Headlines — June 3, 2022

June 3, 2022

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Polis Signs Bills Adding Security Safeguards To State’s Election Systems And Protecting Election Workers 

With support from the Colorado County Clerks Association, a bipartisan group of county clerks, Governor Jared Polis signed two pieces of election-related legislation Thursday.

The Election Official Protection Act makes it illegal to threaten, coerce or intimidate election workers or officials. It also criminalizes online attacks that expose personal information intended to endanger or harass public officials.

The second law, the Colorado Election Security Act, increases security at and around voting locations by making it illegal to tamper with election equipment or publish confidential information about the election system. It also increases training requirements for election workers and mandates that voting machines be stored in rooms that require key cards to enter and have constant video surveillance.

Gov. Polis Signs Bill To Support Year-Round Daylight Saving

Governor Jared Polis signed a bill Thursday that could extend daylight saving time throughout the year. The law, however, does not mean Colorado won’t fall back in November.

Currently, states have the option to not jump forward to daylight saving time. They don’t have the option to keep daylight saving time year-round.

On top of needing the federal government to pass another law that gives states permission, Colorado’s new legislation requires four other states in the Mountain Time Zone to also ditch the switch.

Three eligible states — Utah, Montana, and Wyoming — are already on board. This means if the federal government gives the OK, only one more state has to adopt daylight saving time: Arizona, New Mexico, or Idaho.

Gov. Polis told the Denver Post, “There is increasing consensus that just sort of arbitrarily switching the clocks twice a year is confusing and somewhat counterproductive for everybody and upsets people’s sleep cycles.”

Supporters of the bill say that the time change can affect public health issues associated with circadian rhythms, including more car crashes, heart attacks, and strokes.

Opponents say health issues would be even worse if we stay on daylight saving time throughout the year, especially during the winter when, for around four months, the sun would not rise until after 8 AM.

Southwest Airlines Fires Back With Lawsuit As It Faces Colorado Labor Law Citation And Fines Over The State’s New Sick Leave Law 

Southwest Airlines filed a federal lawsuit last week against state officials after the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment issued a citation in March saying the company violated dozens of labor laws.

The agency’s citation says the airline refused to provide COVID-19 sick leave for employees who tested positive for the virus and penalized employees who took leave for other medical needs.

The agency also says the airline failed to notify employees of their right to take leave. 

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment ordered Southwest to pay $1.3 million in fines along with the citation. 

According to the Denver Post, the appeal is pending before the agency’s administrative law judge who denied the airline’s request to delay enforcement of the citation in May.

Through its legal challenges to the State, Southwest argues Colorado’s paid sick leave requirements contradict the collective bargaining agreements with its unions and interfere with the airline’s enforcement of attendance policies. Both contribute to flight delays and cancellations.   

Southwest has also filed a separate complaint in Denver District Court seeking judicial review.

 

With More Toxic Algae Blooms, Water Officials Say Homeowners Need To Stop Using Phosphorus To Fertilize Lawns 

As algae blooms become more frequent in Colorado reservoirs, water quality officials ask residents to use less phosphorus on their grass.  

According to the environmental services manager at Aurora Water, increasing phosphorus levels from lawn fertilizers reach streams and lakes through stormwater. 

These chemicals become a leading creator of blue-green algae.

The toxins from the algae can harm people and pets by creating odors and degrading water quality. 

Reduced water levels from drought and the increased frequency of 90-plus degree days make these blooms even worse. 

According to Fresh Water News, water officials overseeing reservoirs have been trying treatment methods such as injecting oxygen into the water and weighing phosphorus down with aluminum sulfate so it becomes encased in mud and silt on a lake bottom.

Water officials say the best and most cost-effective tool to stop blue algae is for residents to slash their use of phosphorus-based lawn fertilizers. 

 

Historic Relic On Eastern Plains Hosts Pie Social Fundraiser This Weekend

Roadtrippers, travel history buffs, and pie-tasting aficionados can tour the Genoa, Colorado landmark of the World’s Wonder View Tower while eating pie on Sunday.

On a clear day, the 65-foot-tall tower on the I-70 Eastern Plains allows visitors to see six states – Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, New Mexico, South Dakota, and Colorado. 

The roadside fuel stop attraction of the early 20th century holds a collection of oddities and lays claim to a 1930s proclamation that it is the highest point between New York and Denver. 

Friends of the Genoa Tower are hosting the pie social event to raise additional funds to complete the tower and surrounding area.

The pie-tasting social includes tours and an auction of hand-painted ceramic pie plates.