Guest column

A productive, yet odd session

By state Sen. Linda Newell
Posted

Fresh out of the legislative session, we're busy with wrap-up town halls, Capitol office completions, and bill signings. Overall, we produced a little over 400 bills being signed into law, 96 percent of them with bipartisan support this year.

With floods of biblical proportions, devastating wildfires, and the onset of recreational marijuana in Colorado last year, it was incumbent upon us in this session to take action to help those in recovery and regulate responsibly. Collectively, it seemed to be a session of civility, thankfully.

Yet, in my sixth session down there, I noticed some things were just not usual. For instance, both Republicans and Democrats were sometimes voting with each other, but not together within their own caucus. We saw some odd teams of bill sponsors that would normally be in opposition with each other. Then, other bills that would be usual shoe-ins ended up being on the brink; like the licensure of dentists, which almost died in committee.

As for my legislation this session, there were some great successes and some odd upsets. Below, are more of my successful bills not yet covered in my previous columns.

HB-1273 Human Trafficking

Aligns Colorado human trafficking laws with federal laws and establishes a statewide human trafficking task force to reduce child, sex, and labor trafficking.

SB-205 Talent Pipeline Working Group

Creates a statewide convener to address the need for more key industries employees. For example, IT corporations with 0.3 percent unemployment rate are forced to go out of state and out of the country to find the skill sets they need to fill their job openings.

HB-1283 Modifying Prescription Drug Monitoring Program

Colorado is No. 2 in the U.S. in prescription abuse and overdose! This improves the program to help prevent doctor-shopping and over-prescribing, and make it easier for prescribers to use.

HB-1173 Controlled Substances Act

Extends the licensing of controlled substances facilities, making improvements in systems and enforcement, aiding with access to safe substance abuse treatment.

HB-1095 Cyber Crimes CBI

Cyber crimes in both the public and private sectors are on the rise every year and currently only local jurisdictions can start an investigation. This allows the Colorado Bureau of Investigations to originate cyber-crimes investigations to capture the larger, inter-jurisdictional criminals.

SB-133 Licensing of Private Investigators

Establishes licensing of PI's to protect consumers and enhance the profession. Colorado is 1 of 6 states in the country without mandatory licensing so we've been a hotbed for attracting some not-so-scrupulous PI's.

HB-1039 Creative District Community Loan Fund

Creates a fund with a 3-to-1 match from the foundation community. Loans are available to fund the development and construction of commercial projects and community facilities for creative industries districts.

HB-1107 Opt-in Tax Notices Electronically

Allows the Department of Revenue to offer taxpayers the option to receive your tax notices electronically.

For more details on any of my legislation, you can sign up for my email newsletter or contact my office anytime. Year round, I hold monthly nonpartisan town halls in Littleton and Aurora. Everyone is welcome.

Linda Newell is the state Senator of Senate District 26, which includes Littleton, Englewood, Sheridan, Cherry Hills Village, Greenwood Village, west Centennial and parts of Aurora. She can be reached at (303) 866-4846 or Linda.newell.senate@gmail.com.