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Mixed bag of education bills crosses finish line as session ends

Colorado Capitol

A last set of education bills was passed amid the hurrying, waiting, confusion and general hilarity on the last day of the 2015 legislative session, which wrapped up at about 8 p.m. Wednesday.

A few last bills, even if minor, hang over until the final day for one house to consider the other’s amendments and to re-pass the measures. Here’s the rundown of the bills that jumped those final procedural hurdles:

House Bill 15-1321 – This measure provides some flexibility for small rural school districts in complying with state requirements about parental involvement and, more importantly, provides $10 million in additional per-pupil funding for remote rural districts with fewer than 1,000 students.

House Bill 15-1273 – The bill is designed to beef up the statewide reporting of violent incidents in schools, including separate reporting of marijuana-related and sexual offenses, which currently are lumped into other categories.

House Bill 15-1391 – The proposal would reduce required contributions by the Denver Public Schools to the Public Employees’ Retirement Association, under the terms of a law passed five years ago. An earlier version of this bill was killed in the Senate amid mysterious political maneuvers. This bill was a last-minute replacement for the dead bill, and sailed through after lobbying changed some minds in the Senate.

Senate Bill 15-1387 – The bill would end the practice of transferring medical marijuana inventories to recreational sales without payment of excise, or wholesale, taxes. This is important to education because the first $40 million of excise taxes is supposed to be transferred to the Building Excellent Schools Today construction program. The past practice of tax-free transfers has lowered the amount transferred to BEST.

Senate Bill 15-214 – The measure commissions a legislative study of school violence and youth mental health.

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