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Colorado Special Session has Ended

     During this session, we used our limited state resources to help those who have been hit hardest by the pandemic. We passed legislation to bridge the gap until we have a vaccine or until Congress can pass a relief package. We applied every tool and all the state resources we have to boost our small businesses, preserve safe child care options for working parents, and help families make ends meet.


Legislation approved by the legislature includes:  

SB20B-001, sponsored by Senators Faith Winter and Kevin Priola, will send $57 million in direct aid, grants, and annual fee waivers to struggling small businesses – prioritizing those operating in counties experiencing severe capacity restrictions. It will also create grant programs and allocate funds specifically for art and cultural organizations and minority-owned businesses. 


SB20B-002, sponsored by Senators Julie Gonzales and Chris Holbert, provides $60 million for emergency housing assistance to individuals and households in financial need due to  COVID-19. Of that funding, $1 million will specifically support the Eviction Legal Assistance Fund, which will help Coloradans stay in their homes this winter. Finally, the bill puts in place a provision that seeks to ensure tens of thousands of unemployed Coloradans can continue to have access to the federally funded State Extended Benefits Program through December 26.


SB20B-003, sponsored by Senators Rhonda Fields and Larry Crowder, appropriates $5 million to the Energy Outreach Colorado Low-Income Energy Assistance Fund to provide financial relief to Coloradans struggling to pay their utility bills – a dangerous outcome in the winter months. 


SB20B-004, sponsored by Senator Dominick Moreno, allocates an additional $100 million to ensure the state can continue to protect public health while waiting for further federal stimulus and reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. 


HB20B-1001, sponsored by Reps. Mary Young and Matt Soper will dedicate $20 million towards increasing our state’s broadband capacity – connecting more students to their teachers so that they can learn safely in the months ahead. Internet access is essential for students during this difficult time. But many families struggling with financial stability can’t afford to cover the cost, while numerous school districts lack the infrastructure to educate their students remotely.

HB20B-1002 sponsored by Reps. Cathy Kipp & Lois Landgraf will distribute $45 million to enable existing child care providers to keep their doors open and new providers to open and meet working parents' needs, especially in child care deserts. Colorado’s economic recovery depends on its workforce having access to stable child care. However, due to temporary closures and the increased costs of health and safety precautions for child care providers, many are on the brink of financial collapse. These grant programs are estimated to support 2,600 child care facilities, preserving child care for over 100,000 children, and creating capacity for tens of thousands more. Moreover, research shows that for every dollar spent on early childhood programs, $2.25 is contributed to our state’s economy. 


HB20B-1003, sponsored by Reps. Lisa Cutter and Rod Bockenfeld will devote $5 million to replenishing essential community services that increase access to food for Colorado families facing food insecurity. 1 in 3 Coloradans are struggling with hunger as more and more families are being forced to choose between paying their bills and putting food on the table. Food banks, food pantries, and their partners need additional assistance to meet the rising demands, especially as the December expiration for federal hunger-relief looms.


HB20B-1004, sponsored by Reps. Alex Valdez & Kevin Van Winkle, allows restaurants, bars, and food trucks to retain state sales tax collected from November 2020 through February 2021. This will provide bars and restaurants up to $2,000 per location and limited to five locations for up to $10,000 in tax relief each month to help them make ends meet. 
 
Being successful during the Safer-at-Home phase has four main components:
  • Stay at home most of the time.
  • People who are 11 years and older are required to wear a covering over their noses and mouths.
  • Stay at home as much as possible.
  • Practice good hygiene. ...
  • Connect with neighbors and loved ones virtually.
  • For seniors & those with chronic health conditions, it means staying at home unless absolutely necessary.
  • Stepping up testing, containment, and tracing. 
  • Wearing masks at all times when in public.

Quick Links and Resources

 

Please feel free to reach out to my office via e-mail at susan.lontine.hd1@gmail.com for any concerns or if you know of resources that can help out your community. 
Be well.
Sincerely,
Susan

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