Senator Kerr’s Top 2014 Legislation

SB-001 (College Affordability Act): Makes college more affordable for Colorado’s students by placing a 6 Percent cap on tuition increases and allocating $100 million for higher education funding with $40 million going to financial aide. By investing in Colorado’s students we are investing in Colorado’s future.  This bill passed with bipartisan support.

HB-1298 (School Finance): Increases funding to our schools by investing millions in our schools, reducing “the negative factor”, increasing funding per student by $369 more than last year, increasing funding for English Language Learners programs by $27 million; and many other investments. This bill passed with bipartisan support.

SB-015 (Hospitality Grant Program): Creates a hospitality career grant program (an internship and transitional jobs program). The grant program will play a vital role in Colorado’s economy by helping to employ people and get them an education. The hospitality industry generates more than $600 million in state and local taxes annually. This bill passed with bipartisan support.

HB-1015 (Re-Hire): Extends the transitional jobs ReHire program through December 2016. The program connects Coloradans, including veterans, who are ready to work with local employers by providing subsidized wages, job training and support. By helping people who are down on their luck, re-hire will ease the burden on government assistance programs while creating jobs, generating tax revenue and growing the economy. This bill passed with bipartisan support.

HB-1301 (Safe Routes 2 School): Gives money to CDOT to continue the Safe Routes 2 School program, a program that encourages walking and biking to school. By investing in the Safe Routes 2 School program, we can boost academic performance, increase the safety of our children, and boost their daily physical activity. This bill passed with bipartisan support.

SB-221 (School Assessments): This bill would have limited the amount of testing that students are subjected to, which detracts from actual time spent learning. It delayed the administration of the social studies assessment in high school for one year.  It also allowed Colorado Department of Education to choose to test schools once every three years instead of annually. It is estimated this bill would have saved $355,000 in administrative costs.

HB-1102 (Gifted & Talented): Updates and clarifies the language of the Gifted Education programs. Also sets up a grant program help the instructors of these programs and for the universal screenings of students to be admitted into these programs. This bill passed with bipartisan support.

SB-165 (K-12 Academic Growth): For the 2014-15 academic year only, this bill allows a local board to determine what percentage, if any, of the educator’s evaluation must be based on student academic growth. It also allows them extra time to determine how data will be used and how to improve professional practices with no negative effects on evaluations. This bill passed with bipartisan support.

SB-186 (Energy Communities):Allows school districts to work together with other school districts to apply for low interest loans from banks. This bill provides much needed support for small and rural communities to modernize outdated infrastructure in their schools and become more energy efficient. This bill passed with bipartisan support.

SB-202 (REEES Energy): Expands the low interest loans schools can apply for to invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects and allow schools to save energy and money. This bill passed with bipartisan support.

HB-1182 (School District Turnaround): Gives schools and schools districts on turnaround status flexibility on accountability data for the upcoming school year. This bill passed with bipartisan support.

HB-1225 (Hands Free Phones): This bill would have added the use of calendars, games, and other applications to the prohibited list in the distracted driving law.  It prohibited an adult from using a wireless telephone for a phone call while driving unless the person uses a hands-free device.

HB-1256 (Librarian Contracts): Allows a higher education institution to enter into an unlimited number of term employment contracts of up to three years with librarians, similar to certain teaching appointments. This bill passed with bipartisan support.

HB-1314 (Mill Levy Overrides): Requires school districts to include charter schools in the planning for ballot measures that propose raising taxes to meet operating expenses. Charter representatives would have to be included in ballot measure planning committees. If a district decided not include a charter in a ballot proposal, it would have to give its reasons in writing to the charter. Also authorizes districts to propose ballot measures just for charter schools. This bill passed with bipartisan support.

HB-1329 (Telecommunications Regulations): Brings regulations for voice over internet protocol (VoIP) and other advanced telephone services up to date, but preserves the Public Utilities Commission’s regulation of the 911 system. This bill passed with bipartisan support.

HB-1331 (Telecommunications Regulations): Brings regulations of  basic telephone service into the 21st Century, but retains the PUC’s authority to set maximum rates and to re-regulate basic services if the need arises. It also gives some of the money not spent on expanding broadband back to the taxpayers. This bill passed with bipartisan support.

HB- 1350 (Regional Tourism Act): This bill changes the criteria for tourism projects approved by the current “Colorado Regional Tourism Act”.  As a result, more tourism tax dollars will come into the state by including more important landmarks and attractions. This bill passed out of the House and the Senate. This bill passed with bipartisan support.

HB-1382 (Online Education): This bill updates the definition of “online school” and clarifies the requirements for documenting student attendance and participation in an online program or online school. This bill passed with bipartisan support.

HB-1391 (Public Treasuries): The state treasurer and the treasurer of the university of Colorado currently make payments by means of warrants drawn upon them. This bill authorizes them to also pay by check. It passed with bipartisan support.

HB-1379 (Spousal Maintenance): Changes spousal maintenance (divorce guidelines for judges) to come in line with other state laws. This bill passed out of the House and the Senate.  It passed with bipartisan support.

HB-1046 (Scottish License Plates): This bill would have created the “Scottish American” license plate. A person becomes eligible to use the plate by providing a certificate confirming that the person made an appropriate donation to the St. Andrew Society of Colorado.

SJR-021 (National Women’s History Month): Recognition of National Women’s History Month and designating March as Colorado Women’s History Month.

SJR-026 (Equal Pay Day): Designated April 8, 2014 as “Equal Pay Day” in Colorado. This acknowledges the persisting problem of wage disparity among males and females, along with the additional disparity faced by people of color.

SJR-028 (Day Without Hate): Designate April 25, 2014 as Day Without Hate. Standley Lake High School students founded Day Without Hate, a grassroots organization that promotes nonviolence, unity, and respect in schools.

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