Grantham to Meet With the Press at 3:30 pm Today

DENVER -- Senate President Kevin Grantham (R-Canon City) will be available in his office at 3:30 PM today -- or immediately following the Governor's expected announcement concerning a special session -- to respond to that announcement. 

Please direct any media inquiries to Sean Paige at 719-337-0355.

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Hill Leads Charge for Better School Funding

DENVER--Today, the Senate passed Senate Bill 296, the School Finance Act, carried by Senator Owen Hill (R-Colorado Springs), on a bipartisan vote with 10 Democrats joining Republicans to support Colorado students.
The General Assembly is constitutionally required to fund public, K-12 education in Colorado.
The School Finance Act in its current form, sets school funding to the budget that passed the Senate on March 30. The bill increases per pupil funding for Colorado schools from $6,367.90 to $6,546.20, providing more resources for kids and teachers in classrooms across the state.
The proposal sets the base for total program funding for all Colorado K-12 schools at $6,585,800,182.

 

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Lundberg Cleans Up Colorado Primary Elections

 

 

DENVER—Today, the Senate passed Senator Kevin Lundberg's (R-Berthoud) bill cleaning up Colorado primary elections practices to enact the provisions outlined by Ballot Propositions 107 and 108, passed in 2016's November election.

Propositions 107 and 108 allow unaffiliated voters to participate in Colorado primary elections. Senate Bill 17-305 requires the voter registration form to add a question determining which primary ballot the voter would like to receive, if no preference is indicated the voter will receive ballots of all major parties. 

The bill also changes the registration deadline for Presidential candidates wishing to appear on the Colorado primary ballot to 85 days prior to the election, sets provisions and procedures to safeguard against voter fraud and duplicate ballots in primary elections, and gives local governments avenues to seek reimbursement for additional expenditures.

A third reading was amendment was added on the Senate floor to stipulate that an unaffiliated voter must request their partisan ballot of their choice every election, instead of being placed on a list to continuously receive the ballot.

 

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Senate Sends Bipartisan Compromise to Fund Schools Equally to Governor

DENVER--Today, the Senate passed Senator Owen Hill's bipartisan compromise to adequately fund all public schools in Colorado.
Currently, traditional district schools may withhold both mill levy revenue, or revenue remitted from property taxes, as well as 5 percent of per-pupil funding distributed.
House Bill 1375, sponsored by Senators Owen Hill (R-Colorado Springs) and Angela Williams (D-Denver), requires school districts to develop a plan by Fiscal Year 2019-2020 to equitably share mill levy revenue in a given district.  
Previous Republican-led attempts required districts to share both mill levy revenue as well as an equitable share of per pupil funding. This compromise asks districts to develop plans for sharing mill levies, while allowing them to continue to withhold 5 percent of per pupil revenue. 
According to the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) Colorado charter schools have experienced a 30 percent increase in enrollment since 2013, and tend to earn higher scores on state assessments than their district peers. Yet charter teachers tend to make 14,000 less than their counterparts annually, averaging a salary of $39,052. 
On average, 78 percent of charter students in third grade scored either proficient or advanced on reading assessments compared to only 73 percent of district students.
Charters also tend to attract a more socioeconomically diverse population of students, with the CDE reporting that nearly half of all charter students identify as a racial or ethnic minority, more than corresponding district schools. 
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Bipartisan Bill Forces Transparency in Law Enforcement

DENVER—Today, the Senate passed Senator Tim Neville's (R-Jefferson County) bill taking large steps to increase transparency in law enforcement procedure regarding civil forfeiture with overwhelming bipartisan support on a vote of 32-3. 

The legislation increases transparency and accountability by requiring that local law enforcement report on property acquired through civil forfeiture, which allows police to seize money or property that believe is associated with an alleged crime.  

Current procedure allows law enforcement to use a portion of the proceeds gained through civil forfeiture for department purposes. 

House Bill 1313 shines new light on this procedure by requiring all state law enforcement agencies report to the Department of Local Affairs on all cases of civil asset forfeiture. The Department is charged with aggregating and displaying  this information to its website in an easily searchable format. 

The database will disclose the reason for contact with law enforcement, the status of  there a pending investigation, a description of assets seized, and for what the proceeds are being used.

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Grantham Responds to Talk of Special Session

DENVER -- Senate President Kevin Grantham (R-Canon City) released the following statements today in response to Gov. John Hickenlooper’s threat to call a special session, due to an alleged lack of action on a number of issues dear to the governor’s heart, including transportation funding and the demise of the state’s energy office. While complaining about the session’s supposed shortcomings, Hickenlooper also called this the most productive legislative session he’s ever seen.

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Lights Out for Energy Office After Democrats Drop the Ball

DENVER -- Colorado State Senator Ray Scott (R-Grand) released the following statement today, after his effort to reauthorize and reinvent Colorado's Energy Office failed in the waning hours of the 2017 legislative session. Scott's Senate Bill-301 gained bipartisan support from a handful of Senate Democrats, but the unwillingness of House Democrats to compromise on nearly all key provisions tanked the bill in a disappointing finale to the session.

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Scott Shocked by Game-Playing on Gas Line Safety

Denver -- Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee today stripped language from Senate Bill 301 that would have required oil and gas operators to inspect the integrity of flow lines throughout the state. Following the tragedy in Firestone on April 17, Governor Hickenlooper ordered the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission to pressure-check all flowlines within 1,000 feet of any building regardless of when the line was installed or taken out of service.

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Increased Reporting in Child Abuse and Neglect now law

 

DENVER--Wednesday, Senator Jim Smallwood's (R-Parker) effort to increase reporting in cases of child abuse or neglect.

House Bill 17-1185 adds officials and employees of county departments of health, human, and social services to the list of mandatory reporters of child abuse.
Under current law, mandatory reporters--including but not limited to health care professionals, educators, members of the clergy, firefighters, peace officers, and victim's advocates--are required to report any reasonable suspicion of child abuse or neglect. A mandatory reporter who willfully fails to report any such abuse or neglect may be found guilty of a class 3 misdemeanor. 
Between Jan. 2015 and Dec. 2016, more than 19,000 reports of child abuse and neglect were received by Colorado state officials, with the Department of Human Services assessing the conditions of over 10,000 children. 
"This is a simple, commonsense fix that has the potential to bring more instances of traumatic abuse against our most vulnerable and innocent to light, and help these kids out of the shadows." said Smallwood.  "Officials who are legally mandated to report instances of abuse or neglect, especially those in health and social services, are trained to recognize the signs and can make a world of difference for these children with one seemingly small act." 
House Bill 1185 takes effect September 1, 2017.
 

 

 

 
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Grantham Applauds Dismissal of TABOR Lawsuit

DENVER — Senate President Kevin Grantham (R-Canon City) released the following statement today, responding to today's dismissal of a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights: 

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