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Denver Voters Repeal Pit Bull Ban, Approve Tax Increases To Address Climate Change, Homelessness

Matt Bloom
Voters cast ballots at the McNichols Civic Center Building in Denver on Tuesday, Nov. 3.

Denver voters passed a series of local measures on election night, most notably affecting climate change and homelessness in the city.

Ballot measure 2A was approved with 64% of residents voting in favor. The new legislation will raise city sales tax by 0.25% starting in January to reduce the city's climate footprint. The Denver Climate Action Task Force estimates it will raise $36 million annually.

The funds will be used to create jobs in renewable energy, carbon-free transit, and improving energy efficiency in homes. Half of the money will also go towards addressing systemic injustice affecting marginalized communities in the city. Denver officials are aiming to decrease greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2025 and 100% by 2040.

The second sales tax raise was approved in Ballot Measure 2-B, which passed with nearly 65% of the vote. The money will go towards services for people experiencing homelessness.

Cathy Alderman, with Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, said the funds will provide housing resources, shelter options and other services.

“Denver has been screaming for some resolution on homelessness,” Alderman said. “Because we know we’re going to see more homelessness as a result of the pandemic. If we don’t start making investments immediately, we might get too far behind the eight ball.”

Since the start of the pandemic, shelter capacity in Denver has been reduced by more than 1,200 beds due to shelter closures and social distancing requirements.

Denver voters also repealed a ban on pit bulls last night that had been in place in the city for over 30 years. Ballot Measure 2-J passed with more than 64% voting to lift the ban.

The law that banned the breed was put in place in 1989 after nearly two dozen people were attacked during a five year span. Pit bull owners will now need to get a provisional permit and have their dog microchipped. No more than two pit bulls will be allowed in a single residence.

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