2017 Legislative Session Report
During the 2017 legislative session, Colorado Technology Association engaged directly at the State Capitol closely monitoring over 35 bills and actively supported key pieces of legislation related to technology in Colorado. Introduced legislation covered issues from STEM and computer science education to data center taxation to angel investment tax credits and more.
Providing Schools with the Technology Resources Students Need
More and more schools are in need of additional or updated technology to allow their students to prepare for 21st century careers. Through House Bill 1082, Colorado will provide grants to rebuild, repair, or replace the worst of the state's preK-12 facilities, including technology resources. Projects are prioritized based on if they address potential safety hazards or health concerns, relieve overcrowding, or incorporate technology into the educational environment.
HB17-1082 BEST Technology Grant Funding – Sent to the Governor
Encouraging Angel Investment and Maintaining Funding
Capital investment is an essential component of the growing tech scene in Colorado, and it is vital that more opportunities and resources be made available. The Advanced Industry Investment Income Tax Credit Program provides state income tax credits to investors that invest in advanced industry businesses. With the passage of HB 1090, tax credits will be available for investors in industries such as tech through 2022. Through the program, over three million dollars has already been invested in Colorado companies.
HB17-1090 Advanced Industry Investment Tax Credit Extension – Sent to the Governor
Giving Computer Science Teachers More Resources to Succeed
One of the key components to kids succeeding and learning the critical skills needed in the 21st Century is having instructors with the knowledge and resources of current technology practices. HB 1184 does this by creating a publicly available resource bank of materials pertaining to computer science programs including industry experts that may co-teach in the classroom. It also directs the incorporation of information and communications technologies practices into Colorado academic standards. A piece of this legislation that was removed but later added to another successful bill is a grant program that awards grants to enable teachers in a school district to teach computer science courses.
HB17-1184 Modern Technology Education in Public Schools – Signed by the Governor
Increasing Support for Wireless Data Demand
As both our population and use of wireless devices boom, the need for additional data coverage is ever increasing. HB 1193 helps ease this demand through the use of Small Cell Facilities. These facilities are miniature cell towers that add capacity to a service provider’s microcell network of cell towers and support data demands in particularly high-traffic areas. The bill also clarifies and simplifies the process to approve these devices allowing demand to be fulfilled in a more timely manner.
HB17-1193 Small Cell Facilities Permitting and Installation – Signed by the Governor
Keeping Data Centers and Jobs in Colorado
Colorado is uniquely situated geographically as a leader in the enterprise data center market, as well as with other information technology backbone infrastructure, due to its central location within the United States, limited exposure to natural threats, and attractive work environment for top tech talent. SB 299 changes the taxation of certain data centers in the state to a fairer market-based approach that allows Colorado to continue to attract, grow and retain technology industry such as this that provide valuable state-wide economic benefits over the long-term.
SB17-299 Apportionment of Income of Enterprise Data Centers – Sent to the Governor
Encouraging Students to Pursue STEM
Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education helps prepare students for growing career fields and helps teach skills like critical thinking. HB 1201 seeks to expand this education in Colorado by allowing schools to grant a STEM endorsement for high school diplomas. In order to receive the endorsement students would need to complete all high school graduation requirements as well as additional credit hours in STEM courses and a related capstone project. This endorsement will show to employers and higher education that the student is serious about learning about STEM fields and is willing to go above and beyond to do so.
HB17-1201 STEM Diploma Endorsement – Signed by the Governor