Diane Mitsch Bush
EAGLE & ROUTT
February Greetings to Everyone in Eagle County and Routt County!
As I left home very early this morning to drive back to Denver, the crescent moon was shining and the first dawn light on the snow covered mountains was spectacular! I am proud and honored to represent our beautiful headwaters district.
I had the chance to meet some of Routt County's hardest working 4-H students on February 2 which is CO 4-H Day!
Since I last wrote to you in January, the pace of the session of the Colorado General Assembly has reached full swing. I will report here on several good, bipartisan bills that are in progress in the House or Senate, some bills that you have asked about that have died, and finally, a progress report on some of my bills. I will also briefly cover two issues that you have told me you are concerned about: health care and transportation.
Here are some bills that improve economic and educational opportunities, or ensure certain health benefits or protect civil rights that I have supported:
HR17-1005: A Resolution supporting Reproductive Health Care Access. -Rep. Leslie Herod and Rep. Joe Salazar
HB17-1001: Parental Involvement in Academic Activities. -Rep. Janet Buckner
HB17-1021: Wage Theft Transparency Act. -Rep. Jessie Danielson
HB17-1003: Strategic Plan to Address Teacher Shortages in Rural Colorado. -Rep. Barbara McLaughlin
HB17-1035: A bill to allow survivors of sexual assault or stalking to break their lease. -Rep. Dominique Jackson
HB17-1090: Advanced Industry Tax Credit Extension. -Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp and Rep. Jim Wilson
HB17-1094: Telehealth Benefits Under Health Plans. -Rep. Donald Valdez, Rep. Perry Buck and Senator Larry Crowder and Sen. Kerry Donovan
HB17-1116: A bill to continue low income energy assistance. -Rep. Millie Hamner and Rep. Tony Exum
HB17-1151: Clarifying definitions and regulations for electric bicycles. -Rep. Chris Hansen and Rep. Yeulin Willett
HB17-1184: Concerning developing additional resources for modern technology education in public schools. -House Speaker Crisanta Duran and President of the Senate Kevin Grantham
Bills that you have asked about, which have died in the House or in the Senate:
Having the House Majority means that we were able to defeat three bills that would have endangered a woman's reproductive health and choices in the House, Health, Insurance, and Environment Committee!
Many of you wrote me about SB17-099, which would have added Colorado to the states already members of the National Popular Vote Compact. The bill died in a Senate committee on a party line vote, so it did not reach the Senate floor for a vote.
A new for you way to track CO House Bills:
I'm pleased to announce that as a result of folks asking me the best way to stay in the know on what bills are in the House, I'm starting a weekly email with a no-frills list of the bills that will be heard on the House floor each week sent out every Monday. It's an easy way for you to know what the House of Representatives is working on!
If you're interested in signing up for weekly updates, email my Aide Selina, and we will add you to the list!
Diane speaking to Club 20, Action 15, Progressive 22, and students from Colorado Mesa University.
My Bills are in Various Stages:
HJR17-1004: My resolution asking the Federal government for help in funding to prevent the spread of invasive aquatic nuisance species--particularly the Zebra Mussel--in Colorado passed out of both chambers and was signed by the Speaker of the House & President of the Senate.
HB17-1018: My bill with Rep. Larry Liston (R-Colorado Springs) to help Regional Transportation Authorities, such as RFTA ( Roaring Fork Transportation Authority) just passed on third and final reading in the Senate on Feb 21! I owe a big thank you to Basalt Mayor Jacque Whitsitt and RFTA Director Dan Blankenship for coming down to testify on Jan 25 in the House Transportation and Energy Committee. They were wonderful!
HB17-1031: My bill with Rep. Terri Carver ( R-Colorado Springs) concerning requirements that the transportation legislation review committee (TLRC) conduct hearings throughout the state regarding state transportation commission districts passed the House Transportation and Energy Committee and is in line to be heard by the House Appropriations Committee.
HB17-1044: A bill clarifying definitions of a new type of motor vehicle passed the House and will soon be in Committee in the Senate.
HB17-1152: My bill with Rep. Willett (R-Mesa County) concerning federal mineral lease district investment authority is up for its second reading in the House on Feb 21, having already passed the House Transportation and Energy Committee unanimously
SB17-090: I am the House sponsor for a bill concerning how to measure the level of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol in industrial hemp, requested by the Colorado Department of Agriculture. It will be heard soon in the House Agriculture, Livestock, & Natural Resources Committee.
Diane presenting her bill HB17-1018 with Rep. Larry Liston.
Transportation Funding Negotiations
The Speaker of the House Crisanta Duran and the President of the Senate Kevin Grantham have been meeting frequently to try and hammer out an agreement. After many years of inaction on our Transportation Funding Crisis, we are finally focused on bipartisan efforts to establish a reliable, predictable, sustainable source of funding so that we can build a 21st Century multi-modal, interconnected infrastructure that allows Coloradans real mobility choices.
I am encouraged by the general agreement among the people of Colorado and among legislators that we must find a solution. I have been speaking to various groups on why we are so far behind in funding and how we might solve this problem. The problem is deeply intertwined with our budget, especially with the projected shortfall for FY17-18 of at least $200 million. We need to work together to raise much needed new revenue for transportation.
Some of the groups I have spoken with and listened to include:
Health Care and High Health Insurance Premiums in our Region 9
Potential Help for Constituents Cost-Burdened by High Health Insurance Premiums
As you may recall, I have been working with other Western Slope legislators on solutions to the outrageously high cost of health insurance premiums in our region. We asked the Division of Insurance (DOI) to convene stakeholder meetings, which were held from August-November. Lieutenant Governor Donna Lynne Chaired these meetings, and by late November some bill ideas emerged.
My bill to provide temporary, short term (2017-2019) financial relief to Coloradans who are cost-burdened by high premiums until we find structural solutions is now in final draft. Please do stay tuned!
I look foward to hearing from you at my upcoming Town Halls!
Feb. 26th--Avon Town Hall at the Avon Public Library in the Beaver Creek Room at 3:30pm
Mar. 3rd--Steamboat Springs Town Hall at the Steamboat Springs Bud Werner Memorial Library at 4:30pm
Basalt Town Hall details to come!
Contact information for your Congressional Representatives:
Senator Cory Gardner (R):
354 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Senator Michael Bennet (D):
261 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
For those who live in the 3rd Congressional District (CD 3) all of Routt County or West of Edwards in Eagle County:
Representative Scott Tipton (R):
218 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
For those who live in the 2nd Congressional (CD 2) East of Edwards in Eagle County:
Representative Jared Polis (D):
1727 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Please do not hesitate to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
or at (970) 291-1572
I am on the floor of the House or in Committee meetings most of the time Monday-Friday, but my wonderful Legislative Aide Selina Najar can help you.
On Tuesday's and Thursday's, Julianna Smolka, our CSU Legislative Intern will be in our office as well.
Join my CO House of Representatives Weekly Bill Tracking Mailing List to stay up to date with what bills will be heard each week!
to be added!
Upcoming Town Hall with Reprentative Millie Hamner (D-Summit/Pitkin):
April 22--in Basalt at the Basalt Regional Library at 12pm. I look forward to hearing from you!