Final Passage for Trio of Jobs Bills

posted in: Economy, Jobs, Veterans | 0

H-Exum-Official(March 19) – Over concerted Republican opposition, the House gave final approval today to three bills to boost the state’s economy and connect Coloradans to good jobs.

HB13-1123 by Rep. Tony Exum Sr. (D-Colorado Springs) will allow unemployed Coloradans to waive confidentiality requirements so the state can forward their names and contact information to employers and private job placement organizations.

HB13-1138 by Rep. Pete Lee (D-Colorado Springs) creates a new class of businesses — benefit corporations, with the freedom to pursue beneficial causes as well as profits. The bill will attract social impact investors to Colorado, funding more companies and creating jobs.

HB13-1208 by Rep. Crisanta Duran (D-Denver) allows the state to make infrastructure investments in creative districts, increasing jobs and economic activity and revitalizing communities.

The entire Republican caucus opposed Rep. Lee’s bill. Rep. Cheri Gerou (R-Evergreen) was the lone Republican to vote for Rep. Duran’s bill, and she was joined by Minority Leader Mark Waller (R-Colorado Springs) and Reps. Bob Gardner (R-Colorado Springs) and Clarice Navarro (R-Pueblo) in support of Rep. Exum’s bill.

“The unemployment rate in Colorado is 7.3 percent,” Majority Leader Dickey Lee Hullinghorst said after the votes. “Do the Republicans really think that’s good enough?”

House Passes ‘Breakfast After the Bell’

H-Exum-Official(March 14) – Sixteen Republicans voted today against a bill to help make sure Colorado schoolkids get a decent breakfast.

Breakfast After the Bell, a k a HB13-1006 by Reps. Dominick Moreno (D-Commerce City) and Tony Exum Sr. (D-Colorado Springs), passed 49-16. It will phase in a requirement that schools where at least 70 percent of the students qualify for federal free or reduced-cost lunch will serve breakfast to all students after the official start of school.

Hungry children don’t learn as well as their better-fed peers, but many students who qualify for before-school breakfasts don’t get to school in time to eat, some of them because they are ashamed to acknowledge that their families are too poor to feed them.

Rep. Moreno said breakfast after the bell gives students from low-income families an equal chance to learn and succeed. During floor debate on Wednesday, he noted that in 2010, when the Adams 14 School District went from school breakfast before the bell to an after-the-bell meal, the participation rate went from 30 percent to 98 percent.

“What they’ve seen is behavior problems reduced,” he told the House. “They’ve seen nursing visits go down.”

The sponsors said that breakfast could be served during attendance-taking and announcements, and that schools that have already initiated Breakfast After the Bell had been able to do it with no reduction in instruction time.

The vast majority of the cost of Breakfast After the Bell is covered by an existing federal program. The bill has the strong support of education and business groups.

And yet the bill was opposed by Reps. Perry Buck (R-Windsor), Don Coram (R-Montrose), Brian DelGrosso (R-Loveland), Justin Everett (R-Littleton), Chris Holbert (R-Parker), Stephen Humphrey (R-Severance), Janak Joshi (R-Colorado Springs), Polly Lawrence (R-Littleton), Dan Nordberg (R-Colorado Springs), Kevin Priola (R-Henderson), Bob Rankin (R-Carbondale), Lori Saine (R-Dacono), Ray Scott (R-Grand Junction), Jerry Sonnenberg (R-Sterling), Spencer Swalm (R-Centennial) and Jared Wright (R-Fruita).

Rep. Moreno recalled that Republicans axed a school breakfast appropriation in 2011, only to relent after intense criticism.

“I don’t know why some Republicans think it’s not a good idea to try to help low-income students get the most important meal of the day,” said Rep. Moreno, who was eligible for free breakfast when he was a schoolkid. He wound up valedictorian of his high school class.

Helping Connect Veterans to Jobs

posted in: Economy, Jobs, Veterans | 0

H-Exum-Official(Feb. 21) – A bill that will allow unemployed veterans and other Colorado job seekers to waive certain confidentialities so the Department of Labor can share information with outside employers and organizations passed the Business, Labor & Economic & Workforce Development Committee today by a vote of 10 to one.

HB13-1123, sponsored by Rep. Tony Exum (D-Colorado Springs), will establish a waiver for the confidentiality requirements regarding job-seeking veterans’ own personal information. This waiver would allow the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment to provide prospective employers with job seekers’ names and contact information. The bill will also still ensure continued privacy of individual unemployment insurance data.

“This is a great opportunity to further assist Colorado’s efforts to match up veterans and other job seekers with potential employers while still protecting their personal information,” Rep. Exum said.

Many organizations that make job referrals and placement for veterans cannot access information about those who need jobs. This will allow the job-seeker an opportunity to share basic contact information with those organizations. There are currently 450,000 job-seekers in Colorado, including about 45,000 veterans.

“It’s another tool we can use to help get Coloradans, especially our veterans, get back to work,” Rep. Exum said.

1 2