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It seems like an eternity ago, but it was only in mid-March that the Colorado General Assembly adjourned to keep members and the public safe from the global COVID-19 pandemic. On May 26, the legislature reconvened to conclude the business of the 2020 session as quickly and as safely as possible–and at that time nobody knew how much would be accomplished.
Faced with fundamental challenges to our healthcare system, our economy, and society itself as we finally reckon with the age-old evils of racism and police brutality, Colorado lawmakers led by the progressive majority made historic progress. Today as the extended 2020 session comes to an end, we have the answer: more was accomplished in 2020, despite deep political division, economic freefall, and a global emergency, than anyone could have ever hoped.
An historic year for justice. In 2020, Colorado joined the growing global consensus that state-sponsored killing does not service the interests of justice. In addition to ending the death penalty in our state, in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police Colorado developed and passed the most comprehensive reform of police accountability in the state’s history. Chokeholds will be banned, “qualified immunity” for police who kill and maim without cause will end, the “reasonable officer” standard that has prevented too many from being brought to justice is gone, and body camera footage will be subject to strict rules for retention and disclosure. This landmark bipartisan bill permanently changes the relationship between police in Colorado and the public they serve and protect. We also banned a deplorable legal defense known as “gay panic” which has been used to attempt to justify hate crimes.
Reopening Colorado Safely. With help from federal stimulus funds, Colorado created new loans and grants to keep businesses going, funded help for Coloradans to pay rent and utilities, and passed legislation to stop price gouging in times of need. Paid sick days, additional funding for food pantries, rural economic development are all on the way to provide help where it’s needed most.
Fairness. This year, the Colorado legislature passed a bill to close tax loopholes that corporations had used to avoid paying their fair share of the burden. New legislation will finally offer better protections to mobile home residents who have been getting a raw deal from landlords for years. And the legislature cracked down on polluters with heavier fines and tougher notification requirements for spills.
This incredibly successful legislative session would not have happened without your help. Thousands of PNC members contacted their lawmakers in support of many important pieces of legislation, especially the police accountability bill before and after the pandemic forced business to a halt. Whether you testified in a live hearing, wrote a letter, made a phone call, or turned out to peacefully protest, you helped make this historic success possible.
And the work goes on. Here are more ways to make a difference for the week of June 15:
One Colorado: Title VII Decision Virtual Town Hall
Now that the Court has issued their ruling, find out how it impacts the LGBTQ community in Colorado and across the nation.
When: Tuesday, June 16th at 4:00pm
9to5 Colorado: Know Your Eviction Defense Rights
After countless protests, letters, and stories shared, the governor and other elected officials have taken steps forward to keep people housed. 9to5 attorney, Jason Legg, will share how the eviction process currently works, how new ordinances and policies impact the eviction timeline and what to do if your rights are violated.
When: Wednesday, June 17 at 10:00am
Colorado AFL-CIO: Workers First Caravan and Donation Collection
On Wednesday, June 17, working people from Colorado will join thousands of people from across the country in a Workers First Caravan, an all-out action of national solidarity. We’ll be demanding Senator Cory Gardner join our working family champions to pass meaningful measures based on compassion, science, dignity and common sense.
When: Wednesday, June 17 at 10:00am
Virtual Juneteenth Music Festival
The 2020 Juneteenth Music Festival invites all to join, online, for a positive, educational and entertaining day celebrating African American history and the mission to make Juneteenth a national holiday. The goal of the 2020 Juneteenth Music Festival is to educate the larger population about the important American milestone that is Juneteenth and generate awareness to make Juneteenth a national holiday.
When: Thursday, June 18 at 9:00am
One Colorado: Mile High Pridecast
Friday June 19th we are bringing Pride to you! Broadcasting from seven Denver LGBTQ+ venues with 27 amazing local and national DJ’s we are proud to present Mile High Pridecast! All funds raised will support One Colorado and their important mission of fighting for LGBTQ+ rights, civil rights, and a fair and just Colorado for all.
When: Friday, June 19 all day
A Community Rally for Change
St*pleton is GETTING a new name after decades of pressure. — Now lets honor the work of those who have been in this fight for so long. Join us Saturday in Central Park to celebrate this huge milestone, but also get ready for the work ahead!
When: Saturday, June 20 at 11:00am
Where: Central Park, Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Denver, Colorado 80238
Denver Pride Equality Rally
Join One Colorado, state leaders, activists, and community groups online right after the Denver Pride Virtual Parade for our rally for LGBTQ equality!
When: Sunday, June 21 at 12:30pm
We’ll see you next week! Thanks again for everything you do.