Public land seizure bills advance in Denver

People’s Lobby Trip a huge success!
March 16, 2015
North Fork drilling comments due April 16
April 2, 2015

KEEP IT PUBLIC

Colorado is fortunate to contain 24 million acres of national public lands, most of which are located here on the Western Slope. From the Bookcliffs to the San Juan Mountains, public lands surround our communities and are managed on behalf of the American people by federal land use agencies for multiple uses and values.

This year we have seen a series of bills in the state legislature that threaten our public lands by seeking to transfer management of these lands to state control. We know from past experience that these “transfers” are thinly-veiled attempts to increase development or outright auction these lands to the highest bidder.

SB15-039 calls for “concurrent jurisdiction” over federally managed public lands, meaning the state would be able to make legislative or executive decisions to take actions on federal lands and tax federal public lands.

SB15-232 calls for Colorado tax payers to foot the bill for an expensive “Public Lands Transfer Study,” similar to what Utah produced last year. The Utah study will cost taxpayers $2.5 million to study an action that is unconstitutional. 80% of Colorado tax payers believe that our public lands belong to all Americans and are opposed to these transfers.

TAKE ACTION TODAY!

Call your Senator and ask them to VOTE NO on these bad
public lands seizure bills.

Sen. Ray Scott  (303) 866-3077
Mesa County

Sen. Ellen Roberts (303) 866-4884
Montrose, Ouray, San Miguel, Dolores, San Juan, Montezuma, La Plata & Archuleta

Sen. R. Baumgardner (303) 866-5292
Garfield, Grand, Moffat, Rio Blanco, Routt, Summit, Jackson

Sen. Larry Crowder (303) 866-4875
Saguache, Mineral, Rio Grande, Alamosa, Conejos + SE Colorado

Sen. Kerry Donovan (303) 866-4871
Eagle, Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Chaffee, Lake, Pitkin

LOCAL FOODS

Our Cottage Food Expansion bill (HB15-1102) continues to make its way through the appropriations process. Stay tuned for updates and opportunites to take action.

ENERGY

We’re happy to report that a bad Senate Bill meant to punish local goverments for efforts to protect their communities from oil & gas development has died. SB15-093 would have required municipalities to compensate mineral owners for financial losses due to “regulatory impairment.” The law was unnecessary and punitive (mineral owners’ rights are already protected under CO law).

Energy efficiency bills are moving forward. Tax credits to incentivize residential (HB15-1132) and multi-family efficiency (HB15-1236) improvements have passed their first hurdles and are waiting for appropriations considerations.

Sen. Grantham’s SB15-046, which makes it easier for Rural Electric Associations to meet the state’s renewable energy standard without lowering overall requirements is now making its way through the House.

SOCIAL JUSTICE

After lengthy negotiations, funding for three state offices to issue drivers’ licenses to undocumented immigrants has been restored. While this is far less than the estimated ten offices needed to meet the demand, the compromise is far better than having only one office in Denver, which is what was faced after funding was cut by the Joint Budget Committee earlier in the session.

We’re also tracking the introduction of measures dealing with the minimum wage in Colorado. HB15-1300 would permit local governments to enact laws with respect to the minimum wage within their jurisdictions. There is also a House Concurrent Resolution to raise the mimimum wage in Colorado. The resolution must receive 2/3 majority votes in both chambers before going to a ballot measure for approval by the people of Colorado. Both measures face significant hurdle. Stay tuned for updates.

WATER

WCC has been tracking a Residential Rain Barrel Bill that is making its way through the House. HB15-1259 would allow single family homes to collect rainwater from rooftops for outdoor use. The collection would be limited to no more than two rainbarrels with a combined storage capacity of no more than 110 gallons.

For information about all the bills WCC is tracking, including our positions and where they are in the process, see our bill tracker.

To join WCC’s weekly legislative calls with our legislative liaison, please contact me at (970) 256-7650 or rachel(at)wccongress.org.

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