Senator Kerr’s Top Legislative Accomplishments of the 2013 Session

HB 4 – The Colorado Careers Act
Colorado’s economy is still on the pathway to recovery. There are too many Coloradans looking for employment. The Colorado Careers Act looks to allay this problem by empowering unemployed and underemployed Coloradans. The bill establishes grant funding for Coloradans to acquire the critical training and skills necessary to obtain employment. The provisions will create an effective policy tool to stabilize individuals and families with earned income, and economic stimulus for Colorado’s economy as a whole.

SB 278 – Drug Endangered Children
When controlled substances, whether legal or illegal, are used, produced, or distributed in the presence of children, a greater likelihood exists that these children will be harmed. The National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children has reported that professionals working in states where a “Drug Endangered Child” is defined were able to act with enhanced clarity and effectiveness in a variety of circumstances. The bill refers the definition of a drug-endangered child to the Colorado Drug Task Force, and a recommendation will be made to the legislature.

HB 1292 – Keep Jobs In Colorado Act

  • Restrictions on Outsourcing of Jobs Overseas – The bill looks to curb outsourcing of overseas jobs in state contracts. Under this bill Colorado cannot outsource labor directly without strict waivers. State contractors who use second-party vendors to outsource labor internationally will be subject to increased requirements of disclosure and transparency. Tracking protocols will be improved so that we can determine how to grow our domestic capacity in our economic sectors.
  • Expand “Best Value” Employment Metrics to State Contracts with no federal funding – The bill will stipulate that state agencies shall consider factors such as availability of Colorado workers, ability to use domestic materials, compensation/training of workers and other factors in determining competitive bids on state contracts without any federal funding.
  • Stronger Enforcement of “80% Colorado Hiring Rule” on Public Works Projects – Since 1933 state law has required that at least 80% of labor on public works projects be conducted by Colorado laborers. Violators of this provision will now face civil penalties rather than the criminal ones that are currently not being enforced. There will be a new complaint and investigation process with an appropriate fine structure for violations of this provision.

Sen. Jeanne Nicholson (right) and I (left) presented the Keep Jobs In
Colorado Act in the Senate Finance committee earlier this month

SB 279 – Green Schools
This bill brings Colorado schools into the twenty-first century by requiring new school buildings be constructed in accordance with high efficiency standards such as Energy Star or LEED. Energy Star certification is an inexpensive and flexible way for school districts to prove new buildings’ energy efficiency. Increasing the number of green schools in Colorado will save taxpayers money in the long term because there will be lower risk of escalating energy costs. Thus we save money while simultaneously conserving our state’s precious and finite natural resources.

HB 1117 – Alignment of Child Development Programs
This bill will make statewide early childhood services more efficient through its combining various offices into one single office in the department of human services. This office will administer programs that contain more precise guidelines and standards as well as more coordination between state and local efforts. The bill also ensures that parents retain their freedom in raising their children how they see fit. All family and child participation for any child development service is entirely voluntary.

I am joined by child welfare activists as Governor Hickenlooper
signs HB 1117, which will keep our children safe and protect Colorado families

HB 1135 – Voter Pre-Registration
Now that this bill has been signed into law at the age of 16 Coloradans will be able to pre-register to vote at the same time they receive their driver’s license. They will be put on the active voter registration list automatically when they turn 18 years of age. Pre-registration will increase both youth enfranchisement and youth involvement in the civic process, something I am passionate about as a social studies teacher.

HB 1253 – Small Business Capital
This bill directs the governor’s office of economic development and international trade to study the need for, and barriers to, the acquisition of capital for Colorado small businesses. This will help us promote small businesses in our communities. Unfortunately, this legislation did not pass, but I plan to bring it back next session because expanding small businesses is one of my top priorities.

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