Jim Wilson

The Joint Budget Committee’s supplemental bills cleared the House this past week. Supplemental bills are used to “true up” departmental budgets from under or over estimations on last year’s budget “guesstimates.”

There were two supplementals that generated a lot of debate. One dealt with the Governor’s office; the Governor is asking for additional funds to pay the Lt. Governor for serving as the head of the newly-formed “Saving the People Money on Health Care” office.

In prior administrations, Lt. Governor stipends have been paid out of the Governor’s existing budget.

The second supplemental to be challenged was the K-12 education budget.  Due to a smaller number of students than anticipated and larger funding coming from local sources, the education budget needed to be reduced by $77 million.

The reduction created an inequity between districts; winners and losers, if you will. An amendment was added to the bill allowing for retention of $12.9 million by the districts. For the losers it slowed the flow a little, but it did not stop the bleeding.  Several of my school districts in HD 60 will feel the pain of the reduction.

Supplementals are one part of what I call the Big Four, involving school finance dollars this year.

The second big item will be funding full-day kindergarten, at a price tag of more than $233 million. The School Finance Bill will follow shortly and, depending on what is included in the package, the price tag could exceed $350 million.

The final part of the Big Four will be the Long Bill (the entire state budget).  K-12 education will make up between $7-8 billion (yes, that is billion) of the over $30 billion state budget package.

It has been another busy week for me personally with two more bills advancing out of the House Education Committee.

HB 19-1137 (Expand Teacher Cadet Program to Include Early Childhood Education) and SB 19-009 (Financial Incentives for Rural Educators) both advanced on unanimous votes. The bills help to address the overall teacher shortage in Colorado with a specific focus on rural needs.

Trust me, not all bills are looked upon in a positive manner by both sides of the aisle. Currently, two bills continue to fuel the feud fires at the Capitol.

HB 19-1032 (the controversial “Comprehensive Human Sexuality Education” bill) made it out of House Appropriations and onto the House floor on Friday. After a long (like seven hours and 67 amendments drafted) second reading debate and a host of rejected Republican amendments, HB 19-1032 passed on a painfully divided party line vote.  Many critics believe there will be a constitutional challenge to the bill as passed.

Planned Parenthood basically wrote the bill that advances the LGBTQ agenda. Comprehensive sex education is one thing; indoctrination is another.

Ground zero for HB 19-1032 will still be in the Senate where the Ds only hold a 19-16 majority. If you still want to share your thoughts on the bill, it is not too late to call and or e-mail the Senate sponsors.

Sponsors are Sen. Nancy Todd (nancy.todd.senate@state.co.us, 303-866-3432) and Sen. Don Coram (don.coram.senate@state.co.us, 303-866-4884).

The second feud bill, (SB 19-042: National Popular Vote), continues to fly through the Democrat-dominated legislature.

One side of the battling forces is comfortable with the 10 most populous states (who control over 50 percent of the popular vote) to dominate the presidential election.

The other side is fighting to protect the Electoral College system that has protected the less populous states’ votes since it was put into place by our Founding Fathers. Big battle, but a predictable outcome.

As tensions rise under the Golden Dome, if you have questions about bills or committee hearings or would like to schedule a visit to the Golden Dome (after all, it is the people’s house), please feel free to call my office in the Capitol at 303-866-2747 or send me an e-mail at wilsonforhd60@gmail.com or james.wilson.house@state.co.us.

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