Legislative Update, State Unemployment, and Vaccines

A few updates on our efforts at the Capitol, by the numbers:

2  Top concerns of the 50 constituents who contacted us this month – Vaccines for COVID-19 (read more), and Unemployment system issues (read more)

5 Virtual Town Halls held in Boulder, Clear Creek, Gilpin, Grand and Jackson Counties. I appreciate everyone who joined us to share concerns and ideas.

Many Zoom meetings with constituents, state and city staffers, public health officials, non-profits, lobbyists, and business owners giving input into our Democratic process. 

4  New committee assignments:  1) Business Affairs & Labor  2) State, Civic, Military and Veterans Affairs, 3) Treatment of Persons with Mental Health Disorders in the Criminal Justice System Committee, and 4) Local Government Limited Gaming Impact Advisory Committee.

3 Sponsored bills ready when the legislature reconvenes on February 16:

  • HB21-0321 Ensures that all rural electrical cooperatives and generation & transmission companies operate in the light of transparency and accountability to their members (and in doing so should increase renewable energy options for rural Coloradans).
  • HB21-021 Reforms processes governing the juvenile sex offender registry that will improve outcomes for youth in the juvenile justice system without compromising public safety.
  • HB21-0496 Clarifies the legislative intent of the Local Government Limited Gaming Impact Fund, and will make the distribution of funds more fair and equitable to communities negatively impacted by gambling. 

Several other bills I’m working on, including one concerning the environmental integrity of our streams and rivers, and another that would limit the use of solitary confinement in county jails. I’ll keep you posted on these and many other bills sponsored by colleagues. 

Vaccines for COVID-19
My office has heard both positive and negative feedback on the state vaccine rollout. Teachers and those who care about them have been particularly frustrated. I was glad to see that teachers will be prioritized in the next round, which can’t come soon enough. It’s so important that we get young people back into live classes. For the latest vaccine information, visit www.covid19.colorado.gov or call 1-877-CO VAX CO (1-877-268-2926). 

Unemployment System Issues
Many of you have called or written asking for help with unemployment claims, and other issues with state and federal aid. Between a required computer system upgrade, an influx of fraudulent claims, and extreme need on the part of Coloradans, the Department of Labor unemployment web site has been overwhelmed. If you’re struggling to get through or waiting to receive an email, please read this Colorado Sun article. It offers tech tips and a good overview of what’s happening. You are welcome to contact our office for help and we’ll try to do what we can. If you are having to wait for a response but need immediate help, consult this list of community resources

Upcoming Event:
Mental Illness and the Criminal Justice System

Wednesday, February 3 @ 5:30
Facebook Live

Join us for a conversation on the Intersection Between Mental Illness & the Criminal Justice System. Hosted on Facebook Live by Envision:You, guests include University of Denver Professor Dr. Apryl Alexander, a foremost expert on juvenile justice issues.