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Honoring a remarkable man: Arthur Wayne Denny

One hundred and one.

I am not talking about Dalmatians. I’m talking about the number of years lived by Arthur Wayne Denny, a man who shared a miraculous life with the people of Cortez.

I was humbled to sponsor a memorial that honored this remarkable man. His wife, Viola Denny, and family drove hundreds of miles to be with us in the Senate chambers on Monday when we reflected on Mr. Denny’s life and the invaluable contributions he made to our state and country.

Wayne was an early pioneer of water law and spent his life looking out for the water interests of our district. Most of us can only dream of accomplishing everything Wayne was able to in his life and I am honored to serve in an office he once occupied.

Thursday I proposed an amendment to House Bill 1250, a bill that approves annual water projects around the state. The amendment gives the Colorado Water Conservation Board the authority to purchase up to 10,460 acre-feet of water from the Animas-La Plata water project. If approved by the Senate and House, the money used to purchase this water will come from an existing severance fund within the CWCB budget. The general fund will be unaffected by this amendment and it will not divert money from schools or state services.

Friday, we adopted House Bill 1211 which will reduce the late penalty on trailers weighing 2,000 pounds or less to a $10 flat fee. The amendment I sponsored to this bill would have included all trailers regardless of weight. However, the House decided not to approve the amendment. This put the Senate in the difficult position of adhering to their position or losing the bill completely. I could not justify killing this bill when there are people in our district who have paid unreasonable late fines for trailers that are only occasionally used. I voted for the bill to provide at least some relief for trailer owners. However, I have also committed to sponsoring a late bill that will address trailers left out of this bill. I will keep you updated on its progress.

It appears the amendment I added to House Joint Resolution 10-1015 has finally caught the attention of the Colorado Broadcasters Association. The resolution encourages the removal of FCC broadcasting restrictions to allow Denver television stations in Southwest Colorado. The resolution originally supported our congressional delegation to continue to pursue federal legislation that will allow people in our district to access Colorado television programming. I added an amendment to also encourage the Colorado Broadcasters Association to work on this issue. They contacted me recently and we have set up a meeting to discuss this issue further. I am looking forward to a productive conversation and we will hopefully move towards a solution.

Thank you for all the calls and e-mails about election reform. There are some beneficial aspects of electoral reform, but I do have concerns with some ideas being proposed. Electoral reform is an issue that extends beyond party affiliation. Its goal should concentrate on removing unreasonable barriers to voting while defending democracy and keeping the security and sanctity of voting intact. As of yet, there is not a formal bill introduced. The Colorado Secretary of State, Bernie Buescher, has called for a bipartisan commission to explore any changes and make recommendations. I will keep all of your concerns in mind if the legislature decides to undertake election reform this session.

On a personal note, I want to recognize Alray Nelson who recently won his election for student body president at Fort Lewis College. I had the opportunity to work with Alray in protecting Fort Lewis funding this session. He is now the second Native American student body president at the college since its inception. Congratulations, Alray!