Mesa State employee bill stopped in Senate

DENVER — A Senate committee killed a bill Wednesday that would have allowed certain Mesa State College workers to opt out of the state’s personnel system.

The measure, offered by Rep. Laura Bradford, R-Collbran, and Sen. Steve King, R-Grand Junction, might have survived if the four-year college were the only school in the state, said Sen. Rollie Health, D-Boulder and chairman of the Senate State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee.

But because it isn’t, the panel killed it on a party-line, 3-2 vote, with the only two Republicans on the committee favoring it.

“You’re part of a larger system,” Health said of the school. “If the (higher education) system wants to come to us and say, ‘We want to get more flexibility to all our employees across all our institutions ... that would be one thing.’ The whole thing either rides together or falls together.”

Several members of Mesa State’s classified-employee council were pushing the bill, which would have allowed employees to vote on whether to become at-will employees of the college. If a majority of them agreed, each could decide whether to opt out of the state personnel system, which offers employee protections much like a union.

The measure passed the GOP-controlled House last month on a party-line 33-31 vote.


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