Colorado lawmakers consider emergency COVID relief package

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DENVER (AP) – Citing Congress’ failure to pass a new coronavirus economic relief package, Colorado’s Democrat-led Legislature convenes on Monday in a special session called by Gov. Jared Polis to pass bills offering sales tax relief and state grants to small businesses, tenants and public school districts affected by the pandemic.

Over the weekend, Democratic lawmakers unveiled bills offering a combined $280 million to help small firms through the winter; sustain child care facilities; deliver rental and mortgage aid for landlords and tenants; and boost food pantry stocks.

The proposals also cover fortifying broadband and internet access for public school teachers and students; helping residents pay utility bills; and a $100 million transfer to by used by the state for COVID-related public health expenses.

Lawmakers also are considering legislation to allow restaurants, bars and food trucks to keep state sales tax collections they otherwise would have to remit to the state, at least through February.

Senate President Leroy Garcia told reporters Sunday that congressional inaction compelled state lawmakers to act, even if the amount at their disposal is limited.

Lawmakers and staff entering the capitol are being tested for COVID-19. Public testimony is limited to written comment submitted through the legislature’s website.

Polis announced Saturday that he and first gentleman Marlon Reis tested positive for the coronavirus but are asymptomatic.

Polis and first gentleman Marlon Reis

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