Last week, as the legislature wrapped up, QQ pledged to continue working on several key issues that did not see success in this session. While legislators worked around the clock to make progress on key issues for our state (health care, education, construct defects), there remain three water-related topics about which we would like to find workable solutions in future years.
- We worked with a bipartisan group of legislators during the session to develop legislation that would direct the Colorado Water Conservation Board to integrate the criteria included in Colorado’s Water Plan into decision-making processes– both for funding determinations and in determining when the state will endorse or help facilitate water projects. This work was based on a letter West Slope Republican legislators delivered to the Governor mid-session.
While we did not identify a path for legislation in this session, nearly all legislators were interested in moving this forward in the interim and the next legislative session. QQ also is dedicated to this ongoing effort, and looks forward to working more closely with legislators and the Department of Natural Resources. In particular, we would like to thank Representative Marc Catlin, Representative KC Becker, Representative Jeni Arndt, Senator Don Coram, and Representative Diane Mitsch Bush for their leadership and support on this issue.
- QQ remains interested in productive legislation that better integrates water planning and land use planning on a State level. Two bills this session addressing this issue were postponed indefinitely: HB 17-1273, which would have required developers to address water conservation when submitting adequate water supply determinations; and HB 17-1364, which would have added water elements to the statutory list of optional elements of a master plan, along with requiring any water element to discuss water conservation.
These bill each would have taken a step to encourage local governments to better integrate water planning with land use planning while allowing local governments the freedom to choose the best way to do so. It is clear coming out of this session that there is an opportunity to dialogue and better understand different perspectives on what legislation might accomplish and what other opportunities exist to better integrate water and land use planning.
- A sustainable, long term funding source for the aquatic nuisance species (ANS) boat inspection program under Colorado Parks and Wildlife proved elusive this session. HB 17-1321, which would have raised CPW fees and licenses as well as establishing an ANS sticker purchase program to fund the boat inspection program, was postposed in the last week of the session. The late timing of the bill and its demise meant that there was no time for an alternate bill that would have just established the ANS sticker program. Long term funding will be an outstanding issue to hopefully be addressed next year. In the meantime, we are grateful to our legislators, Representative Bob Rankin and Representative Millie Hamner, for their efforts to include ANS boat inspection in the budget package as SB 17-259.
We appreciate legislators working with QQ during the session, especially our QQ legislators: Representatives KC Becker, Millie Hamner, Bob Rankin, and Diane Mitsch Bush and Senators Kerry Donovan and Randy Baumgardner. We look forward to continuing this work over the summer.