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February 2, 2015

While it has been an exciting few weeks at the Capitol, it was great to get back to the district for my Town Hall meeting in Leadville. Representative Millie Hamner and I hosted a joint town hall meeting prior to the opening of Hangar One at the Leadville-Lake County Airport, the highest airport in North America! Senator Andy Kerr joined us, and it was great to have a Front Range Senator hear the concerns of Lake County residents first hand.

I will be hosting several more town halls over the next two months, so make sure to keep an eye on my Facebook or Twitter for further details.

 
Legislative Update

Here is a brief update on my sponsored legislation. You can follow these, and any other bills that interest you, at leg.state.co.us
  • School Lunch for Students in 4 Day Schools
This past Tuesday I presented my first piece of legislation, SB15-054, in the Committee on State Affairs. This bill would have provided take-home lunches for students who receive free or reduced-cost lunches and also attend a 4 day per week school. I was disappointed to see the bill defeated on a party-line vote, however ensuring proper nutrition is incredibly important for students to reach their full potential and I look forward to continuing to work on this issue. 
  • Rural Economic Emergency Grant Program
This Tuesday, Feb. 3rd, I will be presenting the Rural Economic Emergency Grant Program (SB15-036)  in the Committee on State Affairs. The Rural Economic Emergency Grant Program is designed to allow rural communities to quickly respond to substantial job losses, ensuring the preservation of these communities. The bill has gotten press attention from the Grand Junction Sentinel to the Denver Post, and I look forward to bringing attention to the problems facing our rural communities at the hearing this Tuesday. 
  • Alternative Energy for Schools
Alternative Energy for Schools would expand the current Wind for Schools program. SB15-063 would expand the current Wind for Schools program to help schools build renewable energy projects to educate students and provide energy for the schools. This bill has been scheduled for a hearing in the Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources on Wednesday, February 11th. 
  • ASCENT Program Funding
ASCENT, or Accelerating Students through Concurrent Enrollment, is a successful program in Colorado that allows high school seniors to enroll for a fifth year of high school while taking higher education courses in a community college. ASCENT allows students with limited means to get a head start on college courses. SB15-138 would alter the funding timeline of the program to better align with the needs of ASCENT students applying for community college courses. 
Co-Sponsored Legislation

Over the first few weeks in the Capitol, I have had the opportunity to work with other elected officials from both parties on legislation that will benefit communities in Senate District 5. Here are a few pieces of legislation that I have co-sponsored. 
 
  • Rural Economic Development Initiative Grant Program
Introduced by Representative Yeulin Willet of Grand Junction, this House Bill would create a grant program to help create more resilient economies in distressed rural communities. Where my Rural Economic Emergency Grant Program would be a quick response to economic emergencies in rural areas, this complementary program would fund broad, long-term programs to create diverse rural economies. 
  • Off-Highway Vehicles on County Roads
This bill was introduced by Representative J. Paul Brown, and would allow individuals to register their off-highway vehicles in order to be able to drive them on county roads. HB15-063 was recently heard in the House Committee on State Affairs, where it passed with unanimous support. This opt-in regulation gives more power to local governments to decide what works for them. I was happy to work with Rep. Brown on this issue, and will be carrying the bill in the Senate. 
  • Tax Incentives for Agritourism
SB15-127 would provide tax incentives for businesses promoting agritourism in Colorado and let individuals write off expenses related to the promotion of agritourism. Sponsored by Senator Leroy Garcia and Representative Tim Dore, this bill would help to grow Colorado's burgeoning tourism industry by encouraging visitors to explore less-visited rural areas. 
 
Capitol Facts 
  • The official elevation of Denver is measured outside the west entrance to the Capitol building
  • The fifteenth step is engraved with the words "One Mile above Sea Level" at 5280 feet
  • A second mile high marker was set in the 18th step in 1969 when Colorado State University students resurveyed the elevation
  • In 2003, a more accurate measurement was made with modern technology, and the 13th step was identified as being one mile high, where a 3rd marker was installed
Upcoming Events

Pitkin County Town Hall
Saturday, February 21st 11:00 am -1:00 pm
Red Brick Recreation Center
110 East Hallam Street
Aspen, CO 81611

Gunnison County Town Hall
Date/Location To Be Announced
 
Delta County Town Hall
Date/Location To Be Announced
Contact Me

As always, my constituents'  feedback is incredibly important to me. Please feel free to contact me with your thoughts, concerns or suggestions.

Lewis awaits your calls!

Kerry Donovan
Senate District 5
200 E. Colfax Ave. Office 339
(303) 866-4871 (office)
(970) 279-1876 (cell)
Kerry.donovan.sd5@gmail.com
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