Cybersecurity, teacher shortage addressed in busy legislative session

CU, higher education see budget boost for 2018-19
By Staff

Cybersecurity, teacher shortage addressed in busy legislative session

May 9 marked the end of the Legislature’s four-month session, one that saw the introduction of a record 800 bills introduced at the Capitol.

The session also resulted in a funding boost for the University of Colorado and higher education, benefiting operations, financial aid for students and capital construction projects.

Higher education operating funding:

  • Statewide $59.1 million operating increase in FY 2018-19 (8.5 percent increase).
  • Of this amount, CU will receive $18.9 million (9.7 percent increase) based on the funding model.

Financial aid:

  • $13.9 million in additional financial aid statewide, with increases provided in both need-based aid and work-study.
  • Of this amount, $4.8 million need-based financial aid increase to CU in FY 2018-19.

Capital construction:

  • $12.3 million in state funding for CU Anschutz Colorado Center for Personalized Medicine and Behavioral Health.
  • Over $700,000 for controlled maintenance projects.

CU initiated several pieces of legislation aimed at furthering efforts to bring more operating efficiency and cost savings to the institution. CU’s Government Relations team also worked to oppose legislation that would have negatively affected operations or created unfunded mandates.

Several bills this session were targeted at alleviating the state’s budget challenges, including transportation, broadband access and the Public Employees Retirement Account (PERA). (See story on PERA changes here.)

“With the surplus of state funding available, legislators and stakeholders were able to spearhead unique initiatives to address key issues in Colorado,” wrote Tanya Kelly-Bowry, vice president for Government Relations, in a post-session communication. “CU engaged in several of these by leveraging the critical work being done by faculty and staff at all four of our campuses in the areas of cybersecurity, educator shortages, opioid addiction and more.”

Below is the 2018 legislative recap of notable issues affecting CU; numbers and names of bills are followed by the names of sponsoring legislators. Visit this page for a full list of bills and links to bill text. Gov. John Hickenlooper is expected to sign bills in the coming weeks.

CU legislation:

SB18-086 Cyber Coding Cryptology for State Records (Lambert,Williams/Ginal,Rankin) allocates funds to Colorado Mesa University (CMU), Western State University of Colorado (WSU), Colorado State University (CSU), University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS), Pikes Peak Community College (PPCC), and Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSUD) for cybersecurity programs. UCCS plans to also contract with the National Cybersecurity Center (NCC), to work on issues related to cybersecurity and distributed ledger technology such as blockchain. This bill allocates to UCCS $2.8 million, a portion of which will be shared with the NCC on collaborative efforts. Sent to the governor.

SB18-206 Research Institutions Affordability for Residents (Priola, Kerr/Arndt, Wist) provides important updates to enrollment statutes for research institutions. The bill standardizes the overall total enrollment caps at research institutions to 55 percent in-state and 45 percent out-of-state students and also slightly increases the percentage cap for international students. These statutory updates will help sustain important affordability and quality initiatives designed to attract and retain Colorado students. Sent to the governor.

HB18-1003 Opioid Misuse Prevention (Pettersen/Priola, Jahn) was one of six bills that the Opioid Interim Task Force introduced after months of stakeholder meetings and research. Section 6 directs the Center for Research into Substance Use Disorder Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus to develop and implement continuing medical education activities to help prescribers of pain medication to safely and effectively manage patients with chronic pain, and when appropriate, prescribe opioids. The bill appropriates $750,000 to the center. Sent to the governor.

HB18-1309 Programs Addressing Educator Shortages (Coleman,Wilson/Hill) creates initiatives to address teacher shortages by requiring the Colorado Department of Education and the Colorado Department of Higher Education to create a framework for a “Grow Your Own” educator program which will provide tuition stipends in teacher preparation programs for up to 50 students who will teach in rural areas upon graduation. The bill also appropriates $75,000 each year for two years to CU Denver’s School of Education to develop targeted customized solutions with educator stakeholders and report applicable data to the state. Sent to the governor.

Bills with fiscal significance for CU:

SB18-001 Transportation Infrastructure Funding (Baumgardner, Cooke/Buck,Winter) provides General Fund support for transportation project construction and maintenance. The amount of funding and the purposes for which it may be used depend on the outcomes of different ballot measures, including citizen-initiated measures in 2018 and, conditional on those measures not passing, a 2019 ballot measure referred pursuant to this bill. CU lobbied to come up with a compromise on transportation funding that minimizes the impact on higher education and other areas of the budget. Sent to the governor.

SB18-002 Financing Rural Broadband Deployment (Coram, Sonnenberg/K. Becker, Duran) phases in additional funding from the High Cost Support Mechanism (HCSM) to support broadband deployment grants and makes changes to the Broadband Deployment Board’s membership and grant application process. It also repeals the Public Utilities Commission’s oversight of the HCSM in 2024, following a sunset review. The bill creates a minimal one-time state workload increase, and may increase revenue to local governments on an ongoing basis. Many CU Anschutz Medical Campus faculty were actively engaged in supporting this bill because of its effect on telehealth. Sent to the governor.

SB18-262 Higher Education Targeted Master Plan Funding (Gardner,Duran /Bridges) provides $16.8 million in targeted funding to Colorado public institutions of higher education to make progress on the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE) Master Plan goals. Todd Saliman, CU vice president of finance and CFO, originally introduced this idea, which benefits all institutions of higher education across Colorado. CU’s share in the final bill is $1.2 million. “CU stepped up in a good faith effort to keep all of the governing boards working together collaboratively,” Kelly-Bowry said. Signed by the governor.

SB18-280 Tobacco Litigation Settlement Cash Fund Transfer (Lambert/Hamner) is the result of CU asking the Joint Budget Committee to run legislation to make up a shortfall in tobacco-settlement revenues. This year, the shortage is about $19 million; the CU Anschutz Medical Campus receives a large portion of these funds. SB18-280 helps alleviate the shortfall by transferring $19,965,068 from the General Fund to the Tobacco Litigation Settlement Cash Fund and requires this money to be disbursed to state agencies consistent with the current law allocation formula for Tobacco Master Settlement Agreements payments. This will make the expected allocation to CU Anschutz whole. Sent to the governor.

HB18-1189 Expanding Effective Teacher Residency Programs (Coleman, Wilson/Hill). The Colorado Educator Preparation Innovation Coalition, which CU’s education deans are a part of, conceptualized this bill that creates a teacher residency pilot program. The pilot program will help to bring local education providers and teacher preparation programs together to ensure that prospective teachers are ready to thrive in the classroom environment. The bill appropriates $600,000 for the grant program, which will be spent on six pilot programs over three years. It requires a 1:1 private match; the Rose Community Foundation voted to provide a $200,000 match. Sent to the governor.

HB18-1437 Costs of College-level Courses in Corrections Educational Program (Herod/T. Neville) allows costs of college-level courses offered to prisoners to be borne through private, local or federally funded gifts, grants, donations or scholarships. Faculty from CU Denver’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences are actively engaged in providing education courses to prisoners throughout the state. This bill will help attract much-needed private funding to support efforts to offer these courses for actual credit. Sent to the governor.

Bills with major policy impact:

SB18-069 Enforcement Statewide Degree Transfer Agreements (Holbert, Zenzinger/Garnett, Becker J.). Institutions may only require an eligible student to complete lower-division courses if the courses are part of the student’s major, and taking the courses does not require the student to take more credit hours or time to complete the degree than a non-transfer student. The institution may not require that eligible students take additional general education courses. For any lower-division courses that result in a student exceeding the total credit hours or time to completion that is required for a non-transfer student, the institution is required to pay the full cost of the courses, before the application of the College Opportunity Fund. Sent to the governor.

SB18-237 Out-of-Network Providers Carriers Required Notices (Gardner/Esgar) requires health insurers to cover emergency services as an in-network benefit and makes other changes regarding out-of-network billing and disclosures. This bill focused on the notification of patients about their rights regarding medical bills. However, the bill was killed in committee. Stakeholders agreed to work on a late bill to address concerns about the patient notification provision, but an agreement could not be reached before the deadline for this session. The bill sponsors and stakeholders have agreed to continue working on this issue in the 2019 session.

HB18-1006 Infant Newborn Screening (Hamner, Liston/Gardner, Moreno) updates the Newborn Screening law for the first time in 20 years following a collaborative effort led by Children’s Hospital Colorado, pediatricians, audiologists, the March of Dimes and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Many CU School of Medicine faculty were engaged in the process. The department is authorized to assess a fee for newborn screening and necessary follow-up services. The bill creates the newborn hearing screening cash fund for the purpose of covering the costs of the program. Sent to the governor.

HB18-1086 Community College Bachelor Science Degree Nursing (Buckner, Lundeen/Neville, Aguilar) allows community colleges to offer stackable, four-year bachelor of science degree programs in nursing. CU was able to add amendments in the House that narrowed the bill to a completion degree rather than a full four-year degree, which would have created a complete change to the community colleges’ role and mission. CU will continue to work with its community college partners to strengthen the nursing pipeline and provide quality education and clinical placements for Colorado’s next generation of nurses. Became law without governor’s signature.

HB18- 1391 Sexual Misconduct in Higher Education (Duran, Winter/Martinez-Humenik, Kerr) reflected a compromise developed after months of negotiations between institutions of higher education and the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CCASA). The bill would have required institutions to have a transparent policy on sexual misconduct that included, at a minimum, information on reporting and investigation processes. The bill also required institutions to use preponderance of the evidence as the evidentiary standard. Several amendments were added to the bill by the Senate Finance Committee that would have required an unfunded overhaul of current investigation processes and procedures on Colorado’s campuses. Both CCASA and many of the institutions opposed the amendments and the bill ultimately died in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

To promote CU endeavors, Government Relations engaged university stakeholders in many activities at the Capitol, including faculty presentations to committees, hosting campus groups for tours and legislator briefings, and hosting legislative events such as CU Advocacy Day.

“Thank you to everyone at CU who helped provide feedback on bills, testified before committees and engaged with legislators,” Kelly-Bowry wrote. “Your efforts helped make this a successful session for CU and we appreciate your advocacy.

“We would particularly like to thank the Regents, President Benson and Chancellors who engaged with key legislative contacts and lobbied for CU this session. Also, special thanks to Vice President Todd Saliman and his team of Chad Marturano, Celina Duran and Cheri Gerou; Vice President Pat O’Rourke and his legal team: Jeremy Hueth, Erica Weston, Julie Steeler and Krystal Knutson as well as our campus legislative liaisons: Tobin Bliss, Neil Krauss, Mark Zamora, Kirsten Schuchman and Jia Meeks. We also had a great group of champions at the legislature on both sides of the political aisle and we are grateful for their support. I also want to give a special thanks to our Government Relations team.”