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Bills progressing, enjoying the work

Bills for which I am a prime sponsor are moving ahead in the legislative process.

HB12-1073 which will give the 6th Judicial District another judge, carried by Sen. Roberts in the Senate, has passed through third reading of that body and we are scheduled to be with Gov. Hickenlooper this coming Friday at 11:30 a.m. for his signing. This bill takes a judge position that was originally designated for the 1st Judicial District in Jefferson County and gives it to the 6th Judicial District comprised of La Plata, Archuleta and San Juan counties. The 6th Judicial District is backlogged with cases and urgently needs another judge while the 1st Judicial District has no need for a judge, thus being a win win situation for both districts. It did not cost more money, so the state is also happy.

HB12-1290 is a bill that was suggested by the weed and conservation districts of the state and will allow Colorado citizens to check a box on their income tax form to donate to a fund for the education of Coloradoans about noxious weeds and their control. This bill, known as “Colorado for Healthy Landscapes,” has been approved by the House Finance Committee and the House Appropriations Committee, and is scheduled to be heard on the House floor for second readings this week. The prime sponsor of the bill in the Senate is Sen. Lois Tochtrop (D) of Thornton.

SB12-57 is a bill that will allow school districts to waive the requirement for a completed teacher preparation program or a baccalaureate degree when hiring teachers of Native American languages. The prime sponsor of this bill is Sen. Suzanne Williams (D) from Aurora. This bill has gone through all of the steps, was passed out of the Senate and has now been assigned to the House Education Committee where I will take over. There is a critical shortage of Native language teachers, and this will help to satisfy the demand. The State Board of Education shall establish a minimum set of rules for these teachers, one of which is that they must have a partnering licensed teacher, and other requirements that will protect the integrity of the teaching profession. I look forward to working with Ernest House, Jr., Secretary of the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs and a member of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, as we move this bill through the House.

HB12-1159, which will allow counties to consider electing County Commissioners by district rather than at large, was heard by the Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee and, after testimony, was laid over for voting at an undetermined time. This is a good thing because we thought it was going to be killed in this committee — known as the “kill committee.” I have a very good relationship with all of the Democrat senators on this committee, and it may pay off.

I am really enjoying my work as a Colorado State Representative.

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