Headlines for May 3, 2022
Colorado To Become Reproductive Rights Haven
State lawmakers and the Governor issued statements Monday night in response to reports of a leaked draft suggesting the Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade.
Gov. Jared Polis said of the high court’s decision,” While this is extremely disappointing news, representing a radical shift in American life away from individual freedom, in Colorado we will continue to fight for and respect the right to make decisions about your own body and medical health.”
The decision did not catch Colorado lawmakers off guard. To prepare for a decision like this, Colorado passed the Reproductive Health Equity Act earlier this year. Gov. Polis signed the legislation into law in early April.
The new Colorado statute guarantees a woman’s right to abortion and other reproductive health care whether or not the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 law guaranteeing a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion.
Demand for abortion in Colorado will likely increase as “trigger laws” banning abortion become law in many states across the country, including nearby Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Texas.
Colorado House Majority Leader Daneya Esgar told The Denver Post that lawmakers believe many women will travel to Colorado to get abortions and that she hopes Colorado clinics have enough capacity.
Juneteenth Becomes A State Holiday
Gov. Jared Polis signed into law Monday a measure to make Juneteenth or June 19, a state holiday. The annual commemoration celebrates when, in 1865, Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas and informed enslaved people they were legally free.
The new law enacts the agreement made last year between the Governor and the state employees’ union, who then established the holiday for the state’s employees. President Biden signed legislation last year making June 19 a federal holiday. As with other holidays, private workplaces will be able to observe Juneteenth, or not.
Governor Signs New Law To Protect Sex Workers Reporting Crimes
Governor Jared Polis signed Monday new legislation that ensures sex workers will not face prostitution charges if they report a serious crime.
The immunity protection involves reporting for about two dozen crimes including assault, human trafficking, murder, and manslaughter.
The legislation stems from sex workers fearing if they report crimes, they will face prosecution themselves, especially if witnessing a crime or reporting crimes in which they are the victims. The legislation received rare unanimous approval in both chambers of the State Assembly.
Democratic Lawmakers And Polis Announce Property Tax Relief Legislation
Additional details have come out on a bill by state Democrats that would reduce property taxes for two years by close to $700 million.
The bill comes in response to threats from Colorado Concerns, a pro-business, nonprofit group representing chief executives officers. The group sought to create a ballot initiative asking voters to cap increases in property valuations at 3% despite markets rates. If passed, the measure could have taken $1.3 billion out of the property tax pot in its first year—a fund that supports public schools and government.
The Democratic legislature would also spend $400 million from the general fund to slow the financial effect of the reduction in expected taxes on schools and local governments.
Not everyone is happy with the proposed bill. The Colorado Education Association, the state’s largest teacher’s union, and the group United for a New Economy complained that they were left out of the bill’s formation.
Republicans responded yesterday by saying the Democrats bill was supposed to reflect an honest compromise to deliver short-term tax relief to residents and businesses. But they said that this bill is just repurposing TABOR refunds that was due for Coloradans next spring.
Boulder County Working Groups To Present Proposals On The Equitable Distribution Of ARPA Funds
Boulder County Working groups will present their recommendations for how to best distribute the second half of the county’s $63.3 million worth of federal spending under the American Rescue Plan Act.
Under the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act, the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund, allocated money to Boulder County and many of the nation’s jurisdictions to address impacts caused by the pandemic.
To decide where to spend the money fairly, the county put together working groups to review community survey responses and to issue recommendations to the commissioners.
The Boulder County Commissioners will hear the recommendations today in a virtual meeting beginning at 4:30 PM.
The county commission will accept public comment, but registration is required by signing up at the county’s website under the webpage covering the ARPA.
Online Summer Reservations Required For Visits To Brainard Lake And Mountain Evans
Those intending to visit the popular recreation areas of Mount Evans or Brainard Lake this summer, will need to make advance registrations through the website recreation.gov. The Forest Service is requiring reservations for anyone planning to park or visit one of the developed visitor locations between 8 am and 6:30 pm this summer.
According to Forest Service officials, the tentative opening date for Mount Evans is May 27th, with online reservations opening up today. The Forest Service will tentatively open Brainard Lake Recreation Area June 10th with online reservations available beginning May 26th. Each recreation area will have a $2.00 reservation fee. Individuals biking or hiking into the recreation areas will not need to make an advanced reservation.
Forest Service spokesperson Reid Armstrong says the timed-entry program was extremely successful in 2021 by reducing crowding, wait times, and environmental impacts and forest service officials hope visitors are growing accustomed to advanced planning as the program continues into 2022.