Policy and Legislative Updates
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 7.24.2020 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.
Local Policy Updates
Coronavirus In Colorado; The Numbers
According to today's data release, in Colorado there have been 608,070 people tested, 42,980 positive cases, 6,227 hospitalized, 1,790 deaths among cases (1,661 deaths due to COVID), 455 outbreaks at residential and non- hospital health care facilities, 63 of 64 counties with positive cases. In Adams County we have 5,433 cases and 167 deaths. Read More from CDPHE HERE
Growing Frustration In Colorado Over Delays In COVID-19 Test Results
Colorado officials are once again seeking ways to aggressively ramp up state testing for COVID-19 after a national backlog at private labs has left residents waiting days — and sometimes even more than a week — for results. The number of new coronavirus cases in the state has increased for five consecutive weeks, and that rise in infections is highlighting gaps that continue to persist in the state’s ability to test for COVID-19 more than four months into the pandemic. Read More from The Denver Post HERE
Gov. Polis Provides Update On Colorado COVID-19 Response
On Thursday Governor Jared Polis provided an update on testing in Colorado. “Testing continues to be a critical part of Colorado’s strategy to combat this virus and I’m proud of the incredible work our state lab has done over these past few months to increase capacity. There is still a lot of work to do to ensure that every Coloradan can get tested and receive results in a timely manner and we will continue working with private partners to ensure those goals are met,” said Governor Jared Polis. Read More from Governor Jared Polis HERE
Polis' Pledge To Oppose Oil-And-Gas Ballot Measures Ends Two More Questions For November
The oil and gas industry is saluting Gov. Jared Polis' pledge to "actively" oppose any oil and gas measures during his first term. That prompted a pro-oil and gas group to cease work on two potential ballot measures Friday. The Democrat who won office pledging more renewable energy wants provide time for Democratic legislation passed last year, Senate Bill 181, to better regulate the industry. Read More from Colorado Politics HERE
Polis Tells Federal Troops To Stay The Hell Out of Colorado
In the midst of offering his latest update on Colorado's strategy to diminish the spread of COVID-19, Governor Jared Polis took on a tangential topic: the prospect of federal troops being sent to the state to keep order in the wake of various protests. He made it clear that such assistance is neither needed nor wanted. Read More from Westword HERE
Oil And Gas Industry Pulls 2020 Ballot Initiatives After Deal With Gov. Polis
The oil and gas wars are over — for now. In an op-ed in Colorado Politics, Democratic Gov. Jared Polis said oil and gas groups have agreed to drop ballot initiatives on the 2020 ballot. He added he had spoken with legislative leaders to pause further efforts to regulate the industry. According to Polis, the agreement is meant to allow for the full implementation of SB19-181, an overhaul of oil and gas regulations he signed in 2019. Read More from CPR HERE
Colorado Expands State Lab Capacity For Virus Testing, Boosts Private Partners
Colorado is increasing its public-private partnerships to ramp up the state’s coronavirus testing, Gov. Jared Polis said Thursday, bemoaning the lack of a national testing strategy that could produce rapid results for all. Polis said it’s “unacceptable” that many coronavirus tests take more than a week to deliver results, negatively impacting contact tracing, quarantining and other state efforts to stem the virus. Read More from The Colorado Sun HERE
Governor Polis Announces Appointment To 17th Judicial District Court
Gov. Polis today announced the appointment of Emily C. Lieberman to the 17th Judicial District Court. The judgeship was created by the retirement of the Honorable Edward C. Moss. Lieberman is a Colorado State Public Defender in the Brighton Regional Office, a position she has held since 2007. She has served as a Supervising Public Defender since 2017. Her practice consists of criminal law. Lieberman’s appointment is effective August 15, 2020. Read More from Governor Jared Polis HERE
Colorado’s Billionaires Make Billions More During Pandemic And Recession
Between March 18 and July 22, Colorado’s 10 billionaires increased their net worth by a combined $6.9 billion — a 22% gain — according to Forbes data analyzed by Americans for Tax Fairness. Only two of the 10 lost money in the sudden and stark recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic and accompanying shutdowns. Read More from The Denver Post HERE
Coronavirus Bills Push Lobbying To Record Total In Colorado. Here’s A Look At The Big Spenders
The spending to lobby the Democratic-led General Assembly is nearly 12% higher than 2019 and $10 million more than in 2016. A measure requiring employers to provide paid sick leave drew the most attention of lobbyists and their clients, followed by a bill to free up more cash for education by eliminating some tax breaks. Six of the 15 most lobbied bills were introduced after May 26, when the legislature returned from a two-month hiatus prompted by concerns about the spread of COVID-19. Read More from The Colorado Sun HERE
Colorado Counties Face Reopening Rollback As Coronavirus Cases Grow, New Outbreaks Occur
An increase in new cases of COVID-19, partly driven by a series of retail and restaurant outbreaks, has put reopening and large gatherings in Larimer and other Colorado counties at risk. Along with Larimer County, the state health department has granted 42 other counties additional privileges through public health variances since May. Each variance can be rescinded if COVID-19 conditions worsen. Larimer is just one of 15 counties in Colorado to receive a warning from CDPHE this week. The other counties at risk of losing their variances are Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, Chaffee, Custer, Denver, Douglas, Eagle, El Paso, Garfield, Grand, Mineral, Pitkin and Prowers. Read More from CPR HERE
New Analysis Highlights Colorado's Lagging Interstate System
Congestion, deterioration and fatalities on Colorado’s interstate highways is among the highest in the nation, according to a new report Thursday by the national transportation research nonprofit TRIP. From 2000 to 2018, vehicle travel increased 17 times faster than the corresponding rate at which new lane capacity has been added, according to the analysis. Colorado’s interstates were the third busiest and the 11th most-congested in the U.S. Read More from Colorado Politics HERE and TRIP HERE
Coronavirus Has Struck Construction Sites Across Colorado, Including A School And Off-Campus Housing Project
Coronavirus outbreaks have hit staff working in the close quarters of Colorado nursing homes, prisons and jails, food-manufacturing plants and restaurants. Add construction workers to that list, as the number of job sites with outbreaks continues to rise. Read More from The Colorado Sun HERE
What Is Cohorting? And Is It The Cure For Colorado’s Coronavirus School Worries?
Districts around Colorado have released various plans — some have turned to remote learning, others will have in-person classes while a few will have a mix. One safeguard that’s been floated are cohorts or keeping a group of students and staff together throughout the school year. A certain amount of students specified by each district would stay together throughout the school day as they move through their lessons to limit exposure to other students and staff. Read More from CPR HERE 
Jeffco Public Schools To Begin Year With At Least 2 Weeks Of Remote Learning Before Opening Classrooms
Reversing course, Jeffco Public Schools plans to start the school year entirely online for a two-week period beginning Aug. 24, according to a Thursday afternoon message from the district. Jeffco elementary schools will begin offering 100% in-person and 100% remote options on Sept. 8 at the earliest, while middle and high schools will open their classrooms with a hybrid schedule that will feature alternating days of in-person and remote learning, the district said. Read More from The Denver Post HERE
Imagining Douglas County Without Tri-County Health
With Douglas County and the Tri-County Health Department headed for a divorce, triggered by the health agency's recent order on wearing masks in response to the COVID-19 crisis, leaders explained themselves and addressed the public over the issue at a pair of meetings. On July 14, the commissioners addressed the public on the matter, with the three commissioners, Roger Partridge, Lora Thomas and Abe Laydon, each explaining their reasoning. Read More from Colorado Politics HERE 
Somewhere In Between $1- To 3- Trillion, Congress Edges Closer To Likely The Last Coronavirus Aid Package Before Election Day
Call it CARES 2.0, Phase 4 or Phase 5, but by any name, congressional leaders and the White House are negotiating the next — and most likely last — big coronavirus relief package before the November election. House Democrats passed a $3 trillion dollar relief package, the Heroes Act, months ago. Republicans are putting the final touches on a $1 trillion package. The final bill will land somewhere in between and that means some people will be left out. Priorities have been staked out on all sides, including by members of the Colorado delegation. Read More from CPR HERE
Colorado Unemployment Claims Top $3.7 Billion In Past 4 Months
More than 16,000 Coloradans filed for unemployment benefits last week. That’s several hundred more claims than the week before. Hospitality, service and food industries continue to be the hardest hit industries. The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment has paid more than $3.7 billion in benefits since March 29. Read More from CBS4 Denver HERE 
National Policy Updates
New Unemployment Claims Rose Last Week To 1.4M, Ending Months Of Declines
Unemployment claims rose to 1.4 million last week, up about 100,000 from the week before, the Labor Department reported, ending 15 weeks of consecutive declines in new applications. An additional 975,000 people applied for aid under the temporary federal pandemic unemployment assistance program, created to provide jobless aid to workers ineligible for traditional unemployment benefits, such as gig workers. Read More from Politico HERE
U.S. Hits 4 Million Cases Of Coronavirus — Adding A Million New Cases In Just 15 Days
Another day, another mind-boggling milestone: 4 million people in the U.S. have tested positive for the coronavirus. The U.S. hit the 3 million mark just 15 days ago. That's according to a tracker from Johns Hopkins University. More than 143,700 people have died from the virus in the U.S. — nearly twice as many as Brazil, the country with the second-highest number of fatalities. Case numbers continue to rise in most U.S. states and territories. While confirmed cases have surpassed 4 million, federal health officials have said the actual number is likely many times higher. Read More from NPR HERE
Spiking Or Plateauing? COVID-19 Case Counts Spur Debate
A monthlong resurgence in COVDI-19 cases appears to be hitting a peak, but a new assessment of the coronavirus’ trajectory is fueling conflicting interpretations about whether the worst is over. Slowing caseloads in Florida and Arizona have fanned a narrative that the worst of the disease spread is cresting in some of the nation’s worst hot spots. But public health experts on Thursday issued new warnings that the virus is still spiraling out of control, only in the form of a rolling series of outbreaks in almost half the states, with more troubling signs in many others. Read More from Politico HERE
Birx Warns Florida, Texas And California Are ‘Three New Yorks’ As Coronavirus Deaths Soar
As U.S. coronavirus cases surged past 4 million on Thursday, the number of daily covid-19-related deaths surpassed 1,000 for the third consecutive day. More than 500 of the fatalities were recorded in Florida, California and Texas, where the novel coronavirus is spreading at alarming rates. With the virus spreading rapidly, President Trump abruptly canceled next month’s Republican National Convention events in Florida, a sign that his large, boisterous campaign rallies may be a thing of the past. Read More from The Washington Post HERE
It’s Harder To Get A COVID-19 Test If You’re Black Or Hispanic
Who has access to COVID-19 testing in America? FiveThirtyEight and ABC News uncovered some staggering disparities along racial lines, which they discuss on this week’s episode of PODCAST-19. The Department of Health and Human Services recently released a comprehensive strategy to address the disparate access to COVID-19 testing, including expanding testing at federally qualified health centers as well as supporting public-private partnerships that establish testing at retail pharmacy companies to accelerate testing within vulnerable populations. Read More from FiveThirtyEight HERE 
A New C.D.C. Statement On Schools Calls For Reopening And Downplays The Potential Health Risks
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published the new guidance two weeks after President Trump criticized its earlier recommendations on school reopenings as “very tough and expensive,” ramping up what had already been an anguished national debate over the question of how soon children should return to classrooms. Read More from The New York Times HERE, the CDC HERE , and CNN HERE
Need Some Good News? Congress Passes the Great American Outdoors Act
This week Congress passed the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA), a critical step to sustaining nature and everyone’s access to it. Like the Public Lands Act that passed last spring, GAOA delivers something to every part of the country. It does so by permanently funding the existing Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and creating a new fund to pay for necessary repairs and maintenance of park infrastructure. This bill is a sweeping victory for our lands, wildlife, and communities for several reasons. Read More from the Natural Resources Defense Council HERE 
Pandemic Aid Negotiations Stall
Amid a series of crises — with 30 million Americans unemployed and coronavirus cases spiking nationally — White House officials and Senate GOP leaders couldn’t even come to an agreement among themselves on a starting point for a new relief package, let alone begin bipartisan talks with Democrats. They clashed over a payroll tax cut, more money for testing, unemployment insurance benefits and a raft of other measures to address the unprecedented economic slowdown. The planned unveiling of a new $1 trillion bill got delayed and delayed again. Read More from Politico Pro HERE
$600 A Week Is A Lifeline To Millions Of Unemployed. It Could Disappear Soon
After July 31, millions of out-of-work Americans will likely lose an additional $600 a week in unemployment benefits that have helped them weather the coronavirus pandemic. Lawmakers are negotiating a new relief package, but the chances the additional lifeline will be extended are slim. Depending on income and where someone lives, regular unemployment benefits replace only a portion of lost wages. The lower-income workers who were benefiting the most from the $600 lifeline will feel its loss most acutely. Read More from The New York Times HERE
'Tsunami' Of Evictions Feared As Extra $600 Unemployment Payments End
Upward of 25 million Americans who've lost their jobs have been getting an extra unemployment benefit. That $600 per week has helped many to afford to pay their rent and other bills. But that federal money stops this weekend. That has left Diane Yentel, president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, "deeply worried." "It's very clear that without a sustained federal intervention, there will be a wave of evictions and a spike in homelessness across the country," she says. Read More from NPR HERE
GOP Struggles With Overhaul Of Unemployment System
Senior Republican lawmakers are studying a significant overhaul of emergency unemployment payments that could complicate the work of state agencies already struggling to get the benefits out to millions of Americans. The ongoing talks are one key reason for the surprising delay in the introduction of the GOP’s $1 trillion stimulus package. Administration officials and GOP lawmakers have said they want to cut but not outright eliminate enhanced federal unemployment benefits, but the final shape of the plan remains in flux. Read More from The Washington Post HERE
Congress Set For Brawl As Unemployment Cliff Looms
Congress is barreling toward a showdown over federal unemployment benefits, with millions of Americans hanging in the balance. As part of the March $2.2 trillion coronavirus bill, Congress agreed to a $600-per week boost of unemployment benefits, but those are set to start expiring in a matter of days. What to replace it with is shaping up to be a clash as lawmakers and the White House prepare to negotiate the fifth coronavirus bill. Read More from The Hill HERE
Pelosi Again Rules Out A Short-Term Extension Of $600 Unemployment Benefits, Pushing Republicans To Commit To Broader Aid
Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California again rejected on Friday the prospect of passing a short-term extension of extra unemployment benefits slated to lapse next week, slamming Republicans for failing to put forward a broader pandemic relief proposal that would include a continuation of the $600 weekly boost. Read More from The New York Times HERE
McConnell Says Stimulus Deal Could Take ‘Weeks,’ Putting Millions Of People With Expiring Jobless Aid In Limbo
With days to go before enhanced jobless benefits expire, the White House and Senate Republicans are struggling to design a way to scale back the program without overwhelming state unemployment agencies and imperiling aid to more than 20 million Americans. The hangup has led to an abrupt delay in the introduction of the GOP’s $1 trillion stimulus package. The White House and Democrats have said they want a deal by the end of the month, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) suggested Friday it could take several weeks to reach an agreement. Read More from The Washington Post HERE
Senate Clears Bill Removing Confederate Names From Military Bases, Setting Up Clash With Trump
The Senate overwhelmingly passed its $741 billion defense policy legislation on Thursday, with the Republican-led body defying a threat from President Donald Trump to veto legislation that would force the removal of Confederate names from Army bases. Senators approved the National Defense Authorization Act in a 86-14 blowout. Both the House and Senate have passed bills this week with majorities large enough to overcome a veto from Trump. Read More from Politico HERE
Trump Signs Executive Orders Claiming Lower Drug Prices
President Trump on Friday signed executive orders that revive several of the administration's previous drug pricing ideas — including attempts to require Medicare to pay no more for drugs than the lowest prices paid by other countries and changing how drug rebates work within industry middlemen. Today's executive orders on their own have limited authority and could take a long time to go into effect, if they go into effect at all. A lower drug pricing index and Canadian drug importation have been longstanding initiatives within the Trump administration. Read More from Axios HERE
Companies Start To Think Remote Work Isn’t So Great After All
Now, as the work-from-home experiment stretches on, some cracks are starting to emerge. Projects take longer. Training is tougher. Hiring and integrating new employees, more complicated. Some employers say their workers appear less connected and bosses fear that younger professionals aren’t developing at the same rate as they would in offices, sitting next to colleagues and absorbing how they do their jobs. Read More from The Wall Street Journal HERE
Homeland Security Agency Delays Widespread Furloughs
The Trump administration on Friday promised to delay unpaid furloughs for more than 13,000 employees at a Homeland Security Department agency, with the announcement following an email telling employees the agency's financial situation had improved. The furloughs, which were set to affect more than 70% of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services workforce, were scheduled to begin Aug. 3 and will now be pushed back several weeks at least. Read More from Government Executive HERE
International Policy Updates
China Orders U.S. To Close Chengdu Consulate As Payback For Houston Move
As a deadline neared for China to vacate its Consulate in Houston, Beijing struck back with the latest in a series of near-daily blows in the downward spiral of the U.S.-China relationship. On Friday, Beijing ordered the closure of the U.S. Consulate in the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu, retaliating against Washington’s decision earlier in the week to close China’s Houston mission, as well as American accusations that the Chinese diplomatic outpost was involved in economic espionage and visa fraud. Read More from The Wall Street Journal HERE
Counterintelligence Chief Names China, Russia And Iran As Top Election Security Threats
William Evanina, the nation's top counterintelligence official, said Friday that China, Russia and Iran present the most pressing threats for election interference in the 2020 presidential race. Why it matters: November's election is set to see unprecedented use of vote-by-mail options amid the coronavirus pandemic, which could delay results and see baseless pushback from President Trump — potentially allowing foreign actors to sow discord. Read More from Axios 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.