COVID-19 Policy and Legislative Updates
May 20, 2020
The Policy and Legislative Advisory Network (PLAN) is committed to keeping the larger network abreast of policies, legislation, regulations, and rules being implemented across the state and nation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Updates below include information through 5.20.2020 and were provided by:

Please note: This information is subject to change. In addition, some updates may be sourced from organizations that have read limits or limits on how many articles you can access in a given time period.
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Local COVID-19 Policy Updates
Coronavirus In Colorado; The Numbers
According to today's data release, in Colorado there have been 135,611 people tested, 22,797 positive cases, 3,990 hospitalized, 1,299 deaths among cases (1,001 deaths due to COVID), 249 outbreaks at residential and non-hospital health care facilities, 60 of 64 counties with positive cases. In Adams County we have 2,737 cases and 108 deaths. Read More from CDPHE HERE
Colorado's Budget Writers Didn't Know Gov. Polis Was Spending Federal CARES Act Money
Last month, Republican Congressman Scott Tipton wrote a letter to Democratic Gov. Jared Polis asking how Colorado's CARES Act funds would be spent. Using Executive Order 70, Polis allocated the CARES Act emergency COVID-19 funding from Congress, totaling $1.67 billion, one month after saying the legislature and the Joint Budget Committee would handle that money. Monday night's executive order spelled out how the $1.67 billion would be split among state departments. Read More from 9News HERE 
Joint Budget Committee Suspends Property Tax Exemption For Seniors, Veterans
The Joint Budget Committee ended a long Tuesday session with one last big budget cut: suspending the state's popular homestead exemption, which saves seniors on property taxes, for the next three years. The cost in the 2020-21 budget is estimated at $163.6 million, all but $4.7 million from seniors. Also not yet decided, whether it will be suspended for disabled veterans as well as seniors. Read More from Colorado Politics HERE
3 Children In Colorado Identified With Suspected Coronavirus-Linked Disease
Several children in Colorado have been identified with a disease, the multisystem inflammatory syndrome, that may be linked to COVID-19 that primarily affects children. Colorado has three potential cases and the state has reported it to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and won’t get final results for a few days. Children typically recover after the acute crisis phase but they often need clinical treatment, Gov. Jared Polis said. This disease can appear in individuals up to 20 years old and it often affects teenagers. Read More from CPR HERE
Colorado Suggests Menu Modifications, Outdoor Dining, Social Distancing In Proposed Restaurant Restart Guidelines
A draft of proposals to reopen restaurants in Colorado was released Tuesday and a multitude of COVID-19 safety measures are on the table, including distancing guidelines, the use of masks by employees and patrons, and a ban on buffets and self-service stations. On May 25, Memorial Day, the state will decide if, and when, restaurants can begin reopening and what level of parameters they’ll face to safely operate. The draft proposal includes plans for pickup-only service, as well as indoor and outdoor on-premise dining. More from The Denver Post HERE
Weiser, AGs Call For Passage Of Marijuana Banking Legislation
Attorney General Phil Weiser is leading a coalition of attorneys general in 33 states and territories asking Congress to give marijuana businesses access to the federally-regulated banking system in any forthcoming coronavirus relief legislation. Read More from Colorado Politics HERE
Northglenn Makes Masks Necessary
Northglenn joined the list of cities requiring residents to wear masks or face coverings to help slow COVID-19's spread, councilors said May 18. City Councilors voted 7-1 to adopt the requirement to wear facial coverings during their regularly scheduled virtual meeting. Councilors approved the directive, stopping short of calling it an order. A growing list of cities is requiring masks in public, including Denver, Wheat Ridge and Westminster. Read More from Northglenn Thornton Sentinel HERE
Colorado's Automatic Voter Registration System Now Operable
Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold announced on Tuesday that Colorado’s automatic voter registration system is now operational statewide. In 2019 the General Assembly, as part of a “Democracy Package,” passed a bill to automatically register voters when they obtained or renewed their driver license. County clerks would send the voters a notice explaining what happened, and give them an option of declining the registration or affiliating with a political party. The same procedure would apply for Medicaid applicants. Previously, Division of Motor Vehicles customers were asked whether they wanted to register or not. Read More from Colorado Politics HERE
RTD’s N-Line Now "On Track" To Open By September
The Regional Transportation District's long-awaited N Line from downtown Denver to Thornton and Northglenn is on schedule to open in September. The line was supposed to open in 2018 but hit delays that resulted in lawsuits and RTD paying out a multi-million-dollar settlement. RTD will now start to plan a grand opening event, with an eye toward social distancing requirements. Once the N Line opens, RTD will have completed about 70 percent of its 2004 FasTracks plan. Read More from CPR HERE
More Than 1,000 Colorado Child Care Providers Are Currently Closed. At Least 1,200 Are Open. Find Out Where They Are
More than a quarter of the child care centers and home-based providers that serve Colorado children 0-5 are currently closed, reflecting the unprecedented fallout of coronavirus on one the state’s most financially fragile industries. At least one-third of providers statewide are open right now, with wide variations between counties. With child care a key factor in whether parents can return to work, both public and private sector leaders will likely watch the numbers closely in the coming months. Read More from Chalkbeat Colorado HERE
Some Colorado Businesses That Want To Reopen Face Big Hurdle; Lack Of Coronavirus Liability Insurance
Of the many business challenges, one has emerged in recent weeks as a major hurdle to reopening: Liability insurance, specifically the lack of available liability insurance coverage for COVID-19. The absence of such coverage could be a real show-stopper for the Royal Gorge Route Railroad, as it could for Colorado’s ski industry, its restaurants, theaters, beer halls, and basically any business where employees have direct contact with customers. Read More from The Denver Post HERE
Colorado Public Health Agencies Are Alerting Law Enforcement About People With Coronavirus
Several local public health agencies in Colorado are sharing information with emergency dispatchers about households where people have tested positive for the new coronavirus. The agencies say the practice provides a warning to first responders to take extra precautions when dispatched to those homes. Privacy experts worry that doing so is dangerous and unnecessary and that it could even lead to a situation where people are afraid to seek out testing out of fear that their medical history may be disclosed. Read More from The Colorado Sun HERE
Colorado Universities Are Giving Reopening In The Fall The Good College Try, But Coronavirus Could Upend That
Colleges across the country were forced to close during the spring 2020 semester because of the coronavirus pandemic and begin remote learning. The results have been a mixed bag. Online learning is built to be online from the start, complete with a learning management system, and there are usually links for online tutoring and other resources. Meanwhile, what happened for many schools was remote learning, where the usual lectures were recorded and streamed for students. Read More from CPR HERE
What Do Colorado Republicans Want When The Legislative Session Resumes?
On Monday night, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis announced another executive order allocating $1.67 billion in CARES Act money.The legislature was originally supposed to return on Monday, but the Democratic leadership postponed that until May 26, the day after Memorial Day. In the meantime, Polis continues to issue executive orders that the minority party wants input on. During the state of emergency, House Minority Leader Rep. Patrick Neville, R-Castle RockNeville has come out in support of business owners impacted by the public health orders. Read More from 9News HERE
Lawmakers Just Cut 58% From Colorado Public Colleges, But Federal Money Will Ease The Blow
Accounting for the federal money and the state cuts, higher education institutions are facing a roughly 5% reduction next year in how much they will have available to them. The threat of enrollment declines poses another formidable challenge — possibly meaning furloughs, cuts to academic programs and deferment of building projects. Over a third of higher education revenue in the state comes from tuition. Read More from Chalkbeat Colorado HERE
Colorado’s Wealthier School Districts Could Be Biggest Target For Budget Cuts
Colorado’s lawmakers may lean on the state’s larger and wealthier counties to bear the brunt as they cut hundreds of millions of dollars from the state’s K-12 education budget. At the end of another long discussion on Tuesday, they still needed to find another $200 million to cut. The latest conversation has focused on the formula that distributes money to school districts. Budget writers are considering two big ways to change it. Read More from CPR HERE
Do Colorado Hospitals Get Extra Money For Coronavirus Cases And Deaths? Yes And No
A claim that states and hospitals inflate coronavirus death counts so they’ll receive more money from the federal government has been circling for weeks on social media, with questions raised anew after Colorado’s health department recently changed how it reports COVID-19 fatalities. The Denver Post sought to verify whether there’s any financial benefit related to coronavirus diagnoses, and found the government does pay hospitals a higher reimbursement for patients with COVID-19 under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act. But that’s limited to a specific patient population — those who are on Medicare, the federal health insurance that covers people 65 and older. In Colorado, state health data shows people 60 and older make up 27.4% of all confirmed cases — and 91% of the state’s coronavirus-related deaths. Read More from The Denver Post HERE
SBA’s PPP Loan Forgiveness Application Leaves Unanswered Questions
The Small Business Administration's long-awaited release of its Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness application provided some clarity on what is expected of the millions of small businesses that have signed up for the $659 billion program — but experts say there are still a number of questions the agency must address. Read More from Denver Business Journal HERE
National COVID-19 Policy Updates
CDC Releases Detailed Guidelines For Reopening
The CDC this week quietly published detailed guidelines for reopening schools and businesses that have been shut down in the coronavirus pandemic. The document includes specific guidance for reopening child care centers, schools, businesses, restaurants and public transit. Among the additions is more detailed advice for mass transit that suggests encouraging social distancing by adding floor decals or colored tape to ensure people remain six feet apart. Read More from Politico HERE and the CDC HERE
Pelosi Announcement Allows Proxy Voting On House Floor Next Week
With the coronavirus pandemic continuing to impact the United States, Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday formally triggered a rules change allowing proxy voting on the floor in upcoming debates, the first time in the House’s 230-plus year history that such a procedure will be used. Pelosi’s announcement will also permit House committees to begin remote hearings, including marking up legislation in their panels. Read More from Politico HERE
Two New Studies Suggest COVID-19 Antibodies Might Provide Immunity
A pair of peer-reviewed lab studies conducted by research teams at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston suggest that antibodies created in response to COVID-19 provide immunity from the disease. The studies suggesting one can't become re-infected with the coronavirus were both published in the journal Science on Wednesday. Read More from The Hill HERE 
Global Coronavirus Cases Spike Over 24 Hours, WHO Says
The number of newly confirmed coronavirus cases globally jumped to a daily record this week, with more than 100,000 reported cases over the past 24 hours. Though social distancing measures around the world have helped slow the spread of COVID-19, WHO officials said outbreaks can easily reemerge as communities reopen. Roughly two-thirds of the new cases were concentrated in four countries. The U.S. had the most with 45,251 new cases on Tuesday, while Russia is reporting the second-highest case count increase, with 9,263 the same day. Read More from Axios HERE
Survey Finds Americans Expect "Widespread Unemployment Or Depression" Lasting Years
Only one in five Americans expects overall business conditions to be “very” or “somewhat” good over the next year, according to a survey for The New York Times. Sixty percent foresee “periods of widespread unemployment or depression” over the next five years. Among those who have kept their jobs and their hours, more than 80 percent say their finances are at least as good as a year ago, and most are confident that their finances will remain steady over the next year, even as they worry about the broader economy. Read More from The New York Times HERE
Fed Worried That Virus Resurgence Could Lead To "Protracted" Slump
Federal Reserve officials worried about the “substantial likelihood” that there could be more outbreaks of the coronavirus, which could lead to a long and severe recession, according to the minutes from their policy meeting in April. The document underscores that Fed officials are highly unsure about how the U.S. economy will fare, citing an "extraordinary amount of uncertainty and considerable risks" over the next year or two. Fed officials also said actions by Congress, the administration and the central bank itself would “be important in shaping the timing and speed of the U.S. economy’s return to more normal conditions.” Read More from Politico HERE
Coronavirus Is Bringing Economic Suffering Across The U.S
Nearly half of U.S. households have lost income since mid-March — but the suffering varies widely by state. Income losses are particularly common in states that have borne the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic, like New York and New Jersey. But Southern states like Mississippi have experienced some of the most dire economic impacts, such as food scarcity and housing insecurity. Read More from Axios HERE
President Trump Threatens To Withhold Michigan, Nevada Funding Over Mail-In Voting
President Trump on Wednesday threatened to withhold federal funding to Michigan after its secretary of state, Jocelyn Benson (D), announced all of the state’s registered voters would receive applications for absentee ballots in the mail this year. Trump later threatened to suspend federal funding to Nevada, which is holding a mail-in primary election, claiming the state was creating a "great Voter Fraud scenario" and allow people to "cheat in elections." Read More from The Hill HERE
Coronavirus Spikes Vote-By-Mail Counts In Virginia Municipal Elections
Forty two times as many mail-in ballots were cast in Tuesday's Virginia municipal elections than in 2016, according to new data from the Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP). Why it matters; The state's experience provides an idea of how massively such demand may skyrocket across the U.S. this year because of the coronavirus pandemic — and can serve as a signpost for election officials as they rush to prepare in response to the virus. Read More from Axios HERE
Mask Shortage For Most Health-Care Workers Extended Into May, Post-Ipsos Poll Shows
Front-line health-care workers still experienced shortages of critical equipment needed for protection from the coronavirus into early May — including nearly two-thirds who cited insufficient supplies of the face masks that filter out most airborne particles. More than 4 in 10 also saw shortages of less protective surgical masks and 36 percent said their supply of hand sanitizer was running low. Roughly 8 in 10 reported wearing one mask for an entire shift, and more than 7 in 10 had to wear the same mask more than once. Read More from The Washington Post HERE
USDA Releases Final Rule For Coronavirus Direct Aid To Farmers
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released the final rule regarding the direct aid portion of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). The CFAP will provide up to $16 billion in direct payments to farmers and ranchers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Aid is available to farmers who produced qualifying crops or livestock and suffered a 5% or greater price loss. For a full list of eligible crops, visit can the USDA Farmers' webpage. Read More from the USDA HERE and HERE
As The Backlogged IRS Struggles To Open Mail And Answer The Phone, Taxpayers Face Long Delays
The Internal Revenue Service had barely begun bringing its lowest-paid workers back to the office in late April when someone in the Philadelphia call center came down with a fever, forcing the third-floor staff to head home. Within two days, an employee in the processing center in Kansas City, Mo., who routes paper checks for deposit was sick with coronavirus symptoms, too. Then the husband of a woman in accounts management in the Covington, Ky., office tested positive, leading managers to presume that she was infected. The three service centers, among 10 campuses nationwide where the IRS is trying to reinstate 11,000 employees, had to partially close for a week for deep cleaning. The infections were just the first hurdle for an agency desperate to reconnect with tens of millions of taxpayers it has struggled to serve since late March. Read More from The Washington Post HERE
America’s Patchwork Pandemic Is Fraying Even Further
There was supposed to be a peak. But the stark turning point, when the number of daily COVID-19 cases in the U.S. finally crested and began descending sharply, never happened. Instead, America spent much of April on a disquieting plateau, with every day bringing about 30,000 new cases and about 2,000 new deaths. The graphs were more mesa than Matterhorn—flat-topped, not sharp-peaked. Only this month has the slope started gently heading downward. The U.S. is dealing with a patchwork pandemic. Read More from The Atlantic HERE
About Rocky Mountain Cradle to Career Partnership (RMC2C)
The Rocky Mountain Cradle to Career Partnership (RMC2C) Backbone team is working to support network partners in their efforts to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic. The Backbone continues to be in a position to bring people together to work collectively, specifically around emergency response and recovery related to COVID-19.

Previously, RMC2C has exclusively focused on supporting youth from Cradle to Career. However, in light of the crisis our community currently faces, there is an immediate need to provide the Backbone's expertise, skills, and resources to the larger community.