Bill requiring state procurement disparity study unanimously passes Senate Business, Labor, and Technology Committee
The Senate Business, Labor, and Technology Committee voted unanimously to advance SB19-135, a bill sponsored by Senators Angela Williams and Robert Rodriguez that would require Colorado to conduct a disparity study of how state procurement contracts are awarded to different demographics. The bill now moves to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration.
Bipartisan legislation to fully fund and permanently reauthorize
September 11th Victim Compensation Fund and prevent announced cuts to compensation awards
9/11 first responders, survivors, and their families joined with Jon Stewart, Senators Cory Gardner, Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), along with a group of their colleagues in the House to announce the bipartisan Never Forget the Heroes: Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act and call for its swift passage. The bipartisan legislation would ensure that all 9/11 first responders and survivors who have been injured by the toxins at Ground Zero and have certified 9/11 illnesses would receive their full compensation through the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) now and into the future as more become ill with 9/11 cancers. The bill would also close the funding gap recently announced by the VCF Special Master.
Crow votes to pass universal background checks
Rep. Jason Crow, vice chair of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force and a former Army Ranger, voted to pass the bipartisan Background Checks Act (H.R. 8). The bill would ensure that individuals already prohibited from gun possession under federal law cannot obtain a firearm online, at a gun show, or through most types of private transfers. While federal law already requires licensed gun dealers to conduct background checks, H.R. 8 would extend the requirement to unlicensed gun sellers.
Net Neutrality Bill passes Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee
The Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee voted 3-to-1 to advance Open Internet Customer Protections in Colorado, a bill to make sure that an internet funded by taxpayer dollars will adhere to fair and open internet practices. The bill, sponsored by Senators Kerry Donovan (D-Vail) and Jeff Bridges of Arapahoe County, now heads to the whole committee for consideration. Net neutrality protects the ability for everyone with an internet connection to access the same level of service and content openly, which is critical in rural areas where broadband is limited and distances between communities make the need for an internet connection even greater.
House passes Gardner-led public lands package
The House passed the Natural Resources Management Act, the lands package that includes permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), as well as numerous other Gardner-authored bills that have a direct impact on Colorado. The legislation now heads to the president’s desk to be signed.
Griswold appoints new members to ERTB
Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold has appointed two new members to the Electronic Recording Technology Board [ERTB], Larimer County Clerk Angela Myers and Jefferson County Clerk George Stern. The ERTB’s mission is to develop, maintain, improve, replace, or preserve land records systems in our state. The board, established in 2016, has been successful in administering grants to counties to ensure county clerks are able to improve and maintain property records, marriage licenses and other important documents.
Legislation to expedite FERC review of energy infrastructure applications reintroduced
Senators Cory Gardner, Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced the Timely Review of Infrastructure Act, legislation aimed at reducing the long wait times for federal approval of energy infrastructure projects, including LNG projects. A shortage of highly specialized engineers, scientists, and mathematicians tasked with reviewing construction applications at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has created a backlog of projects waiting to receive approval, and this bill would improve the FERC’s ability to hire the qualified staff it needs to process project applications in a timely, efficient manner.
Cyber Deterrence and Response Act
U.S. Senators Cory Gardner and Chris Coons (D-DE) introduced the Cyber Deterrence and Response Act. This legislation establishes a framework to deter and respond to state-sponsored malicious cyber activity against the United States. The bipartisan bill also requires the administration to impose sanctions against all entities and persons responsible or complicit in malicious cyber activities aimed against the United States. This act is companion to legislation introduced in the Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL).
DeGette to unveil new federal legislation aimed at curbing rapid rise in teen vaping
Rep. Diana DeGette unveiled new federal legislation that she’ll be introducing in Congress aimed at lowering the use of e-cigarettes among Colorado’s teens. According to the Centers for Disease Control, Colorado leads the nation in the percentage of high school students reportedly using electronic cigarettes. With one in four high schoolers in the state reportedly using e-cigarettes, Colorado’s percentage of vaping teens is twice the national average.
Lawmakers challenge legality of Trump’s ‘domestic gag rule’
A trio of Democratic leaders serving on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which oversees the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, sent a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar late Thursday demanding evidence to justify changes the Trump administration recently made to the federal government’s Title X family-planning program. In the letter, signed by Reps. Diana DeGette, Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA), the lawmakers raised concerns that the newly finalized rule does not comply with the statutory requirements of Title X. Specifically, that the new rule undermines Congressional intent for the program by reducing – instead of increasing – access to health care. Also, because it would interfere with doctor-patient relationships by forcing providers to choose between providing comprehensive care or receiving funding under the Title X program.
Bipartisan comprehensive Human Sexuality Education Bill advances through the Senate Health & Human Services Committee
The Senate Health and Human Services Committee passed the Comprehensive Human Sexuality Education, a bill sponsored by Sen. Nancy Todd and Sen. Don Coram (R-Montrose) to expand the curriculum for schools that provide sex education. The bill passed committee 3-to-2 and now moves to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration.
Lim sworn in as regional administrator for HUDs Rocky Mountain region
Evelyn Lim was sworn in to serve as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Regional administrator, serving the six states in HUD’s Rocky Mountain region which includes the States of Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. She is one of 10 HUD regional administrators appointed by the Trump administration throughout the United States.
Crow slams ICE for repeatedly blocking Congressional visit
Rep. Jason Crow released a statement after being denied participation in a tour of the Aurora ICE facility March 4. “This disturbing pattern raises the obvious question: why is ICE delaying oversight of this facility? I will continue to push for transparency and accountability until we are allowed a tour of the facility, receive responses to our written questions, and know that ICE is providing the proper treatment and care to its detainees.” After receiving multiple reports of substandard living conditions at the facility, Crow has attempted to the visit the facility three times, including an unannounced visit Feb. 20 and requested tours March 1 and 4. Over the past month, Crow has sent two letters to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requesting information about the facility and the handling of viral disease outbreaks. He has yet to receive a response. Meanwhile, the facility is experiencing its third disease outbreak and 261 detainees are under quarantine.
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