Lawmakers from Colorado are reportedly trying to use coronavirus relief dollars as a way to convince counties to follow Governor Jared Polis’ COVID-19 restrictions.
Lawmakers Play Hard Ball with Businesses and Arts Organizations
Moreover, this bipartisan bill won preliminary approval on Monday, November 30th, the first day of a special legislative session. Therefore, this bill would withhold direct-aid payments to small businesses and arts organizations in counties refusing to comply with mandates issued by the state’s health department to slow the spread of the COVID-19.
Lawmakers are Targeting a Conservative Area not Compliant
The legislation reportedly targeting conservative Weld County. However, the commissioners have said they won’t enforce red-level coronavirus mandates imposed on the county on November 22nd. Therefore, this includes a ban on indoor dining. In addition, to a ban on all personal gatherings.
“The businesses that have been most impacts by the public health orders where the money is was directed at, said Senator Faith Winter. It was a Westminster Democrat. She is spearheading the legislation. “The impact is different if your county is refusing to (enforce) public health orders.”
Restaurants and Bars are Accountable as Well
A similar test should apply to restaurants and bars. They would receive a temporary tax break under consideration in a separate bill. Moreover, this was suggested by one Democratic lawmaker.
Tension Between the Governor, Democrats, and Republicans
A struggle between Governor Polis, Democratic lawmakers, and Republications has been going on for months. Moreover, on one side are the Polis and the Democrats they have pushed for restrictions. Then, on the other side, are the Republicans who overall want businesses to operate with minimal restrictions. There has been an attempt to compel counties to comply with the guidelines from the State Department of Public Health and Environment.
$37 Million in Relief for Counties
Counties can tap into the $37 million in relief provided by the legislature. The measure, which includes two Republican sponsors. Moreover, the state sends the money to counties. In turn, it would handle distributing up to $7,000 in one-time payments to eligible small businesses. However, this includes restaurants, bars, movie theaters, and event venues. Therefore, counties would get priority in receiving money with more severe Corona Virus restrictions because of rising cases and hospitalizations.
Senator John Cooke is Right!
“It’s not right. It’s blackmail on the governor’s part and Democrats’ part,” said Sen. John Cooke, a Weld County Republican, referring to the compliance clause. “It’s not fair at all.”
Democrat-Hating Lawmakers are after Weld County
Cooke said he stands by the decision of Weld County’s commissioners. “They know what’s more important for Weld County than the governor does,” he said. “The governor hates Weld County.”
Senator Bob Gardner Declares Compliance is Part of a Bigger Plan and it’s Sinister!
However, the compliance cause is akin to totalitarianism, according to Senator Bob Gardner, Republican-Colorado Springs.
The Bill has an Underlying Agenda to Hurt Those Counties That Stand up for Themselves
“Punishing rebellious counties and those that would challenge rather than help small businesses is the aim of this bill,” he said. However, it doesn’t befit Colorado. Yet, the bill befits the People’s Republic of China instead.”