On Track And Moving Forward
Senate Democrats are moving forward to help Coloradans find work with our "Colorado Works" plan. At a time when nearly 250,000 Coloradans face unemployment, it is vital that we work to remove barriers and help Coloradans find employment. The Employment Opportunity Act (Senate Bill 3) -- stewarded by Senator Morgan Carroll -- removes the link between one's credit history and ability to get hired. Right now, studies show that about 60% of employers are running credit reports and using the reports as a factor in hiring decisions.
The practice of tying the two together creates a detrimental cycle. Here's why: When a person is unemployed his or her credit history likely suffers; and when a person's credit history suffers, he or she will likely not get hired with employers who use credit as a hiring factor. It is dangerous to use a powerful tool like a credit report in a way it wasn't intended. I will work every day to ensure that my constituents' rights aren't abused. That's why I am in support of the Employment Opportunity Act and eager to make it law.
Creating A Sustainable Economy
Higher education budgets have continually been hit hard throughout the past years, but right now we're working on legislation that will generate new revenues for public, state colleges. Senate Bill 15 establishes standard rate tuition that can help Colorado rebuild its economy in a sustainable way by building an educated workforce. It allows students whom we've already invested K-12 dollars in to continue their education on their own dime.
Under Senate Bill 15 undocumented students would be eligible for the third tuition type, standard rate tuition, if the college opts to use the rate. The rate is substantially higher than in-state tuition, but less than out-of-state tuition. It does not give in-state tuition to undocumented students. The legislation goes further to help fix the problem of undocumented immigration by requiring students who receive the standard rate tuition apply for citizenship. It could result in more than $1.3 million in revenues for Colorado higher education institutions, without requiring additional appropriations from the state.
Progress on my legislation
On Wednesday of this week, Senate Bill 33 passed without amendment in the senate. This bill is meant to mitigate cases of child abuse or neglect by recording incidents of near fatalities or egregious abuse to minors with the department of human services child fatality review team. It is my hope that with the passing of this bill, children facing abuse or neglect will be assisted sooner and future cases of abuse can be prevented.
In addition Senate Bill 44, the Theft of Transit bill, passed unanimously this past week and will soon be on its way to the Appropriations Committee. This bill will reclassify the failure to present a valid ticket for public transportation as a traffic infraction rather than a theft. I believe that this classification is more representative of the crime being committed.
Senate Bill 131, the Designated Beneficiary Agreement bill passed 6-1 in the Judiciary Committee this week. This bill clarifies some of the language of the Designated Beneficiary Agreement Act from 2009. It will be up for reading in the senate next week.
My final bill coming up for discussion is Senate Bill 68, commonly knows as the No Trans Fats in Schools bill. This bill has received a lot of attention from various sources and it will be reviewed in the Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Energy Committee next week. For more information, you can read the bill here, or read Michael Roberts' article in the Westword.
Spending Time With My Constituents
I met with member of the Colorado Bicycle Summit at the Capitol on Tuesday morning. It was great to meet members from our Senate District 34!