Lawmakers, joined by OEDIT Director Betsey Markey and officials from the Energize Colorado Gap Fund, today formally launched the $20 million small business assistance grant program created by SB20-222. Small businesses may be eligible for a grant of up to $15,000. The Energize Colorado Gap Fund, which is operating the program, will also offer loans of up to $20,000, increasing the assistance available through the program to $25 million to date.
“Boosting Colorado small businesses is essential for our state’s economic recovery and will help hardworking families make ends meet while strengthening our communities,” said Rep. Mary Young, D-Greeley, House sponsor of the legislation. “Economic assistance has kept thousands of Colorado businesses open, but too many haven’t been able to access this critical lifeline and need just a little help to stay afloat. That’s why we set aside $20 million to help business owners who have been left behind. I encourage any small business owner who may need assistance to reach out to the Energize Colorado Gap Fund.”
“Small businesses’ survival is fundamental to our own. Not only do they represent community pillars, but they stand central to the American dream as well,” said Sen. Faith Winer, D-Westminster. “Something has happened in this country where large corporations are deemed too big to fail while the aspirations of everyday Americans are left to wither in the cold. We need to throw a life raft to those who need it most and work to preserve the great commercial diversity we have in our state. I would encourage any small business who is struggling right now to reach out to Energize Colorado for help applying. The process is fast and accessible-- requiring only 15-20 minutes for most businesses to complete!
“Colorado’s small businesses are the heart of our state’s economy,” said Sen. Jeff Bridges, D-Greenwood Village. “So much of our hardworking, creative, entrepreneurial spirit is thanks to these unique local shop owners and service providers. But sadly, many have been hit hard by the pandemic and are in desperate need of relief. That’s why I am so proud to be a part of launching the new Energize Colorado Gap Fund program. Now, struggling small businesses can get critical support when they need it most – protecting the prolific beauty of our state’s rugged ingenuity. Go to energizecolorado.com to apply and we will continue working for the strong Colorado comeback.”
“We are grateful to Colorado’s General Assembly for allocating $20M of CARES Act funding directly to Colorado’s distressed small businesses,” said OEDIT Executive Director Betsy Markey. “These funds provide essential support to help our small businesses during their time of need that enables them to maintain operations and allow our small businesses to join our continued economic recovery.”
After resuming the legislative session in May, the General Assembly passed SB20-222, which set aside $20 million in federal CARES Act funding to establish a grant program to boost small businesses with 25 or fewer employees. All sole proprietors, businesses and nonprofits with 25 or fewer employees are eligible and welcome to apply to the Energize Colorado Gap Fund. Preference will be given to businesses located in rural areas; veteran, women or minority-owned businesses; and those that have not been successful in pursuing and/or receiving funds from other federal, state and local assistance programs, such as the Paycheck Protection Program.
Applicants must be able to show the economic hardship their business is facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Energize Colorado has a mentorship program for small businesses that are interested in applying for the Gap Fund. The Mentorship Program is available to help small businesses ready the documentation and other materials they will need to successfully apply. Mentors may be reached by phone, email and online chat from the Gap Fund website.
Governor Jared Polis, the Colorado Department of Education, and Colorado Education Initiative are partnering with Rocky Mountain Public Media (RMPBS, KUVO JAZZ, The DROP) to provide K-3 students, their families and caregivers with direct-to-home remote lessons in literacy, science, art and math though Colorado Classroom: Learn with Me at Home starting Sept. 7 and airing for 15 weeks on RMPBS. The website, which will include accompanying lesson plans for families, caregivers and their children will launch the same day at: rmpbs.org/ColoradoClassroom.
“This partnership with Rocky Mountain PBS is a creative way to ensure that young, Colorado learners can continue receiving important lessons in literacy, math, science, art and more,” said Governor Jared Polis. “While many students are already back in class, other school districts haven’t begun in person learning yet and we want to do everything we can to support Colorado students, teachers, and parents as we navigate these challenges together. Our children are the key to our future, and I want to thank all of the partners and master educators who are making sure students continue receiving quality instruction this fall.”
Funding for this initiative comes from the Colorado Empowered Learning through the Governor’s GEER Grant, Education Reform Now, and Delta Dental. This partnership builds on the existing RMPBS partnership that began in May of this year with literacy-focused learning for K-3 students.
“As an organization that always puts students first, Education Reform Now is proud to partner in this amazing effort at such a critical period for our youngest learners,” said Jen Walmer, Colorado Director of ERN. “These direct-to-home remote lessons will offer a crucial resource to families and caregivers as they strive to support their students and optimize their progress during this unprecedented and trying time.”
Through its Rocky Mountain PBS (RMPBS) stations that include Denver (KRMA), Pueblo/Colorado Springs (KTSC), Steamboat Springs (KRMZ), Grand Junction (KRMJ) and Durango (KRMU), and online presence at rmpbs.org, Colorado Classroom: Learn with Me at Home will be broadcast and made available for free on a statewide basis in English with Spanish subtitles, providing K-3 learners with access to reading, science and math resources at home on television. By providing lessons online and on broadcast television, this will reach families in all parts of the state, regardless of access to broadband internet service. For information about which channel airs RMPBS in your location, visit rmpbs.org/channels/.
“Rocky Mountain Public Media considers this important learning program to be an extension of our educational mission in service to Colorado communities during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. Particularly for children who live in rural areas or in our cities who do not have consistent access to high-speed internet or computers at home, offering this complementary curriculum on our RMPBS broadcast channel ensures every child has a place to continue learning,” says Amanda Mountain, president & CEO of Rocky Mountain Public Media.
Colorado Classroom: Learn with Me at Home allows master teachers from across the state to teach students through lessons geared specifically toward K-3 age ranges every Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. -10 a.m. for at least 15 weeks starting on Labor Day. To engage students in literacy learning across many different topics, including science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM), the fall program will have themed weeks, starting Week One with Me & My Home and subsequent weeks with the following themes: Space, Art, Earth, and Animals. Every Friday, Denver Museum of Nature & Science is providing family science programming with interactive and engaging science lessons, as part of the curriculum.
"We are excited to bring our mission to life by connecting families across Colorado with fun and educational nature and science programming. Using broadcast as a resource brings access to more students, families, and educators at this critical time," said Denver Museum of Nature & Science President & CEO George Sparks. "We're thrilled to be a part of Colorado Classroom with science programming and hope families will tune in for demonstrations, games and activities to connect with nature and science in fun and surprising ways."
The Colorado Education Association has provided the funding for stipends for the master teachers. This fall, RMPBS is thrilled to have returning teachers from the spring Colorado Classroom programming, including Mrs. Tori Teague, Mrs. Ellie Radue and Mrs. Marietta Stechmeyer. Mrs. Stechmeyer is a 1st grade teacher at Strive Prep Ruby Hill in Denver and is the beloved “Phonics Queen” who taught K-1 Intermediate/Advanced English Language Development with interactive songs and games as part of her lessons that engaged and delighted students from all parts of Colorado.
“I am thrilled to be returning to Colorado Classroom this fall! It was a privilege to be able to reach students throughout the state last spring through the magic of PBS,” says Mrs. Stechmeyer. “This experience has reminded me just how much I love teaching and interacting with kids, no matter what the format. I'm inspired every day by the joy and resilience of children across Colorado.”
Viewers can watch or record the lessons, as they will be rebroadcast overnight on RMPBS to allow for DVR recording. Accompanying lesson worksheets will be available at rmpbs.org/ColoradoClassroom starting September 7 for parents and caregivers to use, adapt, and build upon. Thanks to a partnership with the Colorado State Library, participating libraries across the state are also offering access to the worksheets for families that do not have internet capabilities, with no requirement for a library card to do so. For a list of participating libraries across the state or to request that worksheets (in English or Spanish) be mailed directly to homes, families and caregivers can call 800-274-6666.
“Through the Governor's GEER grant, CEL is delighted to be a funder for Colorado Classroom: Learn with Me at Home on RMPBS this fall. This is such an important initiative to ensure that children and their families across the state of Colorado have access to learning opportunities, especially for those under-resourced school districts where students have little or no access to the internet,” says Dr. Ken Haptonstall, program director for Colorado Empowered Learning.
“When we launched this programming in late spring, we knew then that we needed to radically shift educational delivery to ensure families and students across the state had access to high quality content and that is even more true today,” said Rebecca Holmes, President and CEO of the Colorado Education Initiative. “We know that 30,000 Colorado students lack internet access and ensuring learning arrives in homes is a critical partnership we must make with families during this moment of disrupted learning.”
Local listings will reflect individual station schedules and include programming for additional educational content.
Rocky Mountain Public Media thanks the following partners for their support:
Education Reform Now
Colorado Education Association
Bright By Text
Invest In Kids
NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration)
Denver Museum of Nature & Science
Simple Gift Series
Ent Credit Union
Denver Botanic Gardens
The Denver Zoo
National Science Teaching Association
The Space Foundation
Fort Collins Museum of Discovery
National Cybersecurity Center
Bemis School of Art
Denver Art Museum
Sangre de Cristo Art Center
Colorado State Library
Colorado Counties, Inc.
Monday-Friday Daytime Schedule (8 am – 10 am MT):
8 a.m. - Kindergarten
8:30 a.m. - 1st Grade
9:00 a.m. – 2nd Grade
9:30 a.m. – 3rd grade
“Math Minute” lessons will run throughout day
Monday-Friday Overnight Schedule*:
*Check your local listings for air times.
Colorado Classroom: Learn with Me at Home will re-air nightly from 3 a.m. – 5 a.m. MT for families to record and use at their convenience.
Lesson plans and student work packets at: rmpbs.org/coloradoclassroom
Gov. Polis today provided an update on the state’s response to COVID-19 and announced the Special Evictions Prevention Task Force, as well as the Gap Fund application.
“Coloradans are resilient and will lead the nation in rebuilding our economy,” said Governor Jared Polis. “The Energize Gap Fund provides a key resource for Colorado small businesses. During this challenging time, we will continue doing everything we can to help hardworking Coloradans, which is why we’re bringing a diverse set of voices together to look at housing solutions and are providing additional support for small businesses across our state.”
Governor Polis was joined by bill sponsors Senators Jeff Bridges and Faith Winter, along with Kent Thiry, Co-Chair of Energize Colorado, to announce the upcoming launch of the Gap Fund application. The application will go live on Monday, August 31. This fund will provide more than $25 million in small business loans and grants to boost small businesses that are the economic engines throughout the state. Sole proprietors, businesses and nonprofits with less than 25 full-time employees can apply for up to a $15,000 grant and a $20,000 loan for a possible combined total of $35,000 in financial assistance.
“Colorado small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and supporting them is critical for our state’s recovery,” said Rep. Mary Young, D-Greeley, House sponsor of the legislation. “I’ve heard from so many hardworking Coloradans in Greeley and in Weld County who need just a little help to make it through this crisis. That’s why we worked quickly to pass bipartisan legislation that set aside $20 million to help small businesses that have been left behind, with a focus on women, veteran or minority-owned businesses and those in rural areas. Small business owners who may need assistance should reach out to Energize Colorado for guidance, or to apply for the grant program.”
Awards will be provided in phases rather than first-come, first served to ensure equal access. Preference will be given to underserved small businesses including majority-owned by minority, women or veterans, those located in rural areas of the state, and businesses that have not been successful in pursuing and/or receiving funds from other federal, state and local assistance programs such as the Paycheck Protection Program.
“Small business owners are struggling to keep up and our communities are losing beloved staples at an alarming rate due to the economic impacts of COVID,” said Sen. Faith Winter, D-Westminster. “We’ve worked to ensure the application process is easy and accessible in order to provide immediate relief to small employers who need it most.”
“Colorado small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and supporting them is critical for our state’s recovery,” said Rep. Mary Young, D-Greeley. “I’ve heard from so many hardworking Coloradans in Greeley and in Weld County who need just a little help to make it through this crisis. That’s why we worked quickly to pass bipartisan legislation that set aside $20 million to help small businesses that have been left behind, with a focus on women, veteran or minority-owned businesses and those in rural areas. Small business owners who may need assistance should reach out to Energize Colorado for guidance, or to apply for the grant program.”
“The COVID pandemic has devastated our small business in Colorado and many of them didn’t qualify for PPP so we stepped up as a State to fill the gap with a unanimous bill to create a $25 million grant program. Applications open Monday, go to energizecolorado.com to apply and we will continue working for the strong Colorado comeback,” said Senator Jeff Bridges, D-Greenwood Village.
In June, Gov. Polis signed SB20-222, Use CARES Act Money Small Business Grant Program creating this grant program for small businesses. Senators Bridges and Winter and Representatives Mary Young and Perry Will were sponsors of the legislation. Learn more about the fund.
Governor Polis also announced a new temporary task force within the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) to examine housing instability due to COVID-19 in Colorado. The Special Eviction Prevention Task Force will work in partnership with the Division of Housing’s Strategic Housing Working Group. The task force will present its findings and recommendations to the Executive Director of DOLA and to the Governor within 30 days of its first meeting. Read the Executive Order.
"The Department of Local Affairs continues to focus on Colorado's housing needs statewide. This task force will allow for our work to go hand in hand with short and long term housing solutions," said DOLA's Executive Director, Rick. M. Garcia. "The need to look at the relationships between landlord and tenants as well as the possible increases in eviction filings due to the pandemic is what the task force plans to do over the next 45 days."
The Task Force is composed of ten individuals that represent a variety of perspectives and backgrounds from the housing and development space, and will work in partnership with the Department of Local Affairs’ Division of Housing, the Strategic Housing Working Group, and the Governor’s office.
Chris Romer of Denver, Colorado, appointed;
Skippy Leigh Upton Mesirow of Aspen, Colorado, appointed;
Andrew Feinstein of Denver, Colorado, appointed;
Rachel Friend of Boulder, Colorado, appointed;
Ty L. Coleman of Alamosa, Colorado, appointed;
Jennifer Kermode of Gunnison, Colorado, appointed;
Jennifer Linda Rodgers of Denver, Colorado, appointed;
Beatriz Gonzalez of Broomfield, Colorado, appointed;
Paul Newell of Greenwood Village, Colorado, appointed;
Leanne Denise Wheeler of Aurora, Colorado, appointed.
Today Governor Polis also announced that indoor visitation would be allowed in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes, under certain conditions. Draft guidelines have been released today, and CDPHE is accepting public comments until Friday, at 5pm.
The Governor also extended an Executive Order allowing food trucks to operate at Colorado’s rest areas to support the movement of commercial vehicle activities.
View the news conference on the Governor’s Facebook page.
Governor Jared Polis took action today to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gov. Polis extended an Executive Order temporarily suspending certain statutes preventing the issuance of marriage licenses when county clerk and recorder offices are closed due to COVID-19. The Governor also amended and extended an Executive Order temporarily suspending certain regulatory statutes due to the presence of COVID-19.
Gov. Jared Polis has verbally authorized the Colorado National Guard to assist the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) and incident commanders during the wildfires affecting Colorado. At the SEOC’s request, a Colorado Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter aircrew is on standby at the High-Altitude Army National Guard Training Site in Gypsum, Colorado, to provide a search and rescue capability to incident commanders. The Black Hawk is equipped with a hoist that can help to quickly evacuate firefighters and residents, saving lives. HAATS provides power management training in Colorado’s mountainous terrain to rotary-wing military helicopter pilots from around the world. HAATS aircrews have helped ground rescue teams save nearly 500 people from Colorado’s mountain ranges since the unit’s inception in 1986.
“Whether it’s the fight against COVID or the fight against drought-induced wildfires, Colorado’s National Guard is ready to rise to the challenge to help our communities,” said Gov. Jared Polis. “We are thankful to the Guardsmen and women for their support during this challenging time.”
The SEOC also requested that the CONG provide about 30 Soldiers to establish 24/7 traffic control points to assist the Larimer County Sheriff to restrict unauthorized access to the Cameron Peak Fire area of operations.
“Our Colorado National Guard Citizen Warriors are ready to provide additional capabilities to the SEOC and incident commanders to help save lives, reduce suffering, and prevent great property damage from the wildfires,” The Adjutant General of Colorado U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Laura Clellan said. “We are always ready, always there to assist our local and state partners during these challenging times.”
The CONG’s Mobile Testing and Training teams are also available to provide COVID-19 testing to wildland firefighting teams. About 40 CONG members are on duty with Task Force Test Support to conduct testing at facilities at the request of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. CONG planners are supporting local emergency operation centers in Colorado communities that the state has designated during the state’s COVID-19 response.
Tomorrow, Gov. Polis will welcome the 44th adjutant general of Colorado U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Laura Clellan at a media availability following the assumption of command ceremony at Buckley Air Force Base, Aurora, Colorado, Aug. 22, 2020, at 10:30 a.m.
Clellan will be available to answer questions about the CONG’s assistance to local and state partners during the wildfires. RSVP required with Ms. Elena O’Bryan, CONG Public Affairs, 720-250-1053.
Governor Polis Provides Update on State Response to COVID-19
Governor Jared Polis today provided an update on Colorado’s response to COVID-19. The Governor was joined by State Epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy with the Department of Public Health and Environment to unveil the state’s new enhanced online data tool. This website includes changes and improvements to data sharing on the state’s COVID-19 website.
“Having the latest data is critical to our response to COVID-19 and we want to share that information with Coloradans with our new easier to use website so that everyone can make smart decisions,” said Governor Jared Polis. “We have responded swiftly and boldly to this pandemic and have been guided by science and data. Our administration has strived to enhance the way we present this COVID data and we will continue to build on this progress. We are all in this together, and it remains critical that we continue wearing masks when leaving the house and following social distancing requirements.”
“CDPHE is committed to transparency and to empowering the public and our partners through access to accurate, up-to-date COVID-19 data and information. Colorado’s COVID-19 public data is among the most robust, user-friendly, and transparent in the country,” said Rachel Herlihy, state epidemiologist, CDPHE. “Since the first positive test was confirmed in March, we’ve vastly increased the quantity and complexity of data that we are sharing with the public. As part of our dedication to customer service, innovation, and continual improvement, our data team has worked very hard to roll out this very exciting improvement to our data tools.”
The improvements keep all the data and information that the public, media and public health partners have come to rely on, and also incorporate new content. Changes include:
Landing page with easy-to-use navigation to specific data sets.
Once at a specific data set, users see a variety of buttons that allow them to toggle through different variables and/or data points. This allows them to customize how they view the data set. For example, they can select different geographic areas, demographic subsets, or view trends based on one-day incidence or multi-day averages. The graph that they see will respond to the customizations that they select, allowing them to interact with and analyze our data.
Each graph has an informational button they can click on to get definitions and an explanation of what the data is, where it came from, and/or what it means. Previously, this background information was combined at the top of the data pages or on a separate “about our data” web page.
The site includes new data on the dashboard, including:
% of hospital beds in use by day and 7-day moving average.
% of ICU beds in use by day and 7-day moving average.Pediatric critical care ventilator use (previously only adult ventilator use was available).
7-day moving averages of hospital admissions and discharges.
Aggregate patient hospitalization data, while maintaining patient privacy.
Hospitalized patients’ demographic breakout, overall and over time:
Where the patient went upon leaving the hospital
% hospitalized patients who required invasive ventilators
% of patients admitted to ICU
% of patients in the ICU who died
% of patients not in the ICU, but who died in the hospital
Average length of stay in hospital before discharge (excludes those that died)
% of hospitalized patients with a reported COVID-19 positive test
More detailed outbreak data to better reflect which outbreaks are currently ongoing and which outbreaks have been resolved.
The new data section of the website can be viewed at https://covid19.colorado.gov/data.
The Governor also provided an update on schools and discussed his visit to Village East Elementary School, a part of the Cherry Creek School District, which has returned to in-person learning. The Governor talked about what the collaborative process of bringing students back to school and how the community, families, and teachers can help ensure students can continue learning in as safe a manner as possible. Learning in each community will look different, and the Governor wants to empower local schools and families to decide what works best for them.
The Governor also extended and amended an Executive Order prohibiting alcohol sales for on-premises consumption between 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. The previous Executive Order prohibited the sale of alcohol for on-premises consumption after 10:00 p.m. MT. The Governor applauded the entrepreneurial spirit of restaurants that have adapted to outdoor dining, a significantly safer environment than indoors, during this challenging time.
The Governor also extended an Executive Order allowing for voluntary or elective surgeries and procedures to proceed.
View the full news conference.
Governor Jared Polis signed an Executive Order ordering temporary fire restrictions across the State to reduce the risk of new fires and protect health and safety. Restrictions include certain outdoor fires, fireworks, and explosives.
The Governor also extended an Executive Order authorizing the executive directors of certain State agencies to promulgate and issue emergency rules extending the expiration date of licenses and other documents.
Governor Jared Polis extended Executive Orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Governor extended an Executive Order suspending certain statutes to increase the Medicaid home health workforce and to eliminate cost sharing for COVID-19 testing and treatment for Medicaid enrollees, as well as an Executive Order concerning the criminal justice system.
Governor Jared Polis today extended and amended an Executive Order requiring Coloradans to wear face coverings.
The amendment clarifies that individuals performing life rites are exempt from the face covering mandate while a life rite is being performed. “Life rites” include wedding ceremonies, graduations, funeral services, baptisms, bris ceremonies, and other religious ceremonies.
The Executive Order expires 30 days from August 14.
Governor Jared Polis extended an Executive Order suspending statutes to allow the operation of alternate care sites in Colorado.
Today, Results for America and the National Governors Association highlighted Colorado’s exemplary use of evidence and data to improve results for Coloradans.
Results for America, a national nonprofit focused on helping government leaders improve results by investing in what works, released the 2020 Invest in What Works State Standard of Excellence, which showcases 169 examples of data-driven and evidence-based practices, policies, programs, and systems in 35 states across the country. Colorado was recognized as a Leading State for the second consecutive year.
“In Colorado, we strive to be as efficient and effective as possible in delivering critical services to the people of our state. For my administration, that means creating a culture of accountability, and using the latest data and information to drive our decisions,” said Governor Jared Polis of Colorado. “This has also been true for our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We appreciate the recognition, and will continue working to provide even better services for Coloradans.”
Colorado has served as a national model for using data to inform the way it does business. By building off of the Governor’s Dashboard launched in 2019, the state has demonstrated a continued commitment to harnessing data and evidence to meet its four high-priority, “bold” strategic goals. Colorado has made achieving these goals a statewide effort by creating cabinet working groups to support these efforts and explicitly linking them to the governor’s annual budget. Colorado also incorporates data and evidence into the annual budget process to reinforce the state’s commitment to prioritizing funding for those interventions that are most likely to achieve the best results for its residents. Taken together, the coordination of statewide goal-setting, performance measurement, and budgeting ensure state agencies’ spending and operations are aligned around achieving a singular set of state priorities.
“The COVID-19 crisis underscores the critical importance of using evidence and data to drive decision-making at every level of government,” said Michele Jolin, CEO and Co-Founder of Results for America. “The 2020 State Standard of Excellence illustrates how many governors and state agency leaders around the country and across the political spectrum are rising to the occasion and investing in what works to meet the urgent needs of their residents.”
The 2020 State Standard of Excellence highlights how state governments can respond more effectively to crises when they incorporate evidence into their decision-making. In recent months, all 50 states have elevated the importance of data in response to the COVID-19 pandemic by creating public-facing dashboards to track key health and economic indicators in their states. States with strong existing capacity to leverage data are better positioned to respond rapidly to COVID-19 and focus their efforts on addressing the pandemic’s disproportionate effects on communities of color. Further, the 2020 State Standard of Excellence features a growing number of states that have invested in evidence-based budgeting, a key lever for funding what works in the face of a recession.
“America’s governors are committed to making a measurable, positive difference in the states and territories they serve,” said Timothy Blute, Director of the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices. “They are using data to inform their responses to COVID-19 to promote the physical and economic health of their residents, and the 2020 State Standard of Excellence recognizes the critical role of data and evidence in state policymaking in this most challenging time.”
Colorado has participated in Results for America and the National Governors Association’s What Works Bootcamp training series. These peer-learning opportunities convene senior leaders in governors’ offices to advance the use of evidence and data in order to improve results and are designed to equip top state decision-makers with the high-level tools they need to improve enterprise-wide performance and invest in evidence-based policymaking to help their governor’s deliver results for residents.
For more information about how states are building data and evidence capacity, state leaders can refer to Results for America’s Blueprint for Delivering Results in State Government, which serves as an implementation guide for the State Standard of Excellence.
Gov. Jared Polis and Colorado’s legislative leadership today called on the U.S. Senate to pass a real relief package that provides support to Colorado schools and state and local governments and extends unemployment insurance for Coloradans in response to the challenges created by the COVID-19 global pandemic.
“Hardworking Colorado families need real relief and our schools and local governments need additional resources to effectively respond to the unique challenges of this pandemic. Without new federal support, our economy and small businesses will continue to teeter on the edge of a cliff,” said Governor Jared Polis.“We appreciate the collaborative, bipartisan efforts our federal delegation has taken to this point and urge the Senate to move quickly on a real relief package.”
The country is facing mounting challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the U.S. House approved a COVID-19 relief package weeks ago but the U.S. Senate is currently on recess for the next few weeks.
“Congress must quickly approve a meaningful coronavirus relief package, as thousands of hardworking Coloradans agonize over their economic security and wonder how they will make ends meet,” said House Speaker KC Becker, D-Boulder. “Without additional aid to states and local governments, an extension of unemployment assistance, and support for our schools, Colorado will be forced to reduce services for those who need them the most, school districts will face crippling budget shortfalls, and hardworking families will be left behind.”
“Colorado has no time to waste–-we need Congress to pass a robust COVID relief package as soon as possible,” said House Majority Leader Alec Garnett, D-Denver. “The Federal support that our state has received so far has made an enormous difference in the lives of teachers, students, and everyday Coloradans dealing with the fallout of this pandemic. But it has not been enough. Today we’re calling on Congress to deliver a relief package that includes significant direct aid to state and local governments, robust education funding, and an extension of the unemployment benefits that have kept many Colorado families afloat over the past few months.”
“Playing power games with people’s lives is unacceptable,” said Senate President Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo. “The US House passed a bill to help working families, schools, and small businesses months ago, but this critical legislation has been completely stonewalled. Now, everyday that goes by more and more people and institutions are at risk of collapse. We need true, selfless leadership that puts the wellbeing of hardworking Americans above political agendas. That means immediately boosting federal pandemic response efforts and renewing key programs like unemployment assistance. Otherwise, the consequences borne by our most vulnerable will be excruciating and potentially unrecoverable.”
Last week before the Senate recessed, Gov. Polis and State Treasurer Dave Young sent a letter to Colorado’s Congressional Delegation calling on them to support a number of key areas that are critical to Coloradans, to act on a bipartisan relief package that addresses these issues instead of President Trump taking executive measures that increases pressure on state and local governments.
“Untold numbers of people are facing homelessness, food insecurity, and utility shut-offs because Congress refuses to act,” said Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, D-Boulder. “The funds already allocated have been incredibly helpful in lessening the blow for so many families, but the truth is, they are not nearly enough. Our schools are struggling, our businesses are underwater, and our residents are unable to make ends meet. State relief is the only way we will be able to survive this devastating downturn. It’s time to put politics aside and pass a comprehensive stimulus package that America needs to weather this storm.”
House and Senate Democrats have repeatedly called on Congress to provide additional aid to states and local governments, including in a July 31 letter to the Colorado congressional delegation in which the caucuses also urged Washington to extend unemployment assistance, support school districts, and provide housing, utility, nutrition, and small business assistance.
Governor Jared Polis visited two new, quick, easy, and free community testing sites that opened today in Adams County and Aurora. Gov. Polis provided an update on the state’s response to COVID-19 and was also tested for COVID-19 in Adams County this afternoon. He was joined by local, county, state officials, and public health officials at both locations.
“Testing is a critical part of ensuring we can manage the spread of this virus and I’m glad that these two new sites are now open. Testing is now free, quick, and easy for everyone at the Aurora Sports Complex and Water World,” said Governor Jared Polis. “We want to continue empowering our local public health agencies to respond effectively to the needs of their communities. With these new sites, we are tapping into the culture of collaboration that exists across Colorado to increase the foundational elements in the fight against COVID-19. Testing, isolation, and contact tracing are the primary tools we have at this critical time in the fight against this virus.”
Both the sites in Aurora and Adams County are completely free to the public and Coloradans should receive their results in four days or less.
The new testing site in Aurora is at the Aurora Sports Park. Referrals and health insurance or identification are not needed to be tested.
The Adams County site at Water World will be able to test up to 2,500 Coloradans per day, and their goal is that it will take up to twenty minutes from when someone pulls into the testing site to when they leave. Information will also be Farsi, Hmong and Spanishprovided in multiple languages to ensure that Adams County residents can get the information they need on this new site.
The Governor continued to emphasize the importance of local public health agencies and local communities in slowing the spread of the virus and responding at the local level. The Governor wants to give local communities the tools they need to handle this pandemic, and the flexibility to relax restrictions if they hit certain objective benchmarks to reduce the prevalence of viral spread. The alternative to a local response could potentially be a unilateral, statewide action that could further impact Colorado’s economy.
Governor Jared Polis extended Executive Orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gov. Polis signed an Executive Order extending relief to public utility customers to mitigate, respond to, and recover from the current economic disruption due to the presence of COVID-19 in Colorado.
The Governor extended an Executive Order providing boards of county commissioners with broader discretion and greater flexibility to implement restrictions on open burning.
Governor Jared Polis extended an Executive Order in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Governor signed an Executive Order extending the temporary suspension of certain regulatory statutes concerning juvenile justice, regional centers, and behavioral health due to the presence of COVID-19.
Governor Jared Polis and Treasurer Dave Young today sent a letter urging members of Colorado’s Congressional Delegation to provide additional funding in the next stimulus package in areas that will protect the health and wellbeing of Coloradans.
“We want to reiterate our appreciation for the CARES Act funding and direct, immediate aid that was necessary. This funding was crucial in providing relief to families and small businesses, unemployment benefits and support, and additional funding for state and local aid. However, we believe there are more critical steps that must be taken as soon as possible to address the continuing critical needs and move Colorado forward and ensure the health of our population,” Gov. Polis and Treasurer Young write in the letter.
Those areas include:
Child Care and Education
Clean Energy Economy
Environment and Natural Resources
"These essential services exist to help our most vulnerable populations and it is our duty as Government officials to ensure that they are not interrupted," said CO Treasurer Dave Young. "Without financial relief directly from the Federal Government, we will see essential services cut and the delivery of services compromised at a time when Coloradans need them the most."
“We want to sincerely thank you for your work in Congress to provide necessary relief for Coloradans. We remain committed to ensuring our state and local governments receive the assistance we need to continue COVID-19 response and keep Coloradans safe and healthy during this unprecedented time,” the letter continues.
In particular, the Governor and Treasurer highlight:
Expansion and Extension of Food Assistance to Colorado Families
Additional Funding for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP)
Low-income Heat and Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
Support for Child Care and Early Childhood Education
Cultivating Opportunity and Response to the Pandemic through Service (CORPS) Act
National Health Service Corps Funding (NHSC)
Federal Medical Assistance Program (FMAP)
Federal Support for Rural Housing
Support for Children, Youth, and Families Experiencing Homelessness
Federal Support for Colorado’s Clean Energy Economy
Federal Support for State and Local Environmental Health and Resource Responsibilities
Agriculture, Farming and Ranching Support
Automatic Extension of Work-Authorization and Other Immigration Statuses
Read the full letter.
Governor Polis has continued to advocate for the extension of the Colorado National Guard’s deployment to help the State and local communities respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and today the White House announced the deployment would be extended until December 31, 2020. Earlier this year, Gov. Polis urged the President to continue to extend the deployment.
“I spoke to Vice President Mike Pence this weekend about the amazing and selfless work the National Guard is doing supporting testing in Colorado’s local communities and explained how we need their help through the end of the year. I am glad that today the administration acted to extend the National Guard until the end of 2020,” said Governor Polis.
Last week, the Colorado National Guard reached a testing milestone in support of the State’s ongoing COVID-19 testing across Colorado. The Joint Task Force-Centennial’s Task Force Test Support has tested more than 20,000 Coloradans at 122 testing sites in 28 counties and 34 cities.
As an Executive Committee member, Gov. Polis also supported a call by the National Governor’s Association today strongly urging the President to authorize an extension of Title 32. In May, the Governor’s urged the President to continue to extend the use of Title 32 as part of COVID-19 recovery.