An update from the Capitol about upcoming legislation.
The 2013 legislative session officially ended on May 8, and it was one of the most productive sessions in recent memory. Last year, when I traveled across Summit, Lake, Gunnison, Pitkin and Delta counties, I campaigned on a promise to get things done for the people of Colorado. This year, we delivered on that promise by passing significant legislation to encourage economic development and job creation, to provide all of our kids with a quality education, to maintain public health and safety, and to look out for basic fairness and equality for all of our citizens. Please read on to learn about the 18 bills I sponsored and many other significant bills we passed this year.
But first, I want to express how happy I am to be back in the mountains for what Iâ€™m sure will be a gorgeous summer. I am currently planning my summer calendar, and I will let you know soon when I get my next town hall meetings scheduled. I am always looking for new events in the community. Please let me know what is happening in your area, and I look forward to being back in my community this summer.
Streamlining & Enhancing Our Education System
Alignment of Child Development Programs (HB 1117) â€“ Rep. Hamner / Sens. Hodge & Newell
This bill improves early childhood development programs in Colorado by bringing them under the Department of Human Services, aligning funding sources, and making the programs more efficient. This change will provide high-quality; streamlined early childhood programs and allows Colorado to better serve our at-risk populations. Status: HB 1117 has been signed into law.
Future School Finance Act (SB 213) â€“ Rep. Hamner / Sens. Johnston & Heath
This bill redesigns Colorado's school finance formula to increase equity, provide investments in strategies that are proven to be effective, and help prepare students for success in their future educational and career goals. The school finance system proposed in this bill is subject to voter approval in the next election. Status: SB 213 has passed the legislature, and will be signed by the Governor May 21st at the State Capitol.
Developing Local-level Educator Evaluation Systems (HB 1257) â€“ Rep. Hamner / Sen. Todd
Under current law, education boards have the option of either adopting the state model for performance evaluations, or developing their own system in accordance with certain guidelines. This bill clarifies the requirements for teacher participation and provides additional oversight for districts that opt out of the state evaluation system, making sure that all of our school districts are evaluating their teachers in a fair and consistent way. Status: HB 1257 has passed the legislature, and was signed by the Governor May 17th in Breckenridge.
Statutory Changes to K-12 Education (HB 1219) â€“ Rep. Hamner / Sen. Todd
This is a cleanup bill for the Department of Education that updates various education statutes, removing obsolete provisions and making our educational programs more streamlined and efficient. Status: HB 1219 has been signed into law.
Exchange of K-12 and Postsecondary Student Data (SB 053) â€“ Rep. Hamner / Sen. Kerr
This bill streamlines students' educational transitions by directing the Departments of Education and Higher Education to coordinate to transfer relevant student data for Colorado high school students matriculating to colleges and universities across the state. The bill also guarantees that the privacy of each student is protected. Status: SB 053 has been signed into law.
Financing of Public Schools (SB 260) â€“ Rep. Hamner / Sens. Hudak & Steadman
This is the traditional school finance bill which is introduced each session to fund Colorado's 178 school districts for the 2013-14 school year. Status: SB 260 has passed the legislature, and was signed by the Governor on May 17th in Breckenridge.
Designate BOCES As Local Education Agencies (SB 002) â€“ Rep. Hamner / Sen. Hudak
Under current law, a Board of Cooperative Education Services (BOCES) has to act through a local school district to apply for and receive state and federal funding. This bill will allow BOCES to apply for these grants directly, making the system more efficient. Status: SB 002 has been signed into law.
Electronic Participation in School Board Meetings (SB 015) â€“ Rep. Hamner / Sen. Roberts
This bipartisan bill allows school boards to adopt policies for electronic participation at board meetings, if there are extenuating circumstances and there is a quorum of members physically present. Status: SB 015 has been signed into law.
Red Rocks Physician Assistant Grad Program (SB 178) â€“ Rep. Hamner / Sen. Hudak
This bill allows Red Rocks Community College confer graduate degrees on students that complete the Physician Assistant program; currently the school is only authorized to grant a certificate and refer students to another school for the degree itself. Status: SB 178 has passed the legislature, and has been sent to the Governor to be signed into law.
Protecting Our Natural Resources
Tunnel Fire Suppression (HB 1252) â€“ Reps. Hamner & Scott / Sens. Jahn & King
This bill creates the Petroleum Cleanup and Redevelopment Fund, which consist of fees collected from violations, donations, interest, and legislative appropriations. $5 million of this fund will be used to construct a fire suppression system at the Eisenhower-Johnson tunnels. Status: HB 1252 has passed the legislature, and was signed by the Governor on May 18th at the Eisenhower-Johnson Tunnel.
Incentivize Use of Forest Biomass (SB 273) â€“ Reps. Hamner & Coram / Sens. Schwartz & Nicholson
Forest biomass is a great source of fuel for renewable energy generation, and reducing the amount of diseased timber from forest environments is an important way to mitigate the risk of wildfires. This bill provides incentives for its use in renewable energy technologies and directs the state Forest Service to collaborate with federal agencies and local communities to put biomass to beneficial use. Status: SB 273 has passed the legislature, and will be sent to the Governor to be signed into law.
Wildlife Habitat Stamp (SB 175) â€“ Reps. Hamner & McLachlan / Sen. Schwartz
This bill continues the Habitat Stamp Program and the Wildlife Habitat Stamp Committee indefinitely. Funds collected from sales of the Habitat Stamp are used to protect winter range and vital habitats, improve access for hunting and fishing, and preserve the diversity of wildlife. Status: SB 175 has passed the legislature, and was signed by the Governor May 17th.
â€œProtect Our Riversâ€ License Plate (SB 224) â€“ Reps. Hamner & Wright / Sens. Kerr & Baumgardner
This bill creates the Protect Our Rivers special license plate; Colorado drivers will be eligible for this plate upon donation of $25 or more to Colorado Trout Unlimited, a non-profit organization that works to protect water quality, counteract drought, and promote water conservation in our state. Status: SB 224 has passed the legislature, and was signed by the Governor May 17th.
Other bills of note
Repeal Military Identifier Fee (HB 1011) â€“ Reps. Hamner & Young / Sens. Hudak & Schwartz
This bill removes the fee that veterans and active military have to pay to put a military identifier on their driver's licenses or state identification cards. Status: HB 1011 has been signed into law.
Cottage Foods Act (HB 1158) â€“ Rep. Hamner / Sen. Schwartz
This bill updates the Cottage Foods Act to clarify the existing requirement that cottage food producers to take a food safety course to ensure that their products are safe for consumers. Status: HB 1158 has been signed into law.
Add Judge To 5th & 9th Judicial Districts (HB 1035) â€“ Rep. Hamner / Sen. Schwartz
This bill increases the number of judges in the 5th Judicial District (Summit, Eagle, Lake, and Clear Creek Counties) and the 9th Judicial District (Garfield, Pitkin, and Rio Blanco Counties) to clear a backlog of cases and improve the efficiency of the judicial process in these areas. Status: HB 1035 has been signed into law.
Licensing Architects, Engineers, and Surveyors (SB 161) â€“ Reps. Hamner & Fischer / Sen. Heath
This bill was one of many annual â€œsunsetâ€ bills where the legislature reviews the licensure of a certain profession and determines whether to change the law around the licensing of this profession. This year, we renewed the licensure statute for architects, engineers, and land surveyors. Status: SB 161 has passed the legislature, and will be signed by the Governor May 28th at the State Capitol.
Legislation of Note
There were many important bills passed this session. Below are a few of note.
Advanced Industries Acceleration Act (HB 1001) â€“ Reps. Young & Gerou
Advanced industries are a prime driver of Colorado's economy, accounting for 30 percent of the state's GDP as well as hundreds of thousands of primary and ancillary jobs. HB 1001 promotes the growth of Colorado's advanced industries by encouraging public-private partnerships, increasing access to early-stage capital, creating a strong infrastructure to improve the state's capacity to be globally competitive and increasing investment in advanced technologies.
Keeping Jobs In Colorado (HB 1292) â€“ Reps. Lee & Pabon
The Keep Jobs In Colorado Act will ensure that more of our taxpayer dollars stay in Colorado, supporting Colorado businesses and creating jobs for Coloradans. When considering bids on state contracts, state agencies will weigh overall â€œbest value,â€ including the use of Colorado workers and Colorado products to complete the contract, as well as wages, health care and other benefits.
Colorado Careers Act (HB 1004) â€“ Reps. Duran & Melton
HB 1004 will match skills training programs with the jobs that are available today. This bill creates the career pathways program, to enable target populations to acquire and improve skills necessary to find good-paying jobs and advance their employability.
Integrated Basic, Career & Technical Training (IBEST) (HB 1005) â€“ Reps. Fields & Buckner
HB 13-1005 will address the needs of adults in Colorado who lack a high school diploma or GED. It creates partnerships with the community college system to create 20 pilot programs of career and technical education certificate courses that will be available to under- and unemployed adults. Job seekers will learn basic professional and technical skills in real world scenarios.
Enhancing Child Welfare (HB 1271) â€“ Reps. Singer & May
HB 1271 takes the first step toward establishing a statewide child abuse reporting hotline, and creating a streamlined process for informing child welfare advocates about suspected abuse that will ensure better outcomes for children.
Preventing Child Fatalities (SB 255) â€“ Reps. May & Singer
This bill directs local public health agencies to create child fatality prevention teams, which will coordinate with the Department of Public Health and Environment and the Department of Human Services to review the deaths, near deaths, and egregious abuse of children up to age 17, report case findings, and make recommendations for how to prevent these tragedies from occurring in the future.
Civil Unions (SB 011) â€“ Reps. Ferrandino & Schafer
SB 011 allows all couples â€“ gay, lesbian, or straight â€“ to enter into civil unions, which provide important benefits, protections and responsibilities to all loving, committed families in Colorado, including legal rights for medical care and hospital visitation, the ability to adopt a partner's child, and eligibility for family leave benefits.
Voter Access and Modernized Elections Act (HB 1303) â€“ Reps. Hullinghorst & Pabon
HB 1303 will simplify and standardize the voting process across Colorado, save counties at least $9.5 million per year in election expenses, increase voting options and access, and prevent fraud, ensuring the integrity of the democratic process. This bill will remove the confusing active/inactive voter designation and ensure that all voters receive a mail ballot, allow qualified citizens to register to vote on election day, reduce the residency time requirement for registration, and modernize the elections communications and voter verification systems.
Rural Family Medicine Residency Programs (SB 264) â€“ Reps. McLachlan & Vigil
20 percent of Coloradans live in rural areas, but only 9 percent of physicians practice there. SB 264 directs the Commission on Family Medicine to support the development of rural family medicine residency programs, which will help retain and recruit doctors to rural areas to address a critical need.
Medicaid Expansion (SB 200) â€“ Rep. Ferrandino
Under the current health care system, people who can't afford insurance will often wait to deal with health issues until they require emergency care, causing unnecessary strain on hospital ERs and ultimately raising costs for the entire health care system. SB 200 will make approximately 249,000 more individuals eligible for Medicaid, cut state spending on uncompensated care by 12.5-25%, create 22,000 new jobs and boost Colorado's economy by making our workforce healthier.
May 21: Bill Signing for SB 213, The Future School Finance Act, at the State Capitol, 11 am.
May 27: Memorial Day Celebration in Dillon from 10 a.m.- Noon. The event will be held at the Dillon Cemetery, 275 Lake Dillon Dr, Dillon, CO 80435
May 27: Memorial Day Celebration in Leadville, 1 p.m.
May 28: Bill Signing for SB 161, the Sunset review of Licensing Architects, Engineers and Surveyors, at the State Capitol, 12:50 p.m.
This has been a great legislative session. Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns. I can be reached by email RepHamner@gmail.com or by phone at the State Capitol 303-866-2952.
Bill Signing of HB 1252 with Governor HIckenlooper.