Monthly Archives: May 2007

Ritter signs new energy economy bills

GOV. RITTER SIGNS NEW ENERGY ECONOMY, EDUCATION AND
CRIMINAL JUSTICE BILLS INTO LAW TODAY

Gov. Bill Ritter signed several key pieces of legislation into law today, including measures that will advance Colorado’s New Energy Economy, improve the state’s K-12 education system, and address criminal-justice and crime-victim issues.

“These bills will enhance the day-to-day lives of Colorado residents and businesses,” Gov. Ritter said. “I applaud the legislative sponsors and constituency groups who helped bring these bills to my desk.”

New Energy Economy

Among the New Energy Economy bills signed today: House Bill 1279, which provides a sales- and use-tax exemption to companies that buy machinery to produce electricity from renewable resources. The bill could save companies up to $18 million over three years.

“These bills are important building blocks as we continue to establish Colorado as a national leader in renewable energy,” Gov. Ritter said. “They invest in public-private partnerships and will help us grow new sources of energy, create new jobs and stimulate new economic opportunities, particularly in our rural, agricultural communities.”

Other New Energy Economy legislation signed today will make it easier to: build transmission lines to get electricity generated from renewable sources onto the grid, bring bio-fuels from research labs to the marketplace, and encourage recycling statewide. The bills are:

HB 1279, Renewable Tax Credits (McKinley/Romer)
HB 1150, Transmission Bonding (Gardner/Kester)
HB 1060, Bringing Biofuels to Market (Riesberg/Shaffer)
HB 1169, Net Metering (Solano/Shaffer)
HB 1288, Recycling (Solano/Shaffer)
HB 1203, Energy Management Conservation Studies (Fischer/Romer)

Education

Gov. Ritter also signed five education bills, including measures to streamline and strengthen Colorado’s School Accountability Reports, and legislation that will bring greater oversight to K-12 on-line education programs.

“There is no higher priority for me than improving student learning,” Gov. Ritter said. “As I said in the State of the State speech, our goal is to cut the dropout rate in half in 10 years. We need to make sure our young people are fully prepared for college and to enter a modern, 21st Century workforce.

“These are ambitious goals. But we can accomplish them by partnering with educators, partnering with teachers and partnering with parents. These bills will help us fulfill those goals.”

Gov. Ritter said the school accountability reform package – House Bills 1270, 1320 and 1345 – represents a significant bipartisan achievement that will allow educators and administrators to focus more on students and less on bureaucratic red tape. The bills call for a review of data systems, the creation of a statewide advisory committee and data dictionary, and the adoption of needed refinements to the School Accountability Reports. The bills are:

HB 1345, Streamline Accountability Reports (Massey & Merrifield/Windels)
HB 1270, Education Data Systems Review and Study (Stephens/Shaffer)
HB 1320, Ed Data Technology System (Benefield/Bacon)
HB 1066, Online Education Reimbursement (Massey/Schwartz)
SB 215, Online Accountability (Windels/T. Carroll)

Criminal Justice

Gov. Ritter praised the criminal-justice and victim-rights bills he signed today, saying they will further anti-recidivism programs he initiated earlier in the year. “Our focus must always be on public safety, crime prevention and victim advocacy,” the Governor said. “We also must do everything we can to keep offenders from becoming repeat offenders. It saves money and it prevents another person from becoming a victim.”

HB 1358 establishes a Colorado Criminal and Juvenile Justice Commission. This 26-member task force will review sentencing structures and proven prevention programs, allowing Colorado to become a national leader in sentencing policies and approaches.

HB 1375 closes a loophole in state law by ensuring that if a licensed professional commits a sex crime, the matter is referred to criminal prosecutors and not just handled administratively by a professional review board. Victims also must be notified by state administrative representatives of their right to pursue criminal or civil action, notified of the statute of limitations, and given contact information for law enforcement and community resources.

The criminal-justice bills signed today:

HB 1358, Criminal Justice Commission (T. Carroll/Gordon)
HB 1161, Juvenile Risk Assessment Training (Labuda/Boyd)
HB 1375, Report Sex Crimes Licensed Professionals (Primavera/Bacon)
SB 55, Fund for Crime Victim Services (Boyd/Green)

GOV. RITTER SIGNS 14 BILLS INTO LAW TODAY

Gov. Bill Ritter signed the following 14 bills into law today:

HB07-1037
Natural Gas Utility Energy Efficiency
Levy, Fitz-Gerald
5/22/2007
HB07-1149
Absentee Voting By Overseas Residents
Rice, Ward
5/22/2007
HB07-1199
Unif Emerg Volunteer Hlth Practitioners
McGihon, Shaffer
5/22/2007
HB07-1324
Interest Older Americans Act Programs
White, Keller
5/22/2007
SB07-088
RTD Parking Facilities
Veiga, Rice
5/22/2007
SB07-154
Drunk Driver BAC Test Election
Morse, Reisberg
5/22/2007
SB07-157
Eminent Domain & Urban Renewal Auth
Ward, Rice
5/22/2007
SB07-192
Sunset Read-to-achieve Board
Bacon, Benefield
5/22/2007
SB07-204
Rx Drug Monitoring Program Fees
Tochtrop, Primavera
5/22/2007
SB07-207
Feed Cattle Sheep Poultry Goats Swine
Schwartz,Sonnenberg
5/22/2007
SB07-213
Sunset Cont Lic Addiction Treatment
Renfroe, Kefalas
5/22/2007
SB07-219
FasTracks Limit RR Liab RTD Light Rail
Fitz-Gerald, Levy
5/22/2007
SB07-224
At-risk Adult Protection Teams
Roberts, Williams
5/22/2007
SB07-226
Compliance Fed Law Placement Children
Boyd, Riesberg
5/22/2007

Gov. Ritter is scheduled to sign 15 bills on Wednesday relating to the New Energy Economy, education and criminal justice. The signing ceremonies will take place in the West Foyer of the state Capitol from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. The Governor has until June 4 to act on the dozens of bills now sitting on his desk.

ritter signs renewable energy, education bills

GOV. RITTER TO SIGN EDUCATION, CRIMINAL JUSTICE
AND NEW ENERGY ECONOMY BILLS WEDNESDAY

Gov. Bill Ritter is scheduled to sign bills Wednesday that will improve education, support crime victims and advance Colorado’s New Energy Economy.

All signing ceremonies will take place in the West Foyer of the state Capitol.

Education, 1:30-2 p.m.
HB 1345, Streamline Accountability Reports (Massey & Merrifield/Windels)
HB 1270, Education Data Systems Review and Study (Stephens/Shaffer)
HB 1320, Ed Data Technology System (Benefield/Bacon)
HB 1066, Online Education Reimbursement (Massey/Schwartz)
SB 215, Online Accountability (Windels/T. Carroll)

Criminal Justice, 2-2:30 p.m.
HB 1358, Criminal Justice Commission (T. Carroll/Gordon)
HB 1161, Juvenile Risk Assessment Training (Labuda/Boyd)
HB 1375, Report Sex Crimes Licensed Professionals (Primavera/Bacon)
SB 55, Fund for Crime Victim Services (Boyd/Green)

Renewable Energy, 2:30-3:30 p.m.
HB 1060, Bringing Biofuels to Market (Riesberg/Shaffer)
HB 1169, Net Metering (Solano/Shaffer)
HB 1288, Recycling (Solano/Shaffer)
HB 1203, Energy Management Conservation Studies (Fischer/Romer)
HB 1150, Transmission Bonding (Gardner/Kester)
HB 1279, Renewable Tax Credits (McKinley/Romer)

Ritter creates 17 laws

Gov. Bill Ritter signed the following 17 bills into law today:

SB 34, Reciprocity Concealed Weapons Permits (Sen. John Morse, Rep. Alice Madden)
SB 136, Court Jurisdiction Protection Orders (Rep. Andrew Romanoff, Sen. Morse)
SB 137, License Regulate Plumbers Apprentice (Sen. Lois Tochtrop, Rep. Al White)
SB 185, Mining Fees (Sen. Jim Isgar, Rep. Kathleen Curry)
SB 206, Biological Pest Control Cash Fund (Sen. Gail Schwartz, Rep. Ray Rose)
SB 233, CMS Uniform Health Care Claim Form (Sen. Paula Sandoval, Rep. Larry Liston)
SB 235, Self-Sufficiency Standard (Sen. Betty Boyd, Rep. Jim Riesberg)
SB 237, Surface Dev. Notify Oil & Gas Operators (Sen. Brandon Shaffer, Rep. Mike May)
SB 244, Agriculture Value-Added Development Fund (Sen. Isgar, Rep. Buescher)
SB 254, State Info Technology Reorganization (Sen. Ron May, Rep. Buescher)

HB 1008, Workers’ Comp Coverage Firefighter Cancer (Rep. Mike Cerbo, Sen. Joan Fitz-Gerald)
HB 1159, Special District Ballot Issue Elections (Rep. Ken Summers, Sen. Suzanne Williams)
HB 1217, Parks Outdoor Recreation Fines Penalties (Rep. Bernie Buescher, Sen. Steve Johnson)
HB 1221, CDPHE Fee Schedule Admin. Enforcement Costs (Rep. Jack Pommer, Sen. Johnson)
HB 1299, CDC Members-Elect (Rep. Jim Riesberg, Sen. Bob Bacon)
HB 1306, Pest Control Compact Order Plant (Rep. Mary Hodge, Sen. Tochtrop)
HB 1351, Metropolitan District Business Services (Rep. Joe Rice, Sen. Nancy Spence)

An additional 200 bills remain pending before Gov. Ritter, with a June 4 deadline. Gov. Ritter has signed 273 bills and vetoed two from the 2007 legislative session, which adjourned May 4.

Ritter meets with Swedish Prime Minister

Ritter also to deliver commencement speech at alma mater
Gateway High School this afternoon

Gov. Bill Ritter is scheduled to meet with Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and other Swedish officials today. The Swedish delegation is visiting the United States, California and Colorado to discuss renewable energy, Colorado’s New Energy Economy and climate change.

Prime Minister Reinfeldt met with President Bush and testified before a Congressional panel on Tuesday and visited with California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Wednesday.

In addition to meeting with Gov. Ritter and other administration officials today about Colorado’s New Energy Economy, Prime Minister Reinfeldt will be touring the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

WHAT: News conference with Gov. Ritter and Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt.

WHEN: 4 to 4:15 p.m. today (Thursday, May 17)

WHERE: West Foyer, State Capitol

Other events on Gov. Ritter’s calendar for today:

9 a.m. Gov. Ritter delivers opening remarks to the Disabled American Veterans of Colorado 8th annual convention.

Location: Doubletree Hotel, Quebec and Martin Luther King Blvd.

1 p.m. Gov. Ritter delivers commencement speech to his alma mater, Gateway High School. Gov. Ritter graduated from Gateway in ’74.

Location: University of Denver Ritchie Center

6:30 p.m. Gov. Ritter will receive an Honorary Puebloan Award during the “Pueblo Reunion” for Puebloans who have relocated to the Denver metro area.

Location: Seawell Ballroom, Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

GOV. RITTER SIGNS 16 BILLS INTO LAW TODAY

Gov. Bill Ritter signed the following 16 bills into law today:

SB 34, Reciprocity Concealed Weapons Permits (Sen. John Morse, Rep. Alice Madden)
SB 136, Court Jurisdiction Protection Orders (Rep. Andrew Romanoff, Sen. Morse)
SB 137, License Regulate Plumbers Apprentice (Sen. Lois Tochtrop, Rep. Al White)
SB 185, Mining Fees (Sen. Jim Isgar, Rep. Kathleen Curry)
SB 206, Biological Pest Control Cash Fund (Sen. Gail Schwartz, Rep. Ray Rose)
SB 233, CMS Uniform Health Care Claim Form (Sen. Paula Sandoval, Rep. Larry Liston)
SB 235, Self-Sufficiency Standard (Sen. Betty Boyd, Rep. Jim Riesberg)
SB 244, Agriculture Value-Added Development Fund (Sen. Isgar, Rep. Buescher)
SB 254, State Info Technology Reorganization (Sen. Ron May, Rep. Buescher)

HB 1008, Workers’ Comp Coverage Firefighter Cancer (Rep. Mike Cerbo, Sen. Joan Fitz-Gerald)
HB 1159, Special District Ballot Issue Elections (Rep. Ken Summers, Sen. Suzanne Williams)
HB 1217, Parks Outdoor Recreation Fines Penalties (Rep. Bernie Buescher, Sen. Steve Johnson)
HB 1221, CDPHE Fee Schedule Admin. Enforcement Costs (Rep. Jack Pommer, Sen. Johnson)
HB 1299, CDC Members-Elect (Rep. Jim Riesberg, Sen. Bob Bacon)
HB 1306, Pest Control Compact Order Plant (Rep. Mary Hodge, Sen. Tochtrop)
HB 1351, Metropolitan District Business Services (Rep. Joe Rice, Sen. Nancy Spence)

An additional 200 bills remain pending before Gov. Ritter, with a June 4 deadline. Gov. Ritter has signed 272 bills and vetoed two from the 2007 legislative session, which adjourned May 4.

Ritter revolutionizes Colorado School Finance

GOV. RITTER SIGNS SCHOOL FINANCE ACT INTO LAW
Governor touts legislation as good government that avoids fiscal train wreck

Surrounded by dozens of lawmakers, supporters and children, Gov. Bill Ritter today signed the School Finance Act into law, praising it as good-government legislation that avoids a fiscal calamity that would have struck in 2011.

“In November, we were elected by the voters of this state to solve problems, to bring pragmatic solutions to the very real challenges facing Colorado,” Gov. Ritter said during the signing ceremony on the West Steps of the state Capitol. “Today, we are fixing a big problem.

“I’m signing Senate Bill 199 here at the Capitol because it represents good government. It’s called the School Finance Act, but it’s about so much more: higher education, health care, human services, economic-development and other important services. This law will make a difference in the lives of Coloradans for years to come.”

Ritter, citing widespread bi-partisan support for the Act from around Colorado, was joined at today’s ceremony by state Treasurer Cary Kennedy; Nancy McCallin, president of the Colorado Community College System; and Harry Lewis, a longtime civic leader who currently heads his own investment firm and serves on the Colorado Forum and Colorado Economic Futures boards.

“This is a historic moment because the new School Finance Act that Gov. Ritter is signing today is landmark legislation,” Treasurer Kennedy said. “It ensures that improving funding for education does not result in dramatic reductions in Colorado’s other critical priorities.”

The Act increases total funding for education in Colorado by $310 million, a 6.6 percent increase. An amendment to the Act will keep the State Education Fund from becoming insolvent in 2011 as projections called for. Other benefits of the Act:

· Allows popular votes in 175 of 178 school districts around Colorado to take effect, enabling these districts to retain revenues over their TABOR limits.

· Begins to address the growing inequities between the state share of K-12 education funding and the local share. Twenty years ago, local districts picked up 60 percent of total costs. Today, the state pays about 65 percent. In 10 years, it will be nearly 75 percent. Increased state funding means a loss of local control.

· Keeps $42 million in the State Education Fund in FY07/08 that otherwise would have been spent by stabilizing the local share of K-12 funding. Without the stabilization, the General Fund would continue to be forced to back fill the Ed Fund. In FY11/12 and FY12/13, that would have amounted to $386 million from the General Fund.

· Provides about $6 million to get 2,000 low-income children currently on waiting lists into pre-school.

· Lowers property tax rates in 34 school districts to 27 mills ($27 per $1,000 of assessed valuation), allowing those districts to keep $12 million in the first year. This begins to address the wide gulf in school property tax rates across Colorado. In 1994, all districts paid the same rate. Today some districts’ rates are more than 20 times those of other districts. The 34 districts that will experience lower mill rates are:

Adams 12 Five Star Buffalo
Westminster Brush
Cherry Creek Weldon
Deer Trail Fowler
Springfield Cheraw
Vilas Holyoke
Sanford Granada
Sierra Grande Pueblo City
Calhan Pueblo Rural
Cheyenne Mountain Sargent
Ellicott Moffat
Edison Center
Arriba-Flagler Julesburg
Stratton Otis
Poudre Lone Star
Karval Windsor
Frenchman Greeley

· Raises floor funding/minimum per-pupil funding for 11 school districts by $6.4 million in FY07/08:

Widefield ($485,000) Cheyenne Mountain ($160,000)
Falcon ($227,000) Canon City ($551,000)
Poudre ($242,000) Thompson ($167,000)
Mesa Valley ($2.9 million) Moffat ($274,000)
Pueblo Rural ($810,000) Windsor ($514,000)
Johnstown ($30,000)

School Finance Act supporters include:

Newspaper Editorials
Denver Post
Grand Junction Daily Sentinel
Pueblo Chieftain
Greeley Tribune
Durango Herald
Boulder Daily Camera

Business Community
Colorado Forum
Colorado Succeeds
Economic Development Council of Colorado

Human Services
Colorado Association of Homes & Services for the Aging
Colorado Behavioral Healthcare Council
Homecare Association of Colorado
Mental Health Association of Colorado
Colorado Counties Incorporated
Colorado Alliance for Retired Americans

Medical Community
Children’s Hospital
Colorado Academy of Family Physicians
Colorado Association for Family and Children’s Agencies
Colorado Association of Durable Medical Equipment Suppliers
Colorado Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics
Colorado Immunization Coalition
Colorado Hospital Association
Colorado Medical Society
Colorado Public Health Association
Denver Health

Education Associations
Alliance for Quality Teaching
Coalition for a Thorough & Uniform Colorado Public Education System
Colorado Association of School Boards
Colorado Association of School Executives
Colorado Boards of Cooperative Educational Services
Colorado Education Association
Colorado PTAs
Colorado School Counselor Association
El Paso Education Alliance
Great Education Colorado

Higher Education
Colorado State University
Community College System
Fort Lewis College
Mesa State College
Metropolitan State College of Denver
University of Colorado
University of Northern Colorado
University of Colorado Student Union
Colorado State Student Association
Daniel Ritchie

School Districts
Academy 20
Colorado Springs School District 11
Canon City
Cherry Creek Public Schools
Fountain-Fort Carson
Greeley-Evans School District 6
Littleton Public Schools
Mesa Valley School District 51
Poudre School District
Pueblo School District 60
Thompson School District R2-J
Widefield School District
Windsor School District

Miscellaneous
American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees
AFL-CIO
Bell Policy Institute
Colorado Children’s Campaign
Pitkin County Board of Commissioners
Service Employees International Union/SEIU

Ritters signs Health care bills

GOV. RITTER SIGNS FOUR HEALTH-CARE BILLS

Gov. Bill Ritter signed four health-care bills into law today, including measures to help families with developmentally disabled children and young people in foster care. The measures also will assist families unable to afford breakfast for school children and will address health disparities in minority communities across the state.

“The bills I signed today will help address accessibility and affordability of health care and ensure kids get a healthier start to their day,” Gov. Ritter said. “These new laws make good health-care sense and good fiscal sense. When we talk about bills like these, we should always ask a few important questions: Is it good for kids? Will it make a real difference in the lives of children? Is it a good investment? The answer today is yes, yes and yes.”

Gov. Ritter signed Senate Bill 4 at the Autism Society of Colorado’s annual luncheon at Temple Emmanuel in Denver. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Brandon Shaffer and Rep. Nancy Todd, streamlines the funding process for children with developmental disabilities so they and their families have easier access to early intervention medical care. About 4,000 infants and toddlers ages 3 and younger are living with developmental disabilities in Colorado.

Gov. Ritter signed Senate Bills 2, 59 and 242 later in the day at Denver Health Medical Center.

SB 2 (Sen. Paula Sandoval, Rep. Debbie Stafford) will expand Medicaid eligibility to young adults in the foster care system through the age of 21 from the current cut-off age of 18. This will extend coverage to 1,400 young people.

SB 59 (Sen. Sandoval, Rep. Alice Madden) establishes the Start Smart Nutrition Program, providing free breakfasts to students who qualify under the free- and reduced-price lunch program. Currently, only 18 percent of qualifying children are receiving a reduced-priced breakfast and SB 59 will help a greater number of children get a healthy start to their day. Research shows a direct correlation between good nutrition and academic performance.

SB 242 (Sen. Peter Groff, Rep. Jerry Frangas) is aimed at eliminating racial, ethnic and rural health disparities in Colorado. It formalizes the state Office of Health Disparities and creates two advisory councils to assess the causes of and solutions for health care disparities in Colorado. Higher rates of death, disabilities, and disease among minorities cost Coloradans through cost-shifting of care for the uninsured. For instance, according to CDPHE, eliminating the health disparity just for diabetes would save Colorado taxpayers more than $80 million annually.