BILL SUMMARY for HB09-1057
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
04:22 PM -- House Bill 09-1057
Representative A. Kerr, sponsor of House Bill 09-1057, concerning parental involvement in kindergarten through twelfth grade education, presented his bill to the committee. He stated that research shows that students whose parents are more involved in their academic activities do better in school. He reviewed the leave provisions of the bill, specifically that leave is limited to 6 hours a month, and that the employee must give notice to an employer.
Representative A. Kerr continued his remarks on the bill, and explained that businesses that already have comparable leave policies do not need to change those policies. He explained that this bill is aimed at families that live at the margin, which he noted is especially important during this economic crisis. He reviewed statistics and research the show the correlation between parental involvement and student achievement.
Representative A. Kerr stated that the bill provides parents with a minimum standard to allow them to get involved in their children's schools. He also addressed some of the concerns that have been presented by opponents of the bill.
Representative Todd asked about referencing some of proposed changes in an amendment to be offered. Representative A. Kerr said that he would. Representative Summers asked for parents with more than one job, would the leave be allowed at both jobs. Representative Benefield asked about what "comparable" would be defined as.
Representative A. Kerr reviewed some of the amendments that would be offered with committee members, and how it changes the bill.
The following people testified on the bill:
04:50 PM -- Richard Garcia, representing the Colorado Statewide Parent Coalition (CPSC), testified in support of the bill because he stated that in his community in Erie, they experience parental involvement issues.
04:52 PM -- Teresa Garcia, representing herself, testified in support of the bill, as a teacher who sees the difference when parents are involved with their children's education.
04:56 PM -- Christy Herron, representing herself, testified against the bill.
05:00 PM -- Tony Gagliardi, representing the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), testified against the bill because most employers already have leave policies that allow for parental involvement in school. He shared a handout with committee members (Attachment C).
Representative Massey asked Mr. Gagliardi to address how small business employers handle education leave issues now. Mr. Gagliardi explained that a small business is able to handle it better than a larger business because it can work it out on a case by case basis, instead of a one size fits all leave policy. He noted small businesses value the importance of an educated workforce. Representative Massey asked if this could limit an employer's ability to grant time off. Mr. Gagliardi believes the bill works against employees.
Representative Merrifield asked if the amendment discussed passed, would NFIB be able to support the bill. Mr. Gagliardi replied no.
05:10 PM -- Julie Bengtson, representing Sage Hospitality, testified against the bill because of the lost employee productivity. She stated that the bill is a solution in search of a problem.
In response to Ms. Bengtson's remarks, Representative A. Kerr referred to language in the bill that allows employees to take paid leave and make it up at another time.
05:18 PM -- Loren Furman, representing Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry (CACI), testified against the bill, and shared a handout of testimonials with the committee (Attachment D).
05:21 PM -- Becky Fuller, representing herself, testified against the bill.
05:26 PM -- Jim Noon, representing himself as a small business owner, testified against the bill.
Representative Merrifield asked Mr. Noon if he is doing this already, then how is the bill an imposition. Mr. Noon stated that he is concerned about possible lawsuits. Representative Solano asked Mr.Noon that if this bill was enacted, would he consider if an employee has children or not. Mr. Noon noted that employers are not allowed to ask such a question.
05:32 PM -- Dan Block, an attorney, presented two areas of concern in the bill: the definition of academic activity, and the matters pertaining to unpaid leave.
In response to Mr. Block's testimony, Representative Kerr explained that an amendment has a tighter definition of academic activity.
05:38 PM -- David Vessey, representing the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce, testified against the bill because it would make it more difficult for businesses to conduct business.
05:40 PM -- Lorena Garcia, representing 9 to 5, testified in support of the bill, and shared testimonials from parents who are in support of the bill.
Representative Massey asked Ms. Garcia about parents who do not have the flexibility in taking time off to participate in school, and if they actually asked for time off, and were not granted the leave. Representative Massey asked if the parent could not ask the school to accommodate her schedule to hold the meeting. Representative Merrifield explained that he is familiar with one of the stories and can verify she was denied leave.
Representative A. Kerr shared his experience as a teacher and the difficulty some parents had with getting time off work to attend parent-teacher meetings.
05:54 PM -- Nancy Reichman, representing herself, testified for the bill.
05:59 PM -- Joanna Slanovich, representing American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Colorado, testified in support of the bill.
06:01 PM -- Vicki Newell, representing Colorado Parent Teacher Association (PTA), testified in support of the bill, and rejected the notion that the bill would result in lawsuits.
In response to Ms. Newell's testimony, Representative Summers stated that putting this kind of language in law that it is not possible to say no lawsuits would happen.
06:05 PM -- Maria Sanchez, representing herself, testified in support of the bill.
06:06 PM -- Dan Daly, representing the Colorado Education Association (CEA), testified in support of the bill, and addressed some of the opponent's points against the bill.
06:10 PM -- Ingrid Aleman, representing Colorado Statewide Parent Coalition (CPSC), testified in support of the bill.
06:14 PM -- Frank Queen, representing himself, testified in support of the bill.
06:17 PM -- Frank Waterous, representing the Bell Policy Center, testified in support of the bill, and shared a handout with committee members (Attachment E).
06:21 PM -- Tara Trujillo, representing Colorado Children's Campaign, testified in support of the bill.
06:23 PM -- Treon Goossen, representing Home Educators, testified in support of the bill, with the inclusion of an amendment that addresses home schooled students.
06:24 PM -- Larry Bush, representing himself, testified in support of the bill .
Representative Merrifield explained that the bill would be laid over for action, and the committee adjourned.