Emily Anderson
Grand Junction, CO Colorado

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May 13, 2008
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Ritter to sign school, justice, ag bills today

GRAND JUNCTION " Gov. Bill Ritter will make a bipartisan effort to change K-12 content and assessment standards law today by signing Senate Bill 212 in Arvada.

The bill replaces high school CSAP testing with college entrance exams, asks the state Board of Education and Colorado Commission on Higher Education to create definitions for things like school readiness and looks to steer all K-12 education toward the goal of reaching college or the workforce. Sen. Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction, is one of the sponsors of the bill.

Ritter will sign three other bills into law at the Arvada ceremony " House Bills 1388, 1021 and 1364. Bill 1388 increases per pupil funding for school districts based on inflation, admits all the children on the Colorado Pre-School Program's waiting list into the program and offers enough state money to help school districts fund full-day kindergarten for 22,000 more children over five years. Bill 1021 sets aside state money for early kindergarten services for gifted children and 1364 is a data protocol bill for state agencies.

Ritter signed two school safety bills into law Tuesday. Senate Bill 1 will create a Colorado School Safety Resource Center within the state Department of Public Safety that will serve at least five school districts in its first year. One to three of those school districts will be selected to have electronic or digital maps of buildings created in order to help first responders to school emergencies find their way around the schools, according to House Bill 1267.

This afternoon, Ritter will sign six criminal justice bills and three agriculture bills. The bills include one sponsored by Penry and Republican Grand Junction Rep. Steve King that designates the bail set for a person arrested for driving under the influence and felony eluding at the same time at $50,000; a King-sponsored DNA preservation bill; and a bill sponsored by Rep. Bernie Buescher, D-Grand Junction, about the unclaimed property agriculture management fund.

Reach Emily Anderson at eanderson@gjfreepress.com.

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The Post Independent Updated May 13, 2008 07:33PM Published May 13, 2008 07:33PM Copyright 2008 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.