Midterm report | PostIndependent.com

Midterm report

Bob Rankin
Under the Dome
Rep. Bob Rankin

I was totally saturated this weekend reading and preparing for “figure setting” next week for the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, and the Department of Education. So rather than get creative, I’m passing along excerpts from the Senate and House Republicans’ recent reports. We are often accused of spending all of our time on partisan bickering, and the press likes to play up our conflicts. Many of the bills we will pass are bipartisan and work to improve the lives and security of all Colorado citizens. I hope you enjoy some news from the Capitol.

From the Denver Post

Still pending for the second half of the session:

• The state’s budget, aptly named the Long Bill, which details Colorado’s spending for the next year. With divided chambers, negotiations between the two parties are likely to be more intense than in prior years when Democrats held complete control.

• A series of bills still awaiting debate address student testing. Lawmakers from both parties have expressed concern that Colorado students spend too much time taking standardized tests. Lawmakers will consider bills to limit testing to federal minimums and to eliminate some tests for the latest grades in high school.

From the Colorado Senate’s recent report

More than two dozen legislators — Republicans and Democrats, representatives and senators — stood in a crescent formation behind the bipartisan collection of Sens. Nancy Todd and Laura Woods, Rep. Mike Foote and House Majority Leader Crisanta Duran. The foursome joined arms at the lectern in the state Capitol, an impromptu symbol they’re united in helping Colorado’s middle class do better by connecting training and education with better jobs and fatter paychecks.

Lawmakers’ to-do list in the last half of the legislative session is topped by making good on both parties’ pledge to help those lagging behind in Colorado’s fast-growing economy. Thursday they presented 10 jobs bills collectively called the Colorado Ready to Work Package.

Colorado seemed poised to strengthen protections for foster kids Wednesday, with unanimous bipartisan passage of House Bill 15-1078 by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

The bill, sponsored by Sens. Laura Woods, R-Arvada, and Cheri Jahn, D-Wheatridge, and Reps. Dan Nordberg, R-Colorado Springs, and Beth McCann, D-Denver, could significantly reduce human trafficking in Colorado by requiring that Colorado’s Department of Human Services file a missing persons report with law enforcement and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children within 24 hours of learning that a child in its custody is unaccounted for.

From the Colorado House Republican Mid Term Report

HB-1043 — (Saine & McCann/Cooke & Johnston)

Gives district attorneys the option to prosecute a third DUI in seven years if certain aggravators are present or a fourth in a lifetime as a Class 4 felony.

Passed the House Judiciary Committee and Referred to Finance.

HB-1031 — (Windholz/Todd)

Ensures Colorado regulates and taxes powdered alcohol like liquid alcohol once it receives federal approval.

Passed in the Senate and awaiting repassage in the House

So far as of Monday, March 9, 479 bills have been introduced, 190 of which are bipartisan, and 97 have been postponed indefinitely (killed). We still have a long way to go.

My own bills are doing well. The most important are my Public Lands Bill (HB-1225) and a bill to more equitably fund rural and small school districts (HB-1201). I’m also carrying a number of bills for departments and several very important Joint Budget Committee bills. I’ll include a list of all my bills and their status next month.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve.

“Under the Dome” appears on the second Tuesday of the month. State Rep. Bob Rankin, a Carbondale Republican, is in his second term in the state Legislature representing House District 57, which includes Garfield, Rio Blanco and Moffat counties.

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