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K–12 Legislative Narrative
March 16–20, 2015
With 33 more weekdays remaining in the 2015 legislative session, both the House and Senate are working through floor calendars at a rapid pace. Committee hearings on notable legislation, including statewide assessments, school safety, school finance, parent assessment opt-out rights, charter school authorization authority, and student learning objectives will occur within the next several weeks. The first portion of May will be consumed with debates on the state budget. Bills with fiscal impacts have been sitting on Appropriations calendars and will begin to move after the state budget is introduced. At this point, the legislative calendars are lengthy, and a hectic pace is anticipated in order to adjourn by the May 6th deadline.
March State Revenue Forecast
On Wednesday, March 18, the Legislative Council and Governor’s Office of State Planning and Budgeting provided the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) with a quarterly state revenue forecast. The March revenue forecasts are traditionally utilized to set final state budget figures for the coming fiscal year. Overall, the state’s economic indicators continue to improve and revenue into the state’s general fund has increased by $57 million over the predictions made in December 2014.
State revenues are projected to hit the cap set by TABOR and refunds to the taxpayers are anticipated in fiscal year 2015–2016. The JBC will need to set aside $70 million this year to be refunded using state income tax filings for 2015. A refund of $117 million is projected in fiscal year 2016–2017 and $435 million will be refunded in fiscal year 2017–2018. Overall, the TABOR refund has lowered the amount available in the general fund for state expenditures in the coming fiscal year 2015–2016 by $13 million. The JBC will now need to adjust their figure setting to accommodate for this reduction in available revenue.
The JBC is expected to introduce the state budget this Friday, March 27. For K–12 education, the JBC has included a $25 million ‘placeholder’ allocation of additional general fund revenue. This amount is in addition to funding K–12 enrollment growth and inflation.
Review of Hearings this Week
House Public Health Care and Human Services Committee
SB15-077 Parent’s Bill of Rights (Rep. Neville/Sen. Neville)
- Status: On Wednesday, March 18, the House Public Health Care and Human Services Committee voted 7-6 on party lines to postpone indefinitely SB15-077. (Vote: No – D / Yes - R).
- Summary: Established a parent’s bill of rights that set forth specific parental rights related to education, health care, and mental health care of minor children. The bill would have set far-reaching restrictions on educators’ abilities to serve students and provide a safe school environment.
Senate Second Reading Amendment
SB15-173 School District Data Protection and Transparency (Sen. Holbert/Rep. Pabon)
- Status: Senate third reading passed (03/18/2015)
- Summary: On Tuesday, March 17, Senator Laura Woods (R, JeffCo) amended SB15-173 to remove the requirement that all vendors delete student data after three years. The floor amendment added requirements for third party vendors, stating that, upon request, vendors must provide the State Board, Department of Education, school districts, BOCES, or the Charter School Institute with:
o The data elements and a description of any covered information that is collected by the operator or disclosed to a third party.
o The operators’ policies regarding access controls, encryption, storage, and data transit.
o The name and contact information of the source of any data set merged with any covered information collected by the operator.
House Education Committee
HB15-1273 Comprehensive School Discipline Reporting (Rep. Lawrence/Sen. Newell)
- Status: On Monday, March 16, the House Education Committee laid over HB14-1273 for further action after taking public testimony. School districts testified that the bill mandates additional reporting while law enforcement has not complied with the current school safety reporting requirements. Chairman Rep. John Buckner (D, Aurora) laid the bill over for action at a late date, asking for the bill’s sponsor and committee members to work with stakeholders on amendments.
- Summary: Adds sexual assaults and the unlawful use of marijuana on school grounds, in a school vehicle, or at a school activity or sanctioned event to the current list of conduct and discipline code violations that a school is required to report as part of the safe school reporting requirements.
Introduced This Week
SB15-223 Remove Penalty when Parent Opts Child Out of Test (Sens. Holbert and Todd/Reps. Lebsock and Ransom)
- Status: Introduced March 17 and assigned to Senate Education Committee.
- Summary: Requires a local education provider (a school district, a board of cooperative services that operates a school, or a charter school) to allow a parent to excuse his or her child from participating in a standardized assessment that is required by the state or by the local education provider.
Upcoming Legislative Hearing Schedule
March 23–27, 2015
- The JBC will meet as necessary to finalize the fiscal year 2015–2016 Long Bill and general business
- Monday, March 23
o House Education, 1:30 p.m., HCR0112
§ HB15-1196 CO Flex Accounts for Education Services (Rep. Lundeen)
§ HB15-1165 Schools' Use Of American Indian Mascots (Reps. Salazar and Melton)
- Tuesday, March 24
o House Business Affairs and Labor, 1:30 p.m., LSB-A
§ HB15-1275 Career and Technical Education in Concurrent Enrollment (Rep. Winter)
o House Public Health Care and Human Services, 1:30 p.m., HCR0107
§ HB15-1268 CO9To25 Youth Development Council (Rep. McCann)
o Senate Finance, 2:00 p.m., SCR354
§ HB15-1104 Educator Expenses State Income Tax Deduction (Sen. Johnston)
- Wednesday, March 25
o House Education, Upon Adjournment, HCR0112
§ HB15-1294 Federal Law In-State Tuition for Veterans (Reps. Lee and Keyser)
o Senate Education, Upon Adjournment, SCR356
§ SB15-200 Private Student Loan Disclosure Requirements (Sen. Kerr) - FOR ACTION ONLY
o Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs, 1:30 p.m., SCR353
§ HB15-1221 Employee Leave Attend Child's Academic Activities (Sen. Kerr)
- Thursday, March 26
o Senate Education, 1:30 p.m., SCR356
§ SB15-216 School District Exclusive Chartering Authority (Sen. Hill)
Listen Live to Hearings
* Live stream legislative hearings - http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics/cslFrontPages.nsf/Audio?OpenPage