Grantham Announces Major Staff Change

Senate President Kevin J. Grantham (R-Canon City) issued the following statement today concerning the departure of former Chief of Staff Jesse Mallory:

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Reform Comes to Behavioral Crisis Systems

 DENVER—Today, Senator John Cooke’s (R-Greeley) bill to strengthen and increase support for the Colorado behavioral health crisis system  was signed into law by the governor. 

 

Senate Bill 17-207 will finally end the practice of holding individuals having mental health crises in jails. 

In 2016, a similar bill aimed to limit the use of 72-hour mental health holds passed both chambers with broad bipartisan support, but was vetoed by the governor.

 

SB 207 reforms and improves our current crisis system by strengthening the standards, resources, and preparedness of walk-in centers. It also recognizes the obligation of Colorado health facilities to stabilize any person experiencing a mental health crisis, and expands capabilities of mobile response units. 

 

Current state law allows health facilities that have reached bed capacity to turn away individuals experiencing a mental health crisis. Procedure requires local law enforcement to then detain those individuals for the duration of their mental health crisis.

SB 207 ensures that we will no longer carry out the psychologically damaging process of holding individuals with mental health issues in jails.

With more health crisis centers and resources available, patients will be able to get the care they need in proper facilities, without placing an undue burden upon law enforcement who often lack the resources to adequately accommodate these mental health concerns. 

 

This bill is a huge step toward removing the stigma associated with mental health crises,” said Cooke. “We want people to know that a crisis is not a crime, and that they can get the help they need in times of emergency. Reliving pressure on law enforcement and guaranteeing every Coloradan that we will not turn our backs on them in their darkest moments when they need our help the most will help ensure that all of our communities our stronger and safer.

 

The bill takes effect on August 9, 2017.

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Small Business Employees Get Helping Hand from Tate

 

Denver—Today, the governor signed Senator Jack Tate's (R-Centennial) bill creating a pathway to lasting wealth for struggling Coloradans. 

House Bill 17-1214 provides a unique, commonsense path to small business ownership and longterm prosperity by promoting increased employee participation and ownership. 

While many small businesses are forced to close their doors for various circumstances, employee owned businesses are 25 percent more likely to stay in business, with their employees accruing roughly double the retirement savings of their peers. 

Employee owned businesses tend to see greater job growth, faster overall growth, and lower rates of lay-offs and severance. 

"Struggling and low-income communities may find that this approach solves many of their unique challenges like accessing capital, small business ownership transitions, and overcoming barriers to job entry," said Tate. "By providing a mechanism for more Coloradans, regardless of background, to take ownership of their future, we can help more folks access a pathway to a more prosperous economic future." 

The bill takes effect September 1, 2017.

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Grantham Responds to Decision Not to Call Special Session

DENVER -- Senate President Kevin Grantham (R-Canon City) released the following statement today in response to Gov. John Hickenlooper’s decision not to call a special session:

 

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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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