The first session of the 72nd General Assembly ended May 3 and here we are in 2020 already gaveling in the second session.
This marks my last year in the state Legislature – I have already served 7 years of my 8-year term limit.
I purchased a statue of a bull rider to place on my desk this year. The inscription reads: “This is not my first rodeo – I have seen this bull before …” If what I am hearing is correct, there will be plenty to deal with during the 120-day session.
It will be interesting to see how many bills show up during the session. The annual totals for my 7 years (2013–present) have been 613, 621, 682, 685, 681, 720 and 587. If one does the math, it comes out to over 655 bills per year – an average of nearly 5½ bills for every day of the session.
Unfortunately, the bills are not evenly disbursed across the session. For example, last year’s low of 587 bills created a log jam with 296 (just over 50%) of the bills still requiring legislative action in the final 12 days of the session. There is no way it could get any worse, right?
Be sure to tune in…
The months between sessions were really busy. During the summer and fall I served on the Early Childhood Interim Committee, the Opioid & Other Substance Abuse Interim Committee, the Education Leadership Council and the School Finance Study Committee.
The School Finance Study Committee work turned out to be the most frustrating.
The current school finance act was instituted in 1994. True, the act has been altered and modified over the years, but Colorado’s educational landscape has changed considerably over the past 25 years.
The School Finance Study Committee was challenged to create a new finance formula for school districts. The committee struggled for 2 years, but this year a new formula was actually created.
However, the same educational groups who had clamored for change pushed back and essentially stopped the process. It was a classic case of “I’m all for change unless it’s my cheese that gets moved.”
In 2018, the results of the CMAS (Colorado Measures of Academic Success) indicated that 59.6% of all third graders were not proficient in reading, fourth grade Social studies scores indicated 77.6% did not meet expectations, in fifth grade science – 64.5% did not meet expectations and 64.2% of third graders did not meet expectations in math.
Where is the outrage? It seems to me that someone’s cheese needs to be moved …
One of the bills that will not show up during this upcoming session is a funding full-day Kindergarten bill.
For the first time in 6 years, I am not carrying a kindergarten bill – it finally passed last session.
The state is finally picking up the full kindergarten tab which frees up a lot of dollars in my school districts for their General Fund budgets. Be sure to check and see where your school district is spending those dollars.
I look forward to serving HD 60 in this last year of my final term. It has been such an honor to have been elected to represent this 4 county area.
My office will remain in Room 205 in the Capitol. Guided tours are available throughout the week. I highly recommend it - such a great experience.
As always, if you have questions about bills or committee hearings or would like to schedule a visit to the Golden Dome, please feel free to call my office in the Capitol at 303-866-2747 or send me an e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Watch for this column every week in this paper until we conclude the second session of the 72nd General Assembly in May.
Thank you for following us throughout the legislative session.
Look out 2020 – here we come.