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Last-minute work, a fact of life at the state capitol

Tourism is a huge part of the economy all over Colorado, but especially in my new district from Pagosa Springs to Gunnison to Ouray and all points in between.

We need to do anything that we can to spur the growth of tourism and thereby provide more jobs. SB 124 is one bill that will do exactly that.

Colorado’s Regional Tourism Act allows the Colorado Economic Development Commission to approve a total of six projects for development, but only two projects per year. SB 124, sponsored in the House by Rep. B. J. Nikkel (R-Loveland), removes the annual cap so that the commission is allowed to approve six projects in one year — if they qualify.

The bill will encourage thousands of jobs and help tourism. It passed out of both the Senate and the House with strong bipartisan support. Governor Hickenlooper originally supported the bill, but is now threatening to veto the measure. At any rate, it is headed for the governor’s desk and hopefully will become law.

This week, two of my bills will be signed into law.

First, the governor will sign HB 1318 which puts into law the guidelines for controlled maintenance funding. The state architect annually visits all state-owned buildings, determines the needs for maintenance and rates each project. Funding the projects is recommended by Capital Development and Joint Budget Committees and then funded by the Legislature. HB 1318, as recommended by Legislative Council, Office of Legislative Legal Services and Capital Development Committee, puts this process into statute so that there is no question and no argument about the process. This bill is meant to add discipline to the process of funding maintenance.

The second bill is HB 1290, which will create the Healthy Landscapes Income Tax Checkoff. This bill will allow folks to donate voluntarily part of their income tax refund to the Colorado Weed Management Association to start an education program on the impacts of noxious invasive weeds to Colorado’s economy. The law is scheduled to be signed by the Governor on Thursday.

SB 123, sponsored by Sen. Scott Renfro and me in the House, passed unanimously out of the House Economic and Business Development Committee on April 18. This bill will allow the enhancement of the online filing system in the Secretary of State’s Office. I have had compliments from constituents about the efficiency of online business registration by that office. One individual changed his filing from a personal business to a limited liability corporation (LLC) in a matter of a few minutes. HB 123 will make Secretary of State’s office even more consumer friendly. This bill is calendared this week for second and third readings in the House.

There are only 10 working days left in the legislative session, and there are many bills yet to be considered — bills that could have been scheduled earlier. We will no doubt be rushed and be working into the late nights in the coming days.

Last year I complained. This year, I see it as a fact of life.

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