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LPS Legislative Narrative
April 29 - May 3, 2013
The Colorado Legislature is in the final three days of the 69th General Assembly and is scheduled to adjourn Wednesday, May 10, 2013. The past week has been filled with last-minute committee hearings and long evenings debating measures in the House and Senate in an effort to complete the work needed to be done. Monday, May 6, is the last day to introduce legislation and have it be passed by both chambers prior to the end of session. Of note, the Governor has until June 8, 2013 to sign, veto, or allow to become law without his signature any legislation sent to him in the final days of session. Weeks filled with contentious school finance debate are over, as both SB 13-230 (Future School Finance) and SB 13-260 (Current School Finance) were sent to the Governor this week. Additionally, a handful of bills that awaited final K-12 budget allocations were killed in Appropriations committees. Senator Andy Kerr’s (D, Lakewood) annually-introduced SB 13-279 (Energy Efficient Schools) moved through the Senate and House this week where it was heavily amended. The majority of outstanding legislation on the legislature’s calendars is not related to K-12 or higher education.
Future School Finance – SB13-213 and Current School Finance – SB13-260
The Senate gave final approval to House changes made to SB13-213 and SB13-216. The bills remain in the form as they passed out of the House and are on their way to the Governor for his signature. The attention of education stakeholders will now be turning towards selecting tax increase ballot initiative designated for education on the November 2013 ballot and messaging to sell the increase to the voters. The front-runner is ballot issue #22, which has a 2-step tax increase, eliminates Amendment 23, and raises approximately $850M.
SB13-193 Parental Involvement in Public Schools (Sen. Hudak / Rep. Kraft-Tharp)
SB13-193 passed House 2nd reading on Friday, May 3 with extensive debate on the House Floor around an attempted amendment by Representative Kevin Priola (R, Aurora) that would have allowed for parents to initiate turnaround proceedings for schools in failing accreditation status. The amendment, known as the ‘parent trigger amendment,’ was defeated. The concept has been introduced as individual legislation and also attempted as an amendment on several bills by Representative Priola. As amended in committee, SB13-193 expands the duties of school accountability committees and the standing State Advisory Council for Parent Involvement in Education (SACPIE). By requiring district accountability committees to publicize participation opportunities to parents, assist the district in implementing a parental engagement policy, and increasing parent participation with educators related to the creation of READ plans and ICAPs. The legislation also requires SACPIE to develop best practices related to parent engagement, identify key indicators of successful parent engagement, and annually report to the State Board of Education, CDHE and General Assembly Education Committees. SB13-193 was amended on the Floor with a technical correction to language and is anticipated to pass 3rd reading on Monday.
SB13-279 Green Schools (Sen. A. Kerr / Rep. Gerou)
Senator Andy Kerr (D, Lakewood) has annually introduced, and unsuccessfully attempted to pass, legislation requiring school districts to adhere to environmentally-friendly capital construction requirements. SB13-279, as amended in the House, requires the new construction or substantial renovation totaling 50% of the building of a public school facility to be designed and constructed to the highest practical energy efficiency standards. The bill requires the design for new construction or substantial renovation to be submitted to a federal energy program (such as Energy Star) or receive independent third-party verification that the design meets national energy-efficiency standards (LEED). The Senate must now approve the changes made by the House or send the bill to conference committee for further negotiations.
Bills Killed in Final Weeks
- HB13-1211 English Language Proficiency Programs (Reps. Buckner & Navaro / Sen. Todd)
o On Friday, May 3 the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to postpone indefinitely HB13-1211 due to the over $7 million of State Education Fund dollars and 6 FTEs required in the bill. Negotiated since the first days of session, HB13-1211 has languished on calendars pending available funding for months. As amended by the Senate and House Education Committees, the bill extended the number of years of funding for a student from two to five with no additional funding, thus diluting the already limited funds for ELLs and modified how that funding was distributed. In addition, the bill created a $7 million professional development program outside of the current underfunded categorical line item.
- Legislative Council – Approval of Interim Committees
o HB13-1299 Changes to SMART Government Act 2010 (Rep. Ferrandino / Sen. Steadman)
§ On Friday, May 3 the Legislative Council Committee consisting of members from both the House and Senate passed HB13-1299 to the Senate Appropriations Committee. Heavily amended on the Senate side, the bill no longer creates standing interim committees, but now requires individual legislators to requires committees through letters to Legislative Council. In approving committees, Legislative Council can now recommend how many bill titles interims can be allotted, who is on committees, and how many members committees will have. These new regulations for interims are intended to allow committees to be more flexible and simplify creation of interim committees. The bill awaits approval by Senate Appropriations and still must go through debate on the Senate Floor and a vote of concurrence by the House to any changes made by the Senate.
There are currently no education-related bills scheduled for committee hearing this week. Committees will meet as necessary to discuss any remaining legislation.