Saturday, August 9, 2008

Ralph Carr Highway Signs Come Out Sunday

Gov. Bill Ritter will unveil a road sign honoring former Gov. Ralph Carr, who resisted efforts to imprison Japanese-Americans during World War II, at a ceremony at the Capitol on Sunday.

The General Assembly passed a resolution requiring a portion of U.S. Highway 285 to be re-named in honor of Carr last spring.

The new road signs will be placed on a section of Highway 285.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Former Arvada Police Chief Named New CBI Head

Gov. Bill Ritter and Department of Public Safety Executive Director Peter Weir announced Friday that former Arvada police chief Ronald C. Sloan would be the new director of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

“Ron Sloan’s reputation as a leader in law enforcement is outstanding,” Ritter said. “His experience as a police chief, his community involvement and his commitment to victims all combine to make him an ideal person to head up the CBI.”

Sloan, 58, retired as police chief for the city of Arvada in 2007. He has 34 years of experience in law enforcement, having begun his career with the Aurora Police Department in 1974. Sloan also has served on the Police Officer Standards and Training Board, an official panel that determines the training needed for candidates to become certified peace officers. He has been active with the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police and worked closely with legislators. Sloan earned his Bachelors and Masters degrees from the University of Northern Colorado.

The top three finalists, including Sloan, were CBI Deputy Director Karl Wilmes and former Littleton Police Chief Gary Maas.

CBI provides investigative and forensic assistance to local law enforcement agencies. CBI offices are located in Denver, Pueblo and Grand Junction.

Sloan assumes the job of CBI director on Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2008. His annual salary will be $135,000.

Sloan replaces Robert Cantwell, who served as CBI director from 1999 until his retirement on June 30, 2008.

Ritter Names New Judges in 4th, 19th Districts

Gov. Bill Ritter today announced the appointments of Regina Marie Walter of Colorado Springs as an El Paso County Court Judge in the 4th Judicial District, and Dinsmore Tuttle of Windsor as a District Court Judge in the 19th Judicial District, which serves Weld County.

Walter currently serves as a magistrate judge for the 4th Judicial District, a position she has held since 1987. Prior to this, she served as deputy public defender and as an associate for Frank A. Gerig, P.C.

Walter was awarded the State of Colorado Outstanding Judicial Officer of the Year in 1997 and serves as co-chair for the 4th Judicial District Best Practices Court Steering Committee. She received her B.A. from Colorado College in 1980 and her law degree from the University of Tulsa in 1983.

Tuttle has served as a district court magistrate for the 19th Judicial District since 1997. She was in private practice from 1990 to 1997, and served as a public defender in Adams, Weld, and Larimer Counties from 1983 to 1990. Tuttle received her B.A. from New College in 1975, her M.A. from the University of Colorado in 1979, and her law from the University of Denver in 1982.

Walter’s appointment is effective immediately. She is filling the vacancy created by the appointment of the Honorable Barney Iuppa the District Court bench.

Tuttle’s appointment is effective Jan. 13, 2009, and was created by the retirement of Judge Robert Lowenbach.

The appointments are for provisional terms of two years, and then until the second Tuesday in January following the next general election. Thereafter, if retained by the voters, the term for a District Court judge is six years and four years for a County Court judge. The current salary for a District Court judge is $118,972 and $113,856 for a County Court judge.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Breastfeeding Law Takes Effect

Colorado became the 16th state in the union to guarantee women the right to breastfeed at work today as the Workplace Accommodations for Nursing Mothers Act went into effect.

“With healthier infants, fewer working mothers will miss work to stay home with a sick child. This is the right thing for moms, for healthy babies and for a productive workplace,” Rep. Andy Kerr, D-Lakewood, and the bill's sponsor, said in a press release issued by the House Democratic Caucus. “Businesses recognize the value of healthy children and how that increases the productivity and morale of working mothers.”

Sen. Dan Gibbs, D-Silverthorne, was the Senate sponsor of the bill.

The new law will require Colorado employers to provide reasonable break time, to provide private space for mothers to express breast milk at work, and to not discriminate against them for doing so.

A new website with information for employers interested in learning how to comply with the new law has been set up.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Many New Laws Taking Effect Today

A long list of bills enacted into law by the General Assembly this year went into effect today. The 125 measures range from consumer protection to environmental protection and from renewable energy to education. The new laws include:

HB 1178 increases the odds of catching email spammers by providing state enforcement authority similar to federal authority against unwanted e-mails. Colorado consumers can now take complaints to local authorities. (Rep. Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora; Sen. Bob Hagedorn, D-Aurora)

HB 1160 will allow nearly one million more Coloradans participate in the burgeoning renewable energy market by allowing them to generate homegrown energy from wind turbines and rooftop solar panels while remaining on the utility grid. This new law also gives customers credit when their meter runs backwards from their production of wind and solar power. (Rep. Judy Solano, D-Brighton; Sen. Brandon Shaffer, D-Longmont)

HB 1280 protects water rights of those owners leasing or lending unused to the Colorado Water Conservation Board. (Rep. Randy Fischer, D-Fort Collins; Sen. Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass Village)

HB 1223 aims to identify dyslexia early in a child's educational career so that those afflicted with the learning disorder can overcome the disability in school. New training and technical assistance will help teachers address dyslexia and other literacy challenges. (Rep. Mike Merrifield, D-Colorado Springs; Sen. Suzanne Williams, D-Aurora)

HB 1207 requires the state to purchase environmentally friendly products – such as energy efficient light bulbs and recycled paper products – whenever feasible. It allows the state to consider both the initial cost and the expected life-span of a product. (Rep. John Kefalas, D-Fort Collins; Sen. Bob Bacon, D-Larimer County)

SB 129 requires that beverages sold on public and charter school campuses meet nutritional and health standards aimed at reducing obesity and advancing general health. Rep. Jim Riesberg, D-Greeley; Sen. Dan Gibbs, D-Silverthorn)

SB 73 aims to lower the cost of college textbooks by imposing new disclosure and product separation requirements on publishers. (Rep. John Kefalas, D-Fort Collins; Sen. Ron Tupa, D-Boulder)

SB 159 lowers the threshold for Boating Under the Influence (BUI) to .08 from .10. It also expands boating under the influence to include all vessels, not just motorboats or sailboats. (Rep. Christine Scanlan, D-Dillon; Sen. Ron Tupa, D-Boulder)

HB 1265 allows counties to increase the income eligibility ceiling for child care assistance to 85% of the state's median family income. (Rep. Nancy Todd, D-Aurora; Sen. Brandon Shaffer, D-Boulder)

SB 123 allows more five-, six-, and seven-year-olds to get a free lunch at school. (Majority Leader Alice Madden, D-Boulder; Sen. Paula Sandoval, D-Denver)

HB 1407 requires insurance companies to pay double damages if they are found to have unreasonably failed to pay on a claim on a timely basis. (Speaker Andrew Romanoff, D-Denver; Senate Majority Leader Ken Gordon, D-Denver)

HB 1385 requires creation of a consumer shopping guide for health insurance on the Colorado Division of Insurance web site and requires insurance brokers to tell customers how much commission they make on each policy they sell. (Rep. Dianne Primavera, D-Broomfield; Sen. Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass Village)

HB 1228 prohibits insurance agents and companies from selling misleading insurance policies. (Rep. Gwyn Green, D-Golden; Senate Majority Leader Ken Gordon, D-Denver)

SB 16 provides money for free and low-cost health screenings and education through the 9Health Fair, a volunteer-run, community-initiated program. (Rep. Debbie Benefield, D-Arvada; Sen. Nancy Spence, R-Centennial)

SB 58 requires the state to develop an action plan for dealing with the difficulties encountered by those confronted with Alzheimer's disease. (Rep. Jim Riesberg, D-Greeley; Sen. Betty Boyd, D-Lakewood)

HB 1225 raises the Business Personal Property Tax exemption from $2,500 to $7,000. (Rep. Joe Rice, D-Littleton; Rep. Bernie Buescher, D-Grand Junction; Sen. Suzanne Williams, D-Aurora; Sen. Steve Ward, R-Littleton)

HB 1261 aims to encourage the growth of the airplane industry by authorizing a “Fly-Away Tax Exemption” allowing new or used aircraft to be sold without collection of Colorado sales tax. (Rep. Bernie Buescher, D-Grand Junction; Sen. Bob Bacon, D-Fort Collins)

HB 1380 reduces tax burdens by creating a “Single Factor Tax” which allows businesses to pay one tax – based on sales – rather than pay based on multiple factors, allowing them to put more resources back into their businesses. (Rep. Cheri Jahn, D-Wheat Ridge; Sen. Brandon Shaffer, D-Boulder)

SB 170 gives the state's 11 Downtown Development Authorities a 20-year extension on their tax-increment financing contracts. (Rep. Bernie Buescher, D-Grand Junction; Sen. Bob Bacon, D-Fort Collins)