Last week I mentioned SB17-092on peace officer recruiting. I am pleased to report we've received endorsement on the bill from the Colorado Association of Police Chiefs, as well as significant support from the Arvada Police Department and the Jefferson County Sheriff's office. If you are interested in coming to the hearing, it will take place on Monday, February 6 at 1:30 pm in the State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee, room 357.
My other bill introduced and assigned to committee is SB17-085to address the affordable housing crisis. During the campaign, I heard repeatedly from voters that the state legislature needed to do something about housing. Current demand for housing is outstripping the available supply, consequently driving up prices. The average home price in the Metro area is $500,000, and the average cost to rent a home is not affordable either. This is well beyond the area median income of most working families and there are very few resources available to address the problem.
The bill proposes increasing the document recording fee (currently at $1) for the purpose of financing a statewide attainable housing investment fund. The funds will go to the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority, an enterprise program created by the general assembly in 1982 that works to address the shortage of affordable housing in the state. According to their website, CHFA assists with home buying, rental housing, as well as business lending.
Opening the doors for people to purchase homes provides many economic benefits. According to a new study, "Driving a Vibrant Economy: Housing's Role in Colorado's Economic Success," the economic impact of home building in 2015 was $10.8 billion. New home construction employs 151,000 jobs or 5.9% of the state's workforce, and generates $2.45 billion towards local governments. And, generally speaking, attainable housing is a critical component to healthy, stable communities.
If you are interested in this topic and/or would like to support the bill, the hearing will be on Monday, February 13 at 1:30 pm in the State, Veterans & Military Affairs committee, in room 357. And please let us know what you think!
Secretary of the Senate, Effie Ameen, accepting my last regular bill due on Friday "across the desk"
What we heard this week
Most of the communication this week was about SB17-005 Handgun Safety Training For School Employees. The bill would permit certain school employees to carry concealed handguns in schools. The bill passed out of the State Affairs Committee 3 to 2 and, according to the senate calendar, will head to the floor for second reading tomorrow. It is possible, however, that the bill will be laid over. Check out the senate calendarfor updates on bills and if you'd like to listen to the debate remotely, here is a link to watch and listen.
Overwhelmingly, we heard strong opposition to the bill. Teachers, school employees and parents feel that guns in schools compromise our children's safety. Many of you mentioned the security risks in storing the weapon and how the weapon could end up in the wrong hands. We heard arguments on how this could create more confusion when law enforcement arrives on scene, and how we are better off using using our precious resources to focus on programs and initiatives that support learning. I will try and have an open mind as we debate the merits of the bill, but the arguments against it are rather compelling, and I do not support the bill at this time.
In addition, we heard from a number of you in support of the repeal of the 2013 law that limits the amount of ammunition a firearm magazine can hold. Also, bicyclists have been urging me to approve of a change to the operation of a bicycle approaching an intersection. And many of you have expressed concern over the Governor's proposalto cut in half funding for the Senior Homestead Property Tax Exemption.
Thank you for communicating about these issues and please let me know if you have thoughts on any other bills.
With Rep. Matt Gray and his wife Katie at the
Metro North Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner
Rachel Zenzinger won election to the Colorado State Senate, representing District 19, in November 2016. Previously, she served in the same capacity during the 2014 legislative session. During the upcoming, 71st General Assembly, she will serve on the Senate Education Committee, Transportation Committee and the Student Safety and Youth in Crisis Committee.
Coffee With Constituents returns to Indian Tree
You may recall that when I served in the legislature in 2014, we met once a month for an early morning coffee meeting to discuss current events, topics of interest, and bills that were making their way through the legislature. We are happy to announce that this popular event will return!
Join us for "Coffee With Constituents" on the second Friday of each month from 7 a.m. - 8 a.m. at the Indian Tree Golf Course, 7555 Wadsworth Blvd, Arvada, for complimentary coffee and great conversation. There is an option to purchase breakfast if interested. The first event will be on Friday, February 10. See you then!
Sean Bradley, CEO of the Urban League discussing ESSA at DEI Panel
Tracking your Senator
On Tuesday I was pleased to welcome the US36 Mayors and Commissioners to the Capitol for their legislative day at the Capitol... I also joined the Colorado Oil and Gas Association for their day at the Capitol... I met with a group of citizens from Wolf PAC concerned about free and fair elections... I attended the CO Association of Home Builders legislative reception... I attended a luncheon hosted by the Rose Community Foundation to discuss the history and current landscape of early childhood issues in Colorado... I met with former senator Moe Keller and constituent Jessy Hennesy on behalf of Mental Health Colorado to discuss mental and behavioral health issues... I attended the Colorado Hospital Association legislative reception... We celebrated Military Day at the Capitol on Friday where we welcomed many special guests... I attended a panel on the Every Student Succeeds Act at the Democratic Education Initiative... I attened the Arvada Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards Dinner... I attended the Metro North Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards Dinner.
Emcee and Arvada Chamber award winner, Ron Slinger at annual dinner
La Patisserie Francaise owner, Sadie Russo, accepting Business of the Year award from Arvada Chamber
Community Reach CEO & award winner, Rick Doucet (left), along with Wayne Dodge, and Lisa Brody at the Metro North Chamber Dinner
Harriett Hall, CEO of Jefferson Center for Mental Health, accepting Non-Profit Business of Year award
Can you help us with a contribution? While the campaign activity has concluded, we still need your help so that we may continue keeping in touch with SD19 voters. Your contribution helps us pay for brochures, direct mail, the website, newsletter, and other tools to help make voters aware of what is happening down at the State Capitol. THANKS!