New Energy Jobs Training Program
This bill will encourage the training of the next generation of new energy workers by offering targeted funding for community colleges to work directly with renewable energy companies to create customized job training programs. Green industry protects our environment, but more importantly it develops reliable jobs for Colorado. This bill permits available funds from the Colorado Customized Training Program to be used to train potential employees, establish programs and help companies train employees for participation in Colorado’s New Energy Economy.
Sponsored by Sen. Schwartz, Rep. Todd
Good Samaritan Law Volunteer Firefighters
This bill was endorsed by the Interim Committee on Wildfire Issues in Wild Land-Urban Interface Areas. SB09-013 Enacts the “Marc Mullenix Volunteer Firefighter Protection Act”, providing limited civil immunity/legal protections for volunteer firefighters, their commanders, and the organizations that employ them to fight fires and respond to other emergencies.
Conserve Energy Tiered Rates Incentive
This bill will expand energy efficient investments and promote energy savings for electricity consumers. For years, water utilities have encouraged water conservation through a method called ‘inclining block rate,’ where the price of water rises with increasing usage. This bill would use the same method to deal with rising power costs
while creating sensible energy markets that benefit the economy and Colorado’s environment. I worked with Holy Cross Rural Electric Association on this bill as one of their concepts for energy conservation.
Audit of Childs Representative
Enactment of 2008 CRS
Neighborhood Electric Vehicles
This bill will open more Colorado low speed roads and city streets to neighborhood electric vehicles. Currently, Colorado has a patchwork of conflicting regulations for these vehicles. By establishing statewide legislation for their operation, we hope to encourage more Coloradans to consider using energy efficient electric cars. By facilitating their use, we’re promoting an environmentally responsible transportation option while setting forth guidelines for their safe use.
Tax Exempt Blended Diesel Products
Over the past several years, biofuels have been at a competitive disadvantage due to a Special Fuel excise tax. Senate Bill 98 will open up the market for biofuels by providing the same tax-exempt status for biodiesel as is given to dyed special fuels in Colorado.
The bill will create the opportunity for petroleum distributors to blend biofuel locally and sell biodiesel products for construction and agricultural use without having to tax consumers. In working on this legislation, we partnered with the biodiesel community and petroleum distributors to ensure that it meets the long-term needs of the biofuel industry and firms that are currently advancing biodiesel production in Colorado.
Continuing the Regulation of Egg Quality
Broadband Service Areas
For rural Colorado, one of the most important pieces of legislation to come out of the Joint Select Committee on Job Creation and Economic Growth is the inventory of broadband service areas.
Sponsored by Sen. Schwartz and Rep. Liston, this bill creates an inventory of state broadband areas and removes restrictions on private gift and grants needed to fund this program. This bill will initiate the mapping of broadband connectivity throughout the state. The faster we can get broadband access to rural areas, the faster we can level the playing field and ensure that healthcare, education and businesses can thrive in all parts of Colorado.
New Solar Facility Property Tax Valuation
This bill will require that, similar to wind energy facilities, state assessed solar energy facilities will be valued using the income approach. This means that taxation of solar energy facilities will be based on the generation so that local revenues will guarantee long term success. The bill helps to compensate for high capital construction costs and encourage investment by the solar industry.
Local Government Financing with Severance Tax
This bill creates a program that provides state financial assistance to local governments for capital construction projects. This will put much-needed capital construction dollars in our local communities to create new jobs and infrastructure. $17 Million was made available for projects in communities with oil and gas reserves on federal lands.
Building Excellent Schools Today
This bill amends the 2008 Building Excellent Schools Today Act (B.E.S.T.). It allows more efficient implementation of the act without reducing funding or restricting lease-purchase agreement authorizations. The B.E.S.T. program I helped to create provides rural school districts with much-needed funding for capital construction projects. Funds received from this program will help to create a safe, 21st century, supportive learning environment for the children throughout rural Colorado.
Waste Tire Recycling
This legislation is an opportunity to make use of existing revenue, create green jobs from waste tire recycling and support a new sector for sustainable recycling businesses. Colorado’s large tire monofills are a public health threat and environmental disaster waiting to happen. This bill requires the Department of Public Health and Environment to adopt a ten-year plan for waste tire management and the elimination of Colorado’s two tire monofills.
Health Care Resources for Underserved
This bill will help the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment increase the availability of health care resources in under-served areas. The legislation will help to coordinate available federal and state programs that capitalize on medical reimbursements, grants and the placement of health care professionals in those areas.
This bill also uses a federal visa program designed to bring foreign medical professionals into under-served rural areas. The visa program is a unique and exciting opportunity to bring in health care professionals coming from other Spanish-speaking countries to serve in our Spanish-speaking communities. The program will also attract new doctors by offering a student-loan payment program to help young doctors with their debt. I am proud to have worked as the Senate sponsor on this bill with Representative Tom Massey to create new opportunities to address physician shortages without increasing
Rural Substance Abuse
Sen. Schwartz worked with Representative Ed Vigil on this legislation to establish a grant program that will provide alcohol and substance abuse programs with prevention and treatments services to youth in rural areas. This bill will create a surcharge of less than $10 on individuals convicted of drunk driving offenses that will be used to fund the new prevention programs. These new programs will provide much-needed assistance to rural communities in their efforts to manage and prevent substance abuse. We appreciate the strong support and cooperation of the Colorado District Attorney’s Association and the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing on this legislation.
Creation of the Housing Development Fund in the State Treasury
This bill creates a Housing Development Grant Fund to be administered by the Division of Housing within the Department of Local Affairs. The fund will be used to make grants or loans to improve, preserve, or expand the supply of affordable housing in Colorado.
This bill recognizes the historic value and cultural importance of the Acequia tradition, which are community ditches in Southern Colorado. Acequias are central to the viability of the historic communities that depend on this system as a means of irrigation and cultural preservation. Colorado’s first water rights and agricultural traditions are intimately tied to these irrigation systems and should be recognized and protected.
Electronic Device Recycling Task-Force
This bill creates a task force within the Department of Public Health and Environment to make recommendations regarding the implementation of an electronic device recycling program. The task force is designed to represent both public and private stakeholders to address the millions of tons of electronics scrap generated in the US every year. The desired outcomes of the task force are: to increase diversion rates for electronic devices, to promote new non-toxic designs for electronics, to consider a landfill disposal ban for electronic devices, to create jobs in Colorado, and to build on the existing infrastructure that currently diverts e-waste in Colorado.
Renewable Energy Loans for Schools
This innovative bill will create a renewable energy and energy efficiency loan program for schools to fund renewable energy projects and hybrid-electric buses. Every year, Colorado’s school districts struggle with tight budgets constrained by volatile energy prices that result in high utility and transportation bills. A small but growing number of school districts have responded to these challenges by increasing energy efficiency and producing their own energy with renewable sources. This allows schools to reduce their energy costs while promoting energy independence and providing students with an opportunity to learn about emerging energy technologies. This loan program will be administered by the Governor’s Energy Office, which will evaluate project proposals and review loan applications for funding.
Electric Utilities Integrate Transmission Infrastructure
The legislature took an important step in establishing transmission infrastructure to put clean, green electrons on the wires and to make Colorado a net-clean energy exporter. This bill gives us an opportunity to identify where we stand in our integrated transmission planning and what we need to do to ensure continued and balanced growth in our new energy economy. By expanding our infrastructure and reassessing our legislative and economic priorities, Colorado has ensured that – as a state – we will be prepared to embrace new energy opportunities and meet the economic potential of our communities.