Legislative Newsletter 02.05.11
February 06, 2011
I wanted to remind you and invite you to attend our monthly coffee this Monday February 7, 2011 from 7:15 AM - 8:15 AM (in session hours) at Mimi's Cafe, 205 S. Abilene St, Aurora. This event is hosted by myself, Rep. Su Ryden and Rep. Rhonda Fields. All are welcome! Come here about the latest updates from the capitol and share your ideas, concerns and suggestions!
We also hold a townhall the 3rd Thursday of every month at the Community College of Aurora. This month (Thursday February 17, 2011, 7:00 - 8:30 PM) we will be holding a panel on "How to Start Your Own Business" with an expert panel. This is a particularly good townhall if you own your own business, are looking for work or thinking about starting your own business. YOU can be part of putting Colorado back to work!
THIS PAST WEEK IN THE COLORADO SENATE
This week we voted on the revenue forecast resolution. Typically, this resolution is run everywhere which directs the JBC to the forecast they should use for purposes of balancing the budget. We get forecasts from OSPB (Governor's Office) and Legislative Council (Legislative) and typically choose one or the other. Because our state has a balanced budget amendment, we must also "true up" the difference between projected numbers and actual numbers. This year we chose the lower of the two forecast figures. The house GOP did something I have not seen before which was to arbitrarily shave another $200 million off the figure (which was based on no economist's forecasts). This is the equivalent of an additional 3,200 teachers' jobs -- just to make a symbolic gesture. The Senate restored the resolution to the lower of the economist's forecast but because the two chambers had different versions, the measure died.
The Senate calendar changes daily. You can download the Senate calendar by visiting: http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics/clics2011a/csl.nsf/CalendarsFrameset?OpenForm&chamber=senate.
MY BILLS THIS WEEK
This week I will be presenting HB 1023 Foreclosure Deferral Extension (Ferrandino - Carroll) in Senate Business Affairs and Labor. This bill continues an earlier foreclosure relief program created by Rep. Ferrandino and myself to give notice to homeowners about the free foreclosure hotline and to facilitate loan re-modifications to help people stay in their homes. It was scheduled to expire this year, but unfortunately the need for the program has not expired, so this bill continues it.
SB 2 Low Income Telephone Users Fund will be up on the Senate Floor (consent calendar) (Carroll - J. Kerr). This program provides assistance to offer landline telephones for indigent people who could not otherwise have phone access. It is an audit committee bill and fixes the criteria to ensure that the people who are eligible are getting it, and the ones who aren't eligible, aren't.
On Thursday in Senate Finance Committee HB 1037 Military Family Relief Fund (Ryden - Carroll) will be heard at 1:30 PM. I created this Fund as an Income Tax Checkoff in 2005 and since then it has raised over $1 million dollars to help military families experiencing deployment-related financial hardships. The Fund is set to expire this year, but with the number of our miitary families still deployed, the need is still there. It is available to active or reserve of any branch of military and the National Guard. You can support this fund on your income tax checkoff and know your money has gone to good use.
Also on Thursday in Senate Finance Committee I will be presenting SB 25, The Taxpayer Empowerment Act (Carroll- Ferrandino). This bill ensures a standard clause in all state procurement contracts about transparency pertaining to cost and performance of the contract. The purpose of this measure is to ensure that the taxpayers are getting the best value and that we as a state are getting what we pay for. Colorado spends over $3 Billion in privatized contracts per year but hasn't always had adequate oversight, transparency or performance for the citizens of Colorado. (i.e. CBMS, Accenture, CSTARRs, etc.). This bill is being opposed by most of the business lobby even though the overwhelming majority of the public in both parties believes we should have government transparency of public funds and efficient / effective state contracts. Want to help increase government transparency? Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can watch the activities of the House and Senate floor either live from the galleries each day we are in session or watch it on the Colorado Channel (165) or online at coloradochannel.net. You can also attend (and testify!) at any of the legislative hearings or listen to those recordings online as well. You can "friend" me on Facebook, "follow" on Twitter and invite anyone else you know to sign up for my legislative updates at http://www.senmorgancarroll.com. There is also a public opinion survey on the front page of my website to help give me input on your priorities.
THE PERUVIAN AMAZON
Looking down on Machu Picchu from higher Huena Picchu
Llamas at Machu Picchu
Thanks for being involved!
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