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ASSET first big bill for Senate Ed

The Senate Education Committee gets down to real work on Thursday when it considers the measure that would make undocumented students eligible for resident tuition rates at state colleges and universities.

The bill would make tuition eligibility dependent on graduation from a Colorado high school, acceptance at a state college and filing of a declaration to seek resident status. (See this EdNews story for more details.)

Given Democratic control of both houses, Senate Bill 13-033 is expected to pass this year. So committee hearings and floor debates likely won’t have as much drama, but they may (or may not be) shorter than in the past.

The committee, its House counterpart and other panels have been occupied largely with informational briefings and procedural details since the legislature convened on Jan. 9.

But the pace for everybody is picking up this week, and in addition to more meetings, lawmakers have a pile of new bills to read after taking to day off Monday for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. observance.

Here’s a rundown on the education-interest bills introduced late Friday in the House.

House Bill 13-1106 would prohibit employers, including school districts and colleges, from requiring employees to belong to unions or make contributions in lieu of dues. It’s sponsored by freshman Rep. Justin Everett, R-Littleton, and eight other House Republicans. It’s the twin of Senate Bill 13-024. Duplicate bills often are introduced when they’re unlikely to pass and supporters want to ensure committee debate in each house.

House Bill 13-1117 is the Hickenlooper administration’s bill to consolidate various early-childhood agencies in the Department of Human Services. A similar measure was killed in the Republican-controlled House last year. Its prime sponsors are Democratic Rep. Millie Hamner of Dillon, and Sens. Mary Hodge of Brighton and Linda Newell of Littleton, along with numerous other House and Senate Democrats.

House Bill 13-1122 would create a two-year severance tax exemption for new oil and gas wells. After the two-year period ends, tax revenue from those wells will go to higher education funding rather than be distributed under the normal several tax formula. The sponsor is Rep. Ray Scott, R-Grand Junction, along with 14 other House Republicans. This article was corrected on Jan. 22 to remove a reference to Rep. Scott as a freshman.)

House Bill 13-1133 would allow electrical and plumbing inspections to be done by local building departments, rather than by state inspectors. Sponsors are Rep. Bob Gardner and Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman. Both are Colorado Springs Republicans.

House Bill 13-1135 would create a system under which 16-year-olds could “pre-register” to vote, with those registrations automatically going into effect at age 18. Rep. Jonathan Singer, D-Longmont, is the prime sponsor, along with three other House Democrats.

House Bill 13-1147 is another youth voter registration bill and would require colleges to provide voter registration when students register for classes. Sponsors are freshman Rep. Jovan Melton, D-Aurora, and Newell.

House Bill 13-1151 would create a sales tax “holiday” on the last Monday of August for textbooks sold by campus bookstores. Sponsors are freshman Rep. Dominick Moreno, D-Commerce City, and Sen. John Kefalas, D-Fort Collins. A separate measure, House Bill 13-1094, would create an income-tax credit for school supplies and fees.

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