Fulfillment & Frustration - 2016 Legislative Wrap Up

This session we prime sponsored legislation that changed the national conversation about student data privacy, we sponsored a couple small Bills signed into law that will make a big difference in the lives of children rescued from commercial sex trafficking and we protected the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. In short, we earned some good wins. At the same time the 70th General Assembly that adjourned this week failed to address the impending state budget crisis driven by Medicaid, and the Democrat controlled House killed efforts we supported to provide funds to widen I-25 and get a handle on our crumbling roads and bridges.

Here’s a roundup of the Bills we sponsored this year. We had some wins and some losses. We brought each bill with serious thought, brimming with passion and a commitment to get wins for the people of our district and Colorado, and the principles of Smaller Government and Freer People.

HB16-1068 - Regulating Methadone Treatment Facilities

  • Why: A common sense bill to safeguard communities from the hazards possibly associated with methadone treatment facilities that run careless or unaccountable operations. 

  • This bill seeks to protect the people of Colorado from the hazards that may be associated with methadone treatment facilities, provides greater transparency to communities by clarifying the definition of a “medical clinic,” creates distance requirements from sensitive community locations--similar to laws for liquor stores, strengthens the licensure process, and gives local communities greater control in determining dispensary locations.

  • Status: January 27, 2016 - House State, Veterans and Military Affairs - Postponed Indefinitely


HB16-1224 - Anti-Human Trafficking, Social Services to Trafficked Victims

  • Why: A bill to protect and help heal a greater number of society’s vulnerable members by providing access to existing social services for child victims of human trafficking.

 

  • The bill creates access to existing social services by broadening the definition of “child abuse and neglect” to include child victims of human trafficking and requires counties to develop a tool to identify children at-risk of trafficking. 

  • Status: April 15, 2016 - Governor Signed

 

HB16-1128 - Expanding Statewide Concurrent Enrollment

  • Why: The bill would provide every Colorado student the opportunity to earn college credits while still in high school and give parents and their students greater control of their education options, and could expand opportunities to propel students, especially those from under-resourced communities, ahead in their education with less debt and more academic success.

 

  • The bill would provide every Colorado student the opportunity to earn college credits while still in high school and give parents and their students greater control of their education options by requiring every school district to offer concurrent enrollment programs and promote their availability twice annually.

  • Status: April 6, 2016 - House Education - Postponed Indefinitely


HB16-1423 - Concerning Student Data Privacy, Safe Students Sound Data

  • Why: In an era where student privacy is increasingly at risk because of use and potential misuse of the digital identity students create, the bill works to restore trust for the education system within our communities because it safeguards students’ personal identities through strict data-use prohibitions and provides transparency, without stifling innovation in the classroom.

 

  • The bill creates a dynamic definition of personal information designed to keep up with advancing technology, a new requirement for the destruction of data after its useful life, prohibitions against creating student profiles for targeted advertising or other outside-of-education purposes and provides an array of requirements that will make it much easier to understand what data is being captured and how it is being used. Ultimately, HB16-1423 serves to safeguard students’ identities in an era where they are increasingly identified by their digital trail.

  • Status: May 9, 2016 - Awaiting Governor’s signature


HCR16-1001 - Shorter Session Resolution

  • Why: The resolution would effectively change the shape of governance and the legislative process in Colorado, expand budget control to every elected member of the General Assembly, focus legislative priorities through a shorter session and fewer bills, and would ultimately create a more effective and accountable legislative branch. 

 

  • The resolution would achieve the goal of a more effective and accountable legislature in three ways: Shorten the legislative session from 120 days to 60 days (odd numbered years) and 90 days (even numbered years); expand responsibility over the budget process to all 100 members versus the current six JBC members; and reduce the number of introduced bills by each legislator from five to two.

  • Status: April 13, 2016 - House State, Veterans & Military Affairs - Postponed Indefinitely


SB16-110 - Protect Names of Child Victims in Criminal Justice Records

  • Why: The bill aims to prevent further harm to child victims of crime and safeguard their identities and reputations--specifically in highly sensitive cases like sexual abuse, solicitation of child prostitution, or human trafficking--by prohibiting disclosure of the names of child victims in court cases. 

 

  • The bill safeguards the identity and reputation of child victims of crime by prohibiting disclosure of the names of child victims in court cases, especially in highly sensitive circumstances like sexual abuse, solicitation of child prostitution, or human trafficking, and writes into statute what has been, since 1990, the Colorado General Assembly’s intent to prevent “undue hardship, discomfort, and distress to any juvenile victim.”

  • Status: April 15, 2016 - Governor Signed


SB16-111 - Mounted Rangers Certification Peace Officers

  • Why: As Colorado’s designated law enforcement auxiliary that contributes 50,000+ volunteer service hours to the state annually, Colorado Mounted Rangers (CMR) and interested parties (law enforcement and government agencies) need to address and determine whether and how CMR will integrate into the statewide Peace Officer Standards and Training (P.O.S.T) program that currently certifies all other peace officers and auxiliaries across Colorado.

 

  • The bill creates a task force to address whether and how the Colorado Mounted Rangers--Colorado’s statutorily designated law enforcement auxiliary--will integrate into the statewide P.O.S.T. program, and includes CMR, law enforcement, and Colorado government agencies in the conversation.

  • Status: May 2, 2016 - Passed House - Awaiting Governor’s Signature


SB16-160 - State Police Power Federal Lands

  • Why: A bill to restrain federal abuse of power and reinforce the equal participation of local authorities on federal lands when public safety issues, like natural disasters, call for the involvement of local officials responsible for keeping the public safe.

 

  • The bill seeks to restrain federal overreach in the management of public lands and ensure local authorities’ equal participation in the conversation when issues of public safety, like wildfires, affect Coloradans who live on the land that might be titled to the federal government but lived on by Colorado citizens. The bill would clarify the unique capacity of local officials to “positively influence matters of public safety.”

  • Status: April 18, 2016 - House State, Veterans & Military Affairs - Postponed Indefinitely


SB16-148 - Require Civics Test Before Graduate HS

  • Why: If students don’t have a meaningful understanding of how our country works it is almost impossible for them to be properly engaged citizens. This bill would allow students a four year window to prove that they have the same basic understanding of American civics as someone who is becoming a naturalized citizen.

 

  • The bill would require every Colorado high school student to pass a civics exam--to include questions from assessments required to naturalize as an American citizen--prior to graduation and provides the opportunity and measure for students to demonstrate their basic and honest understanding of American Civics, or the way our country works.

  • Status: April 6, 2016 - Senate - Lost on 3rd Reading

 

Photo Credit: All photos available via public domain

Posted on July 10, 2016 .