Headlines — January 12, 2023

January 12, 2023

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Tribal Leaders Give Address Before Joint Session Of The State Legislature 

Leaders from the Southern Ute Tribe and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe spoke before a joint session of the Colorado General Assembly Wednesday. The Colorado legislature passed a law last year that invites tribal leaders to give an annual address to the joint assembly similar to the Governor’s State of the State speech. 

Melvin J. Baker, chairman of the Southern Ute Tribe, said the two tribes have a strong working relationship with government agencies in Colorado and said Colorado is a leader among all states when it comes to honoring the tribal-state relationship. Both leaders urged attention and cooperation towards education, water and drought issues, and energy development including fossil fuels and clean energy. 

The tribal leaders also urged lawmakers to address the inequity of online sports betting in the state and faulted lawmakers for not consulting the tribes on language for the 2019 ballot referendum that permits sports betting in state casinos, but omitted authorization for tribal casinos.  

Judge Denies Contempt Charges Over Leaked Documents From The Club Q Shooter’s Prior Criminal Case 

El Paso County District Court Judge Robin Chittum ruled Wednesday that she will not hold the El Paso County Sheriff’s office in contempt over accusations that someone in the department leaked sealed criminal records to the media following the Club Q mass shooting. Attorneys for the alleged Club Q shooter requested that the Court hold the Sheriff’s office in contempt for disclosing the sealed records from the shooter’s prior criminal matter. 

Police arrested the suspect in 2021 for threatening family members. Among statements in the sealed arrest records, the suspect vowed to be the next mass killer. Prosecutors involved with the 2021 matter said they could not get the suspect’s family members to cooperate or testify, which led to a court dismissal of the case and sealing of records.  

Judge Robin Chittum said it was clear someone violated the court’s order to maintain secrecy about the prior incident, but it was not clear if the leak came from the sheriff’s office. The day after the Associated Press ran the story on the suspect’s prior case, Chittum unsealed the case file, noting public interest in the matter outweighed the defendant’s privacy rights.

Boulder Working On Securing Home For Inpatient Meth Recovery Treatment 

Boulder is buying a home to be used for inpatient drug addiction treatment. The City of Boulder had started looking for a recovery home to help people with methamphetamine addiction two months before the methamphetamine shut down of the Boulder library last month. The Boulder Reporting Lab reports that the purchase of the recovery home will be an incremental step toward addressing methamphetamine addiction in Boulder County. In 2020, the county estimated 535 people who passed through the Boulder County Jail were addicted to methamphetamine.

Currently there is an addiction treatment center located off of Broadway that is run by Tribe Recovery Homes Incorporated, a Denver-based organization that mostly manages sober living homes. Tribe would still provide the services for the new home. If all goes as planned, the recovery home could be up and running in a matter of months. 

The city is planning to use money from its Affordable Housing Fund to pay for the home. City and county officials preferred not to disclose the location of the home, in part due to concerns about potential opposition from neighbors. 

Broomfield City Council Passes Seven Gun Ordinances, Puts A Hold On Two

The Broomfield City Council on Tuesday night passed seven ordinances regarding firearm regulations, but postponed a vote on two. The Daily Camera reports council members heard 90 minutes of passionate public comments from a full chamber of residents in favor and opposed. Among the measures that passed, Broomfield now prohibits the open carry of firearms in public spaces and rapid fire trigger activators. 

Councilmember Deven Shaff requested the votes on two ordinances – the 21-year-old age restriction and a 10-day waiting period and education/competency requirements – to be postponed to June. Shaff said he wants to see how the state legislature votes on proposed regulations. The postponement passed by a split vote of 5 to 4.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Broomfield City and County Attorney Nancy Rodgers said that none of the ordinances up for vote would face litigation similar to what is happening in neighboring jurisdictions as they do not include bans on assault weapons and large capacity magazines. The group Rocky Mountain Gun Owners is suing Superior, Louisville, Boulder, and Boulder County for gun ordinances the local governments passed in 2022.  

In related news, the Longmont City Council passed a public safety statement Tuesday outlining last year’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling on gun legislation and lawsuits against Boulder County and the three local municipalities that pursued their own gun laws.  According to the Longmont Leader, Longmont City Council through their statement will commit to analysis and statewide solutions rather than local regulation. 

Two Candidates Announce Interest In Vacant HD 12 Seat

Two candidates have announced their candidacy for the State House District 12 seat left vacant by Rep. Tracey Bernett. The district includes parts of Lafayette, Louisville, Niwot, and Superior. The two candidates thus far are former U.S. Congressman David Skaggs and Boulder Valley School District Board Member Kitty Sargent. Skaggs’ history as an elected official includes serving in the Colorado House of Representatives from 1981 to 1987 and six terms in Congress. Sargent is currently serving her second term on the BVSD Board of Education. 

Bernett resigned from her post Sunday or on the eve of the Colorado 2023 legislative session due to criminal charges stemming from allegations that she falsified her residency within the district. 

Appointing a new representative will fall to a Democratic party vacancy committee composed of residents from HD 12.

BVSD Board Members Hear Bond Update

Board Members to the Boulder Valley School District heard an update on the implementation of a $350 million capital construction bond program during their Tuesday meeting. District homeowners voted in favor of paying about  $118 a year for a home valued at $600,000 in November. 

According to the Daily Camera, the district plans on selling about $225 million in bonds in April  to cover projects for the next three years. The Daily Camera reports the district has devised a master project schedule that will divide schools into four phases of construction and improvement needs with criteria that includes projects that could be completed in the near term, avoiding multiple construction experiences for students, and working on geographic close schools at the same time. BVSD officials expect most phase one projects will start during the summer of 2024.

District officials say they will wait on building a new elementary school in Erie until Erie’s new Parkdale development is mostly built to ensure there are enough students to open a new school. According to the Daily Camera, BVSD is grappling with declining enrollment and elementary school closures are a possibility in the future. 

For new career and technical education spaces, BVSD plans on developing a master plan and hiring an outside consultant who will lead a community engagement process. The district is also creating a citizen oversight committee to monitor the bond program and activities and will ask for applicants starting in February.