Education, school safety, events dominate last weeks of session

Much like the weather on the Front Range, last week was lively, to say the least. Despite the often-long days and nights at the Capitol, I still had the opportunity to attend a few special events and work on several bills that are close to my heart and important to our district.

First and foremost, I would like to congratulate the class of 2013, and in particular, the Fort Lewis College graduating class. I was unable to attend Saturday’s ceremony because we were in session until 2 a.m. Saturday, and I am terribly disappointed that I missed it. College graduation is a great accomplishment and a very special time in one’s life. Congratulations to you all, and I wish you the best of luck in your life after college.

Last week, my bill regarding FLC and Colorado School of Mines passed the House, and it now is on its way to the Senate. House Bill 1297 grants investment authority and fiduciary responsibility for all money and appropriations to the board of trustees at the School of Mines and FLC. I believe these schools deserve to manage their money in a more direct way, and I am pleased to have had the opportunity to work with Reps. Sue Schafer and Cheri Gerou in the House and Sens. Ellen Roberts and Jeanne Nicholson in the Senate. The House Finance Committee passed this bill unanimously, and I look forward to its passage through the Senate Finance Committee, as well.

Another bill that I am sponsoring this year is Senate Bill 138, which will benefit Colorado’s students and educators. This bill defines and clarifies responsibilities related to school resource officers. This bill refines current duties to help Student Resource Officers adopt, implement, review and revise plans for campus and Internet safety. These men and women are committed to prioritizing safety for all students and staff members at every Colorado public school. SROs are an important bridge between public and school safety. Any bill that facilitates the job of an SRO benefits us all and makes our teachers and children safer. It passed Senate and House with overwhelming bipartisan support, and it soon will be on Gov. John Hickenlooper’s desk awaiting his signature.

Last Wednesday, I also had the opportunity to attend two very different but equally enjoyable events. It was Music Day at the Capitol, and I went to the Music Matters luncheon held by the Arts Education Partnership. I listened to local middle and high school bands, orchestras and choir performances, as well as a small presentation on the importance of music education. I believe the arts are an important part of a child’s education, and I support funding arts in our schools. I enjoyed the performances a great deal and want to thank AEP for hosting this event.

Wednesday evening, I attended a barbecue co-hosted by the Colorado Brewers Council and the Colorado Licensed Beverage Association with my staff members. We shared a few delicious craft beers and discussed the role of breweries in our state. Colorado has more than 160 breweries and ranks fourth nationwide in breweries per capita. Furthermore, CLBA members provide the state with thousands of jobs and inject more than $1 billion into the Colorado economy through the responsible sale of beer, wine and spirits. Breweries are a vital part of our economy as well as our state’s culture. Thank you to the CLBA for sharing a drink with me.

May 8, the final day of session, is quickly approaching. We do not take our responsibility as state legislators lightly, and we are working late into the evenings to make sure that all bills receive the debate and scrutiny they deserve before the session comes to a close.

Mike McLachlan represents House District 59 in Colorado’s General Assembly. The district encompasses La Plata, Archuleta, San Juan, Ouray and Hinsdale counties and part of Gunnison County. Call McLachlan at (303) 866-2914 or email

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