March 6, 2023
Community Groups Rally At State Capitol For Rent Control
Tenants and several community groups rallied at the State Capitol Sunday, pushing for lawmakers to repeal the ban on rent control. It is currently illegal under state law for local governments to enact rent control regulations. Speakers at the rally talked about the high cost of living in Denver and that it’s time for change as rent prices are getting worse.
CBS Colorado reports the state is the 12th most expensive for rent according to rentdata.org and that a two-bedroom apartment costs more than $1,600 a month in the Denver metro area. Rentdata.org puts the average monthly cost of a two bedroom in Boulder at just over $1,900.
Rally organizers at yesterday’s event include the Denver-Aurora Tenants United, 9to5 Colorado, United for a New Economy and the Denver Classroom Teachers Association.
A bill to repeal the ban on local rent control, HB-1115 has already passed the state house and is currently before the state senate.
Boulder County Sees A Sharp Uptick In Eviction Filings
The Denver metro area is also seeing a return of high eviction rates after the expiration of pandemic era protections. CBS Colorado reports just over 1,000 evictions occurred in Denver alone during the month of January. The number of evictions filed in Boulder’s courts has also risen dramatically this past year. The Boulder County Court system recorded more than 150 eviction filings within February 2023, which is the most since February 2020 according to state data.
Boulder County’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program ran out of funds last month. The City of Boulder has since ramped up the aid it’s providing. Boulder Reporting Lab reports the city has spent about $1.1 million on its Eviction Prevention and Rental Assistance Program since its launch in 2021. In an effort to make the money go farther for Boulder residents, the program has lessened the original amount it provided to an individual or family from $4000 to $3000.
A representative of the Emergency Family Assistance Association told Boulder Reporting Lab that many of its clients within the city spend around 70% of their income on rent.
The new increase in evictions comes as supplemental aid programs have been cut back or are ending nationwide.
Denver High School Students March For Reproductive Rights
Students from three Denver high schools led a reproductive rights march Saturday around the State Capitol and Civic Center Park. According to Colorado Newsline, dozens of students marched with the support of New Era Colorado and several other advocacy organizations.
Student organizers say they wanted to have the voice of their generation heard by decision makers who are impacting their lives and futures. George Washington High student, Sarita Patel, said during the rally that although it has been some time since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, it does not mean those who care about abortion access will stop fighting, as the decision still impacts people with uteruses across the country.
Last month, Colorado joined a coalition of 22 states and the District of Columbia in opposing a federal court challenge in Texas by anti-abortion groups who want to overturn the Federal Drug Administration’s approval of mifepristone, a drug best known as an abortion inducing pill which is also used to treat ulcers and Cushing disease.
East High School Students March To State Capitol Demanding Stricter Gun Laws
Hundreds of East High School students dressed in red marched to the State Capitol Friday demanding lawmakers pass stricter gun regulations. The march and protest occurred within days of when Luis Garcia, a 16-year-old East High student, died from gun violence. During a brief rally on the west steps of the Capitol, students chanted for an end to gun violence and held signs with Garcia’s name and the number of his soccer jersey, No. 11. The students also observed 11 seconds of silence in Garcia’s memory. After the rally, students filled and fanned the halls of the Capitol and observed legislators addressing them from the Senate floor.
East High Students Demand Action led the protest to coincide with an advocacy day planned by Moms Demand Action, a nationwide grassroots organization that champions stricter gun control laws.
State Lawmakers Introduce Assault Weapons Bill With Divisions Likely Among Democrats
After East High School students marched and protested at the State Capitol on Friday, Rep. Elisabeth Epps from Denver and Sen. Rhonda Fields from Aurora introduced a bill to ban the sale and transfer of assault weapons. House Bill 1230 defines assault weapons by their features, instead of by specific make and model.
According to the Colorado Sun, the prospect of the bill getting through legislative hurdles is unclear as Gov. Jared Polis is a skeptic of the measure as well as Democrats in the statehouse. Legislative watchers say the bill’s introduction has been in the works for weeks but met further delay after Rep. Andrew Bosenecker from Fort Collins, removed his name as a lead sponsor..
The introduction of the bill Friday evening comes a week after Democrats introduced other gun control measures at a news conference.
Hacker Steals Personal Information of DPS employees
Denver Public Schools has confirmed a cybersecurity breach in January resulted in the exposure of the personal information of their employees. DPS announced on its website Friday that hackers took data from the district’s network in a month-long security breach. The data included the names of current and former employees along with their social security information, bank account numbers, health plan enrollment, fingerprints, driver’s license numbers and other sensitive information.
The district is now sending letters to everyone affected by the cybersecurity breach and offering resources like identity theft protection services and free credit monitoring. A DPS spokesperson told 9News the security breach affected all school district employees but appears to have not affected students. In its online statement, DPS says it has implemented additional measures to enhance the security of its network and will continue to provide data security training to its employees.
Parents Urging BVSD To Perform Contaminant Testing For Schools Within Marshall Fire Zone
Several Boulder Valley School District parents spoke at last week’s school board meeting requesting that the District conduct more testing for contaminants in schools within the Marshall Fire area. The Daily Camera reports parents who have experienced toxicity in their own homes from the fire say they want to know for sure the schools are safe.
District officials say they continue to consult with fire mitigation experts and are confident the eight schools in the fire zone are safe.
In response to a BVSD request for an opinion on the district’s response to the fire, Robert Rottersman, a certified industrial hygienist, said schools are easier to restore after a fire because the exterior walls are typically brick or concrete, whereas homes typically have wood frames and porous insulation that make it easy for smoke to enter. Rottersman also said schools can access remediation resources faster than homeowners.