Legislative townhall offers session wrap-up

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At the last monthly meeting of the summer for the Lakewood legislative group, Sen. Andy Kerr and Reps. Brittany Pettersen and Max Tyler gave constituents a wrap-up of the 2013 session Saturday, June 1, at the Lakewood Cultural Center.

“We were able to get a lot of work done this year, and we tried hard to work across the aisle on a lot of issues,” Tyler told attendees. “Of the around 400 bills that we had passed, around 90 percent of the bills were passed with bipartisan support.”

As a freshman in the House, Pettersen spoke about the learning curve she faced, and the pressure to get bills prepared in time for the session to begin.

“One of the many things I learned is that lobbyists aren’t bad,” she said. “Our job is to filter through what the lobbyists say, and do what is best for our constituents.”

Pettersen was proud of SB 206, which she co-sponsored with Rep. Kevin Priola (R-Henderson). The law changes state income tax forms to allow Coloradans to deposit their tax refunds directly into a college savings account.

Pettersen said that making it easier to put money aside for college will encourage residents to pursue secondary education options.

She also mentioned bills like SB 1041, which modernizes the open records procedures, as an example of the legislature updating old laws to make them more efficient.

Kerr spoke about his first year in the senate, and his efforts to focus on what residents told him were the two most important issues — jobs and education.

“One of the bills we worked the hardest on and I’m most proud of is HB 4 (the Re-HIRE Act), which invests more funds in the HIRE program, giving Coloradoans a chance to acquire the critical training and skills necessary to find employment,” he said. “This bill puts $4 million into work force centers that help people like seniors and veterans, groups that have been extremely hard hit by the recession.”

Kerr also spoke about the Keep Jobs in Colorado Act, which provides stronger enforcement of the “80 percent Colorado hiring rule.” This rule states that on public works projects 80 percent of the labor must be conducted by Colorado workers. Violators of this provision will face civil penalties.

“There’s a lot to be proud of in what we accomplished this session,” Pettersen said.