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Students’ pet bill on way to Hick

Before it got mired in weightier matters, the House Friday voted 39-21 to pass a bill that designates rescue and shelter dogs and cats as the “official” state pets.

Similar bills are a tradition at the Capitol, but Senate Bill 13-201 got buffeted a bit by the contentious spirit of the 2013 session and actually had a lobbyist opposing it. The Colorado Association of Dog Clubs and the Colorado Pet Association (which includes pet stores) wanted the bill defeated, arguing it “discriminates” against pets available at outlets other than shelters.

The lobbying was unsuccessful, and the bill enjoyed comfortable majorities in both houses.

Several other education-related bills advanced on Friday.

The Senate gave 61-0 final approval to Senate Bill 13-217, which would give the State Board of Education flexibility in how it applies student performance at alternative education campuses to the accreditation ratings of school districts. This is an issue of some importance to low-rated districts with alternative schools.

The Senate also gave preliminary approval to three bills. House Bill 13-1117, a priority of the Hickenlooper administration, would consolidate several early childhood programs in the Department of Human Services. House Bill 13-1194 would make some military dependents eligible for resident tuition rates. House Bill 13-1005 would allow the community college system to create new programs that combine adult basic education and vocational training.

It wasn’t such a good day for two bills related to education task forces that operate during the legislative off-season.

A panel of legislative leaders killed House Bill 13-1244, which would have continued a group called the Educational Success Task Force. The panel also sent House Bill 13-1007 back to the appropriations committee, where it faces uncertain prospects. That bill proposes to revive a legislative early childhood study committee.

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