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Interim committees will be retained

This week the Senate debated House Bill 1354, a bill that seeks to repeal all interim committees.

I proposed an amendment to protect the Water Resources Interim Committee. This committee is particularly important because of the importance of water in our state and all of the work this committee does when the legislature is not in session. The bill ultimately failed, and all the interim committees, including the Water Resources Interim Committee, will be retained this year.

The best day this week was Thursday, when my daughter Isabel visited the Capitol with her fifth-grade class from Fort Lewis Mesa Elementary. More than 40 students, teachers and parents made their way from Durango to Denver. We started the day by meeting in the Old Supreme Court Chambers where I explained the process of government to the students and answered their questions about being a state Senator. The kids were particularly inquisitive, asking questions about how much time it takes to work on a bill and to how a bill becomes law (which they were able to witness later that afternoon). I brought the students on the floor of the Senate and introduced them to other Senators. We recited the Pledge of Allegiance and the students took a private tour of the Capitol with my staff .

After a visit to the Denver Art Museum and Denver Mint, the class returned to the Capitol to join me in celebrating the signing of one of the bills I sponsored. Senate Bill 10-082 is a bill I worked on with Rep. Ellen Roberts that repeals term limits for non-tribal members of the Joint Air Quality Commission between the Southern Ute Indian tribe and the State of Colorado. The bill will assist the commission in accomplishing important environmental work regarding air quality standards without losing valuable members and their institutional knowledge. Tribal members already have no term limits and were supportive of abolishing term limits for non-tribal members as well.

The children were able to see Gov. Bill Ritter’s office and meet him. One student in particular was recognized for his efforts to organize a letter writing campaign to the governor. Ty Thorsheim motivated students from his school to write letters about keeping the old Fort Lewis property open. As many of you know, Colorado State University will no longer be leasing the property and its future status is still in negotiations. Ty sent letters in order to make sure that we use the property for the good of the community. The governor thanked Ty for the letters and encouraged him to continue his civic participation. It was incredibly rewarding to have young people visit from our district and be a part of them seeing their state government in action.

My amendment to House Joint Resolution 10-1015 works to get Denver TV to southwest Colorado. The amendment encourages the Colorado Broadcasters Association to support this cause. The other sponsors of this resolution may not be supportive of my amendment, but I believe it was instrumental in finally getting the Colorado Broadcasters Association’s attention. As a result, we have been able to secure meetings with the association and are continuing the discussion on this issue. I stand firmly behind my amendment because we need to create a broad coalition if we hope to accomplish our goal of getting Denver TV in our area. It is my opinion that support from the Colorado Broadcasters Association would be beneficial in pursuing federal legislation.

Thanks for reading.