You The People, Front and Center in Denver
Defending the rights of the forgotten man, woman and child has been a key focus for me this session. Legislation is frequently like a coin. On one side you have the idea of the bill. On the other are the unintended consequences, the potential costs to the taxpayers or expanded regulations, or loss of freedoms, rights and liberty.
A great example of the two narratives of a single piece of legislation is the Breakfast Before the Bell Expansion. The goal of the legislation is to make sure no student starts the school day hungry. To do so, and make sure no students feels stigmatized, the program requires school districts with a certain percentage of low income students to feed all students breakfast before the bell meals. Next school year the number of districts required to make these meals available will increase.
It all sounds great. Who would want a student to go to school hungry? However, in testimony this session, several school districts testified that large amounts of the food is wasted. One district reported up to 75% of the food is tossed in cafeteria trash cans. They know because they count. And the program redirects money that would go into student-facing, classroom activities, out of the classroom.
It is a clear example of the forgotten man and woman who have to pay extra taxes to fund a wasteful program. And, the forgotten child (or student) whose classroom has less funding than it could.
Lundeen Anti Human Trafficking Bill to Become Law
The Governor will sign HB15-1019 into law in the next few days. This anti human trafficking bill takes steps to clarify in Colorado law that children forced into prostitution by human trafficking rings are victims and not criminals.
Replace PARCC with a Home Grown Pilot
My most visible effort this session has been leading the fight to return control over and reduce the size and frequency of state and federally mandated tests in Colorado.
We teach our children that procrastination is bad. Yet legislators waited until all but 4 of the 120 days of session had elapsed to pull the House and Senate education committee members into a room to discuss what an assessment bill that could get through both chambers might look like.
The process was thin and small and yielded a similar limited result.
The most significant gain in the K-12 testing compromise passed this legislative session is language that allows any or all of the 178 school districts to offer up a pilot assessment program.
Breaking away from the Federally funded, and consortium controlled, Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), is a necessary step to allow visionary leadership in education reform. Assuming the Governor signs HB15-1323, our priority must become supporting and promoting districts that take up the challenge of creating new Colorado assessment pilots.
Thank you for participating in this great process we call representative government. I remain grateful for every call, visit, email and letter I have received during the course of the session. Hearing from you and working to represent you is a high calling. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve and take the duty very seriously.
In Service to You and Liberty,