Between this month’s impeachment hearings, winter storms, and holiday break, it’s understandable if you didn’t have time to keep up with local news. So, here’s your quick guide to what’s happening in the Centennial State, from a minimum wage increase to Aurora’s new mayor.
1. Colorado votes: On Election Day, November 5, Colorado voters approved Proposition DD, which will legalize sports betting and help fund water projects. But they voted down Proposition CC, which would have changed the way that the state handles excess tax revenue. Denverites selected Tay Anderson—a 5280 Disrupter—to serve on the school board (the 21-year-old is the youngest member ever). And Aurora voters had to wait (nine days, to be exact) to find out who would be their leader. Ultimately, Mike Coffman declared victory with, as of presstime, 214 more votes than his closest opponent, Omar Montgomery.
2. Denver’s budget: One of the first things that new City Council members have to do in the months after being sworn in is to parse through a mayor’s proposed budget. It’s a months-long process—Council members can and do request changes—that sets up the city’s financials for the coming year. And, on November 12, the City Council approved the $1.49 billion 2020 budget (District 9 Council member Candi CdeBaca voted against it).
3. Beer sales: Time to raise a glass—of cheers or in sadness—to the news that Lion Little World Beverages has bought Fort Collins’ New Belgium Brewing Co., one of the country’s largest craft brewers. The sale is contingent on approval of New Belgium’s employee owners (who could get retirement savings of $100,000 if the sale goes through). The purchase has inspired lots of emotion in the craft beer community and reflections on the larger impact of New Belgium’s business practices, from sustainability initiatives to health care. For my take, start watching at 12:55.
4. Bikes and scooters: When B-Cycle officially launched in 2010, Denver made headlines for embracing micromobility options. A decade later, the dock stations are outdated and scooters rule the streets (but no longer the sidewalks). That will change in 2020, as B-Cycle officially shuts downs and the city creates a new bidding process (in place of permits) for bike and scooter shares.
5. Health: Schools in Mesa County closed because a gastro-intestinal illness that kept many students and faculty out of classrooms. Colorado Public Radio has up-to-date reporting, including how difficult it can be to disinfect schools during and after an outbreak.
6. Minimum wage: With the start of the new year, some Denverites are going to see bigger paychecks because the City Council approved a minimum wage increase on Monday, November 26. The initiative, which had been promoted by Mayor Michael Hancock and at-large council member Robin Kniech (and raised concerns in the restaurant industry), will bump the minimum wage up, in three stages, to $15.87 by 2022.