Unanimous support for child sexual assault prevention bill
Fears in the sexual assault prevention community that conservative lawmakers might use a child abuse bill by Sen. Linda Newell, D-Littleton, to create an opt-in rather than opt-out provision for general sex ed were relieved today when the bill passed unanimously out of the Senate Education Committee.
SB 20 aims to prevent sexual assault against children by offering schools the option to educate kids of all ages that they are “the boss of their body” and should “tell on” anyone who violates their personal space.” The measure is nationally known as “Erin’s Law” after advocate and survivor Erin Merryn.
Newell offered as amendment, which passed, clarifying that reports of alleged sexual assault all be directed to the state’s new child abuse hotline.
Lawmakers on the Republican-controlled committee complimented Newell on a lengthy negotiation process that brought them all into agreement in supporting the measure.
“Senator Newell, thank you so much for your work on this bill, the powerful testimony you brought to the first committee hearing, your patience in working through [the amendment] and all the conversations you had with members of the committee who had an interest in this bill,” said Sen. Chris Holbert, R-Parker. “I am proud to vote for SB 20.”
The measure is a deeply personal one for Newell, whose own daughter bravely testified in committee about her experience with sexual assault as a child.
“I did a lot of work with my colleagues to ensure that the two issues [sex ed and sexual assault] were kept separate out of respect for victims and survivors,” said Newell, who teared up after the measure succeeded. “This is such a great tool in preventing future victims and survivors.”
The bill now heads to the Judiciary Committee.
More reneawables for schools
Freshman Senator Kerry Donovan, D-Vail, got near-unanimous support for a measure to expand the state’s existing Wind for Schools program to include all forms of renewable energy. SB 63 also ups the grant cap from $5,000 to $15,000.
“Where we’ve seen Wind for Schools projects installed, we’ve seen reduced energy costs for the schools and hands-on learning opportunities which are very powerful for the students, including exposure to the growing field of renewable energy jobs,” said Donovan.
The measure, which passed 7-1 out of the Senate Ag committee, now heads to Appropriations. The measure is expected to produce a cost savings in terms of school funding.
Microbeads are on their way out
Those tiny plastic beads in exfoliating soaps are bad for the Earth. They pass through water treatment facilities and end up polluting water sources. Also, they look like food to fish, which eat them and die. Or, the fish eat the beads and don’t die, ultimately carrying that plastic up to the food chain and onto your barbecue.
On Tuesday, the House health committee passed Rep. Diane Primavera, D-Denver,’s HB 1144, which will eliminate the use of the beads by 2020. The bill passed 11-2 with bipartisan lawmaker and industry support. (Johnson & Johnson testified in favor of the measure.)
“It’s not often you get an industry asking to be regulated,” said Primavera in a release after the measure passed, “but these companies realize how serious an environmental hazard microbeads pose in the long term.”
The measure now heads to the House floor.
It started with a song
— Pat Steadman (@PatSteadman) February 11, 2015