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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirMay 31, 20173min540

A couple of state lawmakers are touting a speedy end-run on renewing your vehicle registration under a pilot program they helped make possible in suburban Denver’s Arapahoe County.

Sen. Ray Scott, R-Grand Junction, and Sen. Kevin Priola, R-Brighton, will give the press a progress report at a briefing this week on the implementation of their Senate Bill 138, passed in the 2016 session. Yet, the true testimonial to the new system’s success is probably the thousands of Arapahoe county residents who have taken advantage of it since it started in March.

The system, called Colorado MV Express, uses scanning and touchscreen technology to let motorists who already have their license plates renew their registration at four locations around Arapahoe County. The renewal process typically takes only a few minutes. A news release from the Arapahoe clerk and recorder announcing the option earlier this spring explained:

Arapahoe is the first county in the state to launch Colorado MVExpress kiosks under a pilot program. Fifteen other counties will add the kiosks later this year. The machines are expected to reduce wait times at motor vehicle offices helping consumers renew their license plates and freeing up staff to assist with more complex title and registration transactions.

… To use the kiosk, a citizen can simply scan the barcode on their registration renewal postcard or type their license plate number on the touch screen, and pay taxes and fees via cash, check, credit or debit card. … The kiosk will provide your printed receipt, registration and license plate tabs on the spot.

The news release also notes seven other states already offer motor vehicle self-service kiosks: California, Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, New York, Nevada and South Dakota.

Check out Colorado MV Express’s Facebook page for more information.



Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirMay 2, 20172min474

Kids under 12 years old who commit misdemeanors no longer will face mandatory detention in the Division of Youth Corrections if Gov. John Hickenlooper signs legislation unanimously approved by the Senate Monday. House Bill 1207, sponsored in the Senate by state Sen. Kevin Priola, R-Henderson, and in the House by state Rep. Pete Lee, D-Colorado Springs, gives judges discretion in such cases. The measure already as been approved by the lower chamber.

Most kids under 13 couldn’t get locked up under House Bill 1207

A Senate GOP press release helps make the case for keeping youngsters out of lockup:

The Division reported the detention of 188 children ages 10-12 in DYC facilities since 2014. Over the same time period 56 serious assaults were committed by individuals in DYC facilities.

…and includes this statement by Priola:

“DYC is in need of a serious culture shift…So many of these young kids are going through a troubled time, and sequestering them with older offenders who can lead the younger ones further down a dark path does little to promote reform and discourage recidivism. It’s our duty to ensure we’re doing everything possible to help more of these troubled kids find their way, and keep them from re-entering the system.”




Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirApril 18, 20173min228
… died at the hands of the state Senate GOP in its kill committee on Monday, Chalkbeat Colorado reports this morning. Before being substantially amended at the Monday hearing, the proposed reform would have reined in school suspensions and expulsions of early-elementary kids and public-school preschoolers. In a 3-2, party-line vote, the GOP majority on the Senate State, Veterans […]

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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirApril 12, 20173min343
Under Colorado law, your landlord can give you the heave-ho with as little as seven days’ advance notice if you are renting month-to-month. And you can be blindsided at any time with a rent hike. That’s not much time to pack — or to hit up your folks for some extra cash to help you stay put. Things […]

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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirMarch 3, 20172min318

English-language learners in elementary school should be able to prove their reading skills in one language — the one in which they are being taught — rather than have to test in two languages as is sometimes now the case. That’s the gist of House Bill 1160, bipartisan legislation that won unanimous approval this morning in the state House.

The proposal is the handiwork of two Democrats — Rep. Millie Hamner of Dillon and Sen. Rhonda Fields of Aurora — and two Republicans: Rep. Jim Wilson of Salida and Sen. Kevin Priola of Henderson.

Lawmakers lauded the vote in a press release from the House Democrats:

“This test is meant to demonstrate how well a student can read, and when it’s given to students in their language of instruction, it gives us better indicators of reading ability and gives teachers the information they need to help their students improve,” said Rep. Hamner. “This bill cuts testing time and increases instructional time for the very students who need it.”

“It was great to work with Rep. Hamner on this bill,” said Rep. Wilson. “It simplifies the process to answer two critical questions: one, can you read? And two, how well?”

As the press release also explains:

Currently, although the purpose is to evaluate reading ability and not language proficiency, some students are required to take their annual reading assessment in both Spanish and English. Double testing these students unnecessarily overburdens a specific subgroup of students, risks misidentifying English learners as having significant reading deficiencies, and is not aligned with other state assessment policies.

The measure now heads to the state Senate, where it presumably will get favorable treatment, as well.



Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirFebruary 9, 20172min303

Even as the country’s newly minted Republican president mulls plans for building a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico,  Republicans in Colorado’s legislature, joined by their Democratic colleagues across the aisle, are going global. At least, when it comes to the language arts.

Senate Bill 123, introduced into the upper chamber by Democratic Sen. Rachel Zenzinger of Arvada and Republican Sen. Kevin Priola of Brighton, would “grant a diploma endorsement in biliteracy” to every Colorado high schooler who demonstrates proficiency in English and at least one foreign language by graduation. The bipartisan proposal picked up a bipartisan endorsement when it made its debut in the Senate Education Committee Wednesday, winning approval 6-1.

From a Senate GOP press release noting the bill’s progress:

Priola…told the Senate Education Committee that advertising a graduate’s biliteracy on a diploma not only would encourage students to study a second language, but it would impress college admissions offices and improve a certificate-holders job prospects.

…”By allowing school districts in our state to publicly recognize and credential academic achievement in the study of foreign languages, the seal of biliteracy will give universities and potential employers an additional tool to evaluate an applicant’s qualifications and skill set,” said Priola. “With a significant number of Colorado’s most prominent employers seeking bilingual candidates, Colorado students who have received this seal in foreign language proficiency will be highly competitive for positions in these key industries and excel in the increasingly global economy.”

The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.