Happy opening day! Now that baseball season is back, summer is officially around the corner and the legislative session is in its final stretch. While the General Assembly can unite around the Rockies, tensions are high in the Capitol. Both Republicans and Democrats are committed to passing their priority legislation, but split chambers requires bipartisanship and compromise. As always, we will continue to monitor key bills and report on all the necessary details.
Under the Gold Dome
This week, the Senate passed Colorado’s state budget (the Long Bill) on a 28-5 vote. The majority of members of the Senate Education Committee were opposed to the bill. The Joint Budget Committee (JBC), which was responsible for crafting the $27 billion budget, unified around their work and urged legislators to oppose any amendments. Stand’s Government Affairs team also worked closely with Senators to ensure that amendments to defund PARCC were defeated. Now that the bill has passed both chambers, the JBC will meet in a conference committee to determine if any of the amendments that were approved in the House and Senate should remain in the bill or be removed.
On April 5, the School Finance Act (HB 1422) passed the House on third reading with a 46-18 vote. The legislation was able to avoid another funding shortfall, holding the negative factor to $831 million and increasing average per-pupil funding to $7,424. Overall, we are pleased that education funding remained intact, and will continue to track the School Finance Act’s progress as it makes its way through the Senate in coming weeks.
On April 11, HB16-1423 by Reps. Alec Garnett (D-Denver) and Paul Lundeen (R-Monument) will be heard before the House Education Committee. The bill would to give guidelines to schools and districts about how they should maintain the security of a student’s personally identifiable information. Not only would software providers be unable to sell such information, the bill also sets requirements around student data is destroyed after a contract ends.
We expect a bill pertaining to charter school funding to be introduced in the Senate early next week. Sen. Owen Hill (R-Colorado Springs) and Reps. Angela Williams (D-Denver) and Lang Sias (R-Arvada) have signed on as sponsors. The bill, which could see some pushback from opponents, would require districts to share revenues equally among traditional and charter schools. While many districts already do this, a great deal do not. As a reminder, charter schools are public schools just like any other district-run school.