Busy day at the Capitol
The Chamber testified on two important bills at the Capitol Tuesday.
Senate Bill 88 is a legislative fix to the unintentional drafting error created last session in Senate Bill 267, which removed special districts’ ability to collect sales tax on retail marijuana. We know our special districts depend on and have budgeted for this funding, and they should not be punished for an unintentional oversight.
“From health care providers in Montezuma, to cultural institutions across the Front Range, to transportation districts from the metro area to San Miguel, to housing in Summit County, these are critical community providers,” Dorothy Ostrogorski, the Chamber’s director of public affairs, told the Senate Finance Committee. The bill passed out of the committee with a 3-2 vote.
The Chamber also testified on Senate Bill 1, which would refer a measure to the November 2018 ballot asking voters to approve $3.5 billion in bonds for transportation funding. Although the Chamber remains in a monitor position on this bill; we’ve been vocal advocates for sustainable transportation funding and are continuing – with over 75 partners – to explore funding from the legislature and a ballot measure that would allow voters to determine how we invest in our infrastructure.
“We have for years worked with a large coalition of statewide partners to advocate for a statewide solution that gives local jurisdictions flexibility to prioritize their unique needs while also providing funds to the Colorado Department of Transportation for maintenance and priority projects,” Mizraim Cordero, the Chamber’s vice president of government affairs told the Senate Transportation Committee. The bill passed out of the committee with a 3-2 vote.
Workforce Development a Focus for the Legislature
This week the Chamber supported three bills that will give students more access to educational opportunities – and help us build a strong future workforce – a key priority for us at the legislature this year:
- House Bill 1034 creates a capital grant program for area technical colleges, school districts and community colleges that provide career and technical education.
- House Bill 1052 expands access to concurrent enrollment opportunities in areas where the designated college does not provide these types of classes.
- Senate Bill 69 validates certain associate’s degree transfer students’ credentials and prevents them for being charged for additional prerequisite courses.
Colorado is considered a national leader in supporting the education-to-employment pipeline, but much more needs to be done. These three bills address attainment gaps in our educational system in different ways but they all help students enter the workforce prepared and with the skills necessary to meet the future needs of businesses. The success of all of our students is closely tied to the mission of the Chamber’s Denver Opportunity Youth Initiative (DOYI), which works to reconnect disconnected students to education and career opportunities as well as support systems by partnering with nonprofit, government and business organizations. Ultimately, we want to connect all Coloradans to meaningful work experiences and careers, and this initiative helps us do so with our youth.