On March 9, I had the pleasure of attending my first bill signing ceremony of the 2016 session. Gov. John Hickenlooper signed House Bill 16-1008 into law, a bill that allows buses to operate on highway shoulders. Hopefully the need for buses to do so will be rare, but there might be times when adverse conditions, such as icy roads or accidents, create a situation where running buses on the shoulder might relieve congestion and help get commuters to their destinations in decent time.
Also, we are holding a Boulder town hall meeting March 12, 10:00 a.m. until noon, at the Boulder Chautauqua (900 Baseline Road) in its Community House. Speaker of the House Dickey Lee Hullinghorst and Representative KC Becker will also be on hand, and all three of us will speak and field questions. The meeting is free and open to the public, and I hope to see you there!
Our second town hall meeting of the year is coming up soon! For the details:
WHEN: Saturday, Feb. 20, 10:00-noon
WHERE: Boulder City Council Chambers, 1777 Broadway (SW corner of Broadway and Canyon)
WHO: Speaker of the House Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, Senator Rollie Heath, Representative KC Becker (pictured above from left)
All of our town hall meetings are free and open to the public. Each legislator will speak briefly at the start of the meeting, but we save most of the rest of the time for questions and comments from attendees. Town hall meetings give constituents a great chance to meet and speak directly with their elected officials, and for legislators to hear directly from constituents. Handout literature will be available. Between information from legislators, input from constituents, and literature, our meetings tend to be quite informative and normally produce robust discussions. I hope you can attend!
The 2016 legislative session began on January 13, and we're up and running with plenty of bills and big issues to talk about. So, politically involved people from Senate District 18 might be interested in attending my first town hall meeting of the session, with the details as follows:
WHEN: Saturday, Jan. 23, 10:00 a.m. until noon.
WHERE: Boulder Chamber of Commerce, 2440 Pearl St. in Boulder
WHO: Senator Rollie Heath, Speaker of the House Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, Representative KC Becker
Our town hall meetings are always free and open to the public. Typically, the legislators will speak for a few minutes at the start of the meeting, but we then open it up for questions and comments from attendees. We'll also have handouts available, so between the discussions and the literature, our meetings tend to be quite informatve.
If you'd like to do a little research before the meeting, all bills that have been formally introduced can be found on the General Assembly Web site at www.leg.state.co.us. On this site, you can also access contact information for every legislator, links to Colorado's Constitution and statutes, scheduling, committee information, and archives of bills from past sessions.
The 2015 legislative session is now history, and the numbers show that it was at least somewhat productive. Legislators introduced 682 bills this year, and 364 became law. Personally, I was a prime Senate sponsor of 18 bills, and nine of them became law. More importantly, the General Assembly worked together to craft a fair amount of successful legislation, on key issues such as K-12 school testing, workforce education and training, law enforcement relations with communities, and more. It wasn't all positive, but we got quite a bit accomplished.
The newsletter to follow was sent out in late May of 2015, and it provides a brief account of some of the highlights and lowlights of the session.
Sen. Heath and Rep. Singer talk with Channel 7 before the hearing on SB 15-048
Nearly one full month has passed in the 2015 legislative session, with mixed results to date, but hopes remaining for a productive session.
With split political control of our two legislative chambers, a fair number of bills are being approved or defeated on straight party-line votes. However, we are working on the broad issue of workforce development this year, which should be of bipartisan concern.
Unfortunately, a bill Rep. Jonathan Singer and I sponsored in the interest of child safety did not pass. SB 15-048 would have simply required criminal background checks for employees or volunteers with non-licensed private youth sports organizations, if they worked five days per month or more. Witnesses offered overwhelming support for the bill, but it was defeated in the Senate Judiciary Committee on a straight party-line vote.