Legislative Briefs…Week In Review

CFB Opposed Water Bills Are Tabled – Two water bills that Farm Bureau opposed were pulled off the table by sponsor Sen. Mary Hodge (D-Brighton) on Thursday.  SB 67 aimed to exempt some public school wells from having to augment their water usage.  FB policy supports the prior appropriations doctrine and as concerned with the potential impacts to senior water rights.   Senator Hodge also pulled SB 78 from further discussion.  This bill dealt with “reusable effluent”.  CFB was concerned with impacts to downstream water rights and opposed the bill.

CCI Introduces Bill Regarding Ag Land Property Tax Clarification – A CCI-backed bill has been introduced in the House to create a task force to study the assessment and classification of agricultural and residential land.  HB 1293 is sponsored by Rep. Tom Massey (R-Poncha Springs) and has been assigned to the House Local Government Committee.  CFB is very concerned with the bill.

Rafting Bill Passes 2nd Reading – HB 1188 was approved on a voice vote on the House floor today.  Opponents, lead by Representative Sonnenberg, made a valiant effort to defeat the bill.  Many amendments were offered to provide some restrictions to the ability to portage on private land, all of which were adamantly opposed to by the rafting community and the sponsor, Rep. Curry.  This bill is a very dangerous bill that levies a huge blow to private property rights.  The bill has one more vote in the House before moving onto the Senate.  Please call your state Senators Representatives and ask them to protect private property rights and vote NO on HB 1188.

Bill to fund State Engineer’s Office Dies – HB 1006 was defeated in House Appropriations Committee this morning after an amendment changing the funding source was added to the bill.  HB 1006 authorized the Division of Water Resources (DWR) to receive up to 5% of the monies in the Operational Account of the Severance Tax Trust Fund and reduces the share of the account that may be used to fund programs within the Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety (DRMS) from 25% to 20%.  The amendment that was added to the bill would have taken the money from the DOW instead of DRMS.  CFB is extremely disappointed that the bill was killed because this puts a tremendous burden on the State Engineer’s office which will have negative impacts to agricultural water use.

Oil & Gas Bill Introduced – SB 165 specifies that no water well permit will be required for the use of nontributary/non-CBM water produced from coal bed methane wells if that water is being used for uses that are ancillary to or directly related to the mining of minerals as allowed under the “Oil and Gas Conservation Act”.  The bill also extends the well permitting and substitute water supply plan compliance deadlines established in HB09-1303 from March 31, 2010 to August 1, 2010.

Next Week – The House is expected to spend the majority of the week debating budget supplemental bills.  These are bills that are introduced by the JBC to make adjustments to the current year’s budget.  The Senate will hear SB 139 – Unwanted Horse Fund Tax Checkoff and SB 165 – Adjust Oil & Gas Well Regulation on Wednesday.  Debate is also expected on SB 106 – Creation of the Food System Advisory Council.


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