Wins for local agriculture & rain barrels; air quality funding restored in state budget

With only four weeks left in this year’s legislative session, the pace at the state Capitol is fast and furious and WCC is hard at work defending our priorities. Here’s the latest:

Climate action and clean air

Last week, lawmakers finally agreed on a state budget after a partisan battle over funding for the state’s Air Pollution Control Division. At the heart of the issue was funding to advance state efforts to comply with the federal Clean Power Plan, which was stayed by the Supreme Court earlier this year.

WCC applauds the efforts of legislators and Gov. Hickenlooper to restore this critical funding. 

Coloradans have enacted some of the most progressive air quality protections in the country, but more can be done to improve our air and reduce carbon emissions. That’s why WCC supported House Bill 1004, a common-sense measure that would have created real and measurable goals for the Governor’s Climate Action Plan. Unfortunately, this measure died in the Senate Ag and Natural Resources Committee.

Instead, Senate Bill 157 – rather literally titled Don’t Implement Clean Power Plan until Stay Lifted – is advancing. This bill is a step backward for Colorado and would unnecessarily delay efforts to reduce carbon pollution and increase air quality across the state. WCC is opposed to this bill. Stay tuned for action alerts as the bill makes its way through the House.

Immigrant and voting rights

Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants (House Bill 1274) – As a member of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, WCC supports this important measure that will restore funding to ensure an adequate number of DMV offices around the state can issue licenses to these residents. The bill is up before the House Finance Committee this Wednesday.

Photo ID for Voting (Senate Bill 83) – This unnecessary and discriminatory bill would require a government-issued photo ID as a condition for casting a ballot in Colorado, disenfranchising vulnerable populations like seniors, low-income people and people of color. WCC opposes this bill, which passed the Senate last month and comes before the House State Affairs committee this Wednesday.

Oil and gas

Local Control of Oil and Gas Siting (House Bill 1355) – This landmark bill would have reaffirmed the ability of local governments in Colorado to exercise land use authority over oil & gas development within their municipal boundaries. WCC supported the measure along with allied organization across the state. Unfortunately, opposition from industry proved too great and the measure failed to make it out of the House.

Require Oil and Gas Operators to Share Development Plans with Local Governments (House Bill 1430) – This measure would codify some elements of one of the recommendations from the Governor’s Task Force. Of note is a modification that would require operators to share their plans for mineral development with the municipalities where the development would occur. The bill made it out of the House Transportation Committee on a party-line vote and is scheduled for a second reading in the House on Wednesday. WCC supports the measure, though it will have a tough road ahead.

Big wins for rain barrels and family farms!

Farm to Consumer Sales Bill (Senate Bill 58) – Last week this bill passed its final hurdle before heading for the Governor’s signature. The measure will expand opportunities for cottage food producers and open the door for small and mid-sized poultry producers to take advantage of existing USDA exemptions for on-farm processing. Click here to see how your legislators voted, and thank them for supporting family farms!

Residential Rain Barrels (HB 1005) – Colorado legalizes residential rain barrels! After amendments assuring adequate oversight, monitoring and protection of downstream water rights, the bill passed both the House and the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support. Click here to see how your legislators voted, and thank them for supporting this valuable water conservation measure!

There’s lots of action still to come, so stay tuned for more updates and alerts. In the meantime, you can follow the progress of all the bills WCC is tracking here.

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