DENVER – A joint resolution that would allow the installation of an additional sculpture to expand on the Sand Creek massacre near the western steps of the state Capitol was passed Monday unanimously by both houses of the state Legislature.
Senate Joint Resolution 16 calls for a sculpture and plaque commemorating the Sand Creek massacre of 1864 be installed to explain the circumstances around the attack on Native Americans of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes.
A statue stands near the steps of the Capitol honoring the soldiers who died in the Civil War and the battles they fought in. Among the engagements listed is Sand Creek.
The new plaque would outline the reality of the attack on a group of Native Americans who were gathered under the promise of peace talks, and how the event sparked a series of engagements between the U.S. Army and Native tribes.
Rep. Joe Salazar, D-Denver, said the resolution was important as it addresses both the historic events and also the continued effect of the massacre.
“When we talk about the Sand Creek Massacre we can’t talk about it just in a vacuum of a few hundred men, women and children dying on that day, we have to talk about it in a holistic sense about what happened afterwards,” Salazar said.
In other action Monday, 14 bills were scheduled for third reading, 13 for second reading and 17 were heard in committees.Senate Bill 61, which would require school districts to evenly distribute funding from local mill levies to all schools including its charter schools, even if the schools were not established when the levies were passed, drew debate on second reading.Sen. Angela Williams, D-Denver, said the bill was about giving equality to the educational system.
“These kids (who attend charter school) are receiving unequal funding and are disadvantages from the point they walk in the classroom,” Williams said.
Opponents of the bill argued the bill was unnecessary as school districts can opt to provide equal funding to charter schools, and that it stripped away local control by not allowing districts to decide the best use for the funding.
Sen. Don Coram, R-Montrose, was the only Republican who spoke against the bill on behalf of local control on Monday.
“Durango has been mentioned many, many, times (for) what they’re doing with the charter schools, and I applaud them, but it has been their choice,” Coram said. “I have other school districts that say ‘yes we love it, but frankly we’re having trouble keeping the lights on now, so let us work out how it’s done, don’t mandate how it should be done.’”
Amie Baca-Oehlert, vice president of the Colorado Education Association, said in a statement, “This bill is fundamentally unnecessary and sends a message that the state does not value local control in K-12 education decisions.”
The bill was adopted by the Senate and will receive third reading and a final vote in the coming days.
In committee, House Bill 1123, which would allow local jurisdictions to extend hours during which establishments can sell alcoholic beverages for on-site consumption if they saw it as appropriate, was passed 4-3 with Republican supporting the local control.Proponents believed the bill would give bar patrons an extended window during which they could call a taxi instead of having a rush at 2 a.m. when bars are required to close.
Representative of police departments however raised concerns that extended drinking hours would only push back the time frame of when drunk drivers would be on the road to later in the morning when families were commuting to work or school.
HB 1123 will go to the Senate for consideration and debate.