouse gas emissions, labor rights for government employees, language concerning the replacement of racist school mascots, and a bill to end filibusters.
Healthy School Meals Moved Forward, Vaping Ban Dies
Other bills that passed Tuesday include HB22-1414, which will put a measure on November’s ballot to extend healthy school lunch programs to all public school students. The measure will come into effect for the 2023-2024 school year if it passes.
The measure calls for an income tax on people making more than $300,000 a year to fund free school lunches for public school students. Advocates said they saw nearly a 40% increase in participation in the school lunch program after the federal government made it free at the start of COVID-19.
In other legislative news, the Senate shot down the flavored tobacco and nicotine ban Tuesday. A January statewide poll showed that 80 percent of Colorado voters are concerned about the dangers of young people smoking cigarettes, using e-cigarettes, and nicotine vaping. The bill died in committee this session.
Colorado’s Snowpack Is Melting At A “Ridiculous” Rate
Colorado experienced very little snow this winter, and what it did get is melting at an extreme rate.
Becky Bolinger of the Colorado Climate Center told The Denver Post, “They should still have about 8.5 inches of snowpack, and they’re at 2 (inches).”
The quickly melting snow will continue to affect Colorado’s climate and even affect the agriculture industry.
Denver Starbucks Voted To Unionize
Workers at another Colorado Starbucks in Denver have voted to unionize. The vote by workers at the Colfax and Milwaukee store in Denver was a unanimous 13-0 in favor of forming a union.
Since this time last year, workers at more than 60 Starbucks locations nationwide have unionized.
Visiting CU Boulder Professor Used CU Email To Advise Trump On Overturning Election
John Eastman, a lawyer who represented former President Donald Trump following his loss during the 2020 election, has threatened to sue CU Boulder after leaks revealed he used his university email to advise Trump on overturning the 2020 presidential election.
The Denver Post obtained messages to and from Eastman’s CU email account during the Jan. 6 house committee investigation. Eastman, a visiting CU Boulder professor, used his university email to advise a Pennsylvania lawmaker on how to challenge that state’s electors. The emails show CU Boulder paid for a $500 trip that led to Eastman’s role in advising Trump. After the visit, Eastman met with Trump’s team at a hotel while they were putting together a legal brief to challenge the election results in Pennsylvania.
According to the article, “Eastman previously has defended his actions in advising Trump, and has threatened to sue CU for what he characterizes as retaliation against his, “constitutionally protected First Amendment activities.”