June 10, 2022
Polis Signs Bills To Reduce Human Trafficking And Address Crimes Against Indigenous People
Governor Jared Polis signed two crime-related bills into law Wednesday.
HB-1300 aims to crack down on human trafficking done through illicit massage parlors by giving counties the power to require special business licenses for massage operations.
The bill will require owners to pass criminal background checks and other conditions.
According to Senator Bob Gardner of Colorado Springs, many large municipalities already require special business licenses for massage parlors which have prompted illicit operations to move to unincorporated portions of counties.
The other crime-related bill signed by the Governor this week is SB-150, which creates a new Office of Liaison for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives.
The office will help lead and review investigations into missing indigenous people and provide criminal justice support for families.
The new law also requires data collection, the publication of a database on missing Indigenous people, and an emergency alert system to notify tribes and media outlets when there is a missing or murdered Indigenous person.
Statistics compiled by the Denver Gazette show more than four out of five Indigenous people in the United States have experienced violent crime, with Indigenous women nearly three times more likely to be murdered than white women.
Denver ranks 7th for the most missing and murdered Indigenous women not included in law enforcement databases.
Governor Signs Bill Adding Domestic Workers To The State’s Employment Discrimination Protections
Governor Polis also signed a bill that will add domestic workers to the state’s employment discrimination protections on Wednesday.
The Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act – which covers disability, race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, age, and nationality – will expand in August to include employees who work for private households such as cleaners, gardeners, nannies, or elderly care workers.
The new bill also extends the time for an employee to file a claim with the Civil Rights Commission.
State officials estimate the new legislation will increase discrimination complaints by about 200 yearly.
According to the Colorado Women’s Bar Association, lawmakers historically intended to exclude domestic workers from employment protections, as the industry employed recently emancipated enslaved people at the beginning of the Jim Crow Era.
Navigation Services To Begin for Marshall Fire Survivors
The Mile High United Way 211 Help Center, a subcontractor for Lutheran Family Services, will begin making outreach calls today to households affected by the December 30 Marshall Fire.
The Boulder County Commission approved a contract in May with Lutheran Family Services to administer the Recovery Navigation Program, which aims to assist affected residents through one-on-one counseling.
The Boulder County Wildfire Fund, a donation fund administered by the Community Foundation of Boulder County, paid most of the $1.4 million contract with Lutheran Family Services, with the rest provided by the county.
Mile High United Way will start reaching out to households registered at the Disaster Assistance Center.
According to the county’s press release, the program’s recovery navigators will be available in person and virtually to provide long-term recovery assistance, including recovery plans, financial support, and referrals.
Life Expectancy Of Native Americans Dropped Almost 5 Years During COVID-19 Pandemic
Native American life expectancy dropped nearly three times more than white people’s life expectancy.
According to the study, America was one of the few countries to experience higher death rates in 2021. The entire world faced a drop in their life expectancy rates in 2020.
According to a press release from the university, in 2019 life expectancy of Native Americans already lagged behind any racial and ethnic group, at 75 years for women and 68 years for men.
By 2021, those numbers had slipped to 70 for women and 64 for men.
“The magnitude was shocking. You just don’t see numbers like this in advanced countries in the modern day,” said co-author Ryan Masters, an assistant professor of sociology in the press release.
The British Medical Journal found that the overall U.S. life expectancy experienced the most significant dip since World War II, plunging nearly two years.
Wildlife Officers Rescue Orphaned Moose Calf
State wildlife officers rescued the orphaned three-day-old moose calf on Wednesday evening whose mother, a sheriff deputy, was killed earlier in the day after attacking two people and a dog on a trail near Nederland.
A Boulder County sheriff deputy shot the mother early Wednesday morning after repeated attempts to attack again as the injured party was being rescued.
Wildlife officials retrieved the calf at a site near the West Magnolia Trailhead after an extensive search and multiple sightings.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife Officials say the probability of the calf’s survival is unknown as they do not know how much of an early intake of vital nutrients and antibodies the calf received from her mother.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife said in its press release that although the staff cannot take in every orphaned animal, being able to study the calf’s growth and development could aid in the agency’s educational missions.
St. Vrain School District Approves Increase In Teacher Pay
The St. Vrain School District and the district’s teacher union agreed earlier in the week over teacher pay and benefits for the upcoming school year.
The Longmont Leader reports the parties agreed to an increase of $4,000 or just over $49,000 for a base salary for an entry-level teacher.
The district’s superintendent estimates the average raise administered to all teachers, classified staff, and administrators will be close to 8 percent.
According to the Longmont Leader, the district and union will reopen discussions on additional compensation for the upcoming school year if the district’s tax collections from the mill levy override exceed $56 million.
The district’s assistant superintendent for human resources told the Longmont Leader the additional compensation could help the district hit the $50,000 mark for starting teacher salaries.