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HB14-1154 Passes Through House Committee

February 16, 2014

Following is a report from Don Eron on the status of HB14-1154, the Community College Pay and Benefits Act of 2014.

On February 3, the Community College Pay and Benefits Act of 2014, HB14-1154, passed through the House State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee by a party line vote of 7-4.  With this triumph we cleared a significant hurdle, although the challenge ahead is considerable.

The meeting lasted almost four hours. Five speakers—community college presidents and staff representing the Colorado Community College System (CCCS)—spoke in opposition to the bill. Their presentation lasted over an hour. For the flavor of the CCCS testimony, read Peter Schmidt’s article in the Chronicle of Higher Education:

http://chronicle.com/article/Colorado-Lawmakers-Take-Up/144397/

The CCCS speakers might disagree, but much of the CCCS testimony bespoke contempt for the adjuncts that teach the majority of the courses in Colorado’s community colleges. While the proceedings were courteous, claims of the CCCS administrators were met with laughter from the adjuncts and others in attendance. At the end of the hearing, when members of the committee offered commentary prior to voting, two representatives expressed their view that at least some of the CCCS testimony was dishonest.

Between 20 and 30 speakers testified in support of the bill, most of them adjuncts or former adjuncts in the state community college system. At the beginning of the hearing, the committee chairwoman, Representative Su Ryden, announced that because there were so many speakers, she planned to limit testimony. However, as a measure of the impact of the adjunct testimony, toward the end of almost four-hour session she sent her legislative assistant into the audience with the sign-up sheet, to ensure that all adjuncts present would have the opportunity to tell their stories to the state legislature.

The next step for this bill is the House Appropriations Committee. It is uncertain at this writing when that Committee will hear the bill, but it will probably be March or even as late as April. If the bill passes through Appropriations, it moves to the House floor, and then to the Senate.

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