Denver, CO

Thursday in Denver: Colorado's legislature approves fentanyl bill and more local news

Steven Bonifazi

By Steven Bonifazi / NewsBreak Denver

(DENVER, Colo.) Greetings, good morning and welcome back to another Thursday edition of the Denver Daily Roundup.

Today is Thursday, May 12. Much has happened in the Mile High City in the past 24 hours.

Thursday's weather forecast predicts continued sunny, warm and breezy conditions in Denver. However, while relative humidity should remain very low, winds will be much stronger than Wednesday, with gusts potentially reaching as high as 40 mph.

red flag warning is in effect from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday.

Without further ado, let's take a closer look at a few of the most top and important local stories from in and around the Denver metro you should be aware of this Thursday:

1. Colorado lawmakers approve finalized fentanyl bill

Colorado lawmakers passed a finalized bill Wednesday evening that seeks to address the state's fentanyl crisis. The House voted 35-30 to pass the bill on to the governor's desk.

Denver7 reports lawmakers approved last-minute changes that authorize a jury or judge to determine if a person charged with felony fentanyl possession (between 1 and 4 grams) was aware the drug compound contained fentanyl and get the charge reduced to a level 1 drug misdemeanor. 

Additionally, the final measure offers medical care for people with addictions inside jail and when they are released. The new punishments would begin on July 1.

2. Denver airport could expand 'Airbnb for cars'

Denver City Council approved two contracts on Tuesday that establish a carsharing program at Denver International Airport. The approved contracts allow companies Turo and Avail to operate at the airport.

Denver's pilot program, launched 18 months ago at DEN, allowed the airport to collect $1.3 million in carsharing fees in 2021, according to NewsBreak Denver's David Heitz. City Council President Stacie Gilmore requested to add language to the contracts that would ban carsharing companies from parking in residential neighborhoods like Green Valley Ranch.

Both contracts need to be approved by the full City Council, which will likely happen next week.

3. DCPA completes $17 million capital campaign
Dorota & Kevin Kilstrom Theatre(Courtesy of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts)

The Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) met its $17 million goal on Wednesday for the Grander Opening fundraising campaign that started in 2018.

The Grander Opening was the DCPA's first-ever fundraising campaign and was the second part of a three-phase project intended to pay for the $57 million renovations of the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex, NewsBreak Denver's Margaret Jackson reported. Phase 1 of the project included the relocation of an IT server room, renovation of artist housing, improvements to infrastructure and energy and renovation of the Dorota & Kevin Kilstom Theatre.

The second phase, which cost $41 million, involved a rebuild of the Marvin & Judi Wolf Theatre and William Dean Singleton Theatre. The $3.1 million third phase of the project, set to complete fire and life safety issues in the Hellen Bonfils Theatre Complex, will begin next year.

4. Applications open for Denver arts program, funds up to $3K

Denver Arts & Venues is taking applications now through May 27 for its EDI Mini-Grant Program to assist people, organizations or community-driven projects.

The program functions to change the traditional charitable process by giving communities decision-making power regarding funding decisions, according to the program's website

Grants can be funded for up to $3,000 to advance the communities represented by the Human Rights and Community Partnerships (HRCP) Commissions. Projects focused on efforts surrounding social justice will receive high consideration.

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