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By Rep. Mike McLachlan
The official start of the 69th session of the Colorado Assembly started with our swearing-in by Chief Justice Michael Bender on Jan. 9.
My wife, Barbara, was with me in the House chamber as I took the oath of office and other family members observed from the gallery.
On Jan.10, we were visited by Gov. Hickenlooper, who delivered an admirable State of the State message. While I am a firm supporter of the 2nd amendment, I agree with the governor that public safety can only be improved by background checks to ensure that all weapons are only held by law-abiding citizens, who are free of all mental issues. Overall, the governor’s message was that the Colorado economy is making a good recovery and our governmental operations and schools have a better future than at any time since 2008.
On Jan. 11, we received the entire Colorado Supreme Court and Justice Bender at the House chambers, where he gave the State of the Judiciary address. We should all take pride in the demonstrable improvement in our Colorado court system. Later, we visited the new Ralph L Carr Justice Center for the ribbon cutting and dedication of the Colorado Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. Adjacent offices now provide space for Attorney General John Suthers and the entire Department of Law, which includes all lawyers and staff for the state’s largest legal department.
During the last week, we received reports from Chief Justice Bender, Attorney General Suthers and Secretary of Agriculture John Salazar. These reports are required by the SMART Government Act, which stands for “State Measurements for Accountable Responsive and Transparent” Government. It is commendable that each of these departments either met or exceeded most of their goals.
In addition to our legislative duties, we are invited to a variety of receptions and social functions. Since opening day, I have attended receptions sponsored by Colorado Mining Congress, Colorado Counties Incorporated (CCI), Colorado Cattlemen, NARAL and the Colorado Petroleum Association. I’ve also met with the Colorado Water Congress where former Sen. Bruce Whitehead is a board member.
Not everybody I see in Denver is a stranger. In addition to Bruce Whitehead, I have had conversations with Scott Sholes, EMS Chief of the Durango Fire and Rescue, as well as Julie Levy of BP. At the Cattleman’s Luncheon, I spoke with Brice Lee, Tom Compton and Agriculture Commissioner John Salazar. It is good to see these people from the 59th District. I have encouraged them to contact my office.
I had my first experience as a bill sponsor for the review of the municipal court fines. The bill was referred to the House Judiciary Committee and we presented two witnesses to support an increase from $1,000 to $5,000. After hearing some of the objections, we requested the bill be laid over for two weeks to allow us to assess and evaluate the objector’s concerns. We will report back on the status of that bill.
If you’d like to contact me during the legislative session, I can be reached at (303) 866-2914 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you again for allowing me to be of service to the citizens of the the 59th District.