Legislators talked about economic recovery, health care, child services, education, the environment and more during the annual Adams County Regional Partnership Legislative Preview Breakfast Dec. 10 at Northglenn’s Parsons Theater.
But the first issue on deck? The timing of the meeting.
“I think as business people and as a municipality, people that represent the community, should really pay attention to. And that is for a single parent to make a 7a.m. meeting, let’s think about this,” Adams County Commissioner Eva Henry pointed out to the crowd. “Let’s think about this. They have to get their 3-, 4-year old up at 5 a.m., get dressed, fed and out the door by 6 a.m. so they can make a 7 a.m. meeting that could easily be at 8.”
The tired crowd applauded the idea. Rep. Matt Gray, who came late to the meeting after driving his children to school, said he would have benefited from a later meeting.
On stage sat Rep. Adrienne Benavidez, Rep. Shannon Bird, Rep. Lindsey Daugherty, Gray, state Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer, state Sen. Dominick Moreno, Rep. Kyle Mullica and state Sen. Faith Winter.
Much of the talk surrounded the American Rescue Plan Act. Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act, and legislators will brainstorm policy on how to distribute those funds. Four main issues legislators plan to support with those funds are behavioral health, affordable housing, economic recovery and relief, and workforce development, Moreno explained.
“All of those different task forces have been meeting and developing policy solutions for what are the most effective ways to deploy those federal funds,” Moreno said.
Benavidez explained that for behavioral health, the task force plans to help general mental health issues, as well as mental health within the criminal justice system.
“It is going to be, hopefully, a very big year for behavioral health,” she said.
To revamp the tax code, legislators hope to work with people who deal with the tax code everyday.
“The great part about the task force is this is a group made up of community members, members of the business community, those who are dealing and working with our tax code every day,” Bird said.
She also expressed a call to action.
“Build relationships with your legislators and make sure you’re letting us know, early and often how legislation impacts you and challenges that you’re having,” Bird said.
Kirkmeyer said that with her experience as a small-business owner, she can help analyze the government’s expenditure and revenue to balance the budget.
Kirkmeyer also discussed how a good education system can entice business. She said the legislators need to look at the School Finance Act and create more equity around schools.
Daugherty struck the hearts of many when describing how child abuse continues to happen and goes unreported during these times. She has worked in juvenile law for nine years.
“These kiddos are going through a lot, and they have no one,” she said.
She pointed to the juvenile bills the Legislature brings to the floor and stressed the importance of them.
Mullica, who has experience as a trauma nurse, explained how work needs to be done for nurses undergoing mental health complications due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He noted many health-care professionals are leaving the field.
“We need to create an environment (doctors and nurses) can thrive,” he said.
Winter noted the workplace harassment bills and the effort to change the culture within the workplace, which she hopes bias standard training will accomplish.
She also discussed the push to incentivise car pooling and other transportation measures to lower carbon emissions.