Fort Collins City Council is updating the city’s Legislative Policy Agenda to include universal health care, gun violence prevention and immigration.
Council voted 6-0 on Tuesday to adopt the 2020 policy agenda, which council and staff use as a guide to pinpoint Fort Collins’ positions on state and federal legislation. Council member Ken Summers, a member of the legislative review committee that crafted the document with staff, was absent.
Council makes revisions, eliminations and additions to the lengthy document each year. The new version touches on 26 topics, ranging from affordable housing to air quality to downtown development, and includes hundreds of policy statements and suggestions.
Some of the biggest changes for 2020, according to city staff, are:
- Adding immigration and national border conditions as a priority, including a call for humane treatment of immigrants detained at the border regardless of their status and a sustainable path to legal citizenship.
- Adding gun violence prevention to the existing public health priority, including support for laws or regulations that restrict or prevent people from buying firearms if they’ve been convicted of a violent criminal offense, involuntarily committed to a mental institution or are suffering from a severe mental condition.
- Adding vaping to the existing public health priority, including support for measures that greatly reduce smoking and vaping.
- Adding health care as a priority, including calls for health care policy that provides single-payer, not-for-profit care to all residents and ends the practice of employers being citizens’ primary source of health insurance.
FOR SUBSCRIBERS: City Council’s progressive shift is making waves
Some of the additions have commanded debate at the federal level, but council members said they want to prioritize them because their effects have local significance.
For example, the document notes that federal immigration and border issues “have wide impacts that can directly impact the day to day life of Fort Collins residents” and “can also impact those residents’ willingness and comfort with engaging with local public safety agencies and other key service providers.”
Fort Collins’ legislative priorities “are not very different from things that are being discussed in probably every municipality in the country,” said council member Susan Gutowsky, who serves on the legislative review committee with Summers and council member Ross Cunniff. “The thing that I think is essential is that we keep a clear line of communication with our legislators … so they can help us achieve what we want to do.”
Mayor Wade Troxell said the policy is especially helpful to advocating for policy change at the county and state level. Fort Collins is the largest city in Larimer County and the fourth-biggest city in Colorado, behind Denver, Colorado Springs and Aurora.
Here’s a sampling of changes to the legislative policy agenda:
- Council supports exploring the expansion of the Mobile Home Park Act to stabilize rents and give residents or affordable housing providers the chance to buy parks when they go up for sale.
- Council supports consideration of inclusionary zoning, which requires new rental housing to include a certain percentage of affordable units.
- Council supports revising Colorado Open Meetings Law to allow local governments to discuss competition-related municipal broadband issues privately in executive session.
- Council supports reducing legal barriers and clarifying legal ambiguities related to water reuse and greywater projects.
Jacy Marmaduke covers government accountability for the Coloradoan. Follow her on Twitter @jacymarmaduke.
Read or Share this story: https://www.coloradoan.com/story/news/2019/12/04/fort-collins-health-care-immigration-gun-control/2597782001/