by Amanda Barker, CCLT Executive Director
There were ups and downs, and some hiccups along the way. The Colorado’s 71st General Assembly’s productive session ended on Wednesday, May 10. Their work generated $1.9 billion in new money for transportation projects, and we saw the unexpected passage of SB-267 hospital provider fee bill. Fresh off the political rollercoaster, I’m left energized and excited for our work in 2017-2018.
From a strictly private land conservation standpoint, CCLT worked on a few items at the Capitol over the past year and a half. The Conservation Easement Program (CE program) at the Division of Real Estate (DRE) within the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) underwent a performance audit last year, and the resulting report was publicly available in December 2016 (access the public report here). The Legislative Audit Committee (LAC) voted to draft legislation based upon the findings of the audit. CCLT engaged with members of the about potential changes to the CE program, and the potentially troublesome legislative measure was ultimately not introduced.
CCLT’s priorities include the vigorous defense of the state’s conservation programs statute and the vigilant support for the work of private land conservation and land trusts. As part of this work, CCLT works strategically with the broader conservation community on where and how it weighs in on legislative policy.
We lobbied our support for HB-1321, “Parks And Wildlife Financial Sustainability” Rep. Ardnt (D-Fort Collins) & Rep. Wilson (R-Salida)/ Sen. Coram (R-Montrose) & Sen. Fenberg (D- Boulder). Colorado hunting and fishing license fees have not been raised since 2005 and have not been updated for inflation. These fees fund extensive conservation efforts. A broad network of support from conservation and sportsmen groups hope to see this bill reintroduced and passed in the 2018 session.
If you would like more information about the full suite of legislative efforts June 2016-May 2017 or have input as we prepare for the upcoming session in January 2018, please be in touch.