The Colorado Works Jobs Package Continues to Advance Through the Legislature
Click the video above to watch President Brandon Shaffer testify for the Colorado Business Retention and Expansion Act
DENVER ─ Three more bills from the Colorado Senate Democrats’ jobs agenda took a step forward today. Senate Bill 5, the Colorado Business Retention and Expansion Program, Senate Bill 144, the Office of Key Industries, and Senate Bill 139, The Colorado Job Support Act all passed on second reading today.
At the beginning of the 2012 legislative session, the Senate Democrats introduced the “Colorado Works Jobs Package” to create jobs and strengthen the economy. Although some of the Senate’s job initiatives have died in the House, the majority of the bills are still advancing through the legislature, and several have made their way to the Governor’s desk to become law.
Senate President Brandon Shaffer offered the following comment on the progress of the Colorado Works Jobs Package today:
“We have been working diligently in the Senate to pass these bills so that they can start benefiting citizens across the state. These bills are the product of innovative problem solving and will work to create new jobs, promote the state’s key industries, incentivize our workers and products, and ensure that every Coloradan has the opportunity to succeed. I’m proud of the progress we have made so far, and I look forward to seeing more of these bills signed into law.”
Below is a description of several of the jobs bills the Senate Majority has introduced, and the progress of those bills to date:
SB 1 - The HIRE Colorado Act
Over the past two years, the state of Colorado spent $794 million on contracts with out-of-state companies. This bill, sponsored by Senator Evie Hudak (D-Westminster), is designed to create jobs for Coloradans by giving a bid preference on state contracts to companies that agree to employ 90 percent Colorado workers for the project on which they are bidding. Many neighboring states already have similar bid preferences in place. The HIRE (Helping Individuals Realize Employment) Colorado act will make Colorado more competitive with those states while offering out-of-state companies a new incentive to bid on Colorado contracts. This will ensure that state revenue is being used to create jobs here in Colorado. This legislation passed through the Senate and will now be heard in the House of Representatives.
SB 4 - The Buy American Act
Senate Bill 4, sponsored by Senator Joyce Foster (D-Denver), provides an incentive to companies bidding on state contracts to purchase American-made goods. The Buy American Act creates a preference for companies that are able to certify that their materials, provisions, and supplies were manufactured in the United States. The legislation will promote American-made goods, create American Jobs, and stimulate Colorado industry. This legislation has passed through the Senate and will now be heard in the House of Representatives.
SB 5 – Colorado Business Retention and Expansion Program
In an effort to continue supporting local businesses and the employment opportunities they provide, this bill, sponsored by Senator Linda Newell (D-Littleton) and Representative Tom Massey (R-Poncha Springs), creates The Colorado Business Retention and Expansion Program. As the legislature continues to work to attract new businesses and investments, it is imperative that existing businesses have the tools they need to succeed. The program will be responsible for engaging and protecting existing businesses in Colorado, gathering relevant information about their current needs and obstacles, and facilitating the relationship between businesses and government. This bill passed the Senate on second reading on April 23 and awaits final vote in the senate before going to the House.
SB 22 - Child Care Assistance for Working Families Act
This bipartisan bill sponsored by Senator Suzanne Williams (D-Aurora) and Representative Tom Massey (R-Poncha Springs) creates a pilot program that will allow county governments to extend the eligibility period for the Colorado Child Care Assistance Program within their county from 6 months to 2 years. The pilot program created by Senate Bill 22 allows children to remain in important early child care, gives parents the ability to work and advance their careers, and provides employers with stable workers. This legislation was signed into law by Governor Hickenlooper on April 13.
SB 35 - The Colorado Aerospace Jobs Act
A bipartisan bill sponsored by Senator Mary Hodge (D-Brighton) and Representative Bob Gardner (R-Colorado Springs), the Colorado Aerospace Jobs Act, passed unanimously out of the Senate on February 14 and was signed into law on April 19 by Governor Hickenlooper at the National Space Symposium. This bill will help further establish Colorado as a leader in the aerospace industry, allowing us to compete with other states in the development of commercial space flight. This bill has the support of members of the aerospace industry and notable business groups, including the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation.
SB 48 - Local Foods, Local Jobs
Senator Gail Schwartz (D-Snowmass) sponsored this bipartisan bill to support local, small-scale growers and producers by creating alternative methods for them to sell homemade, value added goods. The Local Foods, Local Jobs Act will ease impediments to local markets by exempting home kitchens from certain health inspections that are generally applied to large retailers. Allowing small growers to sell their products directly to consumers jump starts local economies and increases the availability of healthy, locally grown foods. This legislation has passed through both chambers and was signed by Governor Hickenlooper on March 15.
SB 101 – Local Economic Improvement Acts
This bipartisan legislation, sponsored by Senator Jeanne Nicholson (D-Gilpin County) and Representative Laura Bradford (R-Collbran), will support businesses in Local Improvement Districts by allowing districts to increase revenue, expand their boundaries, and make decisions imperative to their growth and prosperity. Current law prevents these districts from engaging in certain activities such as using sales tax revenue to promote and market public events, including or excluding new properties, or adding noncontiguous properties. Senate Bill 101 will remove these barriers to growth and job creation. Senate Bill 101 has passed through committee and awaits a second reading in the Senate.
SB133 - Electronic Recycling Jobs Act
Senator Gail Schwartz (D-Snowmass) joined forces with Representative Don Coram (R-Montrose) on the Electronic Recycling Jobs Act, a bill that could create as many as 2,500 jobs from the recycling of discarded electronics. As Senator Schwartz says, “We can’t be throwing jobs into the landfill.” The Electronic Recycling Jobs Act was signed into law by Governor Hickenlooper on April 20.
SB 139 - The Colorado Job Support Act
The Colorado Job Support Act, sponsored by Senator Betty Boyd (D-Lakewood) helps families currently receiving public assistance. Senate Bill 139 creates the Colorado Job Support Pilot Program which will provide grants to counties and nonprofit entities to create programs in their communities to address the “cliff effect” and to help the unemployed receive worker training and job skills to find employment. This bill passed the Senate on second reading on April 23.
SB 144 – Office of Key Industries
This bipartisan legislation, sponsored by Senator Rollie Heath (D-Boulder) and Senator Mark Scheffel (R-Parker), works to strengthen and grow Colorado’s key industries as part of the state's larger economic development plan. Senate Bill 144 allows the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade to develop a strategy to support job creation and growth in Colorado’s key industries. Senate Bill 144 builds upon Governor John Hickenlooper’s Colorado Blueprint, a bottom up approach to economic development, designed to make Colorado more economically competitive. This bill passed the Senate on second reading on April 23 and awaits final vote in the senate before going to the House.
HB-1286 The Film Production Activities in Colorado Act
Senator Linda Newell (D-Littleton) teamed up with Representative Tom Massey (R-Poncha Springs) to sponsor the Film Production Activities in Colorado Act. The goal of the bill is to bring the film industry and other creative arts back to Colorado. The program will be the first of its kind in the country and will help guarantee that 50 percent of participating production company workers are Colorado residents. This legislation passed through the House of Representatives and will now be heard in the Senate Business, Labor, and Technology Committee.
HB 1061 – The Skills for Jobs Act
The Skills for Jobs Act, sponsored by Senator Linda Newell (D-Littleton) ensures that Colorado’s workforce is highly trained and ready to fill future job openings. This legislation will require collaboration between the Department of Labor and Employment, the Department of Higher Education, and others to identify what industries are hiring so that colleges and vocational centers are educating students in fields where they will be able to find employment. This collaboration between departments will help fill companies’ needs for skilled workers, help citizens make informed decisions about their career paths, and get Coloradans back to work. This legislation was signed into law by the Governor on April 2.