Thursday, June 4, 2009


Gov. Bill Ritter today signed into law nine measures that will help lead Colorado forward, including bills to expand broadband access to rural communities and improve Colorado's public schools.


"This legislation will continue making Colorado a national leader in education reform, improve the quality of life for our citizens, and position us to recover from the downturn stronger than ever," Gov. Ritter said. 


Senate Bill 99 (Morse/Ferrandino) will allow the state to create an online catalog for state procurement, which will result in significant savings.


SB 121 (White/Marostica) will help restaurants lower their operational costs by eliminating the sales and use tax for free or reduced-price meals provided to employees. 


SB 162 (Schwartz/Liston) will make sure that Colorado's broadband mapping effort is properly funded.


"Schools, hospitals and businesses cannot succeed where there is limited or no broadband access," said Sen. Schwartz. "It is important for us to focus our economic development statewide -- in rural areas in addition to our cities. This bill will expand broadband access and pull down federal recovery dollars for investment. With SB 162, Colorado will be taking a critical first step to identify the gaps in broadband access and continue our plans to expand infrastructure and service throughout the state."

"I'm pleased to have been a sponsor of SB 162," said Rep. Liston. "Once underway, this bill will help create jobs in the build-out of the state's broadband capabilities, and, at the same time, provide broadband services to the citizens of rural Colorado."

SB 257 (Schwartz/Fischer) makes a variety of changes to 2008's Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) legislation to increase the chances that Colorado will obtain a better credit rating and lower interest rates.


 "Colorado's children are our most important asset," said Sen. Schwartz. "We need to make sure they have top-notch schools, which includes top-notch energy-efficient facilities. This landmark achievement of state-funded school buildings is the result of a long-term, collaborative commitment to provide all students in Colorado with a 21st century education. In Colorado's current economic climate, the approval of these grants for new school construction is critical in creating jobs and stimulating the economy in our rural communities. We are making an investment in Colorado's educated work force of tomorrow. I am grateful to the State Board of Education for their commitment to improving Southern Colorado's public school systems and supporting the families who rely on them."


"With this legislation, we will build a better tomorrow by building excellent schools today," said Rep. Fischer. "We are quite literally laying the foundations for quality schools across our state. No investment we make expands future opportunity as much as a quality education in a safe and modern school building."


SB 285 (Heath/Summers & Solano) is a companion to the Colorado ASCENT bill, which establishes the nation's first statewide concurrent-enrollment plan, giving students a chance to earn a college degree while finishing high school. It clarifies that concurrent credits may be earned in career and technical education courses.


"SB 285 will ensure that all students will have an opportunity for success through opening the door to multiple pathways, not only for students in academic programs, but also for those pursuing careers in technical education," Rep. Summers said.  


HB 1067 (Pommer/White) creates the Instream Flow Incentive Tax Credit program, which will help Colorado protect streams across the state.


HB 1196 (Gerou/Boyd) establishes the Nursing Facility Culture Change Accountability Board and helps fund measures that will increase the quality of life for nursing facility residents.


HB 1202 (Todd/Foster) provides a level of oversight and basic standards of practice for funeral homes and crematories in Colorado.


"My Aurora ally, former Rep. Debbie Stafford, fought for years to effect this simple change to protect families in their time of grief," said Rep. Todd. "We license everyone from manicurists to physicians to help protect citizens from scam artists, so it's high time that we provide that same level of accountability with funeral directors and mortuaries. No one wants to be concerned with the mishandling of their loved ones upon death."


HB 1339 (Green/Boyd) brings the definition of "clinical social practice" in line with current practice, and helps alleviate confusion as to the types of continuing education and licensing requirements needed for clinical social workers.