COVID-19 Policy and Legislative Updates
May 21, 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 5.21.2020 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.
Last Chance: Frequency of Updates Poll
As we move to and through the re-opening phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, we want to here from YOU on how often you would like to receive these policy and legislative updates ongoing.
How often would you like to receive policy and legislative updates related to COVID-19?
Daily (current)
Three Times Per Week
Twice Per Week
Once Per Week
Less Often Than Once Per Week
Local COVID-19 Policy Updates
Coronavirus In Colorado; The Numbers
According to today's data release, in Colorado there have been 139,937 people tested, 23,191 positive cases, 4,037 hospitalized, 1,310 deaths among cases (1,062 deaths due to COVID), 256 outbreaks at residential and non-hospital health care facilities, 60 of 64 counties with positive cases. In Adams County we have 2,759 cases and 108 deaths. Read More from CDPHE HERE
Gov. Polis Signs Executive Order Allowing Operation Of Alternate Care Sites
Yesterday, Gov. Polis signed an Executive Order allowing the operation of alternate care sites (ACS) in Colorado. The ACSs will be used to provide care to COVID-19 patients who no longer require inpatient hospitalization but still require some medical care and observation to ensure their safety and well-being while recovering from COVID-19. Read More from Governor Jared Polis HERE  
State Lawmakers Will Return To The Capitol On May 26 To Balance A Budget Ravaged By Coronavirus
State legislative leaders have adopted informal rules for their return to the Colorado Capitol on Tuesday, May 26, to finish the legislative session and pass a balanced budget. The public will be asked to wear masks inside the building and maintain social distancing. Visitors will have to undergo a temperature check before entering the building. Public tours of the Capitol remain canceled. Lawmakers will be spaced farther apart rather than in adjacent seats. Some members of the House will voluntarily sit in the public viewing gallery above the chamber, and plexiglass will be installed in certain portions of the Capitol where it’s not possible for people to remain six feet apart. Read More from CPR HERE
Colorado Likely Won’t Have An Accurate Coronavirus Death Count For Months, Or Even Years
Across Colorado, there is a mystery brewing in mortality. At least 1,200 more people died last month in the state compared to in April 2019, according to official figures. But only a fraction of that increase is currently being attributed to the novel coronavirus. So, in a time of unprecedented public health crisis and unprecedented restrictions on travel, what else is killing Coloradans? Read More from The Colorado Sun HERE
Denver Ramps Up Testing At The Pepsi Center
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and Colorado Gov. Jared Polis rolled out a free, drive-up testing facility at the Pepsi Center in Denver on Thursday afternoon in partnership with Denver Health Medical Center. The city is hoping to test 1,000 people a day, but the city now has the capacity to test up to 4,000 a day. Hancock said the city is spending about $3.5 million for the Pepsi Center site, part of a $5 million public health and safety investment. The money comes from the $20 million in federal stimulus money the city received. Read More from Colorado Politics HERE
Health Officials Say Take It Slow As Colorado Reopens Amid Coronavirus
Gov. Jared Polis Wednesday praised Coloradans for taking social distancing measures to heart and reducing the spread of the novel coronavirus, in spite of a few high-profile instances of large, informal gatherings. Earlier in the day, though, state health experts warned hospitalizations could spike rapidly if restrictions are relaxed too quickly or if people aren’t heeding social distancing guidelines. Read More from CPR HERE
CDOT Says Lower Vehicle Traffic Expected Over Holiday
The Colorado Department of Transportation anticipates that road traffic will be lighter over Memorial Day weekend due to various COVID-19-related restrictions.Under the state's "Safer at Home" guidance, Coloradans should stay at home as much as possible, and stay within their communities if they do need to leave. Despite the anticipated reduction in vehicle travel, CDOT is still suspending all maintenance projects beginning at noon on Friday and resuming on May 26. Read More from Colorado Politics HERE 
Reminder; Colorado Released Draft Guidelines For Restaurants, Bars To Begin Reopening; Feedback Sought
Colorado released the draft guidelines for restaurants, bars and cafes to begin reopening Tuesday – which shows the standards those eateries will have to meet in order to begin reopening and focuses on implementing outdoor seating and limiting interactions. Owners and managers of restaurants and other stakeholders will have through Friday to give feedback to the state on the draft guidelines through a form. Read More from Denver7 HERE
Senior Organization Feeding People Of All Ages During Pandemic
The Senior Hub has been providing meals for seniors in Adams and Arapahoe counties for 30 years. But the need for food has grown during the coronavirus pandemic. To help, the organization started what’s called Market Night, which takes place in the Water World parking lot on Wednesday nights. People can drive up and receive a box of fresh produce free of charge. There’s also dairy products, vitamins, and dog food for families who need it. Even though The Senior Hub is putting on the event, it’s open to people of all ages. Read More from CBS4 Denver HERE
As Customers And Employees Return, Coronavirus Outbreaks Bloom At Retail Stores
As Colorado continues a gradual return to economic activity, retail establishments now represent the largest share of new COVID-19 outbreaks. The state identified 41 new outbreaks total, defined as two or more cases within a 14 day period. Since the first week of May, Colorado has seen a shift in where outbreaks are occurring, from confined, isolated places like elder care and correctional facilities to areas where workers or members of the public congregate. Read More from CPR HERE
These Colorado Grocery Stores, Retail Outlets And Restaurants Have Coronavirus Outbreaks
Each Wednesday, Colorado’s public health department updates its database of coronavirus outbreaks across the state, a list that’s dominated by nursing homes and other senior living facilities, as well as an increasing number of factories and plants, and correctional facilities. Also included are a number of retail businesses open to the general public, including grocery stores, big-box outlets, restaurants and thrift stores. As of May 12, the state’s outbreak list includes 21 such locations, with nearly 130 confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases between them. Read More from The Denver Post HERE
Rafting Season Is Ready To Launch, But Coronavirus Worries Are Running High In Colorado
With warming temperatures in Colorado’s mountains and spring runoff in full swing, the whitewater boating season should be off to a roaring start. But Colorado’s stringent COVID-19 travel and recreation restrictions are forcing commercial rafting companies to create social distance on unruly rivers and face the potential for smaller crowds. Read More form The Colorado Sun HERE
Temporary Coronavirus Hospital At Colorado Convention Center Delayed, Downsized Amid Diminishing Need
The temporary medical facility previously targeted to open Saturday at the Colorado Convention Center won’t be ready until the middle of next month and fewer beds will be needed. The shift in opening dates is due to a mix of construction delays and a diminishing need. The opening of a second temporary medical facility — The Ranch at the Larimer County Fairgrounds in Loveland — also will be delayed until May 15. Read More from The Denver Post HERE  
Budget Cuts And Building Rules
Do you rely on the state of Colorado for anything? Well, odds are in the next six weeks, state lawmakers will consider reducing or eliminating it. That's because they have to cut nearly a quarter of Colorado's discretionary spending for the next year. And at the same time the budget committee is trying to prepare a spending package for lawmakers to consider, those same lawmakers are very far apart on the basic health rules for returning to work in the Capitol. Read More from CPR HERE
Colorado’s K-12 Budget; Does COVID-19 Suddenly Make The Unpalatable Possible?
As of Wednesday evening, lawmakers on the Joint Budget Committee still had more than $1 billion to go toward filling a $3.3 billion hole caused by the economic impacts of the coronavirus. They saved the cuts to K-12 for the very end of the budget process. Colorado’s school finance formula directs more money to well-off school districts with high cost of living than to districts serving large numbers of children in poverty, and voter-approved local property taxes exacerbate inequities between districts. Meanwhile, the legislature’s go-to mechanism for cutting school funding to balance the budget — an across-the-board cut to per-pupil funding — hits rural districts harder than others. The crisis has some education advocates calling on lawmakers to make changes that had previously been politically unpalatable. Read More from Chalkbeat Colorado HERE
The New Normal Under Coronavirus Is Hard For Parents And Kids. Here Are Some Tips To Make It Easier
In the middle of the COVID crisis, you might hear a couple of common concerns: What to do with a normally happy kid whose meltdowns signal emotional trouble, or how to avoid a “summer slide” in learning after a weird end to the school year. CPR got some expert tips on both counts. Read More from CPR HERE
Colorado Unemployment Claims Decline, Payouts Still Historic
Regular unemployment claims declined for a fifth straight week last week but Colorado is paying record jobless benefits as the result of economic restrictions imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Last week, 17,825 people applied for regular unemployment benefits in Colorado, down from 22,483 the week before. In addition, 7,633 self-employed and gig workers filed claims for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. Last week, the state paid out $88.8 million in regular unemployment benefits. During the height of the Great Recession, the state paid out an average of $19 million in unemployment benefits each week. The state paid $315 million in regular unemployment benefits in April, breaking the previous record total of $102.8 million set in May 2009. Read More from Colorado Politics HERE
National COVID-19 Policy Updates
2.4 Million Americans Filed Jobless Claims Last Week, Bringing Nine-Week Total To 38.6 Million
More than 38.6 million Americans have sought unemployment benefits over nine weeks, illustrating the rolling devastation wrought by the pandemic. The unemployment rate in April hit 14.7 percent, higher than during the Great Recession, complicating a recovery effort that even some in the Trump administration fear could take years to resolve. Read More from The Washington Post HERE
Study Finds U.S. Could Have Saved 36,000 Lives If Social Distancing Started 1 Week Earlier
The U.S. could have prevented roughly 36,000 deaths from COVID-19 if broad social distancing measures had been put in place just one week earlier in March, according to an analysis from Columbia University. Underlining the importance of aggressively responding to the coronavirus, the study found the U.S. could have avoided at least 700,000 fewer infections if actions that began on March 15 had actually started on March 8. In the analysis, researchers applied transmission models to data drawn from the pandemic's actual course county by county in the U.S. More from NPR HERE
Colorado Congressional Delegation Asks For Continued PPE To Nursing Homes From FEMA
Colorado’s congressional delegation urged the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Tuesday to include assisted living and other senior care facilities in its distribution plans for personal protective equipment. As of May 14, FEMA reported that it had delivered 561,622 N95 respirators, 623,136 gloves, 107,305 face shields and 617,524 million surgical masks to Colorado. The equipment comes from a combination of purchases, donations and distribution from the national stockpile. Read More from Colorado Politics HERE
Senate Confirms John Ratcliffe As Intelligence Chief
The Senate confirmed Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) as the director of national intelligence in a 49-44 party-line vote on Thursday. Ratcliffe, a vocal ally of President Trump, now heads an intelligence community that has faced consistent criticism from the president and is in the midst of political firestorms surrounding the prosecution of Michael Flynn and the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Ratcliffe will also be able to decide what documents are publicly released in expanding congressional investigations into Obama administration officials, especially Joe Biden, Trump's presumptive 2020 opponent. Read More from Axios HERE
Deliberative Senate Declines To Debate More Coronavirus Aid
As Americans confront a crisis unlike any in modern times, the Senate, which prides itself on being the world's greatest deliberative body, is doing almost anything but deliberate the coronavirus. On one side is a Senate clamoring for a quick response to the virus outbreak at its door. On the other is the wait-and-see Senate hitting pause on swift action and carrying on with non-pandemic business. Senators are prepared to leave town for a weeklong Memorial Day break without having acted on any new relief. More from Colorado Politics HERE
Senate Breaks For Recess After Cory Gardner's Threat
After threatening to block the Memorial Day recess, Sen. Cory Gardner said Thursday he feels “good” about where things stand. That's because the Senate is expected to approve a deal to give small businesses hurt by the pandemic more time to spend their loans. Gardner said the Senate needs to go bigger in June. Read More from Politico HERE 
McConnell To Trump; Next Coronavirus Bill Must Be Under $1 Trillion
During a meeting at the White House on Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stressed to President Trump that the next coronavirus relief package cannot exceed $1 trillion, and should be narrowly focused on getting money in people's hands immediately. He said he worries that additional unemployment payments will discourage people from working, and instead suggested supplementing some workers' paychecks. Left unsaid; In urging for a much smaller and immediate relief package, McConnell threw cold water on Trump's continued push to tie infrastructure spending to a stimulus bill. Read More from Axios HERE
Senators Make Bipartisan Push To Expedite Hiring For Workers To Oversee Pandemic Response
The watchdog office Congress created to oversee trillions of dollars of economic stimulus spending in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic would have new authority to quickly staff up and hire under a bipartisan bill unveiled in the Senate this week. The Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery Expedited Hiring Authority Act (S. 3751) would allow that investigator’s office to bypass normal hiring restrictions that often make federal onboarding a lengthy process. Read More from Government Executive HERE
Mnuchin Sees "Strong Likelihood" Of Needing Another COVID-19 Relief Bill
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Thursday said there is a "strong likelihood" that another coronavirus relief bill will be needed as more states start to reopen and the economy struggles to stabilize.His comments follow those of White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett, who said earlier this week that he thinks another coronavirus bill might not be necessary. On Capitol Hill, Republicans and Democrats are divided over how to tackle additional legislation. Read More from The Hill HERE
The Stock Market's Speculative Frenzy
Never has the stock market seen so much gambling. Volume is at record highs, with individual stocks and the market as a whole feeling almost manic. Legendary value investor Ben Graham said that in the short term, the market is a voting machine, but that in the long term it's a weighing machine. The stock market saw a record $14.6 trillion of volume in March. That's exactly double the $7.3 trillion of volume a year previously, in March 2019. April's volume was $9.8 trillion, up 50% from the same month in 2019. Read More from Axios HERE
CISA Version 3.1 Guidance On The Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce
The new document gives guidance to state, local, tribal, and territorial jurisdictions and the private sector on defining essential critical infrastructure workers. Promoting the ability of such workers to continue to work during periods of community restriction, access management, social distancing, or closure orders/directives is crucial to community resilience and continuity of essential functions. Read More from CISA HERE  
At Least 80 Dead After Cyclone Amphan Lashed India And Bangladesh
Cyclone Amphan killed at least 80 people as of Thursday after torrential rains and powerful winds hit eastern India and Bangladesh earlier this week. Kolkata, one of India's biggest cities, is among the worst-hit areas, with more than 14 million people left without powers. West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee described the situation as "more worrying than the coronavirus pandemic." Read More from Axios HERE 
Schools Must Keep Serving English Learners During Pandemic
New guidance, published Monday by the U.S. Department of Education, answers questions facing schools serving the nation’s some 5 million English learners during the coronavirus pandemic, which has closed schools across the country. The department already gave states permission to skip one critical requirement: giving an annual English proficiency exam. But the guidance goes into more detail about how schools might make up those tests next year, decide what kinds of classes students should be placed in this fall, and handle students who might have “tested out” of language services this spring. Read More from Chalkbeat HERE and Department of Education HERE
Shooting At Naval Air Station Corpus Christi Is Terror-Related, FBI Says
Thursday's shooting at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi in Texas is terror-related, according to FBI officials. Authorities previously said a shooter had been "neutralized," but there may be a second person of interest still at large. One member of the naval security forces was injured in the incident. Read More from CNN HERE
"How Could The CDC Make That Mistake?"
The Atlantic learned that the CDC is making, at best, a debilitating mistake: combining test results that diagnose current coronavirus infections with test results that measure whether someone has ever had the virus. The upshot is that the government’s disease-fighting agency is overstating the country’s ability to test people who are sick with COVID-19. The agency confirmed to The Atlantic on Wednesday that it is mixing the results of viral and antibody tests, even though the two tests reveal different information and are used for different reasons. Read More from The Atlantic HERE 
Getting An Antibody Test For The Coronavirus? Here's What It Won't Tell You
It's still not certain that antibodies measured by an antibody test would protect someone from catching the virus again. And if the antibodies are protective, it's unknown how strong that protection might be or how long it might last. There are also questions about the reliability of many antibody tests being sold. Researchers are urgently trying to answer those uncertainties and figure how best to conduct antibody testing. Nevertheless, increasing numbers of people are getting the tests — many without recognizing how much is still unknown about what the results mean. Read More from NPR HERE  
Is There Any Safe Way To Socialize During The Coronavirus Pandemic?
Of the many ways COVID-19 has changed American life, social distancing is among the toughest for many people to bear. So it’s only natural that, as caution fatigue sets in and social-distancing guidelines in many places are extended into the indeterminate future, even well-intentioned people are looking for loopholes that allow them to reunite with loved ones. But is there any safe way to see family or friends while following social-distancing guidelines? There’s always risk. Read More from Time HERE
How Bad Is The COVID-19 Misinformation Epidemic?
In the midst of battling a global health emergency, we find ourselves fending off another scourge of conspiracy theories and misinformation. It certainly feels like there’s a lot of fake news swirling around about the coronavirus, but how does it compare to another major misinformation magnet: the 2016 election? Research on coronavirus misinformation is largely limited to public opinion surveys and preprint research that has yet to be peer-reviewed. But when FiveThirtyEight compare those preliminary findings to research on the 2016 election, they suggest that more people are seeing — and believing — misinformation now, and it may have something to do with the challenge of understanding a new disease. Read More from FiveThirtyEight 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.