2020 Legislative Wrap-Up
As your state representative, I am committed to being accountable to you.
I ran 11 bills in the 2020 session and all but two (transportation funding, senior property exemption) had bipartisan support. Many of the bills originated with issues raised by local residents like you. Unfortunately, with the split session and dramatic change in the state budget, I had to pull back several bills. I will run these bills again in 2021.
Here is a partial list of my bills:
My Bills Identified as COVID-Related Priority for passage.
- Remote Notaries with Data Privacy Protection. This bill authorizes Colorado notaries to perform notarial acts remotely. This bill includes strong data privacy protections against the transfer or sale of personal data—which I had fought for since 2018. Now signatures can be notarized without having persons in the same location. Signed into law.
- County Clerks Allowed to do Contractor Kiosks for DMV (Dept of Motor Vehicle) Services. OurCounty Clerk, Chuck Broerman, advocated for legislation to authorize self-service kiosks at community locations for DMV transactions. These kiosks provide an alternative to going to DMV offices with their wait times and increased exposure to other people. This is important for our seniors and those with health issues. Signed into law.
Wildfire Hazard Mitigation
- Strengthening Wildfire Risk Mitigation Grant Program. I worked with stakeholders to improve the state/local partnership in wildfire mitigation to reduce forest fuels. Many of the changes came from discussions with El Paso and Teller County officials. This bipartisan bill gives more flexibility to local governments, neighborhood associations, and fire protection districts for wildfire mitigation projects with state assistance. Signed into law.
Data Privacy and Address Confidentiality
- Protect Address Confidentiality – County Human Services Staff. The El Paso County Human Services Dept staff and families were receiving death threats based on their work in adult protective services and youth services. I ran a bill for address confidentiality for these workers who have been threatened. Signed into law.
- Veterans Living Centers. Last year, I was contacted by a veteran’s spouse who was trying to get her husband into a veteran’s living center. There was no veteran living center in the Pikes Peak region. Existing centers were built years ago and not located where most veterans live. I ran a bill to review this program. After the House passed the bill, the state agency agreed to use existing funds to do the review, so my bill was no longer necessary. The review is underway.
- Optional Veterans Hiring Preference – over 30 states authorize private businesses to give a hiring preference to veterans if they choose and be protected from lawsuits. I ran a bill to make this the law in Colorado.
Reducing Barriers to Jobs and Help Small Businesses
- Military Spouse Occupational Licensing. I was able to get a critical amendment for licensing added to the Create Occupational Credential Portability Program bill. This amendment allows military spouses with a license in good standing in another state to practice in Colorado for up to 3 years. This legislation is essential in Colorado’s bid to be the permanent home for US Space Command. The amendment passed and the bill was signed into law.
- Unemployment Insurance Payments. I was disappointed that my request to introduce legislation to suspend higher Unemployment Insurance (UI) payments on businesses was denied—so important to our businesses, especially small businesses who have been shut down, not to impose more taxes and fees during this critical economic recovery period. Unfortunately, the partisan UI bill that went forward included a year after year increase in UI fees for Colorado businesses starting in 2022—a bill I could not support.
Support for Victims of Domestic Violence, Increase Prosecution of Child Pornography
- Increase support for Domestic Abuse Programs. The bill would have increased assistance for victims of domestic violence. While I pulled this bill given our shortened session, I supported a bill to continue the tax check-off for the Colorado Domestic Abuse Programs Fund, which was signed into law. I will continue to work on strengthening assistance for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, especially with the increase in abuse during COVID.
- Increased Prosecution and Criminal Penalties for Child Pornography Last summer, an El Paso County Sheriff detective, who worked child pornography cases, brought to my attention that technology has out paced the law, hampering our ability to investigate and prosecute the sexual exploitation of children. This bill modernizes descriptions in our current laws against sexual exploitation of children by including terms that capture a perpetrator’s access to this material, wherever found, and accounts specifically for livestreaming of these heinous crimes. I will reintroduce in 2021.
- Senior Relocation Due to Medical Necessity. Our County Assessor, Steve Schleiker, has been a strong advocate of extending the senior property tax exemption if a senior citizen must move due to medical necessity. This bill died in committee. I will keep working to get this bill passed—it is the right thing to do!
- Designating Sales Tax from Motor Vehicle Sales for Transportation. This bill would take the existing sales taxes from motor vehicle sales and designate that funding for transportation. Prior to 2009, this was the law in Colorado. If we had kept this law in place, we would have had approximately $250-$300 million in additional transportation funding every year.