Legislators have plans for a busy off session
The Colorado General Assembly is out from under the golden dome (currently shrouded and being restored with real gold). More than 700 bills were written, 600 were introduced, and 440 were passed. It reminds me of the old Mark Twain quote: “No man is safe while the legislature is in session.”
The 65 representatives and 35 senators are re-establishing family ties, as well as farming, ranching, running businesses, reaching out to their constituents and yes, dreaming up hundreds of bills for next year. We are attending association meetings, civic clubs and town hall meetings. There are also plenty of working groups, commissions and boards to keep us busy. It’s easy to make this a full-time job. And the off session tasks are often more interesting and rewarding than the grueling 120 days of the session. Since next year will be an election year for all of the representatives and half of the senators, we will all be positioning for re-election or looking for our replacements. Eight-year term limits will result in the loss of some experienced legislators on both sides of the aisle.
I’m on the Colorado Tourism Board, the Joint Technology Committee, and the Colorado Voter Access and Modernized Elections Commission, commonly known as the Elections Commission. The tourism board oversees very successful advertising and promoting of the state’s tourism. The Technology Committee is new and will try to make sure that information technology programs are better managed and coordinated. The Election Commission is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the new election laws for the state. This is developing into a very busy summer, but I’ll continue to do my best to represent my constituents and also help with statewide problems as I serve in these capacities. I’m sure all of my fellow representatives and senators will do likewise as they work between sessions.
I can’t talk about this summer’s political news without mentioning the November ballot. This ballot will implement the new mail-in and same-day voter registration laws that were passed in the session and that the Elections Commission will oversee. The electorate will be voting on taxes for marijuana and a $1 billion tax increase for K12 education. The marijuana tax is necessary to enable regulation and law enforcement. The exact structure of the billion dollar tax increase for education is still being discussed and will get a lot of attention over the summer.
It’s been an honor to serve you this first year. Joyce and I were honored to work in the historic Colorado Capitol building and see so many of our constituents that visited the Capitol. We’ve already visited schools, spoken at civic clubs and been underground in a coal mine since the session ended. We have a fairly full calendar for the next month but welcome any opportunity to report on the past session and hear the extraordinarily diverse concerns of the voters of Colorado 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.
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