More More More. Nurse Education Opportunities, High Schools Student Getting College Credit, CDOT Meetings on I-25

We jumped forward this week. Our bill to create more pathways for nursing students to earn Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees passed out of committee and through second reading in The House. Our multi year effort to expand opportunities for high school students to earn college, and career & technical education credits flew through The House and is headed to the Senate. And you have more opportunities to give CDOT your feedback on the I-25 corridor. They must be getting tired of hearing my voice say, "don't toll the third lane."

Update on Roads and Bridges

The Colorado Department of Transportation is hosting a series of listening sessions to engage with local residents and drivers. These sessions are an opportunity to learn more about the project, and ask questions. Your continued involvement and participation is very important. Make your voice heard. To learn more about the I-25 South Gap Project, visit the CDOT project website.

Our Student Opportunity Bill Passed The House

Our student opportunity bill, HB18-1052, expands concurrent enrollment choice for students in unserved areas. It passed through committee, second and third reading votes in The Colorado House this week and is headed to The Senate. Under current law, many students have little or no concurrent enrollment options if community colleges or other providers with control over a territory decline to provide courses. Where a student lives should not stop them from participating in concurrent enrollment options. This bill breaks down barriers and allows institutions to provide concurrent enrollment programs to students if their local institutions are unable or unwilling to do so.

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Nursing Bill Passed Second Reading on the House Floor

Our Nursing Bill, HB-1086, is a bold move to alleviate the nursing shortage in Colorado. Colorado Springs already has a deficit of approximately 1,300 trained nurses with BSN degrees. The problem is getting worse and our hospitals are feeling the pain. This bill provides an easy policy solution to the problem. It gives students who have or are working on an Associates Degree in Nursing at community colleges, sprinkled all about our glorious state, the ability to take the next step in their professional development at the community college. Currently too many students are forced into expensive choices too often outside the state. Our bill will allow Colorado community colleges to offer students a new pathway to earn BSN degrees. Friday, the bill passed second reading and will be up for third reading next week.

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Stay tuned for more updates throughout the session. Thank you for your continued support and engagement.

Liberty!

Posted on February 13, 2018 .

More Progress for Roads and Bridges, More Nurses for Colorado, and Student Protection

With your help we are already making great strides in the first weeks of the new session. The Senate bill to fix our roads and bridges without a tax increase, our bill to allow nurses to earn four-year degrees at community colleges, and our bill to protect students from abuse are making progress in committees and in the media.

Senate Roads and Bridges Bill Passed Through Committee

The Senate’s bill, SB18-001, to fund Colorado’s priority roads and bridges projects has passed through the senate committee on transportation. A failure to prioritize road funding over the past decade is the main reason why Colorado has a $9 billion road maintenance backlog. This bill puts over $3 billion towards much needed road and bridge infrastructure without costing the taxpayers more money. With this bill, we continue to press forward and fight to make the Governor’s request for a transportation tax increase unnecessary.

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Nurse Bill Gets Bipartisan Support

We have garnered support on both sides of the aisle and in the media for HB18-1086, our nurse bill, that would allow Colorado community colleges to offer four year nursing degrees. This bill will have a significant positive impact on health outcomes, and help to reduce Colorado’s nursing shortage. Click here to see the Denver Post’s recent story on the bill.

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(Source: https://www.denverpost.com/2018/01/23/nurse-colorado-community-college-4-year-degrees/)

“Parents in the Dark”

Our parent notification bill continues to move forward with support from parents, teachers, and schools. At the end of the day, we want a parent notification law that makes sure parents know what’s going on, and if their child might be in an unsafe circumstance. The Denver Channel 7 produced a short documentary on the ongoing crisis. It features interviews with key policymakers, including Representative Lundeen.

Watch it here:

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(Source: https://www.thedenverchannel.com/parents-in-the-dark)

Our Student-Data Privacy Law is “The Nation’s Best”

Parents need to know that there are thousands of data points tagged for everything from a student’s race, to discipline records, to family income, to disabilities. Thanks to our Student-data privacy law from 2016, we are one step closer to protecting student information. Bob Schaffer’s column takes a retrospective look at our law, and acknowledges that although it is a bellwether, there is still work to be done.

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Stay tuned for more updates throughout the session. Thank you for your continued support and engagement.

Liberty!

Posted on January 27, 2018 .

CDOT January/February El Paso County Listening Tour

This is the content of a media advisory released Friday by CDOT.  My perspective: Do NOT toll the Third Lane. Within the planned footprint, with the existing state owned land and easements, I am convinced with an innovative approach it is possible to build four lanes in each direction that would serve southern Colorado for decades. Let your voice be heard on this important issue.  -paul

 

Here's the CDOT release:

January 19, 2018

Contacts: Tamara Rollison, Region 1 Communications Manager

 C 720.663.9552  |  tamara.rollison@state.co.us

CDOT to hold a series of public outreach meetings for I-25 South Gap project in El Paso County

Eight listening sessions and two telephone town halls to be held through February

DENVER – The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) will hold a series of outreach meetings through late February to give the public plenty of options to learn the latest information, ask questions and provide comments on plans to improve 18 miles of I-25 from Castle Rock to Monument.

“CDOT is coming to a neighborhood near you to inform and listen,” said CDOT Executive Director Michael Lewis. “The I-25 South Gap is in dire need of improvements and CDOT is on an accelerated schedule to fix the Gap.  Providing a variety of public outreach opportunities is essential for the convenience of motorists and residents who want to learn more and ask questions.”

CDOT will be holding a series of informal “listening sessions” at public libraries and other local venues close to the I-25 corridor, followed by telephone town halls later in February.   The same presentation will be given at each of the sessions.  

Listening Sessions

Penrose House - Proby Room

1661 Mesa Ave. Colorado Springs, CO 80906

January 30

12:30 - 2 PM

Meadows Park Community Center

1943 S El Paso Ave. Colorado Springs, CO 80905

January 31

5:30 - 7:00 PM

Rockrimmon Library

832 Village Center Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80919

February 5

4:45 - 6:15 PM

Cheyenne Mountain Library

1785 S 8th St Colorado Springs, CO 80905

February 6

5:30 – 7:00 PM

Monument Library

1706 Woodmoor Drive, Monument, CO 81032

February 8

6:45 – 8:15 PM

Natural Grocers North Academy

7298 North Academy Blvd. Colorado Springs, CO 80920

February 12

5:30 -7:00 PM

Natural Grocers Monument

1216 W. Baptist Rd. Monument, CO 80132

February 13

5:30 - 7:00 PM

Natural Grocers South Nevada

1604 South Nevada Ave. Colorado Springs, CO 80906

February 15

5:30 - 7:00 PM

 

Telephone Town Halls

El Paso County*

Feb. 21

6-7 PM

Douglas County*

Feb. 22

6-7 PM

*More information on the phone number and other meeting details for the Telephone Town Halls to be released later.

More listening sessions will be scheduled for Douglas County to be held in early March. Formal public hearings will be held in the spring and they will be held in Douglas County and El Paso County.

The public can learn, ask questions or provide comments at the following:

Project Website: https://www.codot.gov/projects/i-25-south-monument-castle-rock-ea

Website/survey: www.codot.gov/projects/i-25-south-monument-castle-rock-ea

Project e-mail:  i25gap@codot.us

Project hotline: 719 297 5143

About the project:

CDOT is on an accelerated schedule to begin construction on improving 18 miles of I-25 between Castle Rock and Monument.  The project would add a lane in each direction, widen shoulders, repave the surface and improve wildlife crossings.  CDOT is considering making the additional lane an Express Lane, which would be built alongside the two General Purpose Lanes in each direction.  Motorists would have the option of driving the General Purpose lanes for free or they could take the Express Lane for a more reliable trip in exchange for paying a variable toll.  CDOT spent a year evaluating more than 100 alternatives to improve 32 miles of I-25 between Colorado Springs and Denver.  From this process, it was determined an early action project was needed on the Gap to improve safety, mobility and travel reliability.   CDOT will begin construction end of this year once environmental work is completed and should $350 million in funding be secured.

Posted on January 21, 2018 .

Our Top Priorities for the Second Regular Session of the Seventy-First General Assembly

It is an honor to work for you as the Representative from House District 19 and candidate for Senate District 9 this session. With your help we are already getting results. An expanded I-25 between Monument and Castle Rock, and our bill to protect students top our agenda as The Second Regular Session of the Seventy-First General Assembly reconvened this week.

I-25 Without Tolls and a Focus on Roads & Bridges

We have won the fight to shorten the construction timeframe and we have won the fight to find the funds to close the I-25 gap between Monument and Castle Rock with a third lane each way. Today we press forward in the work to make sure those new lanes are general use lanes and not toll lanes. And we press forward in our fight to direct enough of the almost two billion dollars expansion in this year’s state budget to make the Governor’s request for a transportation tax increase unnecessary.

We spoke with News Channel 13 about these priorities for this report:

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Watch the video here  (Source: Stephanie Sierra, Channel 13 News)

Our Bill to Notify Parents of Criminal Conduct by School Employees

Parents are the front line to protect children and students. Sadly many parents are left in the dark in some School Districts when employees are charged or arrested for conduct that threatens students. With help from many, we have crafted a bill to resolve this issue. Please stay tuned. The bill will be introduced and copies available next week.

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More Opportunities for College Credit for High School Students

Our first bill this session will provide expanded opportunities for K-12 students to earn credit that will count toward high school graduation and college while still in high school. The bill makes a tweak in the law to open up trade territories to other community colleges when a two year college with an exclusive right to provide classes fails to make those classes available to a local school. This bill will make higher education concurrent enrollment options more readily available to students in every district.

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We look forward to a very productive year. Stay tuned for more updates throughout the session. Thank you for your support and engagement.

Posted on January 17, 2018 .