CU notches successes in recently ended legislative session

Bills initiated by university awaiting governor’s signature
By Staff

The 2013 state legislative session concluded last week. All the CU-initiated bills have made their way through the process and are on their way to Gov. John Hickenlooper for signature.

Legislative highlights include:

Budget and Capital

The governor signed SB 13-230, the Long Appropriations Bill, which sets the FY 13-14 budget, on April 29. Higher education will receive an increase of $30 million plus $5 million in financial aid; it is the first time higher education has received an increase since 2008.

The bill also includes $142 million state general fund for capital construction. CU’s share is about $21 million:

  • $7 million for CU Anschutz Medical Campus COP payment
  • $6 million for Systems BioTech at CU-Boulder
  • $4 million for Performing Arts at UCCS
  • $4 million for the Library on the Auraria Campus.

The Joint Budget Committee’s supplemental bill, SB 13-090, includes about $9 million for higher education for the current fiscal year. CU’s portion is $3 million.

In addition, an amendment to SB 13-133 Distribution of Limited Gaming Revenues put an additional $500,000 into the Innovative Higher Education Research Grant Fund, available to research institutions. CU has been the most successful university in the state in competing for the funds.

HB 13-1194 In-state Tuition for Military Dependents

Current law allows a dependent of a service member to receive in-state tuition at a Colorado public college or university if the service member was stationed in Colorado during the dependent's last year of high school and the dependent enrolled in a Colorado college within 12 months of graduation from a Colorado high school. The bill extends in-state tuition to all dependents, including spouses.

HB 13-1320 Support For Meritorious Colorado Students

Under current law, state-supported institutions of higher education must maintain a required ratio of resident student admissions to nonresident student admissions. The bill allows an institution to count a student who is admitted as a Colorado scholar as two in-state students for purposes of calculating this ratio.

This CU-initiated bill will allow institutions to create and have a stable funding source for a merit scholarship program that will allow us to be more competitive in keeping Colorado’s brightest students in the state. The bill passed through both houses and was sent to the governor.

SB 13-165 Community Colleges Limited Number of Bachelor Degrees

SB 13-165, a bill that would have allowed the state board for community colleges to seek approval from the Colorado Commission on Higher Education to offer up to 10 four-year baccalaureate degree programs, was defeated.

CU joined a coalition of the state’s four-year institutions against the bill, arguing it would allow costly and duplicative degree programs in the state currently lacking adequate funding for higher education.

Other legislation affecting CU:

SB 13-023 Increase Damages Caps Under CGIA: The "Colorado Governmental Immunity Act" caps the amount that can be recovered by a person suing a public entity or public employee for loss or injury caused by the entity or employee in any single occurrence, whether from one or more public entities and public employees. The bill increases the damages limitation (one person, one occurrence) from $150,000 to $350,000, and from $600,000 to $990,000 (two or more people, single occurrence). It further specifies that a single-person is precluded from recovering more than $350,000.

CU worked with stakeholders on amendment negotiations to make the impact less severe, amending everything but the upper and lower dollar limits. The university also worked to change the effective date so that it applies only to injuries occurring after the effective date.

HB 13-1001 Advanced Industries Acceleration Act:

The bill creates the Advanced Industries Acceleration Grant Program within the Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT). The program provides for an incentive for collaboration between industry, research institutions and federal laboratories, and private-sector funders. It will create a program to provide grants to advanced industries seeking funding for proof of concept research and development, early stage capital and retention, and infrastructure.

SB 13-042 Foreign Assistant Medical Professor Renew Physician License:

Current law allows distinguished foreign physicians to be licensed for one year by the Colorado Medical Board to practice medicine at a state medical school. To renew a license, they must be a full-time faculty member (associate professor or higher). This bill allows those at the level of assistant professor to renew his or her license.

HB 13-1090 Construction Contractor Subcontractor Prompt Pay:

This bill establishes standards to govern construction agreements valued at $100,000 or more between contractors, subcontractors and project owners, including both private parties and public entities. In particular, the bill concerns payment terms, including progress payments, payment schedules, and limitations on retainage.

The university lobbied against the bill, which would have added major costs, delays and contractual burdens on campus construction projects. The bill was killed.

HB 13-1147 Voter Registration at Public Higher Education Institutions:

The bill requires institutions of higher education to provide students (as part of class registration) a link to the online voter registration website operated by the Secretary of State.

CU meets the intent of the bill and minor amendments to it were removed. During the bill’s hearing, the sponsor commended CU for facilitating student voter registration.  The bill passed through both Houses and was sent to the governor.

HB 13-1292 Keep Jobs In Colorado Act:

The bill makes changes to contracting requirements for state and local government agencies, including changes to the enforcement of the 80 percent labor law, the preference for resident bidders, the addition of competitive sealed best value bidding and the modification of disclosure requirements related to outsourcing services, labor and manufactured goods.

The university worked with capital stakeholders and internal capital construction experts on amendments to lessen the financial and procedural burdens.

HB 13-1310 Pharmacy Intern Definition Repeal:

This CU initiated bill will help clear up some definitions in statute from a bill that passed last year and will allow a group of more than 100 of our students to get a pharmacy intern license so that they can continue to complete their degree requirements.

More details on the legislation and the session are available here: