Colorado Budget & Legislative Agenda
The Legislative Session began on January 8th! Although the Joint Budget Committee has been meeting for the past two months, the momentum of being back in the Capitol with our colleagues and introducing legislation to address the needs of the state is very exciting! This session we are focused on helping Coloradans recover from the floods and wildfires and enhancing the economic security of all Coloradans.
Thanks to your continued support, I will be able to carry legislation on the following topics:
- Expand access to affordable and quality child care. In some instances, Colorado parents pay as much as $14,000 per child per year for quality child care and these high costs have not only impacted low-income families but many middle income families as well. The time is now to develop a comprehensive plan to drive these high costs down for parents who are working to balance their careers and family life.
- Create a grant program that will invest in the Colorado Preschool Program to increase the quality of early childhood education across Colorado. As more Colorado children are finding themselves in poverty, investments in early childhood education will ensure they are ready to enter kindergarten on an "even playing field."
- Expand the availability of low to moderate income housing through tax credits for developers, and, invest in low interest revolving loan funds to build more housing.
- Develop a statewide plan to address food desserts and ensure Colorado families have access to fresh and healthy food.
- Build more electric car charging stations to continue to diversify our state's energy portfolio.
- Establish and invest in a low interest loan fund that will work with the Colorado Creative Districts to develop infrastructure for economic development.
- Give local governments more discretion to set the times that bars and restaurants sell alcohol due to the needs of their community. This bill is in response to the recent violence in Lower Downtown when establishments all close at one time.
There will also be several pieces of legislation that will be associated with putting together this year's budget through our usual Committee process.
A message from Rep. Crisanta Duran about this year's historic legislative session:
We kicked off this year's legislative session with the promise that everyone who works hard and plays by the rules should be able to have access to economic opportunity and the American dream. It has truly been a historic session. With your support, I worked to:
- Balance Colorado's budget by investing in economic development, job creation and protecting our state's most vulnerable - seniors, children and the developmentally disabled - with bipartisan support. The budget also increased Colorado's rainy day fund and paid off loans and debt obligations.
- Pass the Colorado Careers Act that will invest almost 4 million dollars into workforce development to give Coloradans tools to succeed and the ability to find stable employment.
- Invest 4 million dollars into the Auraria Campus Library Renovation project.
- Extend Tax Credits for Electric and Natural Gas Vehicles to encourage access to affordable "green" technologies for all Coloradans. I also passed legislation to remove HOA barriers to electric car vehicle owners by requiring tenant access to an electric outlet or vehicle charging equipment. The bill allows the owner or tenant to be charged by their HOA for the costs associated with the equipment.
- Encourage access to Renewable Energy by increasing Colorado's standard and creating stability in the market for companies to invest in solar, wind and other clean energies in the rural areas of our state. Consumers can't be charged more than a 2% increase on their energy bills, which is estimated to be less than $2 per month.
- Invest almost 3 million dollars into Diversifying the Economies of Rural Colorado. The Department of Local Affairs will use these dollars to examine the economies of rural Colorado where there is high unemployment and a dependence on a single employer. Passed legislation that will allow Fort Lyon to be used as a homeless treatment center.
- Allow the Office of Economic Development to invest in Infrastructure Development for Creative Districts, like the Santa Fe Arts District or the River North Art District RINO.
- Collect data through the Secretary of State's Office of minority, women, disabled and veteran owned Colorado businesses in an effort to utilize this information for Economic Business Planning.
* Develop the Quality Early Childhood Education Grant Program and invest 2 million dollars to increase access to affordable and quality childcare for Colorado families.
- Create a Comprehensive Sexuality Education Grant Program for school districts that wish to teach age-appropriate, evidence based and culturally sensitive curriculum. This effort will address Colorado's teenage pregnancy problem by encouraging abstinence but also ensuring that those young adults who choose to engage in sexual activity will know how to protect themselves from pregnancy and disease.
- Pass Colorado ASSET to allow undocumented students to receive in-state tuition to attend Colorado colleges and universities.
- Support Driver's Licenses for all Coloradans, including undocumented persons, to protect public safety.
- Give a Raise to State Employees who have not seen a pay increase for four years. Encourage public safety by passing a bill to examine the staffing levels of Correctional Officers and paying them a fair wage for overtime worked.
Because of your continued support, I have been able to accomplish these goals. It is truly an honor to serve and I'm proud to bring the values of our state forward.
May 21, 2013
Awards & Recognitions:
- Denver Democrats Pat Schroeder Families First Award
- Colorado Alliance for Retired Americans Certificate of Appreciation
- Metropolitan State University of Denver Legislator of the Year
- University of Colorado Alumni Legislative Award
- Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition Legislative Award for Championing State Policies for Fair Immigration and Higher Education
- CLLARO Roger Cisneros Poder Award
- Denver Women's Commission & Colorado's Women's Chamber of Commerce Legislative Award
- Planned Parenthood Champion of Choice
- Colorado Association for Bilingual Education 2013 Federico Pena Community Leader Award
- Health Care For All 2013 Legislative Hero
- COLOR Legislative Champion Award