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 7.6.2020 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 357,751 people tested, 34,257 positive cases, 5,591 hospitalized, 1,691 deaths among cases (1,542 deaths due to COVID), 367 outbreaks at residential and non- hospital health care facilities, 61 of 64 counties with positive cases. In Adams County we have 4,400 cases and 156 deaths. Read More from CDPHE HERE
Supreme Court Unanimously Sides With Colorado, Washington In ‘Faithless Electors’ Case; 2 Of Colorado's "Faithless Electors" Vow To Keep Up The Fight After Supreme Court Decision
In a unanimous decision, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a basic assumption of the country’s electoral system, reducing the possibility that a state’s Electoral College votes would be delivered to someone other than the winner of its presidential election. The cases before the court focused on electors, the people who translate hundreds of millions of ballots into just 538 votes in the Electoral College. The central question was whether electors in Colorado and Washington have the freedom to cast their ballot for any candidate, or whether they must follow the will of the people. Read More from CPR HERE and Colorado Politics HERE
Colorado’s 2015 Law Changing How Officer-Involved Shootings Are Reviewed Still Lets Police Agencies Investigate Themselves
Five years ago, Colorado lawmakers passed a bill that banned police departments and sheriff’s officers from investigating themselves without any outside assistance after one of their officers or deputies shoots someone. But here’s the hitch: the legislation, Senate Bill 219, specifically states “shooting,” meaning it doesn’t apply if someone dies at the hands of law enforcement because of a chokehold or any other death not involving a firearm. So when Elijah McClain died last year after an encounter with officers from the Aurora Police Department, the Aurora Police Department technically didn’t have to ask for help. Read More from The Colorado Sun HERE
From Pandemic To Recession, A “Cacophony Of Crises” Threatens Colorado’s Higher Education Institutions
Colorado university leaders are trying to plan for a safe return to campus later this summer amid a public health crisis that demands their proposals receive constant reevaluation, all while knowing enrollment is likely to decline, unexpected pandemic-related costs will climb and the state’s famously low higher-education funding has been slashed — again. Read More from The Denver Post HERE
Why A Global Fight Over Airplane Manufacturing Is Affecting Wine Lists In Colorado Restaurants
Nate Klatt, his wife and a college friend had built up a small but good business selling imported wine to Colorado restaurants and wine stores. And then the troubles began. First, in October, a 25% federal tariff was imposed on imports of French, German and Spanish wines as part of a dispute over European airplane sales. Then the novel coronavirus pandemic closed all restaurants. Now, the U.S. Trade Representative is considering raising the wine tariff to 100% and extending it to all European Union countries. Read More from The Colorado Sun HERE
Company Aims To Build 600-Acre Industrial Park Next To Colorado Air And Space Port
A 600-acre site next to the Colorado Air and Space Port in Adams County could become a kind of inland port for businesses manufacturing and distributing goods and could generate hundreds of jobs under a plan by Rocky Mountain Industrials. The company has proposed building an industrial park at the site about a mile north of Interstate 70 and adjacent to the Union Pacific Railroad tracks. Adams County has given preliminary approval to Rocky Mountain Industrials’ development plans. The final review is underway. Read More from The Denver Post HERE
See The 13,385 Colorado Companies That Received The Largest PPP Loans
More than 13,000 Colorado companies received Paycheck Protection Program loans in excess of $150,000, according to just-released data from the U.S. Small Business Administration. The data shows that 95 companies based in Colorado received loans ranging between $5 million and $10 million through the program. On Monday, the SBA released a redacted slice of Paycheck Protection Program data that identifies major recipients as well as the extent of jobs supported by the $659 billion program during the country's initial economic hit from the coronavirus pandemic. Read More from Denver Business Journal HERE
Jefferson County Officials Say Bandimere Speedway Race Violated COVID-19 Health Safety Orders
Jefferson County Public Health is planning to take legal action against Bandimere Speedway for a Fourth of July race that officials say violated social distancing requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic. In a statement released Sunday, the health department said that Bandimere had agreed to court-ordered requirements during Saturday’s Jet Car Nationals event. That included limiting and managing crowd size, enforcing social distancing requirements and adhering to the state’s Safer At Home and in the Vast, Great Outdoors executive order.  Read More from CPR HERE
Aurora Plans For Fall In-Person Return To Classes For Elementary And Middle Grades
Elementary and middle schools students in Aurora schools will have the opportunity to return to school five days per week this fall. District officials presented the school board Tuesday night with the intended final plan for restarting school this August. In elementary and middle schools students would be put into groups so that they interact with the same peers throughout the day and week. In high school, students would have a mix of in-person classes and online learning from home. Any student could also opt to do remote learning full time instead. Read More from Chalkbeat Colorado HERE
Aurora City Council To Vote On Independent Investigation Into Elijah McClain's Death
The Aurora City Council on Monday night will hold a vote on whether to approve a team of outside investigators to look into the Elijah McClain case, Mayor Mike Coffman said. The investigators would "include a team of experts who will thoroughly examine the actions of Aurora police, firefighters and paramedics" in the McClain incident, a city news release said. “It is imperative we quickly and urgently move forward with this investigation so we can provide answers to our community," Coffman said. Read More from Denver7 HERE
The Vail Valley Is Open For Business. Just Bring Your Mask
The coronavirus is not keeping tourists away from Colorado’s Vail Valley. Rafting and fishing outfitters are turning down new reservations. Restaurants can only operate at 50 percent capacity indoors, but tables are booked at many of the most popular options. Local officials and business leaders are hoping to show they can welcome travelers without seeding new outbreaks. If they succeed, their policies could provide a model for other mountain communities dependent on tourism. If they fail, Colorado could look back on this weekend as the source of a new wave of coronavirus cases. Read More from CPR HERE
Facing A Big Budget Gap, Denver School District Cuts Spending But Avoids Layoffs
The Denver school board unanimously approved a budget Monday that cuts $65 million while still giving raises to teachers and low-wage workers. Top district administrators will see their salaries reduced, with the superintendent taking a 10% pay cut. The cuts avoid layoffs and do not impact individual school budgets — key goals identified by both board and community members. The biggest reduction — $18 million — comes from the district’s central office, which has long been criticized as top-heavy, even after a round of cuts last year. Read More from Chalkbeat Colorado HERE
Denver City Council Seeks Checks On The Mayor’s Power
Slowly but surely, Denver City Council members are making moves that — if approved by voters — will shift power from the city’s strong mayor back to their body of 13. At least three proposals are underway or soon will be to provide a check on the mayor’s executive powers. The council has already placed at least one on the November ballot. The measures are backed by hundreds, if not thousands, of protesters, demonstrators, activists and civically engaged residents, many of whom say they feel Denver’s leadership has lost touch with people in the streets. Read More from The Denver Post HERE
RiNo Art District Awards $50,000 In Social Justice Grants
The RiNo Art District in Denver has awarded $50,000 of social justice grants to nearly 20 organizations, ranging from $1,000 to $3,500 per recipient. “It is important that we demonstrate unwavering support for racial justice both vocally and through concrete action,” the 340-member neighborhood organization said in a statement. “We know that we have a lot to learn and pledge to continue to educate ourselves on the history of systemic racism in this country, and on ways that we can actively work with Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities.” Read More from Colorado Politics HERE
Colorado Oil And Gas Industry Pushes Ballot Measure To Ward Off Natural Gas Limits
A group backed by some of Colorado’s biggest oil and gas companies aims to ask voters this fall to stop state or local governments from limiting the use of natural gas in homes and businesses. Protect Colorado has gathered more than 100,000 petition signatures to get Initiative 284 on November’s general election ballot. The statutory measure seeks to prevent state or local governments from passing laws or regulations banning or restricting the use of natural gas in furnaces, water heating or appliances. Read More from Denver Business Journal HERE
Some Deadline Pressure May Be What’s Needed To Get Coronavirus Aid Moving In Congress
Time is running out for Congress to pass another coronavirus relief package this summer. After this July recess, Congress will have just three weeks to try and reach some kind of agreement. While almost everyone agrees more needs to be done, they don’t agree on what. Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet has joined other members of his caucus to push for extending the enhanced unemployment insurance benefit, which expires at the end of July. GOP Rep. Ken Buck introduced legislation in May that would cap unemployment benefits at 100% of a laid off employee's previous wages. Read More from CPR HERE
Bennet Cosponsors Bill To Boost Federal Medicaid Payments
U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet has cosponsored legislation that would tie federal assistance for Medicaid to a state’s unemployment conditions, instead of the current formula based on per capita incomes. The Kaiser Family Foundation notes that for fiscal year 2021, the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage for Colorado is 50%. While the federal share of the joint national-state health insurance program for low-income Americans must be at least half, it is nearly 78% in Mississippi and 75% in West Virginia. Read More from Colorado Politics HERE
National Policy Updates
Early COVID-19 Tracking Apps Easy Prey For Hackers, And It Might Get Worse Before It Gets Better
The push to use smartphone apps to track the spread of coronavirus is creating a potential jackpot for hackers worldwide — and the U.S. offers a fat, loosely defended target. In the Qatar COVID-19 app, researchers found a vulnerability that would’ve let hackers obtain more than a million people’s national ID numbers and health status. In India’s app, a researcher discovered a security gap that allowed him to determine who was sick in individual homes. And researchers uncovered seven security flaws in a pilot app in the U.K. Read More from Politico HERE
States Mandate Masks, Begin To Shut Down Again, As Coronavirus Cases Soar And Hospitalizations Rise
The pandemic map of the United States burned bright red Monday, with the number of new coronavirus infections during the first six days of July nearing 300,000 as more states and cities moved to reimpose shutdown orders. After an Independence Day weekend that attracted large crowds to fireworks displays and produced scenes of Americans drinking and partying without masks, health officials warned of hospitals running out of space and infection spreading rampantly. Read More from The Washington Post HERE
Hollowed-Out Public Health System Faces More Cuts Amid Virus
The U.S. public health system has been starved for decades and lacks the resources to confront the worst health crisis in a century. Marshaled against a virus that has sickened at least 2.6 million in the U.S., killed more than 126,000 people and cost tens of millions of jobs and $3 trillion in federal rescue money, state and local government health workers on the ground are sometimes paid so little that they qualify for public aid. Working seven-day weeks for months on end, they fear pay freezes, public backlash and even losing their jobs. Read More from Kaiser Health News HERE
Election 2020- Biden Campaign Taps Ken Salazar To Co-Chair Latino Engagement Committee
Joe Biden's presidential campaign has named former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar as a co-chair of the presumptive Democratic nominee's Latino Leadership Committee. Salazar, a former U.S. senator and Colorado attorney general, was an early endorser of the former vice president's White House bid. He joins fellow Obama cabinet alum former Labor Secretary Hilda Solis heading the campaign group. Three other Coloradans will also sit on the 45-member committee, which the Biden campaign said will mobilize the Latino vote by communicating how Biden will fight for Latino families. Read More from Colorado Politics HERE
Mitch McConnell Opens The Door To Another Stimulus Check For Americans
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said during a public appearance in Kentucky on Monday that a second stimulus check "could well be" a part of the next economic relief package. McConnell opened the door to including another round of direct payments, saying that people with lower incomes had borne a disproportionate share of the economic pain from the pandemic. A Federal Reserve study published in May found that 40% of households earning under $40,000 a year had lost a job in March. Read More from Business Insider HERE
House Democrats Seek To Use Spending Bill To Remove Confederate Statues From Capitol
A new spending bill for legislative branch operations unveiled by House Democrats on Monday would order the removal of statues that depict people who served in the Confederacy or otherwise worked to uphold slavery from the Capitol. The legislation marks the latest effort by House Democrats to remove the statues that have drawn renewed scrutiny since George Floyd's death in police custody sparked nationwide protests against racial injustice. The House Appropriations Committee is expected to advance the bill Friday for a floor vote likely later this month. Read More from The Hill HERE 
Bipartisan Senate Bill Would Provide $25 Billion To Postal Service
The Postal Service Emergency Assistance Act (S. 4174), introduced by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and cosponsored by Sens. Diane Fienstein, D-Calif., Steve Daines, R-Mt., Doug Jones, D-Ala., and Jon Tester, D-Mt., would provide $25 billion to the mailing agency on the condition the funds be used to cover COVID-19 related losses or expenses. It would require USPS to develop a “plan to ensure the long-term solvency” of the agency and ensure it has immediate access to the $10 billion line of credit with the U.S. Treasury that Congress authorized in April. Read More from Government Executive HERE
A ‘Wave’? A ‘Surge’? Whichever It Is, Just Keep Distancing, Fauci Urges
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, warned on Monday that the country was still “knee-deep in the first wave” of the pandemic, saying that the more than 50,000 new cases a day recorded several times in the past week were “a serious situation that we have to address immediately.” Read More from The New York Times HERE
President Trump Expected To Refile Paperwork To End DACA This Week
President Trump is expected to refile paperwork this week to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that offers protections for thousands of young immigrants. Trump was initially expected to move to once again rescind the Obama-era program last week, but it was pushed back. The exact timing remains in flux, but Trump is now expected to file the paperwork this week. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows hinted in an interview with Fox News earlier Monday that the president was readying executive action on immigration issues, though he did not offer specifics. Read More from The Hill HERE
On Segregated Suburbs, Trump Says The Quiet Part Out Loud
President Donald Trump last Tuesday said he would reverse a federal rule that promotes fair housing and sets desegregation as a national priority. The policy is known as Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, or AFFH; it’s a provision of the Fair Housing Act of 1968, signed into law a week after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. It might come as a surprise to the president, but his administration has already tackled this policy: The White House took steps starting in 2018 to gut the rule by arguing that it was too burdensome—not because desegregation would have a “devastating impact” on suburban America. Read More from CityLab HERE
Trump Administration Reveals Thousands Of Small Business Aid Recipients
The Trump administration on Monday revealed the names of more than 650,000 employers that secured billions of dollars in small business aid designed to avert mass layoffs during the Covid-19 pandemic. The disclosure by the Small Business Administration made public for the first time a vast number of businesses and nonprofits that received forgivable loans under the $670 billion Paycheck Protection Program. Read More from Politico HERE
Treasury Says Small-Business Loans Supported Over 50 Million Jobs
Restaurants, medical offices and car dealerships were the top recipients of large loans from the federal government’s $660 billion small business relief program, according to data released Monday by the Trump administration. The data, which the Trump administration released under pressure from lawmakers and watchdog groups, offered the most detailed look yet at the sectors and businesses that took advantage of a program aimed at keeping workers on the payroll amid virus-induced shutdowns. Read More from The New York Times HERE
Analysts Expect Soaring Stock Market Despite Slashed Earnings Forecasts
Despite cutting expectations for companies' earnings by the most in history and revenue by the most since 2009, Wall Street analysts are getting increasingly bullish on the overall direction of the U.S. stock market. Equity analysts are expecting earnings in the second quarter to fall by 43.8% — the most since 2008's fourth quarter 69.1% decline. On the other hand: Price targets for the S&P have steadily risen in recent weeks with data now showing the average bottom-up, year-end target price is 3328.37 — 6% above the index's current level. Read More from Axios HERE
U.S. Stocks Climb, Following Surge In Chinese Markets
U.S. stocks jumped Monday following the holiday weekend, lifted by shares of everything from medical technology companies to banks. Global stocks have rallied to start the week, with China’s Shanghai Composite Index soaring 5.7% to its highest level since early 2018. That was even as data continued to point to a rise in coronavirus cases in the U.S., which some investors have worried might force officials to further delay reopening plans across the country. At least part of stocks’ recent gains appear to stem from bets that the U.S. will be able to avoid having to reinstate widespread restrictions on business. Read Read More from Wall Street Journal HERE
Court Orders Dakota Access Pipeline To Shut Down
A court has ordered the Dakota Access Pipeline to shut down, delivering a victory for tribes that have opposed it. Judge James Boasberg on Monday ruled that the pipeline has to be shut down within 30 days while the Army Corps of Engineers works to prepare an environmental impact statement for a rule relaxation that allowed it to cross the Missouri river. The court had ruled already that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had violated environmental laws when it gave Dakota Access an easement to construct a segment of the pipeline. Read More from The Hill HERE
Supreme Court Upholds Anti-Robocall Law
The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that it's unconstitutional for the government to permit certain robocalls but ban others based on who's doing the calling and for what purpose. The court said Congress violated the Constitution in passing a 2015 amendment to the 1991 Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), the law that places limits on the use of robocalls. That 2015 change exempted callers that are collecting debts owed to the U.S. government, such as federal student and housing loans. Read More from Axios HERE
The Dentist Will See You Now. But Should You Go?
Add dental visits to the list of services you can book now or shortly as cities, counties and states continue to modify their months-long stay-at-home orders aimed at reducing COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations. Dental offices were largely shuttered across the United States after being advised in March by the American Dental Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to close their practices to all but emergency care. Many closed entirely. Read More from NPR HERE
Immigration Judges Sue Justice Department Over Gag Rule
Immigration judges are suing the Justice Department over a rule that prohibits them from discussing or writing about immigration policy in public, saying the restrictions violate their constitutional rights. EOIR prohibits immigration judges from speaking in their personal capacities on any matter related to their job and agency, and for other topics requires agency approval any time they wish to speak at bar association events, law school discussions or to the media. Read More from Government Executive HERE
Back To School? Any NYC Family Can Opt For Full-Time Remote Learning This Fall
New York City families will be able to keep their children home this fall and opt for a full remote school schedule regardless of medical need, education department officials said Thursday. Allowing a full-time remote option is welcome news for families who are nervous about sending students back to buildings in the fall as parts of the United States are beginning to see a surge of new coronavirus cases. But it could also exacerbate inequalities already rampant in the public school system, with more affluent families hiring tutors or otherwise supplementing schoolwork for children remaining home. Read More from Chalkbeat New York HERE  
Foreign Students Could Be Forced To Leave U.S. If Colleges Move Online
Foreign college students could be forced to leave the U.S. or transfer schools if their universities move classes entirely online this fall, according to guidance released by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Monday. Several U.S. colleges and universities have announced plans to move most or all courses online this fall due to coronavirus concerns. Many institutions rely heavily on tuition from international students. Foreign students who are already in the U.S. or those hoping to come to the country on a student visa will not be allowed to take a full course load online. Read More from Axios HERE and NBC News HERE
The Fullest Look Yet At The Racial Inequity Of Coronavirus
Early numbers had shown that Black and Latino people were being harmed by the virus at higher rates. But the new federal data — made available after The New York Times sued the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — reveals a clearer and more complete picture: Black and Latino people have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus in a widespread manner that spans the country, throughout hundreds of counties in urban, suburban and rural areas, and across all age group. Read More from The New York Times HERE
America’s Huge Stimulus Is Having Surprising Effects On The Poor
No one welcomes a recession, but downturns are especially difficult when you are poor. Rising unemployment means rising poverty. According to a new survey from the Census Bureau, since the pandemic began the share of Americans who “sometimes” or “often” do not have enough to eat has grown by two percentage points, representing some 4 million households. An astonishing 20% of African-American households with children are now in this position. Meanwhile, the proportion of Americans saying that they are able to make the rent is falling. More people are typing “bankrupt” into Google. Read More from The Economist HERE
Our Minds Aren’t Equipped For This Kind Of Reopening
"As despair rises, the temptation to shame people who fail at social distancing becomes difficult to resist. But Americans’ disgust should be aimed at governments and institutions, not at one another. Individuals are being asked to decide for themselves what chances they should take, but a century of research on human cognition shows that people are bad at assessing risk in complex situations. During a disease outbreak, vague guidance and ambivalent behavioral norms will lead to thoroughly flawed thinking." Read More from The Atlantic HERE
How California Went From Coronavirus Success To Hotspot In Just 5 Weeks
In about five weeks, the nation’s most populous state went from success story to cautionary tale. Health experts say no single thing went wrong, but contributing factors included a populace made complacent by a long stretch of positive trends, the rapid reopening of businesses, a confusing patchwork of local rules and enforcement, and Newsom’s late adoption of a mandatory mask rule, on June 18. Read More from Time HERE
Election 2020- Trump And Biden Campaigns Shift Focus To Coronavirus As Pandemic Surges
The Trump and Biden presidential campaigns now see the coronavirus response as the preeminent force shaping the results of November’s election, prompting both camps to try to refocus their campaigns more heavily on the pandemic, according to officials and advisers of both campaigns. They are sending health officials to swing states, putting doctors on TV in regional markets where the virus is surging, crafting messages on an economic recovery and writing talking points for allies to deliver to potential voters. Read More from The Washington Post HERE
Why Counting On A Convention Bounce This Year Is Risky
From FiveThirtyEight, "The 2020 election is taking place in the midst of an unprecedented public health crisis, and it is especially difficult to slow the spread of the coronavirus in large indoor spaces such as an arena, which is the type of space in which party conventions are usually held. It’s certainly what Trump had envisioned doing this year in Jacksonville, Fla., although some Republicans think the in-person convention may be canceled. And on the one hand, Trump’s obsession with packing an arena makes some sense. Party conventions do traditionally boost a candidate’s standing in the polls." Read More from FiveThirtyEight HERE
International Policy Updates
Google Joins A Group Of Major Tech Companies In Pushing Back Against Hong Kong’s New Security Law
Google is the latest company to say it will stop processing Hong Kong government requests for user data. The technology giant joins Facebook and Twitter in pushing back against a new national security law that went into effect earlier this month and could quash free speech and dissent in the region. The pushback also represents a rare moment when big American tech companies are contesting China’s tight grip on information in the country. Read More from Vox/Recode HERE
China Is Spending Less On American Goods Than Expected
As part of his "phase one trade deal" with China, signed in January, President Donald Trump secured promises that the Chinese would buy a lot of American stuff. The data so far suggest that sales are falling short. According to figures compiled by Chad Bown of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, over the first five months of the year Chinese imports of goods covered by the agreement were badly behind schedule. Compared with a baseline assuming the exports would be spread evenly through the year, purchases were less than half of what they should have been. Read More from The Economist 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.