This information is prepared as an informational service only and should not be relied upon as an official record of action taken by the Colorado General Assembly.




Second Regular Session

Second Legislative Day Thursday, January 8, 1998

Prayer by Lt. Col. Jim Moore, Chaplain Civil Air Patrol.

The Speaker called the House to order at 9:00 a.m.

The roll was called with the following result:


The Speaker declared a quorum present.


On motion of Representative Alexander, the reading of the journal of January 7, 1998, was declared dispensed with and approved as corrected by the Chief Clerk.



The Chief Clerk reports the following bills have been correctly printed: HB98-1115, 1116, 1117, 1118, 1119, 1120, 1121, 1122, 1123, 1124, 1125, 1126, 1127, and 1128.



The Speaker announced the appointment of Representative Tate to the Joint Computer Management Committee.

Pursuant to HJR98-1001, the Speaker appointed Representatives Epps, Entz, and Snyder to escort the Governor to a Joint Session of the House and Senate.


House in recess. House reconvened.



First Reading

The following bills were read by title and referred to the committees indicated:

HB98-1128 by Representative May; also Senator Ament--Concerning regulation of motor vehicle transactions, and, in connection therewith, extending the existence of the motor vehicle dealer board.

Committee on Transportation and Energy.

HB98-1129 by Representative Salaz--Concerning limiting the authority of local governments to exercise the power of eminent domain.

Committee on Local Government.

HB98-1130 by Representative Faatz; also Senator Hopper--Concerning crime victim compensation.

Committee on Finance.

HB98-1131 by Representative K. Alexander; also Senator Bishop--Concerning self-sufficiency for persons with disabilities by assuring reliable facilitative technology.

Committee on Health, Environment, Welfare and Institutions.

HB98-1132 by Representative Epps; also Senator Wham--Concerning appointment of county judges pursuant to agreement of the parties.

Committee on Judiciary.

HB98-1133 by Representative Dean--Concerning the creation of incentives to prevent receipt by inmates of illegal payments under public programs.

Committee on State, Veterans, and Military Affairs.

HB98-1134 by Representative K. Alexander; also Senator B. Alexander--Concerning reimbursement under the medicaid program for personal care services provided by a family member.

Committee on Health, Environment, Welfare and Institutions.

HB98-1135 by Representative Grossman; also Senator Wham--Concerning addition of the commission of ethnic intimidation as an aggravating factor for purposes of sentencing in class 1 felonies.

Committee on Judiciary.

HB98-1136 by Representative Zimmerman--Concerning electronic access to public information maintained by the secretary of state.

Committee on State, Veterans, and Military Affairs.

HB98-1137 by Representatives Kreutz and Lawrence; also Senator Coffman--Concerning authorization of county transfers of temporary assistance for needy families funds to programs funded by Title XX of the federal "Social Security Act".

Committee on Health, Environment, Welfare and Institutions.

HB98-1138 by Representative Arrington--Concerning the expansion of the definition of unlawful entry when a person is immune for the use of force against an intruder.

Committee on Judiciary.

HB98-1139 by Representative Leyba; also Senator Chlouber--Concerning a strengthening of the prohibition against the use of tobacco at schools.

Committee on Health, Environment, Welfare and Institutions.

HB98-1140 by Representatives C. Berry and Dyer; also Senator Norton--Concerning the reestablishment of an exclusive schedule for permanent partial disability, and, in connection therewith, increasing the amount of benefits received under the schedule and limiting benefits for mental stress.

Committee on Business Affairs and Labor.

HB98-1141 by Representative Allen--Concerning termination of a tenancy on the basis of acts that constitute a public nuisance.

Committee on State, Veterans, and Military Affairs.

HB98-1142 by Representative Owen; also Senator Ament--Concerning the use of community rating criteria in small group health insurance plans.

Committee on Business Affairs and Labor.


House in recess for Joint Session.



The Joint Session was called to order by the Speaker of the House, Chuck Berry.

On motion of Senator Wells, the morning roll call of the Senate was made the roll call of the Joint Session.


Absent and excused--Senator Reeves, Wattenberg--2.

On motion of Representative Anderson, the morning roll call of the House was made the roll call of the Joint Session.


The Speaker declared a quorum present and as is customary presented the gavel to the President of the Senate to preside over the joint session.

President Norton requested the Joint Committee, composed of Senators Mutzebaugh and Johnson, and Representatives Epps, Entz, and Snyder to escort the Governor from the Governor's Chambers to the rostrum.

Chief Sergeant-at-Arms Suman announced the arrival of the Honorable Roy Romer, Governor of the State of Colorado.

The Joint Committee escorted the Governor to the rostrum where he addressed the Joint Session.

The Joint Committee escorted the Governor from the Chambers.

On motion of Representative Anderson, the Governor's message was ordered printed in the House Journal.




Senator Norton. Speaker Berry. Senator Feeley. Representative Snyder. Members of the General Assembly. Fellow Coloradans.

Good morning. I am pleased to be here.

This is the 12th time I've come before you to report on the State of the State.

It is the last such speech I will give.

I'm thoughtful about these past 11 years.

You know, we've made tremendous progress.

When we started, our economy was in trouble.

What did we do? We declared Colorado "open for business." We used our advantages to attract new business and new jobs. We made key investments.

Today, we enjoy the results of those efforts - a diverse economy, record high growth, record low unemployment, and unparalleled economic opportunity.

We now are one of the premier economies in the nation--perhaps the world.

Colorado is not only the best place to work, but also the best place to live.

We should feel good about this. And we should be proud that we did this together--the people of Colorado, businesses and unions, the General Assembly, local governments, this administration, Republicans and Democrats.

We've done well. But there is more to do.

What's happened in the last 10 years is very different from what will happen in the next 10, 20 or 30 years.

As I approach this speech, I'm trying to look at a larger picture. I'm trying to step back from the day-to-day details of government.

I'm trying to understand the way history is unfolding for us and catch the trends that are changing our world.

Let me put this in perspective.

At the dawn of the 19th century, we were an agrarian society and our future depended on exploring and settling the frontier.

At the dawn of the 20th Century, we were becoming an industrial and urbanized society, and our future depended increasingly on centralized manufacturing.

During those important periods of history, wise leaders crafted public policies--railroad land grants, rural electrification, the agricultural extension service, land grant colleges, the GI bill, Social Security--to meet the challenges of their time.

Now, just before the dawn of the 21st century, our economy is based on information, new ideas, skills and knowledge.

In the past, we had a resource based economy.

Today, we have an idea based economy.

That change is radical. It is exploding all around us.

Where once our economy moved at the speed of a horse, a train, a car and then an airplane, today, our economy moves at the speed of an idea.

And while the speed of a train, a car, or plane are all limited by physical technology, the speed of an idea is limited only by the mind's ability to think and to comprehend.

So what are the large public policy questions--comparable to rural electrification or land grant colleges--that we face?

It is how we develop people with new ideas, skills and knowledge.

This leads to our first priority, early childhood.

And we begin to do that at the very earliest age. Science confirms what many parents already understand--that the experiences of a child from birth to age 6 are absolutely the most critical to the development of that child's ability to think creatively, to work in a team with others and to function effectively in society.

We also know that stress and adverse environments damage the developing brain and that those effects can last a lifetime. Think about the implications of this.

Studies show that children who do not get enough nurturing and stimulation have serious intellectual deficits by 18 months of age, and that full reversal of these deficits may not be possible. In many cases, preschool teachers can tell you which children in their classrooms likely won't graduate from high school.

But, there's another radical change in our lives. Ironically, at the very same time that the new information economy puts a premium on the development of the skills and knowledge of our kids age 0-6, more and more of their parents must leave home to go to work.

Now I'm not making a judgment here. I'm just trying to describe a new reality for our families.

During the most important years of development, on any given day, 48 percent of young Colorado children spend some or all of their day outside the home in the care of someone other than their parents.

The proportion of young children with employed mothers jumped from about 7 percent in 1940 to 43 percent in 1980. Since then, in Colorado, the number has grown to 63 percent.

This represents a radical change in how our children are raised.

Parents work hard. They want the best for their children. But it isn't always easy.

Somewhere along the line, life for families has changed. But government and the workplace have not.

The two historic trends I've talked about--the move from a resource based economy to an idea based economy, and the new reality of the working family--present us with enormous policy challenges that we must tackle head on--in our families, in the private sector, and in government.

If our challenge for today and for the new century is to develop creativity in our children in the earliest years of their lives, what is the best way to meet that challenge?


Lets begin by reaffirming our commitment to the goal of making Colorado "the best place to raise a child."

Together, we have worked on a bipartisan basis to meet this goal. Among other accomplishments:

we have served over 30,000 at-risk kids in the Colorado PreSchool program, to get them ready for school;

C we have created child care tax credits and an income tax check-off to help improve the quality of child care;

C we have streamlined and improved child care licensing;

C we have made it easier for parents to get good information about child care providers and facilities;

C we have strengthened community decision making by block-granting child care money to counties; and

C we have an innovative approach to encourage and help fathers be more involved in the lives of their children.

One of our proudest and most creative achievements has been Bright Beginnings. Under the guidance of Brad Butler, the former chairman of Proctor and Gamble, we've built Bright Beginnings into a thriving, volunteer-based effort in cities and towns across the state to welcome newborn children into our communities.

Bright Beginnings has also increased private sector involvement in creating family-friendly workplaces.

Let's build on the good work we have done, and reaffirm our commitment to make children our top priority.

We need a collective response to the dilemma of child care.

This needs to be driven primarily by the free market. But government does have an important role.

How do we -- the private sector and government together -- do this?

First, parents need good information about child care. We need to use the resources of the private sector to help parents be good consumers, and to be able to identify high quality early education programs for their children. By one measure, only one in five kids in child care is receiving a quality experience. Doug Price, president of First Bank of Colorado, is leading an exciting private sector initiative, called "Educare," which is one example of how we can get this done.

Second, we need to improve quality. We need to set quality standards -- not just minimum rules and regulations--for child care facilities. And we need professional development and training for child care workers so that they adequately understand the growth and development of young children and how to nurture them.

I support legislation to create a voluntary child care credential that recognizes professional achievement and expertise.

Third, we need to increase the availability of quality child care. This is a serious issue for parents with infants, toddlers, special needs children, and for those who must work weekends and nights. Right now in Colorado, 177,000 kids need child care, but the current system can only care for 130,000. And remember, on top of what we already need, we're adding 40,000 more children to the system because of our welfare-to-work program.

Fourth, we need to get more resources into the system--both to parents and to communities--to improve accessibility, quality and affordability. How do we do this?

By virtue of the strength of our economy, we have a budget surplus in Colorado. Now all of us have ideas about what to do with that surplus, and I will speak more about that later in this speech. But families with young children ought to get the first crack at the surplus.

Two years ago, we created a state child care credit for families with incomes of $60,000 or less. Under that law, the average qualifying family in Colorado can claim between 10 and 50 percent of their federal child care tax credit against their state income tax liability.

To provide middle and low income families with more help to offset child care expenses, I propose we increase this tax credit to equal the full amount families receive on their federal taxes, and make it refundable so that more families can take advantage of it. This will put more than $26 million a year into the pockets of Colorado families to help them with their child care expenses.

In addition, I propose that we extend the current business tax credits available only in enterprise zones to all businesses statewide who invest in child care programs and facilities in their communities, or for their employees.

I understand that there is legislation that will be introduced through the Childre's Legislative Ad Hoc Committee, to create an Early Education and School Readiness Program. This program will direct new funds to communities and will give them the flexibility to use these funds to improve program quality, teacher training and more. I think this is a good idea. We ought to explore together appropriate funding levels and sources for this program.

I also have earmarked $2 million again this year in Community Development Block Grant monies to help communities build or renovate child care centers.

There are at least 10 separate federal funding sources for early education programs. It's actually common to see, in one building, children segregated into classrooms according to funding programs. I ask you, why would we want poor kids, kids with special needs, and kids with working parents segregated? This is not good for kids and it's not a good way to spend money.

We need to actively seek waivers from all of these separate federal programs so that communities can pool these resources to meet their specific needs.

Fifth-- and this is the most important element of our child care plan -- we need to help local communities coordinate their efforts. This is where the real action on child care needs to be.

All too often, the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing.

Over the past few months, I've been meeting with groups all over the state. And along with my Commission on Early Care and Education, I have been holding a series of public hearings on child care. Senator Feeley, I appreciate your work on the Commission. What I hear is that communities are ready and enthusiastic about creating local systems of care and education. Many are already working on it.

In Glendale, for example, Mayor Joe Rice has pulled together parents, churches, the media, schools, law enforcement, child care providers and others to develop a local plan for children.

We must support and encourage the creation and expansion of this kind of local early childhood council in all of Colorado's communities.

These Councils should be in the position of advising local elected officials on policy, spending, and programs related to early childhood. They could become the local authority for coordinating these programs. I've asked my Department of Human Services to make start-up grants available to such councils to help jump-start more community action.


I've talked about child care. But there is another issue that affects our children's ability to learn and grow. And that's health care.

We've made some progress here as well.

86 percent of Colorado's two-year olds are immunized--that's higher than the national average.

Last year, our school-based health centers provided 30,000 kids access to basic health care and prevention services.

And Colorado was the first state in the nation to submit for federal approval a child health insurance program, called the Children's Basic Health Plan.

But with Colorado's prosperity, it is unacceptable that 180,000 of our childrenCmostly in working families -- still do not have health insurance.

And it's unacceptable that many children don't get the dental care they need--in large part because our Medicaid reimbursement rates are too low.

Here's what we can do.

First, the new Federal Balanced Budget Agreement provides Colorado up to $42 million in matching funds to improve children's health.

I propose that we accelerate the Children's Basic Health Plan to provide insurance for 25,000 more children this year, and follow through with plans to cover at least 45,000 children next year. I urge you to allocate $5.2 million from the General Fund this year to match available federal dollars.

This program -- a model for other states--focuses on prevention. Its goal is to provide comprehensive services, using managed care and existing public and community health infrastructure.

Second, I support legislation to expand Medicaid coverage by modifying the asset test and covering all children up to 100 percent of the federal poverty level.

Third, I propose to develop a network of dentists, non-profit organizations, and community health care providers to better coordinate available resources to serve children who don't have access to dental care.

Fourth, we should increase reimbursements for dentists providing services to Medicaid children, and we should expand Medicaid to give our poorest children dental care.

With a state investment of $1 million, we can access another $1 million in federal funds, and provide much needed dental care to Colorado's children.

Fifth, I propose a modest investment of $600,000 to fund a pilot program for prenatal and early childhood home visitations by nurses for 300 at-risk families.

And sixth, we should double the number of children who have access to school-based health centers.

One final point in this area. On your desks you will find an Investment Prospectus, published by my office. To those of you who invest in stocks or bonds, it will look familiar.

This Investment Prospectus, however, is unique. It's about kids. It tells us that we ought to invest more in prevention programs early in a child's life. It shows, in stark terms, the long-term costs of inaction -- poor health, foster care, child welfare, special education.

I urge you to read this material. If we make smart investments today, we will save the state money in the long-run.


I've talked about child care and how important that is. And I've talked about child health.

But to move toward an economy where skills, knowledge and ideas are paramount, we also need to continue our work on public education.

We have been focused on this for several years, and we have taken critical steps toward lasting reform. Today, all 176 of our school districts have implemented high academic standards -- developed by parents, teachers, business people and others -- for each grade in reading, writing, math, science, geography and history.

We now can say to every kid "this is what you need to know, and this is what you need to be able to do."

And with the fourth grade reading and writing assessments completed last year, we now have, for the first time, an accurate measure of where our kids are -- not compared to other kids in other states, but compared to where we think they need to be to succeed in the new economy.

And now we know that too many of our kids do not yet meet these standards. We know that less than 50 percent of our fourth graders write as well as they should, and just over 50 percent read as well as they should.

This is sobering news. But I welcome it because, for the first time, we have an objective measure of how we're doing.

To meet the challenges of an economy driven by skills, knowledge and ideas, we have to do better.

So today, let's dedicate ourselves to this goal: every school in Colorado will improve its own performance by at least 25 percent in fourth grade reading and writing over the next three years.

We have to do as much for our public schools over the next 10 years as we have done for our economy over the last 10 years.

I know that many schools and districts are already working hard to improve achievement, and I applaud their efforts.

How do we help each school reach this goal?

We need to make standards a part of the routine of the school day. We need to improve and encourage teacher training and professional development. We need to engage parents more effectively in the classrooms and the work of their kids.

We need to make sure that our schools and libraries are connected to the Internet, opening students to a world of opportunities, choices and ideas.

We need school-to-career programs, to bring knowledge of the workplace into classrooms.

We need to provide adequate funding -- a 3 percent increase for all schools this year, and more to those schools that prove a commitment to high standards.

In short, we need to do everything we can to help every kid in every school in every district.

But accountability must begin somewhere. And it must be in each school and in every district in the state.

What must each school do? Parents look to us and ask, "What are you doing to improve my child's schools? How do we know the money is being spent wisely?" Let's answer these questions by requiring each school to meet the goal of raising achievement by 25 percent in 3 years. Each school should develop a plan of action, a blueprint for making improvements -- something that will give parents confidence that real progress will be made.

If schools do that by June 30 of this year, I propose they get an additional funding increase of one-half percent. This is a small but important incentive and this will bring the total funding increase up to 3.5 percent for all districts which file improvement plans.

These plans ought to outline ways that schools will:

I want schools to get all the help they need. I believe that the state Department of Education should provide specialized technical assistance, including help from a "mentor teacher corps," helping schools become more efficient to free up more resources for teaching.

But this is not about more plans and reports. It's about looking each parent in the eye and saying, "Your school and your child is not going to be left behind."

After 3 years, if a school or a district is unable to improve performance, strong measures are in order. I believe that the state must have the ability to demand accountability and change local school management authority. Removing accreditation, as allowed by current law, may not be enough. We may need the ability to go farther, to remove local management.

I am very respectful of local control. But if school districts cannot improve the education of their students, someone else must. Our kids in school deserve nothing less.

Now, there are some who believe that we can solve our problems in public schools simply by reducing bureaucracy and giving teachers more discretion to discipline unruly kids.

While those are valuable goals, no one should be under the illusion that these steps alone will get the job done.

I know that this is an election year, and that bumper sticker slogans about tough problems are inevitable.

But Colorado's parents and kids deserve better than that.

To summarize, we need to push standards and assessments hard. We need to make sure it is done on the local level. We need schools to change their ways, to improve student achievement, and provide extra help to those who need it. And we need to attach financial incentives to performance, and consequences to non-performance.

To help launch us toward our goal of 25 percent improvement, and to help focus and guide our future policies on K-12 education, I am pleased to announce that, in partnership with business and education groups, I will host an education summit in February. At that summit, we will take a comprehensive look at improving student performance.

I also intend that the summit address other key, long-term public education issues. What are some of those issues?

C the importance and proper place of non-academic learning -- like art, industrial arts, and other "hands-on" subjects.


No program for dealing with the changing nature of the economy and the family is complete without looking at education beyond high school.

Colorado's institutions of higher education are strong and thriving, and we are putting into place other systems and efforts designed to encourage life-long learning.

Let me highlight a couple of items.

First, the Prepaid Tuition Fund. In September we launched this program. The Fund offers families the opportunity to invest toward future college expenses based on today's prices.

Colorado parents, grandparents and other investors committed more than $60 million toward college education expenses for students during the first enrollment period.

This is a good program that gives parents choices about the future. Enrollment will re-open later this year.

Second, adult literacy. 475,000 adults in Colorado have not received high school diplomas. Nearly one in every five Coloradans has a literacy deficiency.

When we bolster their basic skills, everyone wins.

Third, workforce development. I hear from employers all the time about the shortage of skilled workers.

We know that we must educate our children so that they can compete in the new economy. But also have to continue to educate and train those already in the workforce. It is critical that we help provide them with opportunities to learn new skills so they can keep up with the demands of a new economy.

Working with the business community and local officials, we have created an efficient workforce development system by integrating programs and financial resources at the state and local level. By the end of this year, every region of the state will have "One Stop Centers."

Here, in one place, workers will be able to get information about job openings and training opportunities. And employers will be able to advertise their job openings. We have accomplished this by giving local communities broad authority, and requiring them to coordinate job training with their economic development efforts.

Finally, we're proposing additional funding for the Colorado First/Existing Industries program, which helps Colorado workers get and keep good jobs. This important program also helps those parts of our state which have not shared in the benefits of our recent economic growth.

Let me tell you about one more exciting development where Colorado is leading in higher education and lifelong learning. I am speaking of the Western Governors" University -- a joint effort by 17 Western states to bring our institutions of higher education together to use new technology to offer the very highest quality degree and workforce certification programs to our citizens.

I spoke about WGU last year. Since then, we have made significant progress. Institutions of higher learning from around the world--in Great Britain, China, Canada, Malaysia and Japan -- have all expressed a desire to be included in this program.

This has been a bipartisan effort, and no matter who succeeds me as governor next year, I hope that Colorado will continue to be a leader of the Western Governors' University. This may be the most important and lasting contribution we make to improve access and quality in higher education and workforce training. It absolutely addresses the challenge and promise of the new information economy.


Let me tell you, we are only starting to understand the implications of this new economy.

I recently met with some of the country's top CEOs to work on standards in our schools. We talked about the fact that technology is now an issue every CEO must face personally. It is no longer something they can assign to their computer experts.

A good example is Amazon books, a new company which sells its products over the Internet. Overnight, competing booksellers had to radically change their own business plans.

We have to be ready for this kind of dramatic change. That means we must be willing to try new ways of doing business in Colorado.

On your desks is a document called Connect Colorado which explains some of our current efforts to use technology to make government work better, and to connect better with our citizens through improved information systems. One example is the Colorado Homepage. Another is our effort to connect our schools to the information highway.

We have started down this road, but we have a long way to go.

I have asked for $20 million to improve the ability of our schools to enter the information age. We may want to think about investing some of our surplus funds in technology.

We also need to develop a communications network which will link state agencies, schools, libraries and private sector organizations and provide them with access to voice, data, and video capacity. When operational, this network will help us communicate more efficiently by providing instantaneous access between the different entities on the network. The network also will increase the technological capabilities of all regions of the state.

Currently, agencies and other public entities negotiate their technology infrastructure independently. We need to combine the purchasing power of the entire state government for technology and go to the private sector and ask them to compete for building and maintaining this system.


So far this morning, I've talked about the new economy, child care and health, education and technology.

Now I want to talk about something else--about the quality of life we enjoy in Colorado, and what we need to do to maintain and enhance that quality of life.

I have said many times that our future as a state will be determined by two things -- how well we prepare our people to compete in the new economy, and how well we care for this place called Colorado and the quality of life we enjoy here.

Here, too, we must start with the remarkable economy we have and the tremendous opportunities it provides. First and foremost, quality of life means having a job. And by that measure, we are doing very well.

While not everyone in Colorado has fully shared in the benefits of our strong economy, I don't think any of us would trade places with where we were 10 years ago. The rising economy has brought a resurgence to our urban centers and throughout most of the state, more and better cultural and recreational opportunities, and greater choices for Colorado families.

But quality of life means more than just economics. It means strong families and communities; it means safe neighborhoods and schools; it means living together as a society in a way that celebrates the diversity of cultures and experiences that is America; it means protecting our environment; and it means making investments in the future.

Again, our success brings new challenges.


Let me talk about crime. Frankly, despite our population growth, statistics show that our streets and neighborhoods are safer today than they have been in many years.

That didn't just happen. We have taken an iron-fist approach to crime -- and especially juvenile crime. The policies we have implemented together -- banning guns in the hands of kids, funding community efforts to prevent crime, passing and enforcing tougher sentences for adult and juvenile offenders -- are working.

But there are still some serious issues that must be addressed. We have been shocked recently by several outrageous hate crimes in Colorado. By hate crime, we mean a crime against someone motivated solely by a victim's personal characteristic, such as race, age or gender.

Our statutes on hate crimes are strong. But I want to make two changes to make them stronger.

First, I believe we should add hate crimes to the list of aggravating circumstances in death penalty cases.

Second, I believe that the definition of hate crimes should be extended to include crimes motivated by the sexual orientation of the victim. Too many of Colorado's gay and lesbian citizens face such crimes each year, and we should provide this added protection to them.

Now, we know in the long run the solution to crime involves more than just getting tough on criminals. We know that it is so much less expensive and so much better to prevent crimes before they happen.

One of the best things we have done in this area is the Youth Crime Prevention and Intervention program. In a similar vein , we should expand our prevention efforts to include increased alcohol and drug treatment as well as other similar programs with a proven track record.


Another critical component to our quality of life is protecting Colorado's extraordinary natural environment.

This truly is one of the most beautiful places on earth. But we have to take care to protect that beauty, especially in the face of growth pressures.

We know that growth, if not carefully managed, can soon ruin or greatly diminish what is special and unique about a place.

Just look at Southern California.

Three years ago, we convened a summit on smart growth, and out of that process came 74 specific recommendations for action. We are working hard on these recommendations and this remains a high priority for me.

The most gratifying result of the Smart Growth movement has been the dramatic increase in local and regional cooperation.

In many different parts of the state, mayors and county commissioners who formerly did not coordinate with one another have made a common purpose around critical growth and quality of life issues such as transportation, or open space or affordable housing.

Let me give you two examples. One is the good work being done between Larimer and Weld counties and the cities of Fort Collins, Greeley, and Loveland to ensure they don't all just grow together into one large city. Their goal is to maintain open spaces and the individual character of their different communities.

The second is an exciting effort in the San Luis Valley to create good jobs while protecting its unique heritage and its natural beauty.

During the next year, we hope to encourage similar regional growth partnerships across the whole state. One way we are doing that is through an innovative grant program modeled after our successful transportation partnerships grants of the past few years. That's the kind of positive change that is happening.

In addition, we need to continue our work at the state level to preserve critical areas of open space.

That's why I ask you to reauthorize the state lottery -- with no major changes -- so that Great Outdoors Colorado can continue awarding grants to preserve the beauty and rich natural heritage of our state.

I am also pleased by the progress of reforms which are changing the mission and structure of the State Land Board. Its most important task this year is creating the Stewardship Trust. The board has begun the process of setting aside as open space 300,000 acres of state lands that possess special qualities, as the people called for in 1996.

Finally in terms of the environment, we have made great progress in cleaning up the air. Twenty years ago, we violated clean air standards over 170 times each year. The past two years, we didn't violate these standards once. We did it largely through local initiatives and effort. We should be proud. But we need to continue these efforts in light of future growth, and we are.

In the metro area, for instance, local governmental, business and community leaders are developing the "Blueprint for Clean Air" a long-term, comprehensive, locally- driven plan to reduce the Brown Cloud over the next 10 to 20 years. This is precisely the kind of bottom-up, local solution that we need to support.

Growth impacts water supplies as well. In 1993, I convened the Front Range Water Forum to take an in-depth look at the critical issue of long-term water supplies along the Front Range. This group -- made up of over 40 elected officials and community leaders -- will issue its first report later this month.

Another important water priority is satisfying our obligations to provide water to the Ute Tribes by supporting the so-called Animas-La Plata "Lite" project. I want to thank Lt. Governor Schoettler for her leadership on this issue.


Our most pressing growth issue is transportation and its time for some straight talk.

Transportation is critical to our economy and to the quality of our lives. Yet we are falling behind. We have not kept up with growth in our population or in the number of cars on our roads.

We have 500,000 more people on the road than we did five years ago. It's harder to get to work, and the time spent struck in traffic is time not spent with our families.

We know we have a serious problem. And, we have come to consensus that we have at least $13 billion of unfunded need -- $8 billion at the state level and $5 billion at the local level. Let me tell you, that is a conservative figure. I believe our needs are much greater than that number. But, even that amount of need is daunting.

We worked together last year to pass Senate Bill 1. That was a tough battle. None of us got all that we wanted in that bill. But we accomplished some fundamental things.

We have started the job. The people of the state want us to finish that job.

Here's what we should do.

First, because we must move ahead where we can to solve our traffic congestion as quickly as possible, I took action several weeks ago that I thought was important.

We stepped up to the plate in state government and let Washington know that we intend to secure federal funding for highway improvements and light rail along I-25 from downtown Denver to Lincoln Avenue in Douglas County.

People are often at a dead stop on that road. We have to act and act now.

We did that by pledging state money to secure $355 million in federal funding for that corridor.

Second, under our current system, transportation planning in the metro area is too separate from land-use and other community planning. Local community officials are responsible for just about every other related issue in their jurisdictions. They need more say in how transportation is organized. That's why we must reform the governing board of RTD. It's about smart planning.

I know that a number of you in this room have been thinking along these same lines, and I look forward to working with you on a new structure for RTD that better integrates transportation with other local priorities.

Of course, the transportation situation in the Denver metro area is only part of a larger, statewide issue. We made a good start at statewide investments last year with Senate Bill 1. But that is just a start--the need is much greater.

Here I want to be very clear. In the past, when our economy was not as strong as it is today, we could not always afford to make needed transportation investments. But today, when our economy is so strong, we can afford to make those investments, and we must do so.

The pressures on our transportation system are in large part the result of strong economic growth. The budget surpluses we expect over at least the next five years also are the result of that strong economic growth.

Now look, let's be clear about the real source of our surplus. It's not a "TABOR" surplus, it's a growth surplus.

While times are good, we should use part of this growth surplus to invest in transportation. In Holly, when we had a good year, we fixed the barn and bought a new tractor. We invested in good times to protect our future.

I strongly believe we must use a portion of the growth surplus to make key public investments that will keep the economy strong and enhance our quality of life in the future.

I know a lot of you have very specific proposals for the growth surplus. I'm not going to make a specific proposal right now, because this is something we will need to work out together.

But my basic attitude about the growth surplus is this--some should be returned to individuals for their own use, and some should be used for collective investments in critical areas like transportation, schools and technology.

But this is not our decision. This is a decision for the people of Colorado to make. Let=s not be afraid to listen to them and trust their judgment.

I have recruited Larry Kallenberger to work with local communities on a "listening campaign" as part of the process of deciding how to deal with the growth surplus. This sort of process served us well in our Smart Growth efforts, and I believe it can help us craft a better proposal for the people to vote on.


This morning, I've talked about the importance of early childhood issues, public schools, higher education, the beauty of Colorado, and the quality of life we enjoy. I've talked about the investments we need to make, particularly infrastructure and transportation.

But in closing, I want to return to what is my first priority, and that is how we as a community called Colorado create the best place for a child to be born and grow.

Let me tell you then a story that happened to me in the course of this week as I wrote this speech. A person I've already honored, Brad Butler, who has been a great leader for us all in the area of early childhood, has cancer. In fact, I invited him to the speech, but he is in the operating room this morning. He has given me permission to share this with you.

I went to see him Tuesday. After I'd sat down in a chair across from him in his living room, Brad began to talk to me about the immediate need to find new leadership for Bright Beginnings.

He described his health, about how far the cancer had spread, and asked if I would be a part of his memorial service.

In my awkwardness in trying to express the feelings I have for him, I said, "Brad, you have had a streak of bad luck." He interrupted me and said, "No, Roy, my luck has not been bad " it has been very good."

And he began to describe the beauty of his relationship to his children and grandchildren, and to his wife Erna. He described the joy it had been to be able to help give leadership to the cause of Colorado's children.

He handed me some writings he had recently prepared for his children and grandchildren, so they would know him better and know what shaped his character.

And this is why I tell you this story. It is about character.

It is important to create an environment where young children can learn skills, knowledge and creative intelligence.

But it is much more important to create an environment where they can acquire the traits of character displayed by Brad Butler -- traits such as honesty, compassion, courage, a work ethic, delayed gratification, self-control, to be a sharing member of a community, to serve some larger purpose beyond personal desires.

Children are born into this world innocent and full of hope. Traits of character they get from us, the adults in their lives. Thus the importance of our improving the early childhood experience in Colorado.

Our dream, our goal then, is not just to have the best economy, not just to be the most beautiful state to live in, but to be that place where the best human beings can grow.

Come, let's join in this quest.

In the words of Ulysses,

Come, my friends.

>Tis not too late to seek a newer world.

Push off, and sitting well in order smite

The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds

To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths

Of all the western stars, until I die.

It may be that the gulfs will wash us down;

It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,

And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.

Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'

We are not now that strength which in old days

Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are, --

One equal temper of heroic hearts,

Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Thank you.


On motion of Senator Wells, the Joint Session was dissolved.


House reconvened. Quorum present.



First Reading

The following bills were read by title and referred to the committees indicated:

HB98-1143 by Representatives Spradley, Dyer, Epps, George, S. Johnson, Keller, Lawrence, and May; also Senators Arnold, Bishop, and Pascoe--Concerning the eligibility requirements for children to be enrolled in the health care program sponsored by the public employees' retirement association.

Committee on Finance.

HB98-1144 by Representative Sullivant; also Senator Bishop--Concerning the securing of aggregate materials during transport by motor vehicle.

Committee on Transportation and Energy.

HB98-1145 by Representatives Zimmerman and Mace; also Senator Rizzuto--Concerning the protection of local government employees from retaliation by local government employers.

Committee on Local Government.

HB98-1146 by Representative Allen--Concerning an expedited dismissal procedure for public school teachers whose performance remains unsatisfactory following completion of intensive remediation.

Committee on Education.


On motion of Representative Anderson, the House adjourned until 9:00 a.m., January 9, 1998.






Chief Clerk