March started with what may have been a dark (and rude) awakening for some with the daylight saving time change. You may remember back in 2022, Governor Polis signed a bill that would allow Colorado to stay on daylight saving time year-round, but this move would require federal support. Current federal law does allow states to stay on standard time year-round (as in Arizona), and while the Senate passed the Sunshine Protection Act in 2022, Congress has still not been able to come to an agreement on the measure. So for now, the tradition continues, even when scientists point out the long-term negative health effects from shifts in daylight savings time. Read on for a recap of more happenings this past month in Colorado.  


Colorado River Operations

On March 5th, the Upper Division states of the Colorado River, which includes Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming, released a plan known as the Alternative for Post-2026 Operations of Lake Powell and Lake Mead, designed to provide certainty and sustainability for the water supply. Current provisions for managing the Colorado River expire in 2026, and alternatives from each of the basins are required as part of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review process for updating the management guidelines. The Lower Basin states – Nevada, Arizona, and California – concurrently released their own alternative proposal. While each proposal provides a set of modeling assumptions and operation parameters, the basins are not in agreement over how to share the water supply, and some tribes, including the Southern Ute in southwestern Colorado, are left feeling unsatisfied, saying the proposals do not include adequate language to protect tribal water rights. Negotiations will continue through the end of 2026.  



The 2021 Marshall Fire was Colorado’s most destructive wildfire in terms of infrastructure damage costs and surprised many as it occurred in a suburban community. Over 1,000 homes were destroyed, and researchers from the Institute for Business and Homes Safety found that wooden privacy fences between homes were among some of the pathways that helped the fire spread. Many homeowners’ associations in wildfire-prone areas previously required flammable materials in building requirements, such as cedar shingles and wood fences, and prevented residents from replacing materials or modifying yards and structures for wildfire mitigation.  

Now, a new Colorado law establishes that fire-hardened building materials are legally protected against HOA rules, backed by guidelines from the National Fire Protection Association, International Wildland-Urban Interface Code, and the Institute for Business and Home Safety. This law removes the legal roadblocks that might endanger communities and allows residents to protect themselves and their homes from wildfires, according to Mike Morgan, Director of the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control.  

For more on Colorado wildfires, check out our Forest, Fires, and People five-part series.



March marked the four-year anniversary of the coronavirus pandemic and nearly a year since the US emergency declaration ended. As the world adapts to living with this virus, the Centers for Disease Control just updated their guidance for those sick with the disease to align with other respiratory viruses, such as the flu or RSV. Long COVID, or lingering ongoing symptoms after the initial infection period, impacts an estimated 5-7% of Colorado’s population, which causes disruptions to daily lives and incomes, and is still an ongoing area of research. A 2022 law created a position to investigate policies that mitigate the impacts of Long COVID on the health and socioeconomic well-being of residents.  

For a trip down memory lane of what we learned living with the virus, check out our COVID Conversation Series. 


Before you go... 

The Colorado Legislature introduced the state budget proposal, known as the long bill, on March 26, which sets $40.6 billion in spending priorities for the state over the next year. Most of the money is already earmarked for specific purposes, but the long bill sets the stage for prioritization of spending priorities as we near the end of the legislative session.  

From all of us at the Institute, thanks for reading.   


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