Legislative Briefs: April 27, 2012
HICK SIGNS YOUTH ORGANIZATIONS BILL
Gov. John Hickenlooper on Monday signed a bill aimed at giving neighborhood youth organizations more tools to ensure the safety of the children they serve.
House Bill 1228, sponsored by Rep. Brian DelGrosso, R-Loveland, expands the list of methods a neighborhood youth organization can use to satisfy the criminal history check requirement for all employees. Each method must be able to determine whether the potential employee has been convicted of felony child abuse or unlawful sexual behavior. Anyone with such a history cannot be employed by the organization.
“Expanding the type of background checks these organizations can employ will save dollars that can be better invested in the services these clubs provide to Colorado’s youth,” said DelGrosso.
6 PERCENT LIMIT COMING BACK?
The House on Tuesday gave final approval to a measure that would reinstate the 6 percent general fund spending cap in Colorado.
House Bill 1075, sponsored by Reps. Don Beezley, R-Broomfield, and Brian DelGrosso, R-Loveland, would reinstate the budget cap on general fund appropriations that Democrats repealed in 2009. Beezley and DelGrosso’s measure limits general fund appropriations to 6 percent more than the prior year’s expenditures. Any surplus money left over after the cap would be allocated to a newly created state reserve fund and help fund much needed transportation and capital construction projects around the state.
“Reestablishing this budget cap prompts fiscally responsible decisions,” said Beezley. “Tough economic times force Colorado’s families to budget responsibly, and government should be held to the same standards.”
“This bill takes the lessons of today’s recession to heart,” said DelGrosso. “It forces responsible budgeting and saves for our future while increasing funding for vital infrastructure projects.”
Meanwhile, Democrats said the measure would permanently cut state spending on a variety of essential services.
“This bill permanently cuts K-12 by $1 billion,” House Democratic leader Mark Ferrandino told the chamber during second-reading debate on Monday. “We would never be able to fill the hole that we’ve dug over the last couple of years during the Great Recession. I don’t think we should put in place an arbitrary spending limit that doesn’t allow us to make sure we can restore the cuts to our kids’ future.”
The bill passed the House on a Republican party-line vote. It now heads to the Senate for consideration.
HOUSE BACKS SCHOOL FINANCE
The House on Tuesday gave final approval to the School Finance Act, increasing funding for K-12 education.
House Bill 1345, sponsored by Rep. Tom Massey, R-Poncha Springs, would increase total program funding for K-12 public schools by $57 million in the 2012-13 budget year to reflect an increase in student enrollment.
“House Republicans have committed to prioritizing education in the state budget,” said Massey. “This measure ensures that we maintain our commitment to the necessary and proper education of Colorado’s youth.”
The School Finance Act passed the House on a vote of 63-1. It now heads to the Senate for consideration.
BLOCKBUSTER HQ MOVING TO COLORADO
Gov. John Hickenlooper on Monday joined executives from DISH and Blockbuster to announce that Blockbuster will relocate its new worldwide headquarters to the Meridian International Office Park in Douglas County.
The expansion will bring more than 150 management positions to the greater Denver area over the next five years.
“DISH planted its roots in Colorado more than 30 years ago and we are pleased the company is locating the headquarters of Blockbuster in Colorado,” said Hickenlooper. “DISH, which already employs nearly 5,000 people along the Front Range, recognizes Colorado’s highly-educated and energetic workforce, extensive recruiting opportunities from area colleges, and accessible location for vendors and partners. We are committed to helping DISH and other businesses thrive, and we look forward to seeing more companies expand in Colorado.”
Blockbuster, a subsidiary of DISH Network Corporation is a global provider of movie and game sales and rentals.
“Since our acquisition of Blockbuster nearly a year ago, we’ve worked hard to reinvigorate a brand that is synonymous with family entertainment and movies while introducing Blockbuster streaming movie choices to our DISH customers,” said Joe Clayton, chief executive of DISH. “We want to thank Gov. Hickenlooper and the Southeast Business Partnership for their support in helping to bring more jobs to the state and to further our efforts to continue the legacy of Blockbuster.”
The positions are primarily management jobs, and an undetermined number will be filled with employees who are invited to relocate to Colorado from Blockbuster’s McKinney, Texas headquarters.
REP. BOB GARDNER AWARDED
Colorado Victims Assistance on Monday honored Rep. Bob Gardner, R-Colorado Springs, at an event observing National Crime Victim’s Rights Week.
The 2012 COVA Public Policy Leadership Award honors Gardner for his staunch advocacy of victims’ rights. Gardner is the inaugural recipient of the award. He sponsored House Bill 1053 earlier this year to increase certain protections for victims.
“Rep. Gardner championed victims’ rights and sponsored model legislation to strengthen protections for victims and expand their rights under the law,” said Nancy Lewis, executive director of COVA. “COVA is proud to give the Public Policy Leadership Award to him for his leadership and advocacy in the House of Representatives.”
House Bill 1053 adds trafficking, first degree burglary, retaliation against a judge and retaliation against a juror to those crimes included in Colorado’s victims’ rights statute. The measure further protects victims by striking their social security number from criminal justice records and gives victims of a crime the right to know when an offender will be released or transferred. The bill also allows victims to write a statement when an offender is referred to community corrections facility and makes an oral statement to the community corrections board for transition cases.
“I am humbled to be selected for this award,” said Gardner. “It has been a privilege during my legislative service to stand with victims and their families and help give them a voice.”
BUSINESS RETENTION BILL TO HOUSE
The Senate on Tuesday gave final approval to a bill that would establish the Colorado Business Retention and Expansion Program in an effort to continue to support local businesses and the employment opportunities they provide.
Senate Bill 5, sponsored by Sen. Linda Newell, D-Littleton, would establish the Colorado Business Retention and Expansion Program by the Governor\\\'s Office of Economic Development and International Trade. The Office of Economic Development and International Trade would be responsible for engaging and supporting existing businesses in Colorado, gathering relevant information about their current needs and challenges, and facilitating the relationship between businesses and government resources.
“Following the economic downturn many of our state’s loyal businesses have struggled,” said Newell. “While we continue working to rebuild and attract new investment and industry to our state we have to remember that our existing businesses still deserve our support. This legislation will provide innovative resources to help Colorado business gets the tools they need for success.”
The bill now heads to the House for consideration.
FIRE ACTIONS TAKEN
The state’s Division of Emergency Management and wildfire resources at the Colorado State Forest Service should both move under the authority of the Colorado Department of Public Safety, according to a review team charged with developing written recommendations to enhance and define accountability and responsibility for firefighting activities by the State of Colorado.
“We need one central point of accountability and responsibility when it comes to state actions in fighting wildfires in Colorado,” Gov. John Hickenlooper said. “These suggested changes will enhance coordination among all state agencies involved in emergency situations and result in a single point of command when dispatching resources and personnel.”
Hickenlooper and CSU President Tony Frank convened the review team on April 16 to strengthen the state’s emergency coordination during wildfires. The review was ordered after last month’s tragic Lower North Fork fire near Conifer.
Colorado State Forest Service functions not related to wildfire suppression, response and prescribed fire should stay at CSU, according to the review team.
These changes will require legislative action. House Republicans on Thursday introduced House Bill 1352, sponsored by Rep. Cheri Gerou, R-Evergreen, to establish the Lower North Fork Fire Commission.
Republicans say the measure is necessary due to the Colorado Government Immunity Act, which caps the state’s claims at $600,000, if immunity is even waived. That is $600,000 that must be divided amongst hundreds of victims. This bill avoids this legal obstacle by setting up a separate process given the magnitude of the incident.
The wildfire that raged through Jefferson County killed three people and caused extensive damage to personal property, including destroying 27 homes.
“This was absolutely tragic,” said Gerou. “While the wildfire was the result of an accident, we have to recognize that people died as a result of this fire, and homes and property were lost. We can’t ignore their loss.”
The measure will be heard during a special meeting of the House Judiciary Committee on Monday at 1:30 p.m.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BILL TO HOUSE
The Senate on Tuesday gave final approval to a measure aimed at strengthening and growing Colorado’s key industries as part of the state\\\'s larger economic development plan.
Senate Bill 144, sponsored by Sens. Rollie Heath, D-Boulder, and Mark Scheffel, R-Parker, would allow the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade to develop a strategy to support job creation and growth in Colorado’s key industries.
“Colorado has a number of innovative and thriving industries that are driving our economy,” said Heath. “By focusing on these industries and those with the most potential we can continue advancing Colorado’s financial system and create new jobs in these sectors.”
SB 144 now heads to the House for consideration.
SCHOOL UNION BILL MOVES
The House on Wednesday gave initial approval to a measure after the House Education Committee on Monday backed House Bill 1333, which aims to address union rules at schools.
Sponsored by Rep. Jon Becker, R-Fort Morgan, HB 1333 would require employers to cancel union dues from being automatically deducted from teachers’ paychecks within 30 days of receiving written notification.
The House Education Committee backed the measure on a Republican party-line vote of 7-6.
“The fact is that this money doesn’t belong to the unions, it belongs to the teachers and their families,” Becker said. “This bill allows teachers to make the financial decisions that are best for their families.”
HABITUAL CRIMINAL BILL MOVES
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday unanimously backed a measure that aims to redefine the criteria used when designating a person as a habitual criminal.
House Bill 1213, sponsored by Sen. Steve King, R-Grand Junction, would remove “walkaway” escapes as a crime eligible for habitual criminal sentencing.
“This bill makes criminal justice common sense,” said King. “Currently there is no statutory distinction between a walk away and a true escape, House Bill 1213 ensures a clear distinction between the two.”
HB 1213 differentiates between those who simply walk away from a non-secure correctional facility such as a halfway house or community corrections facility and those who escape from a secured county jail or state prison.
The bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration.
Colorado Attorney General John Suthers announced that 89 local law enforcement agencies would partner with the Drug Enforcement Administration to hold prescription drug take-back events at 117 locations on Saturday at sites across the state.
“Prescription drug abuse is one of the gravest problems facing Colorado today,” Suthers said. “This continued partnership between the Drug Enforcement Administration and law enforcement across the state will help keep these potent drugs off the streets and out of the hands of youth and others to abuse.”
Consumers should not simply throw away or flush controlled substances. Often the chemicals contained in these drugs can harm wildlife or the environment. Drugs left in trash bins or by the curb also can be stolen and abused. Federal law requires that controlled substances be accepted by a certified peace officer. Pharmacies or doctors’ offices cannot take controlled substances, unlike antibiotics and non-controlled prescription medications, back.
BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT BILL TO HOUSE
The Senate on Thursday gave final approval to a measure that aims to support businesses in Local Improvement Districts.
Senate Bill 101, sponsored by Sen. Jeanne Nicholson, D-Gilpin County, would address current law, which critics say is unclear about rules regarding certain activities such as using sales tax revenue to promote and market public events, including or excluding new properties, or adding noncontiguous properties.
SB 101 would support businesses in Local Improvement Districts by allowing districts to make decisions imperative to their growth and prosperity.
Local Improvement Districts are created by county governments to allow businesses in unincorporated areas to share the cost of necessary infrastructure like paved streets, sidewalks, or lighting. By combining resources, small business owners can afford the necessary foundation for successful business districts.
“We should be doing everything we can in the legislature to help our small businesses succeed,” said Nicholson. “By allowing Local Improvement Districts more authority we can give these communities the tools they need thrive.”
The bill now heads to the House for consideration.
EARLY CHILDHOOD BILL MOVES
The House on Wednesday gave final approval to a bill to extend a commission that studies early childhood issues.
House Bill 1218, sponsored by Rep. Cherylin Peniston, D-Westminster, would extend the sunset date of the Early Childhood School Readiness Legislative Commission to July 1, 2015. This commission allows the legislature to ensure that existing childhood services work properly. It has been instrumental in directing attention to the needs of the youngest Coloradans and working to ensure Colorado invests in and improves early childhood development programs and services.
“Early childhood is where the foundation for student learning begins, and this commission helps ensure that we are doing everything possible to invest in successful programs that support our youth,” Peniston said. “This will help improve Colorado children’s long-term outcomes.”
HB 1218 now heads to the Senate for consideration.
NONPROFIT TAX MEMORIAL MOVES
The Senate State Veterans and Military Affairs Committee on Tuesday unanimously backed a resolution calling on Congress to fix the dilemma caused by the Internal Revenue Service policy, which has led to the revocation of the tax-exempt status of tens of thousands of small nonprofits throughout the country.
Prior to 2006 small nonprofits were not required to file annual reports with the IRS. Currently, small nonprofits need to annually file a form with the IRS in order to keep their tax-exempt status. If a small nonprofit fails to file for three years their tax exempt status is revoked without prior notice.
Many small nonprofits, which had less than $25,000 in gross receipts, were never made aware of the new policy requiring them to file annual forms. Instead of suspending their tax-exempt status — as was originally recommended by the Nonprofit Sector Panel — the IRS revoked their tax-exempt status, forcing many small nonprofits to shut down or got through the costly and time consuming process of re applying for their tax-exempt status.
Senate Joint Memorial 3, sponsored by Sen. Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud, calls on Congress to address the situation.
“These small organizations that help so many should not have their tax-exempt status revoked simply because the IRS isn’t doing their job,” stated Lundberg. “They need to change the heavy handed approach of revoking the status of these nonprofits and instead give them the opportunity to file the correct forms.”
Senate Joint Resolution 3 now goes to the full Senate for consideration.
COLLEGE NAME CHANGE MOVING
The House on Tuesday and then the Senate Education Committee on Thursday backed a measure that changes the name of Western State College of Colorado to Western State Colorado University.
House Bill 1331, sponsored by state Rep. J. Paul Brown, passed with unanimous support.
“This bill will help the community of Western State attract more students,” said Brown, R-Ignacio. “The name change upholds both the institution’s heritage, but also indicates the direction the school is heading.”
The bill now awaits a hearing from the full Senate.
AMTRAK RESOLUTION MOVES
The Senate Transportation Committee on Tuesday unanimously backed a resolution encouraging the National Railroad Passenger Corporation to continue to route the Amtrak Southwest Chief through Colorado.
Senate Joint Resolution 25, sponsored by Sen. Kevin Grantham, R-Cañon City, addresses Amtrak’s plans considering rerouting the passenger train and discontinuing service through the southeastern part of Colorado.
“The Southwest Chief has provided a vital transportation service to the residents of southeastern Colorado since the 1880’s,” said Grantham. “It is my hope that we will encourage them to continue their service through our beautiful state.”
The resolution now goes to the full Senate for consideration.
HUNTING/FISHING LICENSE BILL TO SENATE
The House on Wednesday backed a measure that would create an appeals process for Coloradans with suspended hunting or fishing licenses.
House Bill 1330, sponsored by Rep. Jon Becker, R-Fort Morgan, would authorize a person with a hunting for fishing license suspension to petition the commission of wildlife up to three times after half of their suspension — or 10 years of a lifetime suspension has been served. The commission is directed to end the suspension if the person is unlikely to offend again, has not committed additional violations since receiving the suspension, and if the suspension is their first.
Before ending a suspension, the bill allows the commission to order payment of a $300 maximum fee, 40 hours of service on wildlife projects, or the completion of educational courses.
“This bill gives hunters and anglers in Colorado an avenue for appeal they’ve never had before,” said Becker. “House Bill 1330 affords sportsmen a hearing process that will help them pursue their passion for years to come if no wrongdoing can be found.”
Becker’s measure now moves to the Senate for further consideration.
HIT-AND-RUN BILL TO SENATE
The House on Wednesday backed a bill aimed at protecting victims of hit-and-runs.
House Bill 1084, sponsored by Rep. Kathleen Conti, R-Littleton, would make a hit-and-run resulting in serious bodily injury a Class 4 felony, which carries the same weight as driving under the influence of alcohol.
“This bill cures a serious loophole within our criminal justice system,” said Conti. “Without this measure, a drunk driver can flee the scene of an accident until they are sober and receive a lesser penalty for running away than if they were to stay and help.”
The measure now moves to the Senate for consideration.
PARENTS’ RIGHTS RESOLUTION TO SENATE
The House on Wednesday gave final approval to a resolution calling for an amendment to the United States Constitution that would respect the rights of parents to raise their children how they see fit.
House Joint Resolution 1019, sponsored by state Rep. Carole Murray, R-Castle Rock, would voice Colorado’s support for a constitutional amendment respecting the rights of parents.
“Raising a child has been and forever shall be under the discretion of a parent,” Murray said. “In order to ensure that parents retain this right, an amendment to the Constitution is warranted.”
POLICE MEMORIAL MOVES
Former police officer turned legislator Mark Barker on Wednesday guided the House declaring the week of May 13th Police Week, and declaring May 15, 2012 as Police Officers’ Memorial Day.
Senate Joint Resolution 30 recognizes Colorado’s peace officers for the essential role they play in keeping our state and local communities safe.
“Colorado’s police officers sacrifice so much to ensure our safety,” Barker, R-Colorado Springs, said. “I’m proud that the General Assembly recognizes the courageous work and sacrifices of these men and women.”
Barker also led the House in a moment of silence to honor the 250 peace officers who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving the people of Colorado, including officers Jay Sheridan of the Limon Police Department and David Roberts of the Denver Police Department.
Officers Sheridan and Roberts both were killed in the line of duty in 2011.
The resolution passed both chambers of the legislature with unanimous support.
UNFUNDED MANDATES RESOLUTION PASSES
The House on Wednesday backed a resolution declaiming mandates on state and local governments without adequate funding.
Senate Joint Resolution 6, sponsored by Rep. J. Paul Brown, and Sen. Ellen Roberts, R-Durango, calls on the federal government and the General Assembly to refrain from creating new unfunded mandates on the states.
“Washington needs to take responsibility for its actions and stop passing the buck,” said Brown, R-Ignacio. “Everyone knows Washington has a spending problem, but what’s more troubling is that Congress and the President spend money that belongs to state and local governments. That’s just not right.”
A copy of the resolution will be sent to Gov. John Hickenlooper and Colorado’s congressional delegation.
GOP KILLS DEMS’ CENTERPIECE JOBS BILL
House Republicans on Wednesday killed a measure that would have offered preferences to companies who hire Colorado workers when bidding for state contracts.
Part of the Democrats’ jobs agenda, Senate Bill 1, sponsored by Reps. Crisanta Duran, D-Denver, and Su Ryden, D-Aurora, would have offered a bidder preference to companies who hire at least 90 percent of their employees from Colorado. The measure also would have given additional preferences to companies who have apprenticeship training programs.
The measure died in House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee on a party-line vote.
“The last thing Colorado’s job creators and small businesses need in this economic climate are more roadblocks,” said the committee’s chairman, Rep. Jim Kerr, R-Littleton. “Senate Bill 1 will make it more difficult for Colorado’s small businesses who employ the vast majority of Coloradans to qualify for state contracts.”
“An overwhelming number of Coloradans support legislation like this that will promote hiring Coloradans, and I’m disappointed the bill was killed in committee,” Ryden said. “I will continue to work toward getting more Coloradans back to work.”
CHILDREN SERVICES BILL WITHDRAWN
House Democrats say Republicans caved to criticism from people who said a measure to streamline and consolidate services to Colorado’s young children was part of a plot against parents.
Senate Bill 130, sponsored by Reps. Millie Hamner, D-Dillon, and Tom Massey, R-Poncha Springs, would have created an office of early childhood and youth development to oversee and coordinate a wide variety of programs geared toward young children in Colorado.
Its sponsors in the House State, Military & Veterans Affairs Committee withdrew the bill.
“It is government efficiency working at its best to streamline and make sense of a sometimes complicated bureaucracy,” Hamner told the committee.
Support crumbled in the face of opposition led by a Colorado Springs church that described the bill as an effort to undermine parental control of their children.
“This piece of legislation has gotten significantly derailed by non-policy-related perceptions and politics,” Massey told the committee. “I’m sorry the policy has gotten so derailed by perceptions that this went beyond the scope of what we were trying to do.”
The bill died on a Republican party-line vote.
NO GOP SPONSORS FOR CIVIL UNIONS
House Democratic Leader Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver, announced Wednesday that he would be the prime House sponsor of legislation to enact civil unions for same-sex couples in Colorado after Senate Democrats sent the measure to the House this week.
Ferrandino said he was frustrated he could not find a Republican sponsor, despite GOP support for the proposal.
“I’m disappointed that none of my Republican colleagues have told me they’re willing to be the sponsor of civil unions, but many have said they favor the bill,” said Ferrandino. “If we can get a floor vote, I’m confident we have the votes to pass the measure through the House this year.”
Senate Bill 2 passed the Senate on second reading on Wednesday. For the Senate to complete its approval of any bill, it must carry the name of a House sponsor.
BUDGET TO GOVERNOR
Having reconciled the differences between Senate and House amendments, both chambers on Thursday passed a balanced, bipartisan budget with a $7.4 billion spending plan.
The process was led by the budget conference committee, which consists of the members of the state’s Joint Budget Committee.
“There is still a lot of work to do, but our economy is continuing to recover and this budget reflects that,” said Sen. Mary Hodge, D-Brighton, vice-chair of the Joint Budget Committee. “We were able to help our seniors, continue providing core services, protect K-12 funding, and help our veterans who have already given us so much. In addition, we were able to secure funding for new economic development in the state which will allow us to continue supporting our small businesses and create new jobs.”
“The budget we passed is responsible and works to ensure Colorado remains on a path to economic recovery,” said Speaker of the House Frank McNulty, R-Highlands Ranch. “My thanks to our JBC members for their hard work in passing this bill, and to all our members for the input and dedication they showed on this historic vote.”
Gov. John Hickenlooper must still sign the budget.
BILL TO LOWER LATE FEES DIES
Senate Democrats on Thursday killed a measure that would have reduced late vehicle registration fees.
The Senate Transportation Committee killed the measure on a party-line vote.
House Bill 1014, sponsored by Sen. Tim Neville, R-Littleton, would have reduced the late fee from $25 per month to a flat fee of $20.
“It’s disappointing that Democrats on the Transportation Committee voted against a bill that would have helped many Coloradans who are already struggling financially,” said Neville. “They discounted the fact that no surrounding states charge late vehicle registration fees, putting Colorado at an economic disadvantage.”
ADVERTISING ON HIGHWAY SIGNS MOVES
The Senate Transportation Committee on Thursday unanimously passed a measure that would repeal restrictions for small businesses to advertise with highway signs.
House Bill 1108, sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Mark Scheffel, R-Parker, would allow businesses throughout Colorado to maximize their exposure by using the placement of department of transportation logo signs in areas on the interstate system.
“This bill is a simple, but important measure that strengthens small businesses by repealing restrictive and unnecessary regulations on sign placement,” said Scheffel.
The resolution now goes to the full Senate for consideration.
RETAIL CRIME BILL BACKED BY SENATE
The Senate on Thursday backed a bill aimed at protecting Colorado businesses and consumers by combating organized retail crime.
House Bill 1304, sponsored by Sen. Linda Newell, D-Littleton, would add activating or deactivating a fire alarm or an exit alarm and preventing a fire alarm from sounding to the list of offenses classified as disorderly conduct. In addition, the bill would expand the definition of “theft detection deactivating device” to include jumper wires, wire cutters and electronic article surveillance removal devices. It also would expand the definition of “theft detection shielding device” to include lining clothing with foil or other modified clothing.
“These criminals have developed sophisticated strategies to create diversions, avoid detection, and steal large quantities of goods and our laws need to be updated to combat these methods,” said Newell. “These crimes are hurting our businesses, raising prices for consumers, and putting Coloradans in danger and this bipartisan bill will work to deter these criminals and curb rates of organized retail theft.”
The legislation will now be heard in the House for consideration of Senate amendments.
EARLY LITERACY BILL MOVES
The Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee on Wednesday backed a bipartisan measure aimed at improving early literacy.
House Bill 1238, sponsored in the Senate by Sens. Nancy Spence, R-Centennial, and Michael Johnston, D-Denver, would give teachers across the state access to assessment and intervention plans that will help them identify and help those K-3 students who struggle with reading.
Under HB 1238 parents of children who are identified as having a severe reading problem would be notified by the school. Once a student is considered to have a severe reading problem the parents, teachers and principals would work together to develop a Reading to Ensure Academic Development (READ) plan.
“This bill gives teachers and school districts the tools they need to intervene early when there are problems and put struggling students on the path to success,” stated Spence. “Children who cannot read by the end of third grade are four to six times more likely to drop out of high school.”
The bill now goes to the Appropriations Committee for further consideration.
MILITARY EDUCATION BILL MOVES
The House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee on Thursday unanimously backed a measure aimed at helping dependents of Armed Forces members stationed in Colorado pay for higher education.
House Bill 1350, sponsored by Rep. Mark Waller, R-Colorado Springs, would give statutory authority to higher education governing boards to provide in-state tuition for active duty dependents.
“I would like to thank CU Regent Sue Sharkey for leading the way on this bill, the members of the committee, House Majority Leader Amy Stephens and Speaker Frank McNulty for all coming together to support this important bill,” said Waller. “The members of our Armed Forces and their families give so much for us on a daily basis, the least we can do is help them afford a college education.”
The measure, which is sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Mary Hodge, D-Brighton, will be taken up by the Committee of the Whole for further consideration.
FALLEN HEROES BILL SIGNED
Gov. John Hickenlooper on Thursday signed into law House Bill 1023, sponsored by state Rep. B.J. Nikkel, which creates a special license plate to honor fallen law enforcement officers, firefighters and members of the military.
“This bill had a lot of support,” said Nikkel. “Coloradans are thankful for those serving to defend and protect our safety and want to honor those who have fallen in the line of duty.”
HB 1023 allows for the creation of the license plates, which will be available to all applicants who donate $50 to the Colorado chapter of the Concerns of Police Survivors, and pay an additional $50 fee to cover the cost of the special plate.
The bill allows for the Colorado chapter of the Concerns of Police Survivors to design a standards compliant license plate that will be available as soon as January 2013.
The bill’s Senate sponsor was Sen. Steve King, R-Grand Junction.
CONSERVATION LICENSE PLATE BILL MOVES
The Senate Finance Committee on Thursday passed a measure that would create the Colorado Conservation license plate and the Colorado Conservation and Recreation fund.
Senate Bill 171, sponsored by Sens. Greg Brophy, R-Wray, and Brandon Shaffer, D-Longmont, unanimously passed the Senate Finance Committee.
“This bill gives Coloradans the opportunity to help restore the Bonny Lake Recreation area,” said Brophy. Beginning in 2013, Coloradans will be able to purchase the special license plate by donating $150 to the Colorado Conservation and Recreation fund.
The bill now goes to the Senate Appropriations Committee for further consideration.