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Joey BunchJoey BunchJanuary 23, 20183min2200
From the co-sponsor of this session bag tax for affordable housing comes another fascinating piece of legislation. Rep. Paul Rosenthal wants to chomp down on homeowners associations that ban certain dogs. House Bill 1126 has been assigned to the House Local Government Committee but hasn’t yet been scheduled for its first hearing. Rosenthal does not […]

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Joey BunchJoey BunchJanuary 22, 20188min1294
A bill last year to plow $300 million a year in Colorado from a sales tax bogged down over tolls. Legislation this year would take that much money out of the state budget, and it steers around the sticky politics of toll roads. “If we ask voters to let us use $300 million of taxpayer […]

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Gabrielle BryantGabrielle BryantJanuary 21, 20184min1220

From social media to the way we shop and everything in between, technology undoubtedly permeates our daily lives. Some children get an iPhone before they’re old enough to get a job and toddlers understand how to locate and operate apps before they can recite the alphabet.

Growing up a millennial, I was raised on Mavis Beacon typing tutorials and learning how to search the internet from Ask Jeeves. I’m now the parent of a 12 and 8-year-old who have grown up in a world where selfies and SnapChat are a way of life and the ability to make eye contact is likely to become an awkward thing of the past.

Two things that remain constant throughout both my children’s upbringing and mine are the
1 cent King Soopers horse rides and our antiquated education system. Schools continue to place an emphasis on standardized testing, behavior and attending college. Meanwhile, the jobs of tomorrow require critical thinking, innovation and entrepreneurialism.

“Not everybody is going to go to college or wants to go to college, and we need to ensure that we’re preparing them as well,” says Colorado House Education Committee chair Brittany Pettersen.

During Gov. Hickenlooper’s final State of the State address, he seemed to share this sentiment.

“We need to transition from degree-based to skill-based training. We will not just need engineers, but huge numbers of technicians and analysts with new sets of skills.”

Hickenlooper went on to suggest that schools offer coding as an alternative foreign language, similar to Spanish or French.

Physicist and nuclear engineer Toi Massey calls it a “social injustice” when we don’t prepare our students in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math. Massey is the founder and CEO of the JEKL Foundation for STEAM Education, which aims to empower girls and kids of color to learn about and be confident in age of technology and also focuses on the arts.

JEKL offers coding courses and other classes designed to kill the myths about one’s ability to thrive in STEM -based learning and career paths.

Like many of the people I’ve spoken with on this matter, college is no longer the end all be all to life after high school graduation. Outside practicing law and medicine a college degree isn’t always the preferred or needed next step for career preparedness.

Lesley Pace who works in technical solutions support for Google, points to co-workers who manage to earn six figures despite having no college degree or in some cases a high school diploma. “In technology, it’s not about how many degrees you have. It’s about the experience you’ve gained and the tangible skills you have.”

Colorado has more work to do to get our kids ready for tomorrow’s jobs. Unlike Pace who grew up enveloped in the tech industry, many of our rural and urban students may never have access to quality resources or be educated one of the best school districts in the state.

Lawmakers are still working ensuring all residents have equitable access to broadband. Whether it’s government-funded or community-based programming, educators and parents alike must lead the necessary charge to fill the educational gaps and get our students ready for the positions that have yet to be created. Governor Hickenlooper said it best, “Let’s get our kids prepared yesterday.”


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Joey BunchJoey BunchJanuary 18, 20182min1888

Well-connected BluePrint Strategies just added another strong link to its operation. JD Key is the new director of strategic outreach for Denver-based public affairs firm.

Key is well-known operative and advocate in Colorado political circles, who got his start at the state Capitol. He joins the firm’s well-known founders, Karen Crummy, Cinamon Watson and Jennifer Webster.

“We’re pleased to have JD join the team,” Watson said in a statement. “His talents and experience complement our core competencies and will bring our clients an added level of expertise.”

Watson, Crummy and Webster started the firm two years ago to provide public outreach, stakeholder engagement and insight on policy, political strategy and communications.

A longtime Denver Post reporter, Crummy has been a spokeswoman for the oil-and-gas industry’s Coloradans for Responsible Energy Development. Watson is a political veteran, perhaps best known for managing election campaigns for U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman as well as repping such large, influential groups as the Commonsense Policy Roundtable and the Colorado Contractors Association. A coalition-builder, Webster also has an oil-and-gas background. She also has worked for the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce and the Colorado Department of Transportation.

“I could not be more thrilled and honored to join Team BluePrint.” said Key, who was the campaign political director for Mike Coffman’s re-election in 2016. “This firm is comprised of the best in the industry, and I look forward to working alongside them to achieve our client’s goals.”


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Joey BunchJoey BunchJanuary 17, 20184min1511

You won’t find Bob Hope or Bing Crosby but Americans for Prosperity are urging Colorado lawmakers to take the “Road to Freedom,” the conservative organization’s legislative agenda.

Colorado Politics scored an early review of the AFP’s positions on energy, education, transportation and the  Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.

You can read the document by clicking here.

“We made great strides in 2017 defending TABOR and advancing policies that promote economic freedom,” Jesse Mallory, AFP’s state director and the former Colorado Senate Republicans’ chief of staff, said in a statement.

“Legislators must show fiscal discipline and prioritize our transportation needs over pet projects and extraneous spending. Attempting to push through a tax increase after such a large increase in the state budget would be insincere, For the sake of Coloradans seeking to enter jobs that require licensing credentials, I urge the General Assembly to revamp our occupational licensing practices, keep energy affordable for working families, expand educational freedom, and protect TABOR from further attacks.”

Here are the highlight of the priority list, in AFP’s words:

Energy
Colorado’s energy policy should ensure energy remains reliable and affordable. The legislature must protect the rights of landowners and allow citizens to develop natural resources instead of imposing restrictive bans. The legislature must also not allow government to pick winners and losers in the industry by doling out corporate welfare and hand-outs to specific companies. That eliminates competition and drives up the cost of energy for Coloradans living paycheck to paycheck. The state should also end its Renewable Energy Standard, which drives up electric rates for residents.

Educational Freedom
Colorado’s parents are eager for more educational freedom. But compared with its neighbors, our state is falling behind. That said, Colorado is on the front lines of the battle for educational freedom, especially at the local level. We will fight back against any bills that seek to limit educational choices for families and children and hold elected officials accountable to protect the right to equally funded and accessible educational choices for families.

TABOR
Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) is a crown jewel of state policy and has been one of the primary reasons the state’s economy is among the strongest in the country, despite lacking other advantages like a right-to-work law or no income tax. TABOR has empowered voters to keep government spending in check, which has enabled the private sector to flourish. Despite constant attack from special interests and politicians who seek to raise taxes and expand bureaucracy, lawmakers must stand firm in their support for limited government and defend TABOR.

Transportation
Over the years, the Colorado legislature has not prioritized funding for our growing transportation needs. Unfortunately, transportation continues to be crowded out in the budget by rapidly growing entitlement programs like Medicaid. The legislature should not ask the voters for a tax increase to fund roads while the state budget continues grow year after year. Instead, they should fund our transportation needs using existing funds. Moreover, the state can enact numerous regulatory and labor reforms to ease the burden of bureaucracy and make each dollar go further – to ensure that Coloradans’ tax dollars are being spent on asphalt and pavement rather than red tape or inflated union contracts.


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Joey BunchJoey BunchJanuary 17, 20187min599
Senate Republicans say they want to make the Colorado Energy Office great again, and Senate Bill 3 this session is just the ticket for an all-of-the-above energy effort, said Sen. Ray Scott, the sponsor of the bill. In a partisan standoff at the end of the last session about the office’s mission, it was left […]

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Joey BunchJoey BunchJanuary 9, 201810min402
Although the Colorado General Assembly usually sees the most fervent action late in its sessions, state Sen. Don Coram, R-Montrose, and state Rep. Barbara McLachlan, D-Durango, are gearing up for opening day on Wednesday in Denver. The state Senate is divided 18-17, with Republicans holding a single-seat advantage, and the state House of Representatives is […]

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