BILL SUMMARY for HB09-1272
SENATE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
|Moved amendment L.016 (Attachment G). The motion
Moved amendment L.017 (Attachment H). The motion
Moved an amendment to the bill, on page 13, line 9
Refer House Bill 09-1272, as amended, to the Commi
|Pass Without Objection
Pass Without Objection
11:16 AM -- House Bill 09-1272
Senator Tapia, sponsor of House Bill 09-1272, presented the bill to the committee. The bill implements Amendment 50, an initiated measure approved by Colorado voters at the November 2008 election, that changes the parameters for limited gaming under the state constitution and distributes new gaming tax revenue to community colleges. He provided two handouts (Attachments B and C). Senator Tapia explained the amendments to the bill made in the House, and he said there would be an amendment offered.
Senator Tapia explained the distribution of funds under the bill and talked about negotiations that took place regarding the distributions. He said that the pot of money to be distributed under the provisions of the bill will increase over time, and the General Fund, the Historical Fund, gaming communities, and community colleges will be the beneficiaries of that increase.
Senator Tapia talked about the importance of community colleges to the state.
Senator Romer made a number of comments to the bill.
The following persons testified:
11:34 AM -- Patti Kinnear, representing herself, testified in opposition to the bill. She explained that she voted for Amendment 50 believing that money to the Historical Fund would not be diminished. Ms. Kinnear talked about the importance of historic preservation to communities.
Ms. Kinnear responded to committee questions.
11:38 AM -- Bob Musgraves, Executive Director of Historic Denver, testified in opposition to the bill. Mr. Musgraves said the bill stands to put the Historical Fund into a deep funding hole from which it will not be able to recover for a number of years. He explained how Amendment 50 was portrayed to the historic preservation community. The bill, he said, does not honor that portrayal. He said the bill constrains growth of the money for historic preservation. Mr. Musgraves talked about the intent of the voters in approving Amendment 50.
Mr. Musgraves responded to committee questions.
11:46 AM -- Dr. Nancy McCallin, President of the Colorado Community College System (CCCS), testified in support of the bill. She provided three handouts - two packets of newspaper editorials and a packet of Amendment 50 campaign materials (Attachments D, E, and F). She talked about increased in community college enrollment and the importance of community colleges to communities. Dr. McCallin said the work of the community colleges cannot be done without Amendment 50 funds. She talked about compromises that have been made related to flexibility and the distribution plan. She said that, according to the gaming industry, it is not possible to separate old money from new, and the bill creates a proxy for this old and new money. Dr. McCallin talked about gaming tax revenue estimates, saying the numbers in the blue book, which were illustrative of what was believed at the time, were too high.
11:57 AM -- Marcie Lidell, President of Aims Community College, testified in support of the bill. She said local district colleges are in support of the bill as presented by Senator Tapia. Ms. Lidell said Amendment 50 was supported in her area due to the provisions related to funding for community colleges.
Dr. McCallin responded to a committee question about the distribution formula in the bill and the money that would go to historical preservation funding under the bill.
12:03 PM -- David Skaggs, Executive Director of the Department of Higher Education (DHE), testified in support of the bill. Executive Director Skaggs said setting a number to be used as a base is problematic. He talked about the dire needs of the higher education system in the state, saying the bill is a very important step and infusion of funds. Executive Director Skaggs said Amendment 50 moneys would offset some General Fund needs.
Senator Tapia noted that the Colorado Historical Society is under the purview of the DHE and favors the bill.
Dr. McCallin responded to additional committee questions about using a base year to set the formula for distribution of funds and about the compromises made in the House amendments.
12:12 PM -- Dr. Todd Bergren, Community College of Aurora, testified in support of the bill. Dr. Bergren talked about the impact community colleges have on students.
12:14 PM -- Izeal Hill, Community College of Denver, testified in support of the bill. Mr. Hill talked about his experiences as a student, a father, and an employee.
12:16 PM -- Marie Steinbach, Pueblo Community College, testified in support of the bill. Ms. Steinbach described her experiences as a student at Pueblo Community College, saying she has been involved with the Pueblo Historical Society.
12:18 PM -- Dan Love, representing Colorado Preservation Inc., testified in opposition to the bill. He said the amendments made to the bill in the House made the bill better than as originally introduced; however, under the bill, he said, historical preservation does not receive the funding it would have received without Amendment 50. He said the bill is not implementing legislation, rather it is supplanting what the voters approved in passing Amendment 50. He asked the committee to reassess the distribution formula in the bill.
12:25 PM -- Sally Hopper, Representing the National Trust for Historic Preservation, testified in opposition to the bill. She said the bill ignores the language and the intent of Amendment 50. Ms. Hopper said the preservation community was not a part of any compromises. She said the bill, if drafted correctly, should be a win/win situation for community colleges and for historic preservation. She clarified that historic preservation does not want a larger slice of the pie, it just wants the same slice it had before.
Mr. Love responded to committee questions. A discussion between Mr. Love and Senator King about the allocation formula ensued.
Committee discussion with the witnesses continued, with further conversation about the funding distribution formula.
12:47 PM -- Brad Semmens, representing Bents New Fort, testified in opposition to the bill.
Senator Bacon asked the proponents of the bill in the audience, then the opponents of the bill audience, to stand so the committee would be aware of their positions.
Senator Tapia made closing comments to the bill, clarifying that Executive Director Skaggs, as the head of the department that oversees the Colorado Historical Society, advocated on their behalf during compromises around the bill. He said the question is how to distribute new Amendment 50 dollars, which cannot be separated from old dollars. Senator Tapia said higher education will be taking a $30 million cut due to the current economy, and it is not possible to give an assurance to the bill's opponents that funding for historic preservation will not decrease.
Senator Hudak asked for clarification of the issues around the bill, which Senator Tapia provided. Conversation between Senator Hudak and Senator Tapia on the issues ensued.
Senator Heath proposed an amendment to the bill that would make the base an average of three years. Senator Tapia said he would resist the amendment, saying the bill represents a lot of negotiations, and the amendment would mean less money for community colleges. The committee discussed the amendment.
| 01:01:33 PM
|Moved an amendment to the bill, on page 13, line 9, add language about averaging revenue over three years. The motion failed in a 3-5 vote.
Not Final YES: 3 NO: 5 EXC: 0 ABS: 0 FINAL ACTION: FAIL
| 01:05:02 PM
|Refer House Bill 09-1272, as amended, to the Committee of the Whole. The motion passed on an 8-0 vote.
Final YES: 8 NO: 0 EXC: 0 ABS: 0 FINAL ACTION: PASS
Senator Tapia said three community college presidents came to testify and were not able to do so, he introduced them.
The committee adjourned.