The 2013 legislative session made extraordinary progress in expanding opportunities for more Coloradans.
In our January preview of the session, we described how legislative leaders from both sides of the aisle outlined broad goals and emphasized the role of public policy in expanding opportunity. During the session, they delivered. The result is one of the most productive and far-reaching sessions in memory.
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The 2013 legislative session made extraordinary progress in expanding opportunities for more Coloradans. The legislature enacted several measures that the Bell and others have been working on for almost a decade.
Our end-of-session edition of The Opportunity News reviews many of those accomplishments, with a focus on the Bell's major bills.
States this year are passing a slew of immigrant-friendly laws, a major change from the strict enforcement measures Arizona and other states approved just a few years ago.
The November elections that put immigration back on Congress' agenda also prompted the shift at the state level. Pro-immigrant measures that had been stalled for years got new life this spring, while courts have thwarted state efforts to crack down on illegal immigration.
The wide political backing for a bill in the Colorado legislature to allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at public universities appears to assure that the measure will finally pass after six failed attempts.
SB 33, offered by Democratic Sens. Michael Johnston and Angela Giron, was approved this Thursday in the Senate Education Committee by a vote of 6-3.
Going to college has become a losing proposition for a growing number of minority youth in Colorado who find themselves burdened with student debt in an economy that is short on good-paying jobs.
"I know several people, including two very close friends, who ... have degrees, but also have a lot of debt and because they can't find work, they end up mowing lawns," Jason Chavez, a business administration student at a Denver university, told Efe.
Senate Bill 33, the proposal that would allow qualified undocumented Colorado high school graduates to pay in-state college tuition, will be heard today before the Senate Education Committee.
The Bell has been a supporter of this effort from the beginning, for a simple reason: We believe all of our state's qualified high school graduates deserve to be able to go to college at an affordable in-state rate.
The General Assembly opened its 69th session on Wednesday, a mostly ceremonial day that featured speeches from the majority and minority leaders outlining their broad goals and policy objectives for the 120-day session.