Senator Gail Schwartz unveils job creation package of bills for 2012
Today-State Senator Gail Schwartz (D-Snowmass) released her 2012 job package. The bills are summarized below and are featured as part of the “Colorado Works” job package that the Colorado Senate Democrats recently unveiled for the upcoming session. Senator Schwartz offered the following comment on the bills:
“I look forward to working with all of my colleagues, regardless of party, to build upon progress made over the past session. We must focus on legislation to strengthen Colorado’s economy, protect our state’s natural resources, and improve access to quality education and healthcare in our rural communities.”
Below is a summarization of Senator Schwartz’s bills:
Growing Rural Jobs Act: Colorado is faced with both a crisis and opportunity due to four million acres of standing dead timber. As industry, state and federal stakeholders focus on solutions, this summer’s commissioned Forest Health Working Group put together a series of recommendations for how the legislature could best address this serious issue. The aim is to reduce fire risk posed by the standing dead timber in a productive way that creates jobs and energy for our state.
Building Excellent Schools and Jobs Act: Established in 2008 through Senator Schwartz’s legislation, the Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) program has provided nearly $1 billion in funding in the form of local bond issues and competitive grants to underfunded school districts and charter schools. This year’s legislation seeks to renew the BEST program to further address capital needs primarily in our rural schools. BEST is helping Colorado’s education system compete while fostering job growth in school construction. Since 2008, the BEST program has built 12 new schools in 10 counties of Senate District 5.
The Electronic Recycling Jobs Act: This bill will help safely dispose of electronic devices and, in turn, recover resources and create more jobs in recycling. The bill proposes a ban on electronic waste in landfills statewide due to the effects of the harmful chemicals in electronics, as they cause potential harm to our soil, groundwater and air. Recyclers will expand their operations and services in the state, creating more jobs in the industry as this bill drives more electronics material into the recycling market.
Internet Jobs Act: This bill addresses the need for adequate and affordable broadband connectivity for Colorado’s unserved, underserved, and noncompetitive rural areas. The bill recommends the consolidation and deployment of state broadband resources to help meet these rural connectivity needs. Adequate broadband access is critical for students, families, health care providers and businesses, and most of all internet connectivity will ensure stronger economies in Colorado’s rural communities.
Local Foods/Local Jobs Act: Building on last year’s efforts to support local, small-scale growers and producers, this bill would enable Coloradans to produce and sell nonhazardous, home-made, value-added goods from their home kitchens which will be exempt from health department inspection. Small businesses that promote locally sourced foods can get a strong start due to reduced regulatory burdens.
Additionally, Senator Schwartz will sponsor a transportation interim committee bill to update Neighborhood Electric Vehicle statutes; as well as a bill which will reflect the commission’s hard work this summer for the Department of Natural Resources merger bringing Wildlife and Parks departments together.