Energy Office Renovation Clears First Hurdle

DENVER — A measure that reauthorizes and reinvents Colorado’s underutilized and adrift Energy Office, by broadening its mission to focus on the full array of energy options available to this resource-blessed state, passed the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee Wednesday on a 6-5 party-line vote.

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A Transportation Solution Still is Within Reach

By Senators Tim Neville and John Cooke

Over the last few months, we’ve listened to our constituents tell us how unmanaged traffic congestion and damaged highways affect their everyday lives and our State’s overall economy. These citizens have helped shape our thoughts on how to best address a matter that affects every Coloradan.

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Cooke Continues to Strengthen DUI Penalties

 

DENVER—Today, the Senate unanimously passed the latest in Senator John Cooke's (R-Greeley) proposals to strengthen penalties against repeat drunk drivers.

House Bill 17-1288 increases penalties against those offenders who continue to commit crimes that endanger the safety of Colorado families on the road. 

HB 1288 requires courts sentence criminals who commit class 4 felony DUI or have been charged with four subsequent DUIs to up to 2 years, and no less than 90 days in the Department of Corrections.  

The bill also mandates additional community service requirements of up to 120 hours, as well as further drug and alcohol safety classes. 

In 2017, DUI fatalities are already up 6.5 percent with 34,140 citations issued to impaired motorists. 

In 2016, Senator John Cooke sponsored House Bill 16-1017 which made Victim Impact Panel appearances mandatory for all DUI offenses in Colorado.

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Republican Effort to Reform DYC Moves to Governor's Desk

 

Denver--Today, the Senate gave unanimous approval, on final passage, to Senator Kevin Priola's (R-Brighton) bill to address much needed reforms in the Division of Youth Corrections (DYC). 

House Bill 17-1207 repeals a requirement on the Department of Human Services mandating DYC detention for all juveniles. HB 1207 allows judicial discretion with children under the age of 12 who commit misdemeanor crimes, helping to keep them from a path of recidivism and lightening the burden on Division staff.

The Division reported the detention of 188 children ages 10-12 in DYC facilities since 2014. Over the same time period 56 serious assaults were committed by individuals in DYC facilities. These bills provide much needed reform to the Division, ending an unsafe culture that can encourage repeat offenses. 

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Republican Bill to Fund Schools Passes Committee on Party Lines

DENVER--Today, the Senate Education Committee passed Senate Bill 296, the School Finance Act, carried by Senator Owen Hill (R-Colorado Springs), on a party-line vote.

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.
The bill was amended in committee to require that all public schools in Colorado receive an equitable share of per-pupil tax revenue, as well as revenue derived from property taxes.
Under current law, traditional district schools may withhold from charters, in addition to the funding earned through property taxes which traditional district schools are not required to share, 5 percent of per-pupil funding.
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.
 
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Scott Introduces Major Energy Office Renovation

DENVER — A far-reaching measure introduced at the Statehouse Wednesday not only reauthorizes and revamps a Colorado Energy Office that never quite fulfilled its original potential, but it includes other provisions aimed at ensuring that an “all of the above” energy sector remains a cornerstone of Colorado’s economy for years to come.  

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Democrats Refuse to Hold Government Accountable

DENVER—Today, Senate Democrats refused to stand up for Colorado families and hold government accountable for continuing to uphold policies that encourage crime and make our communities less safe.
Senate Bill 17-281, carried by Senator Tim Neville (R-Jefferson County) and Senator Vicki Marble (R-Fort Collins), holds accountable local governments who fail to keep their communities safe by passing sanctuary city policies. 
SB 281 declares these policies unlawful under the US Constitution and contrary to public safety, and provides a course of civil action for those harmed by these policies to hold local governments liable.
Democrats offered four amendments to the Committee of the Whole report to show that SB 281 did not pass, refusing to stand against overly broad government immunity. 
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Grantham and Baumgardner React to Setback for Road Fix

DENVER — Senate President Kevin Grantham (R-Canon City) and Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Randy Baumgardner (R-Hot Sulphur Springs) released the following statements today after HB-1242 failed to pass the Senate Finance Committee.

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Coram Bill May Clear the Way for Colorado Hemp Boom

Denver -- Industrial hemp may become Colorado's next big cash crop, following Monday's unanimous approval by the Colorado House of Senate Bill-117, authored by Montrose Republican Senator Don Coram, which ensures that Washington can't deny hemp growers access to water from federal reclamation projects, due to disagreements between Washington and Denver on drug and farm policies.  

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Gardner Moves to Reform Division of Youth Corrections

Denver--Today, the Senate agreed to Senator Bob Gardner's (R-El Paso County) proposal offering reforms to the Division of Youth Corrections (DYC).

Senate Bill 17-289 aims to keep DYC staff and younger inmates safe by providing the Division the option to transfer inmates between the ages of 18-21 to the Department of Corrections, if the offender has committed a dangerous, secondary offense while in custody. 

DYC inmates can be as young as 10 years old, and older inmates who continue to commit crimes--such as possession of a deadly weapon, a crime of violence, or possession or distribution of a controlled substance--create an unsafe environment for the younger children who work toward a path of rehabilitation. 

SB 289 works in conjunction with another Republican-sponsored piece of legislation carried by Senator Kevin Priola (R-Brighton) which repeals a mandatory sentencing requirement for juveniles under the age of 12 who have been convicted of misdemeanor crimes. House Bill 17-1207 and SB 289 alleviate the burden on the Division, while helping to create a climate conducive to rehabilitation by ensuring a safe environment for staff and detainees.

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