NEWSLETTER

March Spring Greetings to Everyone in Eagle and Routt Counties!

 

This morning as I left to drive to Denver, crocuses were out and Butcherknife Creek was running!

Thank YOU for two great town halls...
 
This past month I held town halls in both Avon and in Steamboat Springs, which were both very well attended: We had 31 folks in Avon and 80+ show up in Steamboat Springs, which is a new record! We had great discussion at both events about our economy, immigration, education funding, the state budget, and the future of our state. I am so proud to represent such proactive and civically engaged communities.

 



The Avon Public Library graciously hosted our town hall on Feb 26.
I was thrilled by the great discussion!

 


Our Steamboat Springs town hall with
record-breaking attendance was on March 3 at the Bud Werner Memorial Library!

 

Two big announcements...

I am thrilled to have two bills I have been working on for quite some time finally introduced on March 8:

HB17-1235: Financial Relief Defray Individual Health Plan Cost & HB17-1242: New Transportation Infrastructure Funding Revenue...


Diane, Speaker of the House Duran, President of the Senate Grantham, and Senate Transportation Committee Chair Baumgardner at the press conference the morning HB17-1242 was introduced!



HB17-1235: My bill to provide temporary, short term (2017-2019) financial relief to Coloradans who are cost-burdened by high premiums on the State Exchange until we find structural solutions will be heard soon in committee. This very targeted relief will benefit those who earn between 400-500% of the federal poverty line, who aren't enrolled in a government-sponsored program such as Medicare/Medicaid, and who pay more than 15% of their income on insurance premiums.

Data suggests that this bill will especially help rural residents who are far more likely to be cost-burdened than metro residents. The bill came from listening to concerns from my cost burdened constituents, then bringing your concerns to the Division of Insurance. I want to give a big shout out to Lt. Governor Donna Lynne for her hands on knowledge of the insurance industry, her years of health care policy expertise, and her help throughout the stakeholder process. Her staff provided invaluable help.

HB17-1242: As you may know, I have worked on transportation policy and funding issues, especially multimodal, since the 1990's. In fact, one of the main reasons I ran to represent you in the Colorado House back in 2012 was a determination to find a solution to Colorado's transportation funding crisis.

The Problem: Colorado has long relied on both the State gas tax and Federal gas tax to fund transportation. When both were regularly raised to account for inflation and higher demand, we were able to keep up. Our state gas tax has not been increased since 1991, and the federal gas tax has not increased since 1993.

Our state's population and vehicle miles traveled have grown dramatically since then.  Moreover, most of our infrastructure was built from the 1950's- 1970's and is deteriorating due to our inability to fund improvements.

Our needs are growing and we are becoming less competitive economically compared to many other states who have fully funded transportation with various types of state tax increases. Poor and deteriorating road conditions are damaging people's cars, leading to increased maintenance costs, and highly congested major thoroughfares, causing heavy traffic and damaging our environment and quality of life. The CO Dept. of Transportation (CDOT) estimates $9 billion is needed over the next decade for statewide upgrades and repairs. That does not count the unfunded needs of cities and counties. Unless we raise new revenue, Colorado will continue to fall further behind. Our state cannot continue to thrive if we fail to invest in critical 21st Century infrastructure.

 

The Solution:

We need adequate, predictable new revenue. HB17-1242 as introduced, would:

  • Ask the voters of Colorado in November 2017 for permission to increase sales taxes by .62%, moving the state sales tax from 2.9% to just over 3.5%.
  • Generate an estimated $702 million annually for highways, local roads, and multimodal improvements including transit and bike/pedestrian projects for 20 years.
  • Fund debt service for long term debt on transportation bonds of up to $3.5 billion.
  • Directly fund long deferred local road and highway projects for cities and counties.
  • Provide a multimodal options fund.
  • Enhance transparency and accountability, including independent citizen oversight of projects and a simple-to-navigate website so Coloradans can track the progress cost and timeline of projects, and ensuring the state is spending taxpayer dollars wisely and as promised.
  • Ensure every county, every city and every Coloradan shares in the benefits from this transportation package


Diane and Speaker of the House Crisanta Duran
celebrating the introduction of HB17-1242 on March 8.

 

If the voters approve the measure, the funding would begin in January, 2018, finally creating a sustainable and reliable source of funding so our state can address:

  • Transportation long-range needs
  • The priority projects that have consistently risen to the top in our grassroots, bottom- up transportation planning process and have never been funded
  • Needs of city and county governments for increased dollars, helping every region of our State
  • Ensuring more Coloradans from all walks of life have access to  multimodal transportation options

The first bill this session signed into law...

HB17-1018: My bill with Rep. Larry Liston (R-Colorado Springs) to help Regional Transportation Authorities, such as RFTA (Roaring Fork Transportation Authority) was signed by the Governor on March 1 and was the FIRST bill of the 2017 legislative session to be signed!

 

The signing ceremony for HB17-1018 with (left to right) Senator Bob Gardener (R-Colorado Springs); Diane, Governor Hickenlooper; (in the back) Jerry Braden, CO Assoc. of Transit Agencies; Representative Larry Liston (R-Colorado Springs); (in the back) Dan Blankenship, Director of the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority; Ann Rajewski, CO Assoc. of Transit Agencies and Ann's son.

 

 SB17-090: A bill concerning how to measure the level of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol in industrial hemp that I was the House sponsor for was signed by the Governor on March 16, ensuring farmers now have an industry standard for guidance.

My Bills are in Various Stages:

HJR17-1016: My resolution with Rep. Jon Becker (R- Ft. Morgan) recognizing how invaluable rural hospitals are passed the House and was signed by the President of the Senate, declaring March 8, 2017, to be 'Protecting Rural Hospitals Day'.

Bills in the works: I am working with stakeholders to finalize several other bills that will improve life for Coloradans. Please stay tuned!

I will continue to work for you to Expand Economic and Educational Opportunities for all, Protect our Environment, help our communities thrive, and Stand up for the Rights of All...

You can count on me and the Colorado House to protect and preserve people's rights. We will work tirelessly to build a better Colorado for ALL, where everyone has the opportunity for an excellent education and real economic opportunity so they can reach their dreams. Where everyone lives in a healthy, whole environment, with access to: clean water and our magnificent public lands, resilient, thriving communities, and nutritious food, quality health care, attainable housing, high speed broadband, and a reliable, sustainable multi-modal transportation system.

Join my CO House of Representatives Weekly Bill Tracking Mailing List to stay up to date with what bills will be heard each week! Email my Aide Selina to be added!

 

Mark Your Calendars!

April 22--Basalt Town Hall with Representative Millie Hamner at the Basalt Regional Library at 12pm

 

Contact information for your Congressional Representatives:

 

Senator Cory Gardner (R):

354 Russell Senate Office Building

Washington DC 20510

(202) 224-5941

@SenCoryGardner

 

Senator Michael Bennet (D):

261 Russell Senate Office Building

Washington DC 20510

(202) 224-5852

@SenBennetCO

 

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

(202) 225-4761

@RepTipton

 

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

(202) 225-2161

@JaredPolis

 

 

 

Yours for a just, equitable, sustainable, and prosperous Colorado for all.  Diane Mitsch BushRepresentativeColorado State House of Representatives,District 26-Eagle County and Routt CountyP.O. Box 770535Steamboat Springs, CO 80477

Check out the latest articles about my work:

 

The Aspen Times on HB17-1018: RTA Mill Levy

 

Summit Daily on HB17-1235: Health Care Cost Burden Relief
 
Steamboat Today on HB17-1242: Transportation Funding
 
The Denver Post on HB17-1242: Transportation Funding
 

 

Have a question for me?

Please do not hesitate to contact me:  repdianehd26@gmail.com

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!

Email my Aide Selina

 to be added!

 

 

Mark Your Calendars!

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!

 

 

 

Diane Mitsch Bush

House Representative

District 26:
EAGLE & ROUTT

 

_____________________

 

Email Me

 

Call Me:

(970) 291-1572

Paid for by Citizens to Elect Diane Mitsch Bush for Colorado HD 26  •  Tessa Kirchner, Treasurer  •  ©2012-2016 Diane For Colorado