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Business continues at June committee meetings

The duties of a Senator continue well beyond the session, and it has been great to be out in the district meeting with constituents in all eight counties. We continue to host town hall meetings, with the most recent in Dove Creek, Norwood and Durango.

I was recently appointed as the chair of the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. I am also a member of the Inter-Basin Compact Committee (IBCC) and serve as a board member on the Colorado Foundation for Water Education (CFWE). Both of these groups had meetings and events in June. I attended the IBCC meeting in Keystone with other water leaders from around the state to discuss the statewide water supplies and projected demands for multiple uses. The timing of these meetings has been accelerated so that recommendations can be presented to the legislature and Governor by the end of the year.

The Colorado Foundation for Water Education hosted a tour of southwestern Colorado early in June, and I was asked to provide the opening remarks and address the tour on water issues over the three-day event. There were approximately 90 participants from throughout the state, which included some of my fellow legislators from the front-range. The board of the CFWE met in Boulder last week, and I was impressed to see the level of commitment the members have to providing water education in Colorado. I also spoke at the Micro-Hydro conference in Ouray as a part of the Colorado Renewable Energy Conference coordinated by the Delta-Montrose REA. It was a good opportunity to meet with professionals in this field and to discuss the development of hydroelectric power in this state.

The governor was in Cortez and Durango to sign bills that I sponsored during the session. These bills included legislation that reduced the late fees for trailer registration from $100 to a maximum of $10. This bill went into effect on July 1, so you will see the results if you have to go in to register your trailers. The governor also signed a bill regarding the pesticide container inspection program for the Department of Agriculture and numerous water bills related to reporting standards, efficiency and conservation, and funding for future water supplies in this region.

Recently, I participated in meetings with the State Land Board, the director of the Department of Natural Resources, and representatives from Fort Lewis College to discuss the future of the Old Fort Lewis property south of Hesperus. This is an issue I have been closely following since I took office. An event was hosted on the property by the college and members of the Buffalo Council, which included numerous Native American students, to share their vision for the property with members of the Board. I was very encouraged by the discussions that took place throughout the day, and I would like to thank the State Land Board for considering the views of Fort Lewis College and the local community while developing long term plans for the “Old Fort.” Significant progress has been made since CSU first announced it would be leaving the property last fall, which will include an interim lease for a portion of the property by Fort Lewis College.

Thanks for all of your positive comments about this column, and I hope to see you in the Senate district over the next few months. It is an honor to represent you in the Colorado State Senate, and I value your input. You can contact me by e-mail at bruce.whitehead.senate@state.co.us, or by phone at (970) 588-2280.