When the 2014 legislative session began, I was honored to serve as the youngest woman and first Latina to Chair the Joint Budget Committee.

While I thought I might be attacked for my old "big hair" pics, I never expected what was in store.

Seven months of hard work, compromise and negotiation have finally come to an end with the adjournment of the legislative session.

Wondering how I feel?

It was all worth it.

Even in challenging moments, I remained focused on what was most important - YOU.

The veteran in Colorado Springs in need of job training. The high school student in Fort Collins who needs tuition assistance to go to college. The woman in Pueblo who wants to start a business but needs the tools to succeed. The teen in Arvada in need of mental health services after being bullied by peers. The Grand Junction parents struggling to stay in the workforce without access to affordable child care. The Lyons family who lost their home due to the flood.

The lives and futures of all these Coloradans, and hundreds of thousands more, are being made more secure because of the budget we passed this year.

We are elected to represent the people of Colorado and bring their voices forward. This year's budget does just that.

Please help me to continue to bring forward the voice of Coloradans to the state Capitol and donate $5, $25 or whatever you can afford today to my re-election campaign.

It is truly an honor to serve you, to have chaired one of the legislatureís most meaningful committees, and to have helped write and pass a budget for the people of Colorado.

Sincerely,
Crisanta

P.S. Saturday, August 23rd from 7:30pm - 10pm will be my Birthday Celebration & Voter Appreciation Party! Please save the date! Additional details will be forthcoming.


A PRODUCTIVE SESSION

96% of bills that passed had bipartisan support.

LEGISLATIVE HIGHLIGHTS

As the prime sponsor and in collaboration with other legislators, the following bills have been signed, or will be signed, by Governor Hickenlooper:

Affordable Child Care HB1317

This bill will enable more Colorado families to go from welfare to work. In some instances, Colorado parents pay as much as $14,000 per child per year for quality child care. HB 1317 creates tiered reimbursement programs that incentivize and reward successful, high-quality child care programs and ensure that families with lower incomes receive more state dollars to help struggling parents remain in the workforce. The bill also lowers copayments for families with incomes below the federal poverty level and implements policies that support parentsí efforts to find and keep a job. Thanks to the Colorado Children's Campaign, the Colorado Center on Law & Policy, and child care providers across the state who weighed in on this policy.

Increased Access to Reasonably Priced Housing HB1017

This bill increases the availability of reasonably priced housing through tax credits for developers and the establishment of a housing investment trust fund and housing development grant fund. The Joint Budget Committee invested an additional $4.2 million towards building or redeveloping affordable housing in Colorado. Thanks to housing advocacy groups, developers, the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, and the Colorado Housing Finance Authority for your strong support of this legislation.

Promotion of Electric Car Charging Stations Through Grants SB28

Last session, I passed legislation to give consumers a tax credit when they purchase cars that have a positive impact on the environment. This sessionís bill will build more electric car charging stations in public places, continuing my work to promote electric cars.

Colorado Creative Districts HB1093

This bill established the Creative District Community Loan Fund and made an investment of $100,000. The Office of Economic Development will make loans or loan guarantees from the newly created Creative District Community Loan Fund to develop, construct or redevelop commercial real estate, mixed used projects or community facilities for state-certified creative districts like the Santa Fe Art District or the RINO Art District.

Authorize Shooting Range to Be Built in Grand Junction HB1275

This bill authorizes the Parks & Wildlife Commission to purchase property to build a multi-use shooting facility in Grand Junction. As a sixth-generation Coloradan from a family of hunters, I know the importance of continuing to promote outdoor activities that are part of our stateís heritage.

Medical Marijuana Health Effects Grant Program SB155

This bill invests dollars to study the potential therapeutic and medical benefits of marijuana and help physicians better understand the biochemical effects of prescribed marijuana.

Recreational Marijuana Tax Proposal SB215

This bill invests recreational marijuana tax revenues into substance abuse treatment and efforts to reduce substance abuse among adults and teenagers, including an advertising campaign to warn Coloradans about the effects of marijuana. The bill also invests dollars in the development of a financial services network for marijuana businesses.

Click here to see all legislative accomplishments by the Colorado House Democrats

BUDGET HIGHLIGHTS

As chairwoman of the Joint Budget Committee, Iím especially proud of this year's budget, which will help every community in Colorado. Whether itís assisting with flood and wildfire recovery, making historic investments in our education system, or increasing economic opportunity and security for all Coloradans, this bill will help move our state forward long into the future.

This yearís budget:

  • Commits $144 million to recovery from the floods and wildfires of 2013
  • Invests $44 million in wildfire prevention, including nearly $20 million for aircraft to assist with early wildfire detection
  • Increases state funding for education by nearly $400 per pupil and implements important reforms
  • Boosts funding to our colleges and universities by $100 million
  • Implements economic development programs to boost key industries, create good-paying jobs and build a strong, sustainable economy
  • Increases funding for workforce development programs by nearly half a million dollars
  • Increases reimbursements for social services providers and gives a lift to Coloradoís hard-working public employees
  • Increases the state reserve by more than $130 million, to 6.5 percent, to prepare for future emergencies and economic downturns
  • Boosts investments in women's health services and family planning. For the first time, provides funding to ensure low-income undocumented women have access to prenatal care
  • Invests in vulnerable populations to provide services for victims of domestic violence and reduce child abuse and homelessness

Click here to see the complete budget narrative

Colorado Budget Invests in Girls and Women to Reach Their Full Potential

By Alvina Vasquez
Communications Director, Strong Colorado

Click here to see Huffington Post article

 


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
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Contact Crisanta

crisantad@gmail.com