DENVER — The special legislative session that was called this week to address relief due to the COVID-19 pandemic has ended.
Gov. Jared Polis (D-Colorado) in a news conference Wednesday applauded the General Assembly "for doing so much so quickly to help Coloradoans get through a challenging winter."
The special session began Monday and ended Wednesday with the passage of 10 bills related to pandemic recovery efforts in the state, Colorado Politics reported.
They include a bill to provide rental relief and eviction assistance and a bill to provide grants for improved internet access. Food pantries will also get $5 million in aid and $45 million in aid was approved for childcare operators.
Polis acknowledged while the session was immensely productive on urgent matters, this isn't’ the end and said there's more the federal government needs to do.
Also during the special session, an amendment to House Bill 1004 passed the House 63-0. It adds vintners to the measure providing sales tax retention for restaurants and bars
A bill to provide relief to small businesses and arts organizations also passed, according to Colorado Politics.
Polis was joined by the following legislators for the news conference:
- Senate President Leroy Garcia
- Speaker KC Becker
- Speaker-designate Alec Garnett
- Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg
During the news conference, Garcia said he is proud of the important work done but also acknowledged there's more work ahead.
Becker answered questions regarding the lack of support for agriculture and said that's something she wants to address soon.
When asked about relief money for those counties not enforcing public health orders, Polis said, “I’ll reiterate, everyone needs to follow the laws of Colorado.”
Fenberg added the bill was written to say those with the most need will get the help, meaning businesses operating at larger or full capacity because the health orders are not being enforced are likely much less in need than those restaurants and bars running at a lower capacity and abiding by the orders.
Fenberg said cities can apply for funds even if the county it resides in is not enforcing the health orders.
When asked about his recent COVID-19 diagnosis, Polis said he's feeling better. He added that he was a bit hoarse and had trouble sleeping but is anxious to get out of the house again.
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