Romer: Mountain Chambers support Bill 1155

Recently, chambers of commerce in the Colorado intermountain region have begun working collaboratively to speak louder—with one voice—to advance public policy goals that enhance economic vitality and oppose those that negatively impact communities and businesses in Colorado’s mountainous region. This includes Aspen Chamber Resort Association, Basalt Chamber of Commerce, Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association, Steamboat Springs Chamber, Summit Chamber, and Vail Valley Partnership.

Those of us who live in mountain communities understand the great challenges that most full-time residents and business owners must overcome to survive. Settling in the mountains often starts out as a fanciful dream, but staying here requires great ingenuity and a willingness to cooperate in solving problems.

Working in the shadow of awe-inspiring vistas, thousands of smart, creative individuals are determined to build sustainable businesses for their families and employees. It’s the people and businesses that make Colorado’s multi-billion dollar tourism industry possible, and the last thing they need is arcane state laws that clumsily prohibit opportunities to train a workforce. of local work.

Today, we put our collective weight behind Bill 22-1155which would allow all Colorado high school and GED graduates to enroll in public universities, community colleges, and trade schools in Colorado at affordable in-state fees.

In 2013, after nearly a decade of failed attempts, the Colorado General Assembly passed Senate Bill 13-133, commonly referred to as the “ASSET” bill. This legislation allowed thousands of undocumented high school graduates, often referred to as “dreamers,” to receive in-state tuition benefits.

This bill has been strongly supported by the Colorado business community for the very positive impacts it has had on Colorado’s workforce. And yet, in the years since it was passed, many of us have seen that state law still restricts thousands of high school and GED graduates from training for jobs in our state.

This year, Reps. Julie McCluskie (D-Dillon) and Perry Will (R-New Castle) joined Senator Julie Gonzales (D-Denver) in introducing Bill 22-1155, which will eliminate many of the remaining restrictions. in the state law and enable thousands of high school graduates to continue training for jobs in our state. The bill aligns tuition classification for all students equally. All would be subject to a 12-month residency requirement, and no student would lose eligibility as long as they remained in the state.

Regardless of our position on national immigration laws, we can all agree that businesses can only survive if they have access to essential resources such as capital and labor.

If these critical inputs are not available, a business will fold. It’s that simple. And yet, we can help our companies find and retain talented employees who already live in their communities simply by giving all high school graduates a chance to train for jobs in our communities. House Bill 1155 does. It’s not just the right thing to do ethically, it’s the right thing to do to help our mountain businesses and communities thrive.

We commend Representatives McCluskie, Will, and Senator Gonzales for putting business interests above partisan politics and moving Bill 1155 forward.

On behalf of the hundreds of businesses that make up the largest sector of Colorado’s economy and enable millions of people to enjoy the splendor of our state’s High Country, our organizations strongly endorse House Bill 22-1155, and we hope that all chambers of commerce across Colorado and all legislators who believe in creating good jobs in their communities will join us in supporting this bill.

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