Stock Show National Western Center (copy)

The National Western Stock Show in a Jan. 16, 2019, photo. 

Gov. Jared Polis on Tuesday signed into law a pair of state stimulus bills on agriculture and a package of education legislation during stops in Denver and Aurora.

The governor opened the day at the National Western Center in Denver, a facility that is set to receive a boost from the Colorado Recovery Plan funds in House Bill 1262 from Reps. Susan Lontine, D-Denver, and Mike Lynch, R-Wellington, Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling, and Senate President Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo.

Under the bill, which Polis signed into law while at the National Western Center, both the National Western Stock Show hosted at the Center and the Colorado State Fair are in line to receive $3.5 million. The bill appropriates an additional $2 million into other ag-related events, such as county fairs, that shut down in the wake of COVID-19.

Polis also signed Senate Bill 248, legislation from Sen. Kerry Donovan, D-Vail, and Cleave Simpson, R-Alamosa, and Reps. Karen McCormick, D-Longmont, and Richard Holtorf, R-Akron, while at the National Western Center. The bill puts $30 million into a revolving loan program for ag infrastructure as well as for farmers and ranchers.

The governor moved on from that ceremony to Rangeview High School in Aurora to put pen to paper on four education bills, including:

  • House Bill 1010 from Reps. Naquetta Ricks, D-Aurora, and Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez, D-Denver, and Sen. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora, which creates a work group that will be tasked with studying and making recommendations to improve K-12 educator diversity;
  • House Bill 1325 from Reps. Julie McCluskie, D-Dillon, and Leslie Herod, D-Denver, and Sens. Rachel Zenzinger, D-Arvada, and Bob Rankin, R-Carbondale, which establishes an interim committee on school finance over the next two years to recommend changes on funding schools, including doing a better job identifying and helping students in poverty, as well as addressing disparities in school funding because of property values between poorer and wealthier communities.
  • House Bill 1330 from McCluskie, Ricks, Zenzinger and Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer, R-Brighton, which puts $51.5 million toward programs aimed at boosting student success in higher education; and
  • Senate Bill 57 from Gonzales-Gutierrez, Sens. Faith Winter, D-Westminster, and Julie Gonzales, D-Denver, and Rep. Matt Gray, D-Broomfield, which expands the Colorado Student Loan Servicers Act to include private lenders, creditors, and collection agencies as well as upping protections for borrowers and cosigners.
School Finance Act clears the House, with focus on poverty, literacy and risks

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