Although the 2020 legislative session has all the earmarks of another partisan year, the House sent a strong message Wednesday with the introduction of half of its first bills for the 2020 session — bills all with bipartisan sponsorship.
House Bill 20-1001 will raise the minimum age for purchasing tobacco, including vaping products, to 21. It's sponsored by Reps. Kyle Mullica, D-Thornton, and Colin Larson, R-Littleton.
HB 1002, sponsored by Reps. Barbara McLachlan, D-Durango, and Mark Baisley, R-Roxborough Park, would "create a model to award academic credit for work-related experiences."
The Rural Jump Start Program provides tax incentives to new businesses in economically distressed parts of rural Colorado. HB 1003, sponsored by Reps. Dylan Roberts, D-Vail and Janice Rich, R-Grand Junction, seeks to improve the program's eligibility requirements and extend the program another five years.
The interim Wildfire Review committee has sent HB 1004 to the House, to be carried by Reps. Lisa Cutter, D-Littleton, and Perry Will, R-New Castle. The bill creates a grant program that will help landowners with wildfire mitigation efforts in high-risk areas.
Finally, HB 1005, from the interim School Safety committee, intends to improve the state's Safe2Tell program to provide crisis counseling. Safe2Tell is targeted to K-12 students, allowing them to anonymously call in tips on threats, including suicide or drugs. The bill will be carried by Reps. Dafna Michaelson Jenet, D-Commerce City, and Asst. Minority Leader Kevin Van Winkle, R-Highlands Ranch.
The other five bills deal with early childhood mental health, K-12 educator diversity, healthcare cost-sharing arrangements, suppressing court records during eviction processes, and assigning prison inmates to prisons closer to where they lived prior to incarceration.