Colorado’s 2008 legislative session is coming to a close this week. This Week @ Metro has
been tracking several legislative measures that will affect higher
education in the state. When passed, all of the bills will head to Gov.
Ritter’s desk for action.
Ritter to have on campus signing of bills for funding for the Auraria Science Building
two bills that are needed to provide funding for the completion of the
Auraria Science Building and other higher ed capitol construction
projects have passed. A signing ceremony with Governor Bill Ritter is
planned for Monday, May 12, at 1:30 p.m. Watch for further details in
Authority of Auraria Boards on capital construction projects
legislature passed Senate Bill 180, sponsored by Sen. Josh Penry and
Rep. Don Marostica, in April. The bill authorizes the Auraria Higher
Education Center and Metro State to issue bonds and enter into
lease-purchase agreements for capital construction on campus. This bill
is relevant to funding for both the Science Building
renovation/addition and the upcoming changes to campus expected to
occur under the Auraria Master Plan.
Federal mineral lease payments to fund capital construction in higher education
trio of measures related to the use of federal mineral lease payments
to fund specific higher education capital construction projects is
expected to be finalized Tuesday night (May 6). These include Senate
Bills 218 and 233 and House Joint Resolution 1042.
• Senate Bill 218 would reorganize the funding stream from federal
mineral leases on land owned by the state and make some of these funds
available for higher education construction projects.
• Senate Bill
233 sets up some money from the federal mineral lease payment stream
and authorizes certificates of participation for capital construction
in higher education.
• House Joint Resolution 1042 lists the
prioritized projects to be funded with the federal mineral lease
payments. It includes state funding of $63.6 million for the Science
Building addition and renovation.
The legislature approved the long bill, the
detailed and lengthy state budget for 2008-09 (House Bill 1375).
Funding for higher education was based in part on the NCHEMS model, and
Metro State received $5 million from the state’s general fund (see http://www.mscd.edu/~collcom/artman/publish/budget_twv5032608.shtml).
In-state tuition for U.S. citizens
Senate Bill 79,
sponsored by Sen. Paula Sandoval and Rep. Tom Massey, concerning
in-state tuition for U.S. citizens, regardless of their parents’
residency status (see http://www.mscd.edu/~collcom/artman/publish/sandoval_twv5013008.shtml),
passed late Monday night. The bill eliminates parents’ Colorado
residency status as a requirement for in-state tuition rates for
students who are U.S. citizens, under the age of 23 and have attended
for the final three years and graduated from a Colorado high school.
While addressing the issue of students whose parents are
undocumented, the legislation would also help those who are dealing
with other unique circumstances that prevent proving their parents’
domicile in Colorado, such as students who are not in contact with
their parents. President Stephen Jordan testified in favor of the
legislation in January.
Roadrunner license plates
Senate Bill 143, which adjusts
the special license plate requirements, has passed, making the Metro
State license plate available to all students, faculty and alumni.
The Roadrunner license plate was in danger of being eliminated due
to a requirement that 3,000 of any alumni special license plates had to
be issued within one year. The bill changes the requirement to 500
plates issued by March 1, 2011. According to Assistant Vice President
for Alumni Relations Cherrelyn Napue, there are more than 900 Metro
State plates on the road currently.
Sen. Ron Tupa and Rep. Jerry Frangas sponsored the bill, and
received support from numerous legislators including Rep. Joe Rice, who
is a Metro State alumnus.
Before anyone can purchase a plate from the Department of Motor
Vehicles (DMV), they need to purchase a voucher from the Metro State
Alumni Association. Vouchers for current students and alumni who
graduated within one year are $25. Vouchers for all others are $50.
These voucher fees will go towards scholarships as well as support
academic programs. In addition there is a one-time $50 DMV fee for
To purchase your Roadrunner license plate, contact the Office of Alumni Relations to receive your voucher, 303-556-8320 or www.mscd.edu/~alumni/.
Realigning of K-12 content standards to better prepare students for college
Bill 212, which would realign Colorado’s K-12 content standards to
better prepare students for college, is expected to be finalized this
week. The bill is described at http://www.mscd.edu/~collcom/artman/publish/edreform_twv5040208.shtml.
Fiscal fix to go to voters
House Speaker Andrew Romanoff’s plan to untangle a constitutional knot of spending limits and mandates (see http://www.mscd.edu/~collcom/artman/publish/fundingbill_twv5042308.shtml)
failed to get enough votes in the legislature to put the issue to
voters. Therefore Romanoff said he plans to put bring the issue to
voters by backing a similar measure filed as a citizens’ ballot
initiative. The plan would have lifted some of the spending
restrictions of the 1992 Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights and repealed
Amendment 23’s mandated spending on K-12 education. To get onto the
ballot as a citizens’ initiative, backers will need to gather 76,000
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