Session off to fast start for Lakewood-area legislators

LAKEWOOD – State legislators from the Lakewood area are waist-deep in pushing a number of bills addressing issues ranging from the size of state government to clarifying when late-fees can be added to property tax payments.

A bill by Rep. Andy Kerr, D-Lakewood, that would extend college savings account benefits through “Lifelong Learning Accounts” passed the House Education Committee 13-0 Monday.

Kerr’s HB 1040 is intended to help Colorado’s workforce to develop and upgrade their job skills by encouraging adults to further their post-secondary educational goals through the use of 529 savings plans. It also would allow employers’ matching contributions to the accounts.

The bill would give adults in the workforce the chance to upgrade their skills and achieve their career goals and earning potential, Kerr said.

“Our Lifelong Learning Accounts will allow people to invest in their own continuing education. Times have been tough, but Colorado will be trained and ready for jobs in our growing recovery.”

The bill moves to the Finance Committee.

State Sen. Mike Kopp, who represents south Lakewood as part of his south Jeffco Senate District 22, will introduce his “Blueprint for a leaner Government” in the Senate.

“It seeks to streamline and eliminate wasteful bureaucracies so that government costs taxpayers less money in these recessionary times,” according to Kopp.

The measure would create two bipartisan study groups. One would examine “all bureaucratic state functions” to determine which are necessary and which duties could be either eliminated or farmed out to the private sector. A second group that would include business owners would examine regulatory duties of state agencies, compiling a list of regulations that are “outmoded, wasteful and top-heavy,” according to Kopp.

Freshman State Rep. Max Tyler, D-Lakewood/Golden, introduced bill that provides “a little breathing room” for people who opt to pay their property tax by mail.

Tyler’s HB 1046, which last week cleared the House Local Government Committee 10-0, requires county treasurers to record as “on time” any un-postmarked payments received within five days of the due date.

“This bill will make life easier for those who pay their property taxes on time,” Tyler said. “It’s just another example of how House Democrats are continuously looking out for the citizens of Colorado.”

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