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New bills cover licensing backlog, guns at school

Education bills introduced Friday, including one regarding guns on campus, bring to more than 50 the number of education-related measures now up for legislative consideration.

Here are the details:

House Bill 11-1201 – The bill proposes to speed up Department of Education processing of teacher licensing by removing the requirement that CDE verify completion of professional development activities (renewal applicants would have to file affidavits confirming they did the work), eliminate the Colorado residency requirement for renewal and allow the department to spend license renewal fees without annual approval from the legislature.

The department’s licensing office evaluates more than 40,000 applications each year and manages 22 different types of applications with a staff of eight. Applications for initial licenses are backlogged about six months.

Recent legislative requirements that more types of applicants be fingerprinted and undergo background checks also have created slowdowns. CDE hopes to have a new computer system up by the middle of the year. Sponsors of the bill are freshmen Rep. Millie Hamner, D-Summit County, and Sens. Jeanne Nicholson, D-Summit County, and Jean White, R-Hayden.

House Bill 11-1204 – The 2011 version of past proposals, the bill would require that schools built or significantly renovated after Jan. 1, 2012, meet one of three standards for energy efficiency.

Such projects would have to meet federal energy star standards, be designed in consultation with the Governor’s Energy Office or have a design team that includes at least one person skilled in energy-efficient design. Previous proposals to mandate energy-efficient school design have faltered because of concerns about higher costs in tight budget times. This bill offers more flexibility. The measure is sponsored by Rep. Andy Kerr, D-Lakewood, and Sen. Michael Johnston, D-Denver.

House Bill 11-1205 – This measure would create an exception to laws banning carrying of guns on school grounds for people who may legally possess a handgun under the laws of Colorado and of the United States. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Chris Holbert, R-Parker, and Sen. Greg Brophy, R-Wray, and has several Republican but no Democratic cosponsors.

Use the Education Bill Tracker for links to bill texts and status information

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