October Greetings to Everyone in Eagle County and Routt County!
September has been a yet another whirlwind of Interim Joint House/Senate Water Resources Review Committee (WRRC) and Interim Joint House/Senate Transportation Legislation Review (TLRC) meetings all over our beautiful state! I also was able to spend a little time in our House District 26, attending events and listening to and learning from some of you.
Yours for a just, equitable, sustainable, and prosperous Colorado for all.
Diane Mitsch Bush
Colorado State House of Representatives,
District 26-Eagle County and Routt County
P.O. Box 770535
Steamboat Springs, CO 80477
Paid for by Citizens to Elect Diane Mitsch Bush for Colorado HD 26 • Tessa Kirchner, Treasurer • ©2012-2017 Diane For Colorado
Water Resources Review Meetings in September: Basin Hearings for the Colorado Water Plan and consideration of potential 2016 Bills
In addition to our regular Interim Water Resources Review Committee Meetings, in September we held hearings on the Colorado Water Plan (Tweets by@COWaterplan or visit coloradowaterplan.com) for several basins: in Walden for the North Platte Basin, in Greeley for the South Platte Basin, and in Aurora for the Denver Metro.
These three basin hearings completed our interim schedule of traveling to all 9 river basins in Colorado to listen to peoples' concerns and learn more about the issues facing each river basin. I had read the Colorado Water Plan, Draft 2 when it came out in July. Then, just prior to each basin hearing, I studied each Basin Implementation Plan (BIP).
Our wonderful staff compiled all the testimony we had heard on the Water Plan at our field hearings in July, August, and September and delivered this summary by the due date for comments of September 17. You may find these at our website: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cga-legislativecouncil/2015-water-resources-review-committee
Now, the CWCB (Colorado Water Conservation Board), an executive branch agency, will develop the final Colorado Water Plan based on all the more than 24,000 comments for delivery to Governor Hickenlooper on December 10, 2015.
On September 15, our committee held a regular day long meeting at the Capitol focused on several issues with expert testimony on each: rain barrels, methods for and benefits of conserving water in outdoor landscaping, hard rock mine reclamation and water pollution in light of the Animas spill, and hydrologic modeling.
For WRRC agendas, audio and other materials, please go to https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cga-legislativecouncil/2015-water-resources-review-committee
The last part of our WRRC meeting on September 15 was devoted to discussion and approval for drafting of potential Water Resources Review Committee bills for introduction in 2016. We will discuss and vote on the bill drafts at our October 29 meeting at the Capitol. If approved, the bills will be introduced in the regular 2016 session as Water Resources Review Committee Bills.
During break that day, once again I stood and absorbed the beautiful words of Colorado poet Thomas Hornsby Ferrill on the first floor Capitol Rotunda:
From: Here is a Land Where Life is Written in Water
Here is a land where life is written in water
The West is where the water was and is
Father and son of old mother and daughter
Following rivers up immensities
Of range and desert thirsting the sundown ever
Crossing a hill to climb a hill still drier
Naming tonight a city by some river
A different name from last night’s camping fire.
Look to the green within the mountain cup
Look to the prairie parched for water lack
Look to the Sun that pulls the oceans up
Look to the clouds that give the oceans back
Look to your heart and may your wisdom grow
To power of lightning and to peace of snow.
Thomas Hornsby Ferrill
Transportation Legislation Review Committee in September: Field Hearings & Infrastructure Tours in Pueblo, Alamosa, Durango, and Montrose, Infrastructure tours in the Denver Area, and a daylong regular TLRC Hearing at the Capitol
Tweets by @COTLRComm
From September 23 through September 25, The Joint House/Senate Transportation Legislation Review Committee conducted field hearings and infrastructure tours in Pueblo, Alamosa, Durango, and Montrose to better understand transportation issues facing those rural, western slope communities. We saw great examples of how community partnerships with CDOT resulted in completed highway safety projects and transit infrastructure and operations. We also saw many highways with no shoulders and other unmet needs due to lack of transportation funding.
The next week, on September 29, our Joint Interim House/Senate Transportation Committee infrastructure toured the proposed I70 Viaduct Project and visited Lockheed Martin.
On September 30, we conducted a day long hearing at the Capitol with presentation and discussion on national trends in transportation funding, CDOT updates, and reports from the Regional Transportation Authorities in Colorado, including a very informative presentation from Dan Blankenship, Director of the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA). To retrieve agendas, summaries, and audio please go to:
At the September 30 meeting, TLRC also considered proposals for drafting of bills for TLRC approval. Like all interim committees of the Colorado General Assembly, one function of the TLRC is to propose bills for 2016 based on our interim field hearings and agency reports, and discuss the drafts in depth. Then we vote on whether each proposed bill should be approved as a TLRC bill, which means that bill has been thoroughly vetted and has garnered bipartisan support. Then those approved bills get introduced during session just like any other bill and go through the normal committee to floor procedures and full debates in each chamber of the General Assembly.
Working for you from now until the Legislative Session starts on January 13, 2016
In September, in addition to my work and travels for my two interim committees, I also worked with several of my constituents who contacted me with their concerns and issues.
By far the most pressing issue was the second outage of 911 and broadband service to Routt County due to a cut CenturyLink line by a CDOT contractor. This happened in July also. I had phone and in-person meetings with managers at CenturyLink, two phone conferences with the PUC, and spoke with the Routt County Manager Tom Sullivan and the Steamboat Springs Chamber Economic Development Director Jane Blackstone. I have gotten assurances from CenturyLink that they are working on redundancy to protect service if a line is cut. You will be hearing more on this from me this month as I continue to get more information and follow up. We may see some significant improvements by December. Stay tuned.
Other meetings with officials and businesspeople in Denver included meeting with Kevin Patterson, the Director of the Colorado Health Benefit Exchange to learn more about the upcoming enrollment period and get data on how the exchange has been operating and serving customers in 2015 and attending a Clean Tech event where I was able to meet with a number of entrepreneurs to better understand their companies’ successes and challenges and their job creation efforts.
In Routt County, I visited Integrated Community and United Way. Volunteers did a wonderful job painting and cleaning up the building. On October 3, I attended the annual Community Agriculture Alliance local foods dinner, with food all grown in Routt County and prepared to perfection by the staff form Harwig's.
In Eagle County, Vail Police Chief Dwight Henninger and I had a very productive meeting on I 70 winter traction issues. I attended the CMCA annual Conference reception at Beaver Creek and got to discuss transportation issues. The week of October 5, I will be in Eagle County from Tuesday through Friday and in the Roaring Fork Valley later in October. Please see the side panel on the right of this page for more info.
From now through November, I will work with stakeholders on my 2016 bills and continue to represent you on the Interim Joint House/Senate Water Resources Review Committee and on the Transportation Legislation Review Committee. Both deal with critical issues for our district and for our state. Having representation on both these committees is important for our mountain communities.
Please see www.dianeforcolorado.com for more information. Also, I will be visiting with local governments, businesses, and constituents throughout the fall. Please do email me with your questions, concerns and ideas at: email@example.com
I will continue to work across the aisle and with all stakeholders for practical, evidence-based policies that build a better future for ALL Coloradans! I am honored and humbled to represent you and our beautiful, headwaters district! State House District 26 Representative Diane Mitsch Bush