Hoping that fewer bills are killed or passed along party lines this year
February 10, 2014
Many thanks to the Glenwood Springs Post Independent for the continuing opportunity to update readers on the state Legislature. The legislative session is under way. Lots of bills have been introduced, and I've already presented my most important bills. While not as contentious a session as last year, too many bills end up passed or killed along party-line votes. Revenues are up from previous years, so there are lots of ideas on how to spend what will probably be one-time money.
Joyce and I enjoy the change to city life for a few months, but we rarely have time to take advantage of Denver attractions because of the intense calendar surrounding the legislative session.
My bill to put the new Colorado brand to a vote of the people was defeated in committee by a party-line vote. The new logo, if you haven't seen it, is a copy of the red carbon monoxide warning symbol, only green.
My side of the aisle continues to ask for repeal of the controversial gun control laws from last year that led to two recall elections. We also want the mandates for renewable energy quotas for rural energy modified to be achievable and include hydro, but these efforts are being defeated on party-line votes.
The implementation of last year's drastic change to election law continues to draw attention and proposed legislation. I serve on the commission to oversee the implementation, so I have a particular interest. It seems that every election since the bill passed has ended in litigation over voter eligibility or suspected mistakes by the clerks. I am also concerned that the computer software being rewritten for this November won't be ready in time for the election.
In addition to my duties on the Agriculture and Local Affairs committees, I've been spending a lot of time with the Joint Budget Committee and a new Joint Technology Committee. Colorado's budget is complex and faces serious challenges with the growth of health care costs and the need for education funding. Learning about the issues, and sorting out the need to upgrade aging computer systems, is a challenge but one I have experience with in my career in the Aerospace industry. Additional challenges and time is spent understanding about 600 proposed bills. They are coming faster as the session progresses.
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I'll be presenting memorials to former Gov. John Vanderhoof and former Colo. Rep. and U.S. Congressman Mike Strang in the House soon. Both are from the district I now represent, and it's an honor to remember them as individuals and to recall examples of rich history through the contributions and service of our West Slope citizens.
Again, it is an honor and privilege to serve the people of House District 57.
"Under the Dome" appears on the second Tuesday of the month. State Rep. Bob Rankin, a Carbondale Republican, is in his first term in the state Legislature representing House District 57, which includes Garfield, Rio Blanco and Moffat counties.