Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Senate Chamber
State of Colorado


Wednesday, March 04, 2009
Alejandra Garza de Gutierrez (303)866-5288
Abigail Vacanti (303) 866-4882

SB 51 and SB 162 pass final reading and head to House

DENVER— The economic crisis is hitting people hard throughout the country and Colorado is not immune. 47,000 jobs have been lost in the last twelve month and Colorado’s unemployment rate is over 6%. With these numbers on everyone’s mind, the Colorado Senate passed two important bills on final reading this morning which will create jobs for Colorado.

SB 51 passed this morning on a vote of 24 to 11. This bill is sponsored by Senator Morgan Carroll (D-Aurora) will help average home owners, for the first time, finance renewable energy upgrades for their homes and businesses. By bringing alternative energy upgrades within reach for hundreds of thousands of people in Colorado, this bill will save people money, increase our energy independence, and create thousands of jobs. SB 51 will also bring in millions of dollars in investment to Colorado by attracting investment capital and renewable energy firms to our state. (SB 51 fact sheet attached)

“Colorado has been the leader in the new energy economy,” said Senator Carroll, “and we must continue to do so. We need to make affordable, renewable energy available to more homeowners. When we do that, they will save money and we will be putting more renewable energy companies to work. It’s a win- win situation.”

Senator Gail Schwartz’s (D-Snowmass) Broadband Bill (SB 162) had bipartisan support and passed by a vote of 33 to 2. This was one of the 26 major jobs bills which came out of and was endorsed by the Joint Select Committee on Job Creation and Economic Growth, which Sen. Schwartz chaired. The DC based Information Technology and Innovation Foundation estimates that if $10 billion is spent on broadband nationwide, we could see 498,000 permanent jobs in existing and new businesses. Colorado needs to be ready for this. This bill will create the mapping of broadband connectivity throughout the state so that Colorado can take advantage of federal stimulus dollars to build out broadband connectivity state-wide.

Last month, President Obama traveled to Denver to sign the $787 billion “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” into law. According to the Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute, Colorado will also see some of the $7 Billion earmarked for broadband Internet. If Colorado sees even 2 % of this funding, it could provide $140 Million for Internet and digital infrastructure.

“This bill will create a plan to expand broadband throughout Colorado, especially in underserved areas,” said Senator Schwartz. “This project is ready to go. The faster we can get broadband to rural areas, the faster we can level the playing field and ensure that health care, education and businesses can establish themselves in all regions throughout the state. This state’s economic development depends on expanding broadband.”

These two bills will now head to the House.

SB 51, sponsored by Sen. Carroll, is carried by Rep. Claire Levy (D).

Rep. Larry Liston (R), Rep. Buffie McFadyen (D), Rep. Joe Rice (D), and Rep. Judy Solano (D) will carry SB 162 in the House and was sponsored by Sen. Schwartz in the Senate.