Colorado’s General Assembly Convenes for 2016
This marks my 30th year of being your lobbyist at the Capitol, I am happy to report its business as usual. The balance of power is still, well…balanced if you will. We have a Democrat controlled House and a Republican controlled Senate which always makes for interesting times. So far this year the important agenda we cover has had fewer issues to date, but they are exponentially more difficult.
Many of you are aware of the Counties deciding to run legislation yet again, HB16-1030, to resolve the issue of what OHVs should need to travel on county roads and municipal streets. After a summer’s worth of legislative hearings by the OHV Interim Committee, a bill was introduced. Unfortunately like many interim committees charged with unfamiliar territory, the bill was not what the counties, cities and COHVCO could live with.
This is the 5th introduction of this bill in one form or another over a six year period. COHVCO’s major concern have been the language of county inspired bills, including this years would stripp Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s authority over OHV use and shift it to the counties whereas the bill should only have granted limited authority to counties/cities/towns to set minimum standards for use of roads and streets only.
After years of negotiations the political subdivisions of the state agreed with us about who should be managing OHV use and we joined them in the amendment that struck most of the 16 pages of the language of the committee bill and simplified it while retaining Parks and Wildlife authority except concerning local government road designation.
The counties will continue to set whatever they deem the appropriate age limits from allowing underage operator They may also require a driver’s license for road use. This does allow more sparsely populated counties the opportunity to allow younger operators. Additionally, proof of insurance may be required for licensed drivers. These very simplified requirements make it much, much easier on the OHV public
The HB16-1030 has passed the House and is awaiting introduction in the Senate. Hopefully, it will get a clean bill of health. But, if we do hit a serious snag you will receive a COHVCO alert with e-mails and phone number of legislators to encourage them to move the bill along. It is you who poessess the ultimate ability to convince what is a close call.
Another bill proving extremely difficult is SB16-010 that attempts to severely restrict the ability of dealers to obtain titles for used vehicle which almost completely prevents consumers from obtaining a title for purposes of a consumer loan and will add years to creating a viable data base for stolen property. This critical data base protects owners from theft by dissuading thieves while making the return of stolen vehicles to rightful owners easier on a more statewide and even nationwide basis. This bill is, unfortunately a vindictive bill by a legislator who, despite being present in the Senate 3 years ago at the bill’s passage and 3 years later, he has refused to see us despite having ample time to approach all of the interested parties. As I surmised, the County Sheriffs and County Clerks whom I explained would jump ship. Did so, and has now made this a bit easier.
The bill has passed the Senate, but after weeks of negotiations with the House sponsor he has agreed to listen to COHVCO’s request for an amendment and is doing so at this time. I will be working with Legislative Legal Services in drafting the amendment(s). If the degree of cooperation necessary is lost we reserve the right to move to kill the bill, despite apprising the legislators we want to avoid that scenario at all costs…to a point and they understand our position.
While only one month into a 4 month session, there is much, much more to come (another 300 bills).
COHVCO has contracted with a unique lobbyist who understands our issues who has contacted with us for a minimal amount. He has already proved his worth on multiple occasions He has been of great help to COHVCO and its members. His biography can be found in this magazine.
We understand the delay in publishing the legislative report due to the time frame of at least 60 days to publish. However, we will do our e-mail alerts as critical issues come up during the publication period.
Please help us by sending in your email address to receive the alerts if you have not done so. Simply go to our website at COHVCO.org and provide us the information.
They are not shared with anyone else except members, OHV clubs and organizations and yes that means 4wd and snowmobiles clubs, also.
Talk to you next edition with what will be new issues to report.