Keeping Colorado Healthy, Educated, and Open for Business:
Due to tight constitutional constraints on our budget, we have had to make tough decisions and balance the budget on the backs of our hospitals, K-12 education and transportation. SB17-267 is the result of years of hard work and even harder compromises to free up over $500 million for hospitals, allow the state to use lease-purchase agreements to fund transportation and capital development projects, pump millions back into our schools and save small businesses up to $10,700 through business personal property tax exemptions. The bill passed both houses with bipartisan support and is headed to the governor to be signed into law.
Making Electric Utility Bills Easier to Understand:
Billing statements are often hard to read which can make it difficult to find any billing errors and inhibit consumers from understanding how they might be able to save both energy and money. Senate Bill 105 is designed to ensure that consumers are presented with transparent utility bills through common sense, easy to read billing formats that are approved by the PUC. The bill has passed both the House and Senate and is headed to the Governor to be signed into law.
Increasing Transparency and Accountability in Election Communications:
I introduced two bills with Representative Jeff Bridges to help voters be more informed about the mailers, flyers and ads that come their way during elections. HB17-1261 requires a simple “Paid for by” disclosure on all election communications and HB17-1262 closes a loophole in campaign finance disclosure by standardizing reporting from before the primary through Election Day. Unfortunately, the Republican controlled Senate State Veterans and Military Affairs Committee killed the bill.
Protecting Mobile Home Owners from Wrongful Eviction:
Under current law, homeowners with delinquent taxes on their mobile homes are being evicted and their homes being sold to investors without the option of entering a payment plan to repay the taxes. House Bill 1354 gives County Treasurers the latitude to determine how best to collect the delinquent taxes and label the properties as “County-Held” to protect them from predatory investors. This bi-partisan bill won a unanimous vote in both the House and Senate and is headed to the Governor for his signature.
Consolidating Two Forest Health Grant Programs to Improve Efficiency:
Under existing State Law, there are two forest health grant programs that address similar forest health issues. Senate Bill 50 consolidates those two grant programs into one program managed by the State Forest Service, eliminates duplication of services, and consolidates funds from both grant programs. The bill has passed both the House and Senate and is headed to the governor to be signed.
Ensuring Recreation, Fishing and Aesthetic Use of our Rivers and Waterways:
In 2015, the ruling in the Colorado Supreme Court case St. Jude’s Co. v. Roaring Fork Club, L.L.C. brought into question hundreds of water rights around the state that provide for fishing, recreational and aesthetic uses of water. House Bill 1190 prevents those iconic rights from being lost as a result of the case ruling and ensures that we can continue to comply with the provisions of the Endangered Species Act. The bill passed and is waiting for the Governor to sign it into law.
Looking at the potential impacts of legislation on certain groups of people:
In an effort to reduce disparate effects of legislative decisions, this bill will help legislators to better understand the potential impact of a piece of legislation on certain groups of people through a formal research request. These “Demographic Notes” can look at a variety of categories including: race, gender, sexuality, age, ability level, income, geographic areas, and more. House Bill 1191 passed the House but was killed in the Senate.
Reducing Large-Scale Marijuana Grows in Residential Areas:
Colorado currently has some of the most lax marijuana laws in the country, which makes us a target for large-scale black market marijuana operations. Many of these operations are happening in residential areas, are difficult for law enforcement to discern from legal Medical Marijuana home-grows, and can be dangerous to the health and safety of those around the grow. House Bill 1220 has passed the house and is being considered in the Senate. The bill passed both the House and Senate and is headed to the Governor to be signed into law.
Allowing Unlimited Non-economic Damages for the Wrongful Death of a Child:
Under current law, those affected by the wrongful death of a child cannot seek more than $500,000 for noneconomic damages (such as emotional stress, pain and suffering, and quality of life impairment). House Bill 1254 aims to remove the $500,000 cap that those in a wrongful death civil lawsuit can seek in damages. The bill passed the House and was killed in the Senate State Veterans and Military Affairs committee.
Tightening Laws that Regulate Debt Collectors to Protect Consumers:
If a debt is sent to collections, current statute says that there are certain things that a debt collector can and cannot do while seeking to settle the debt. These stipulations are in place to allow fair treatment of the person with the debt owed while permitting the collector to settle the debt. Senate Bill 216 extends the effective date for these protections. The bill has passed and is awaiting the Governors signature.
Bills I Passed During the 2016 Legislative Session
HB16-1006 Affordable Housing Sales Tax Exemption
This bill provides oversight to the Department of Revenue on the types of incentives given to real estate developers by existing law. This bill is a step towards a more affordable housing market for the hardworking families of Colorado.
HB16-1019 Broadcast Burns Watershed Protection
This bill adds broadcast burning, a specific wildfire mitigation technique, to the list of techniques and projects that can currently receive funding from the State Forest Service to promote watershed restoration. This bill will give private and public entities another tool to help keep our watersheds healthy.
HB16-1109 Application Of State Water Law To Federal Agencies
This bill is a simple piece of legislation that asserts the supremacy of decades of Colorado water law. Federal agencies must utilize the same system as everyone else when making decisions about how and where to use Colorado water.
HB16-1141 Radon Exposure in Buildings
This bill protects Coloradans from naturally occurring radioactive materials in buildings. It makes an appropriation to provide funds to assist income-qualifying households with radon mitigation.
HB16-1165 Colorado Child Support Commission Statutory Changes
This bill enacts puts into statute several of the recommendations made by the 2013-2015 Colorado Child Support Commission. These changes are necessary to protect and support Colorado children and families.
HB16-1282 School Board Campaign Finance Reform and Alignment
This bill is a step in the right direction for campaign finance reform in Colorado. It helps by aligning school elections’ contribution disclosure requirements with the requirements of other races in the state.
HB16-1286 Increase Wildfire Mitigation Income Tax Deduction
This bill’s title sums up the purpose of the bill. It is important in House District 13 for residents to have as many incentives as possible to mitigate the worst effects of wildfires.
HB16-1401 Restaurant Inspection Fees
This bill lays out a process for the state and retail food establishments to establish a uniform method of communicating the results of health inspections to the public. It also updates the fee schedule and provides more oversight and clarity on exemptions and exceptions.
HB16-1402 Prohibit Device Wager Previous Sporting Event
This bill outlaws the use of a device that allows a person to place a bet on a previously run sporting event. Colorado law has clearly laid out the locations in the state where gambling can occur. This bill provides additional oversight to a new form of gambling.
SB16-020 Clarify Calculation Issues of Auto Capital Funding
This is a fairly technical piece of legislation that adds a definition related to the depreciation of capital assets. It also updates parts of current law to align with current state government nomenclature.
SB16-021 Recognition of Public Lands Day
This bill makes Colorado the first state in the nation to recognize the importance of public lands to the vitality of our state. Public lands are one of the reasons people from all over the world come to Colorado and we want to show our appreciation of a defining feature of our great state.
SB16-058 Colorado Farm to Consumer Sales
This bill seeks to promote the sale of local food products within Colorado. It allows the state to take advantage of a federal exemption to process small-scale poultry operations. My constituents and I want to support local agriculture and we want to know where our food comes from.
SB16-173 Golf Carts Crossing State Highway Local Authority
This bill provides clarification that golf-cart drivers can cross a state highway in their golf-cart along an at-grade crossing so long as they do not travel along the state highway.