Headlines — August 10, 2022

August 9, 2022

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First Cases Of Monkeypox Confirmed In Boulder County

The first cases of the monkeypox virus have been confirmed in Boulder County after four individuals tested positive for the virus this week. The state health department indicates Colorado has 80 confirmed cases thus far. 

Boulder County Public Health is currently monitoring the situation and working on a plan to respond to the cases, including co-hosting an online information session with OutBoulder County this evening at 6 PM. We’ll have more information about Monkeypox after the headlines.

Rep. Neguse Applauds Swift Enactment Of CHIPS and Science Act

President Joe Biden signed the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors Science or “CHIPS” Act into law yesterday. The House initially passed the bill back in late July. The law will incentivize the innovation and manufacturing of semiconductors and bring more attention to scientific investments across the country.

Colorado supporters of the law – like Congressman Joe Neguse – say it will help to create new high-paying jobs, help to fund research institutions and provide more support for small businesses.

Denver To Raise Its Local Minimum Wage

Denver will raise its local minimum wage to $17.29/hr starting January 1st of next year. Tipped workers will earn a minimum of $14.27/hr. 

The scheduled change comes amid economic influences such as inflation and rising housing costs. The change is meant to help hourly wage earners keep up with the current cost of living and help employers attract and retain employees.

Denver City Council originally approved Denver’s minimum wage ordinance back in late 2019 but didn’t go into effect until the beginning of 2020. Since then, the minimum wage increased from $11.10 in 2019 to $15.87 in 2022 and now will increase to $17.29 at the beginning of next year.

In Boulder, where housing costs are significantly higher, the minimum wage remains pegged to that of the state: $12.56 an hour.

Colorado Will No Longer Charge Sales Taxes On Menstrual Products and Diapers

Starting today, feminine hygiene products, menstrual products, and diapers for all ages will no longer have a sales tax charge in Colorado. Gov. Jared Polis signed House Bill 1055 into law in June. The bill saw support from both Democrats and Republicans earlier this year. 

Bill sponsors say that eliminating the sales tax on these products improves the affordability of – and removes the stigma from – essential items.

This statewide law follows on the heels of municipal measures in Denver and in Aurora to create a sales tax exemption for menstrual products and diapers.

Rewilding Proposal Draws Praise from Conservation Groups 

Conservation groups are praising a scientific proposal to protect a large swath of Western land that could help restore wolf and beaver populations. 

Researchers are recommending the federal government stop using portions of these public lands for grazing so that a wildlife corridor can be established from Washington State down to New Mexico.

Scientists say successful reintroductions of wolves and beavers at Yellowstone Park and other wild lands show that these species make ecosystems thrive. Ecologists hope the plan, dubbed the Western Rewilding Network, will help restore streams and reduce drought, wildfires, and other effects of climate change. The paper’s authors challenge the Biden administration to create this wildland network as part of his America the Beautiful plan. After taking office, Biden signed an executive order to conserve 30 percent of U.S. land and water by 2030.

Democratic State Senator From Colorado Springs Indicted On Felony Charge 

Colorado State Senator Pete Lee is facing a felony charge alleging he provided incorrect residency information for voting purposes. 

Prosecutors allege the El Paso County representative listed his residency at an address in Colorado Springs in Senate District 11 but spends most of his time at a home in Cheyenne Cañon owned by his wife. 

Colorado state law requires that legislative candidates live in the district they represent for at least a year. When it came to the reasoning behind his residency, Lee told The Independent that he goes – quote – “back and forth quite a bit.”

As chair of the State Senate Judiciary Committee, Lee has been an influential voice in the legislature pushing for police reform and accountability.

The 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office’s Republican District Attorney Michael Allen handed the indictment down on Aug. 3, while Lee’s first court date is scheduled for Sept. 8.