Date: 03/18/2009

BILL SUMMARY for HB09-1064


Votes: View--> Action Taken:
Moved that House Bill 09-1064 be referred to the CPASS

02:34 PM -- House Bill 09-1064

Senator Sandoval, prime sponsor, presented House Bill 09-1064, concerning creating a legislative committee to study poverty issues, and in connection therewith, establishing the economic opportunity poverty reduction task force for the purpose of advancing economic opportunity while reducing child and family poverty. She said that House Bill 09-1064 will inventory and assess state practices to eradicate poverty. She said that House Bill 09-1064 will seek to cut the poverty rate by 50 percent in the state, and she noted that the committee will be required to provide written reports annually to the General Assembly. She noted that approximately 12 percent of Colorado residents are in poverty. Senator Schultheis said that single parent families are more likely to fall into poverty.

The following persons testified in regard to House Bill 09-1064:

02:41 PM --
Brad Wood, representing the Lutheran Advocacy Ministry of Colorado, said that more than 100,000 families in Colorado live under the federal poverty level. He said that 8 other states have formed task forces similar to that proposed in House Bill 09-1064. Senator Schultheis noted that the U.S. has been attempting to address the problem of poverty for fifty years. Mr. Wood said that House Bill 09-1064 will bring together diverse groups to consider appropriate policies relating to poverty.

02:48 PM --
Gretchen McComb, representing the Women's Foundation of Colorado, said that 13 percent of the female population of the state lives in poverty.

02:54 PM -- Patricia Ramirez, representing the 9 to 5 National Association of Working Women, supported House Bill 09-1064. She spoke of her own experiences in regard to rising out of poverty. She said that the right incentives will result in the employment of persons in poverty.

02:59 PM -- Paula Gomez-Ferrell, representing the City and County of Denver, supported House Bill 09-1064. She commented on the poverty reduction activities of the City and County of Denver and on current economic conditions. She said that there is a need for increased financial literacy in the state. She said that many native Coloradans are under-trained and lack adequate employment opportunities. She said that "public assistance must be provided strategically."

03:06 PM --
Mary Atchison, representing Pathways Past Poverty and the United Way of Larimer County, said that "being poor is a full-time job." She spoke of the demands on the poor in seeking out public assistance, and noted that this process is confusing and difficult. She said that poverty is growing dramatically in Colorado. She said that current practices to combat poverty in Colorado are not as effective as they might be.

03:12 PM --
Scott Groginsky, representing the Colorado Children's Campaign, said that Colorado has the fastest growing population of children in poverty in the nation. He said that Colorado needs to examine the poverty reduction strategies of other states. He attributed poverty in part to the lack of quality affordable child care services and the lack of jobs offering a livable wage. He noted that nearly one-quarter of Colorado residents do not graduate from High School. Senator Schultheis expressed concern with over-regulation of the child care industry, and resulting increased costs. Senator Bacon said that there is insufficient funding of the state's educational system. Senator Boyd said that it is critical that child care be conducted in a safe environment.

03:23 PM --
Juanita Herrera, Denver, said that the General Assembly should not cause harm to the public and older Colorado residents in particular. She spoke of her difficulties in contacting elected officials. She commented on her difficulties in obtaining Social Security benefits. She supported House Bill 09-1064.

03:29 PM -- Rich Jones, representing the Bell Policy Center, supported House Bill 09-1064. He suggested reinstatement of the earned income tax credit as one potential solution to the problem of poverty.

03:34 PM --
Donna Davis, representing Mercy Housing, spoke of her personal experiences with homelessness. She said that her father was a soldier and that her parents are still married. She said that she was divorced earlier in her life and entered the work force with insufficient skills. She said that, at that time, she could not find affordable housing and lost most of her assets in a custody battle.

03:39 PM --
Reverend Bill Kirton, representing the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado, supported House Bill 09-1064. He said that he has raised money to battle poverty for many years. He said that poverty is ultimately a moral question. He noted that children are not responsible for their parent's behavior. He said that the Bible references the "poor" approximately 2,000 times. He said that the committee proposed in House Bill 09-1064 will give attention to the problem of poverty. He said that state residents have a collective responsibility to address the problem of poverty. Senator Schultheis said that he feels that government may have usurped part of the responsibility for helping the poor, and that this responsibility has been the traditional role of caring persons in religious institutions. Senator Bacon said that we must put effort into bringing children out of poverty and that the public can come together though government to address societal problems. Reverend Kirton noted the strong link between crime and poverty.

03:54 PM -- Randall Loeb, representing the Poverty Task Force, said that he is an advocate for the homeless. He commented on various committees in the Denver area that are addressing the problem of homelessness. He said that there are many examples of cases in which poverty has been defeated. He said that there are consequences to not addressing the problem of poverty. He said that, in his past, he did not care for himself, and yet others cared for him, and "thus he is able to speak before the committee today."
TIME: 04:03:22 PM
MOTION:Moved that House Bill 09-1064 be referred to the Committee on Appropriations. The motion passed on a 3-2-0 roll call vote.