Monthly Archives: May 2009

TUESDAY: GOV. RITTER TO HOST FREE OPPORTUNITY FAIR FOR WORKING FAMILIES


 

Gov. Bill Ritter and several state agencies, nonprofits and other service providers will host a free opportunity and help fair at the State Capitol on Tuesday afternoon for working families struggling to survive the economic downturn.

 

During the 5 to 7 p.m. fair, Gov. Ritter also will sign into law legislation that will help responsible homeowners avoid foreclosure, provide additional unemployment benefits to Coloradans who’ve lost their jobs, and ensure that hard-working families do not improperly lose their unemployment or workers’ compensation benefits.

 

WHAT:      State agencies, non-profits and other service providers will offer free information at a “Help for Working Families Fair.” Counselors and other experts will direct people to information, resources and relief regarding finances, mortgages, unemployment insurance, healthcare, housing, utility assistance and home weatherization. Participating agencies include the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, Colorado Foreclosure Hotline, Colorado Nonprofit Association and Governor’s Energy Office.    

 

Gov. Ritter also will sign legislation to help families survive the economic downturn:

HB 1276 (Ferrandino/M. Carroll), Foreclosure Timeout

SB 247 (Tochtrop/Pace), Expand Unemployment Benefits

HB 1310 (Levy/Heath), Employee Misclassification

HB 1136 (Soper/Tochtrop), Electrical Ed License Requirements
HB 1076 (Pace/Tochtrop), Remuneration from Employment Separation

SB 76 (Heath/Court), Employment and Training Technology

 

WHEN:          5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 2. Gov. Ritter will sign the legislation at 5:30 p.m.

 

WHERE:       East side of the State Capitol, off of

Grant Street

between Colfax and 14th.

 


COLORADO SUBMITS EDUCATION PLAN TO FEDS FOR RECOVERY FUNDS


 

Colorado officials today submitted their application to the U.S. Department of Education for $760 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to help sustain education programs and jobs across Colorado.

 

“With the help of Recovery Act funds, Colorado will be able to preserve K-12 and higher education programs, keep teachers in the classroom, and avoid layoffs in state government,” Gov. Ritter said. “Colorado will be well-positioned to come out of this downturn stronger than ever.”

 

As part of the Recovery Act, the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund will help support vital state services in the face of dwindling revenue during the recession. More than 80 percent of the State Fiscal Stabilization dollars must be spent to shore up K-12 and higher education programs. The remaining 18.2 percent is dedicated to shoring up state budgets. States are allocated funds according to a formula, but state officials must still apply for the dollars and follow strict regulations and extensive reporting requirements.

 

According to the plan developed by Gov. Ritter’s office and the legislature, $452 million of stabilization funds will go to colleges and universities and $170 million to K-12 programs. An estimated $70 million will be used to balance the state General Fund budget, $10 million is allocated to enhance the state’s competitiveness for the Race to the Top education reform grants through the Recovery Act. The remaining $58 million is being set aside in case the state encounters further revenue shortfalls.

 

More information is available at www.colorado.gov/recovery.

 

GOV. RITTER TO HOST FREE OPPORTUNITY FAIR FOR WORKING FAMILIES ON TUESDAY

Gov. Bill Ritter and several state agencies, nonprofits and other service providers will host a free opportunity and help fair at the State Capitol on Tuesday afternoon for working families struggling to survive the economic downturn.

 

During the 5 to 7 p.m. fair, Gov. Ritter also will sign into law legislation that will help responsible homeowners avoid foreclosure, provide additional unemployment benefits to Coloradans who’ve lost their jobs, and ensure that hard-working families do not improperly lose their unemployment or workers’ compensation benefits.

 

WHAT:      State agencies, non-profits and other service providers will offer free information at a “Help for Working Families Fair.” Counselors and other experts will direct people to information, resources and relief regarding finances, mortgages, unemployment insurance, healthcare, housing, utility assistance and home weatherization. Participating agencies include the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, Colorado Foreclosure Hotline, Colorado Nonprofit Association and Governor’s Energy Office.    

 

Gov. Ritter also will sign legislation to help families survive the economic downturn:

HB 1276 (Ferrandino/M. Carroll), Foreclosure Timeout

SB 247 (Tochtrop/Pace), Expand Unemployment Benefits

HB 1310 (Levy/Heath), Employee Misclassification

HB 1136 (Soper/Tochtrop), Electrical Ed License Requirements
HB 1076 (Pace/Tochtrop), Remuneration from Employment Separation

SB 76 (Heath/Court), Employment and Training Technology

 

WHEN:          5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 2. Gov. Ritter will sign the legislation at 5:30 p.m.

 

WHERE:       East side of the State Capitol, off of

Grant Street

between Colfax and 14th.

 


LT. GOV. O’BRIEN & FIRST LADY JEANNIE RITTER SCHEDULES FOR TODAY & FRIDAY


Thursday, May 28, 2009

 

11:00 AM       Lt. Gov. O’Brien will visit the Durango Parks & Recreation’s Summer Game Time program as part of her Colorado Kids Outdoors tour to help kids reconnect with the outdoors. Location:  DurangoCommunityRecreationCenter,

2700 Main Avenue, Durango

.

 

1:00 PM          Lt. Gov. O’Brien will meet with local agencies and organizations who have an interest with reconnecting kids to the outdoors.  Location: La PlataCountyFairgrounds,

2500 Main Avenue, Durango

.

 

6:00 PM          The First Lady will be delivering the keynote address at University ParkElementary School‘s Continuation Ceremony.  Location: 

2300 South Saint Paul St., Denver, CO80210

 

Friday, May 29, 2009

 

9:00 AM         Lt. Gov. O’Brien will chair the Colorado Commission on Indian Affairs quarterly meeting.  Location: UteMountainHotel & ConferenceCenter,

3 Weeminuche Drive

at Yellow Jacket, Towaoc, CO.

 

GOV. RITTER STATEMENT ON SOTOMAYOR NOMINATION


 

Gov. Bill Ritter issued the following statement today regarding President Obama’s nomination of U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court:

 

“I applaud President Obama’s historic nomination of U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the United States Supreme Court.

 

“As someone who has appointed dozens of judges at the state level, I have some sense of how serious a responsibility this is. I congratulate President Obama for nominating someone who has such a diverse record of excellence, integrity and respect for the Constitution. Hers is a genuine American success story. From her modest upbringing, to her work as a criminal prosecutor, to her tenure on the district court and appellate benches, she is an inspiration.

 

“Like all Americans, I look forward to the Senate conducting fair and thorough hearings on this historic nomination.”

 

GOV. RITTER DIRECTS FLAGS LOWERED TO HALF-STAFF ON MEMORIAL DAY


 

Gov. Bill Ritter has directed that U.S. and Colorado flags at federal and state facilities be lowered to half-staff this coming Memorial Day (until noon).

 

“On behalf of the people of Colorado, it is my privilege to honor the brave military men and women of Colorado who made the ultimate sacrifice while defending America‘s freedoms,” Gov. Ritter said. “Their service and our memories of them have become woven into the fabric that makes Colorado and this nation so great, and they will not be forgotten.”

 

“While we can never repay the debt they are owed, we must make every effort to do so,” Gov. Ritter said. “We can make sure their families are cared for while they are away, and we can provide jobs for them when they come home.

 

“I’m calling on all of Colorado to pause this Memorial Day to reflect on the service and sacrifices of our military personnel. Memorial Day is a time to honor the men and women who put themselves in harm’s way to defend our country and our way of life.”

 

“God bless them, God bless Colorado and God bless all of America.”

 

GOV. RITTER COMMENDS EPA FOR RECONSIDERING DESERT ROCK AIR QUALITY

 

Gov. Bill Ritter today praised the federal Environmental Protection Agency for recommending reconsideration of the recently issued air permit for the proposed Desert Rock Energy Facility in the Four Corners region.

 

 

In a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, Gov. Ritter also asked for a thorough and thoughtful review of air emission controls for the existing nearby Four Corners Power Plant and the Navajo Generating Station.

 

 

“I encourage you to reconsider the recently issued air permit and address the environmental impacts from the existing power plants in the Four Corners area. These are common sense measures that should be taken to protect – and improve – air quality,” Gov. Ritter wrote. “The Four Corners Power Plant is one of the largest sources of air pollution in the country, and it is critical that it is cleaned up so that people can breathe easier and we can improve our Western vistas in this scenic and historic region.”

 

 

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment officials also expressed concerns about the issuance of the air permit for Desert Rock, as well as the environmental impacts from the existing and proposed facilities.

 

 

“We appreciate EPA’s willingness to review these important issues, including the appropriate control of mercury emissions from a plant as large as Desert Rock, and the impact such a facility could have on ozone and the vistas in the region,” said Jim Martin, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Is organic farming sustainable?

 

 

In March, Gov. Ritter and Colorado Attorney General John Suthers jointly urged the EPA to reconsider its decision to permit the proposed Desert Rock Power Plant, and asked that emissions controls be installed at the Four Corners Power Plant. Click here to read the news release.

 

 

The Desert Rock Energy Facility is a coal-fired power plant proposed for construction on Navajo Nation lands about 30 miles southwest of Farmington, N. M.

 

 

The Four Corners Power Plant, located on Navajo Nation lands about 25 miles west of Farmington, is the largest single nitrogen oxide source in the nation.

 

 

The Navajo Generating Station is a 2,250 megawatt coal-fired power plant located on Navajo Nation lands near Page, Arizona.

 

 

Here is the complete text of Gov. Ritter’s letter:

 

 

May 22, 2009

 

 

 

Lisa Jackson, Administrator

 

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Ariel Rios Building

1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

 

Washington, DC 20460

 

 

Dear Administrator Jackson:

 

 

 

I commend your recent decision to request a reconsideration of the air permit for the Desert Rock Energy Facility (DREF) in northern New Mexico.  Throughout the permitting process, the State of Colorado has actively requested a thoughtful, robust review of the various environmental effects that would flow from approving such a significant project in the Four Corners region of the Southwest. I appreciate your actions to ensure that such a review will occur.

 

 

 

The Four Corners region is a beautiful and unique environment that unfortunately suffers from some of the highest levels of mercury deposition in the nation, affecting the water bodies and aquatic life in the region.  Colorado presently has 25 Fish Consumption Advisories in place for mercury in our lakes and reservoirs.  The region is also close to Clean Air Act “Non-Attainment” status with the 2008 8-Hour Ozone standard, registering a three-year average of 75 parts per billion at a northern New Mexico monitor not far from where DREF would be located, and adjacent to Colorado.

 

 

 

Colorado was extremely disappointed that EPA in 2008 truncated the DREF Clean Air Act permit review, expediting completion of the review and issuance of the PSD permit for the facility.  Your decision to take a hard look at this PSD permit, a permit that would set the course for a major emitting facility in an area of important environmental, aesthetic, and cultural significance, is a positive and correct step for the people and the environment in this region of the country.  Colorado appreciates EPA’s willingness to review these important issues, including appropriate control of mercury emissions from a plant of this size, and the impact the facility could have on ozone and vistas in the region.  It would be very damaging if a facility were approved by EPA that, due to lack of appropriate evaluation, pushes the region into Non-Attainment status for ozone, or that adds to the already unacceptable burden of mercury deposition in the environment.

 

 

I also urge the EPA to thoroughly and thoughtfully review the appropriate level of air emissions controls at the Four Corners Power Plant and the Navajo Generating Station under the “Best Available Retrofit Technology” (BART) provisions of EPA’s Regional Haze regulation.  The EPA Region IX is presently considering BART for these facilities and, consistent with Colorado’s previous communications with EPA, I support the agency’s rigorous review of appropriate NOx controls for these two facilities as the data reflect that they have a dramatic level of visibility impact on surrounding Class I Areas.

 

 

 

The Four Corners Power Plant is the largest single emitter of NOx in the nation (44,649 tpy, 2006 CAMD), and the Navajo Generating Station is ranked 4th in the nation for NOx emissions (34,744 tpy, 2006 CAMD).  The Four Corners Power Plant is located only 32 miles from Mesa Verde National Park, and these facilities are in close proximity to important world-renowned Class I Areas (e.g., La Garita Wilderness, and Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, among others).  Considering their very significant NOx emissions, and their direct and close proximity to critical Class I Areas in and around the Colorado Plateau, EPA’s review should consider all cost-effective NOx controls, which can and should include Selective Catalytic Reduction.  Significant NOx reductions from these two facilities in particular, given their combined emissions, would benefit visibility in Class I Areas in this important region of the country, and would also support the improvement of ozone levels in the northern New Mexico area that is so close to Non-Attainment status.

 

 

 

Thank you for your work on these important matters.  We look forward to continuing to work with you on these and other issues.

 

 

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Bill Ritter, Jr.

Governor

 

 

 

 

GOV. RITTER NOTES COURAGE OF WINDSOR ON 1-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF TORNADO

 

Gov. Bill Ritter today applauded the courage, determination and resiliency of Windsor residents as the state marks the first anniversary of the devastating tornado that hit northern Colorado last May 22.

 

“I will never forget the fierce sense of determination demonstrated by the courageous residents of Windsor during the days, weeks and months after the tornado hit,” Gov. Ritter said. “They banded together to clear the rubble and begin the long, painful journey of rebuilding their community. They are an inspiration to all of Colorado.

 

“Like all Windsor residents, Mayor John Vazquez rose to the occasion on that fateful day. I am grateful for all he did to help lead the initial and long-term response. His efforts played a critical role in ensuring a rapid and successful recovery.”

 

The Governor also said noted the inspirational performance of the Windsor High School Marching Band, which proudly represented Colorado during President Obama’s January inauguration in Washington, DC.

 

Gov. Ritter also thanked and acknowledged the efforts of the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, Division of Emergency Management, Colorado National Guard, and the Colorado State Patrol; and extended expressions of sympathy to the loved ones of the tornado’s only fatality, Oscar Manchester.

 

“Our thoughts and prayers remain with the family and friends of Oscar Manchester,” Gov. Ritter said.  “As his family, friends, and the entire community continue to heal, you all will remain in my thoughts and my prayers. “

 

GOV. RITTER SIGNS 31 BILLS INTO LAW TODAY


 

Bill #

Short Title

Sponsors

Date Action

Action

HB 1017

CWCB Water Efficiency Grant Fund 

PACE / HODGE 

5/21/2009

Signed

HB 1020

Expedite Med Program Reenrollment 

ACREE / SPENCE 

5/21/2009

Signed

HB 1022

Recidivism Reduction Grant Program 

SOLANO / BOYD 

5/21/2009

Signed

HB 1036

Registration Fee POST Bd Cash Fund 

KING S. / MORSE 

5/21/2009

Signed

HB 1056

Solid Waste Disposal Admin Penalties 

MCCANN / KOPP 

5/21/2009

Signed

HB 1065

Educator Identifier Pilot Program 

BENEFIELD / SPENCE 

5/21/2009

Signed

HB 1081

Vehicular Homicide Statute Limitation 

LOOPER / MORSE 

5/21/2009

Signed

HB 1085

Mortgage Loan Originator Licensing Act 

RICE / HEATH 

5/21/2009

Signed

HB 1086

Cont Competency Mental Health Profls 

MCGIHON / BOYD 

5/21/2009

Signed

HB 1120

Public Servant Safety Crimes 

STEPHENS / PENRY 

5/21/2009

Signed

HB 1123

Human Smuggling Trafficking Servitude 

LAMBERT / SCHULTHEIS 

5/21/2009

Signed

HB 1133

Setting Fees For License Plates 

SONNENBERG / KESTER 

5/21/2009

Signed

HB 1137

Gambling And Refund Intercepts 

JUDD / NEWELL 

5/21/2009

Signed

HB 1150

Dept Of Personnel Statutory Cleanup 

TODD / WILLIAMS 

5/21/2009

Signed

HB 1183

Classify Real Estate Appraiser Offenses 

VAAD / HODGE 

5/21/2009

Signed

HB 1243

Increase High School Graduation Rates 

MIDDLETON / BACON 

5/21/2009

Signed

HB 1287

Enact Changes To Colo. Probate Code 

MCGIHON / MITCHELL 

5/21/2009

Signed

HB 1305

Limit Cost Bond Requirements Lawsuits 

LEVY / VEIGA 

5/21/2009

Signed

HB 1315

Clarification Public Employee Leave 

TODD / WILLIAMS 

5/21/2009

Signed

HB 1316

Judge % Law Enforcement Info Private 

SOLANO / SHAFFER B. 

5/21/2009

Signed

HB 1319

Concurrent Enrollment Students 

MERRIFIELD / WILLIAMS 

5/21/2009

Signed

HB 1325

Governor’s Authority National Guard 

TODD / BACON 

5/21/2009

Signed

SB 090

Parent Involvement In Education 

HUDAK / BENEFIELD 

5/21/2009

Signed

SB 123

Healthy Choices Dropout Prevention 

WILLIAMS / TODD 

5/21/2009

Signed

SB 160

Alternative Teacher Pgrms. & Licensure 

HUDAK / TODD 

5/21/2009

Signed

SB 163

Ed Accountability System 

HUDAK / MIDDLETON  

5/21/2009

Signed

SB 174

Horse & Greyhound Racing Regulation 

KESTER / CASSO 

5/21/2009

Signed

SB 241

DNA Testing Felony Arrestees 

MORSE / KING S. 

5/21/2009

Signed

SB 256

Financing Of Public Schools 

ROMER  / POMMER 

5/21/2009

Signed

SB 282

DPS Retirement PERA Merger 

SANDOVAL  / KERR A. 

5/21/2009

Signed

SB 289

Collect & Allocate Waste Tire Revenues 

SCHWARTZ/ PRIMAVERA 

5/21/2009

Signed

 

GOV. RITTER MAKES NOMINATIONS TO GOCO BOARD

Gov. Bill Ritter today announced nominations to the Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) board, the 17-member panel responsible for overseeing the distribution of a portion of state Lottery proceeds for outdoor projects.

 

Gov. Ritter’s nominees are:

 

·         Norma V. Anderson of Lakewood, reappointed

·         Peggy E. Montano of Denver

·         Christian K. Meyer of Erie

·         James S. Lochhead of Glenwood Springs

·         Philip J. James of Fort Collins

·         Heather L. Carroll of Colorado Springs

·         Timothy P. Daly of Evergreen

·         James R. Spaanstra of Lakewood

 

Terms are for four years and Senate confirmation is required. 

 

Great Outdoors Colorado was created after Colorado voters approved Amendment 8 in 1992. GOCO receives approximately $54 million annually from Lottery proceeds and directs those funds to projects that protect and enhance Colorado‘s parks, wildlife, trails, rivers and open space. Eligible recipients for GOCO funds are local governments, land trusts the Colorado Division of Wildlife and ColoradoState Parks.  GOCO has awarded grants in all of Colorado‘s 64 counties and funded more than 3,000 projects.

 

For more information about Colorado boards and commissions, or to obtain an application, visit the Boards and Commission website, e-mail boards@state.co.us, or call 303.866.6380.