Monday, June 10, 2013

How a Bill Becomes a Law

By Dana Rinderknecht, Director of Online Giving, Community First Foundation

I admit it. I loved School House Rock as a kid, especially the one where a bill becomes a law (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nKyihoV9z8). This year, thanks to the work of the Colorado Nonprofit Association and in collaboration with Mile High United Way, Community First Foundation was a part of passing a bill into a law. HB1190 became a law on May 3rd, when Governor Hickenlooper signed it.
Dana Rinderknecht

What is HB1190? Well, according to the legislative website:
allowing a taxpayer to make a donation to an intermediary nonprofit organization for the Enterprise Zone Contribution Tax Credit

What this means is that donors can make donations via a nonprofit such as Mile High United Way or ColoradoGives.org to pre-approved Enterprise Zone organizations.  Donors then receive the additional tax credit available.

The process to pass a bill was almost exactly like they talk about in the video. It started as an idea after we worked with the Department of Revenue and the various Enterprise Zone Administrators to better understand how donations through intermediaries such as these two should be viewed for tax purposes. Colorado Nonprofit Association, along with their legislative group Aponte & Busam, worked to put the correct language together and called on a Representative and a Senator to take this bill forward to the legislature. Rep. Dominick Moreno and Senator Rollie Health saw this as a way to assist their constituents both from the nonprofit and donor sides.

The bill was introduced into the House on January 31st with a first reading. It was then assigned to the Finance and Appropriations Committees. The Finance Committee meeting was held February 21st with testimony from Kenneth Kirwin (Community First Foundation), Leslie Hannon (Mile High United Way), Victoria McVicker (SafeHouse Denver), and Mag Strittmatter (The Action Center), as well as Ken Summers (Teen Challenge Rocky Mountains). It passed unanimously. Then the bill went on to Appropriations where it also passed unanimously without testimony on March 8th. The final step on the House side was a full house vote which passed unanimously on March 18th. But that is only a third of the equation.

Next step was on to the Senate, introduced on March 20,th where it was assigned to the Business, Labor & Technology committee. Again, Ken, Leslie, Victoria and Mag testified about the need for this bill. Again, it passed unanimously on April 9th. Back to the full Senate, where on April 17th it was passed unanimously. I mention the unanimously only because we are extremely excited that this was supported by all legislators on both sides.
Gov. John Hickenlooper signs HB1190

Finally, the group gathered for one final time on May 3 in the Governor's Office and he signed it! Our bill became a law.

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