Colorado legislature begins special session Monday, focusing on COVID relief

Coronavirus

DENVER (KDVR) — On Monday, a special legislative session will be held to address COVID-19 relief efforts to help Colorado businesses and families taking on major financial losses from the pandemic.

Eight bills will be distributed between the House and Senate for consideration.

“We are hearing from small businesses, restaurants, we are hearing from renters and landlords, we are hearing from food banks, people all across the state,” Colorado House Speaker-designate Alec Garnett said on Sunday. “Colorado families and businesses are really hurting.”

The five bills starting in the Senate include:

  1. Small business relief: $57 million in grants would be distributed to small businesses who took financial hits from the COVID-19 capacity restrictions. 
  2. Housing and rental assistance: $50 million would be allocated towards emergency housing assistance for renters and landlords.
  3. Broadband access: $20 million would be allocated for schools and rural communities struggling to get critical infrastructure and access to internet in a time when it’s needed the most to continue online learning. 
  4. Energy utility assistance: $5 million dollars would be allocated to help families struggling to pay their utility bills in the winter months. 
  5. Colorado public health response: $100 million would go towards ensuring the state can continue to respond to the pandemic. Some of that money should be reimbursed by FEMA.

The three bills starting in the House include:

  1. Sales tax relief: This would allow restaurants and bars to keep the sales tax they collect during November through March.
  2. Child care support: $45 million would be distributed to over 2,000 child care facilities
  3. Food pantry assistance: One in three Coloradans struggle with food insecurities. $3 million would be allocated to increase food access for Colorado families.

According to the Legislative Council Staff, remote testimony will be available for bills heard during the special session, pending a change to House and Senate rules. Advance registration is required for those who want to provide testimony.

The special session will begin Monday at 10 a.m.

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