The first round of bill titles has been filed and special interest groups are going into helicopter mode as they hover around the Capitol searching for reasons to support or oppose bills.

It always amazes me how the best intentions on an issue can generate hostile emotions – one of my bills has already created a firestorm.

HB 20-1011 (“Concerning the Creation of the “Helping Others Manage Early Childhood Act ‘HOME Act’”) has ruffled the feathers of the home school community (led by a couple of home schooling legislators on my side of the aisle).

The bill is a public awareness campaign to inform the public about three things: What is expected from early childhood providers, what is expected from children by the time they enter kindergarten and what resources are available throughout the state.

Plus, it informs interested persons how to become licensed early childhood educators as well as what is involved in opening a licensed early childhood center.

Pretty straightforward and non-controversial, right? Wrong!

The kerfuffle was initiated over the word target in the bill I understand that was not the best choice of words. My bad. We can simply replace the word target with “serve as a resource to” and move on, right? After all, the intent of the bill is to get information out to the public about what resources are available and how to access them. So, it seems to me, the bill would be to the advantage of the home school community.

Long story short – after a heated discussion with the two legislators and a long conversation with the attorney for the entire home school community, I think we have at least reached a compromise on the language.

Time will tell, but the bill has bi-partisan support and support from the governor’s office, so it will probably pass in spite of the kerfuffle.

I have several other bills coming up soon in their respective committees.

HB 20-1032 would change the timing of education standards review from every 6 years for all of them to one-third of them every 2 years.

HB 20-1016 would provide assistance to preschool programs desiring to elevate their rating in the Colorado Shines quality ratings.

HB 20-1053 will make it easier for individuals to attain early childhood teacher certification.

HB 20-1093 would give counties the authority to regulate a business.

And, HB 20-1043 will correct a glitch in HB 19-1005 from last session. I am working on a couple of other bills, but I have until the end of January to get them in the hopper.

The Colorado Education Association’s helicopter is hovering over a bill (SB 20-074) to set aside funding to reward highly effective teachers.

The teachers’ union always asks for more money, but they are objecting to this bill because it discriminates between highly effective, effective and not so effective teachers. The supporters of the bill strongly believe we should reward exceptional teachers and not reward mediocrity. (A recent poll found 73% of Coloradans support giving highly effective teachers a $2,000 bonus.) Despite the poll, watch for members of the teachers’ union to demonstrate against this one.

One other major kerfuffle looming on the horizon is the abolishment of the death penalty. According to a recent poll, nearly 80% of the citizens of Colorado are in favor of retaining the death penalty.

However, the D’s are in control and they have decided that the death penalty needs to be abolished, similar to how they fixed the statewide vote on oil and gas from 2019.

The citizens of Colorado have two D’s on their side – Sen. Fields, whose son was murdered before he could testify in a trial, and Rep. Sullivan, whose son was one of the victims in the Aurora Theatre shooting.

The R’s are outnumbered in this fight, so we will have to watch from the sidelines as the D’s fight this battle amongst themselves.

Please feel free to call my office in the Capitol at 303-866-2747 or send me an e-mail: wilsonforhd60@gmail.com or james.wilson.house@state.co.us.

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