The State Legislature is moving along well as we head into April and only 40 days left of the 2011 Legislative Session. However, the Joint Budget Committee still has no agreement on the State Budget for FY 2011-12 and therefore no ‘Long Bill’ has yet been released. CFB staff will be watching the Long Bill for any unexpected amendments.
Despite a relatively quiet session, there was movement on many bill tracked by CFB this week. We expect to see the “Long Bill” (the State’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2011-12) out by next week. It will be heard first in the Senate. That is when the real work will begin.
The Senate Ag Committee moved two favorable measures forward to the Senate Floor this week with the passage of HB 1159 which allows the Commissioner of Agriculture to license a grain protein analyzer before the analyzer is operated for commercial use and HB 1083 which adds hydroelectricity and pumped hydro to the list of technologies that the PUC may give full consideration of for use. CFB is in support of both of these measures.
The House and Senate will continue next week with full calendars of floor work (for 2nd and 3rd readings of numerous bills). We are still anticipating a handful of bills that we will engage on to be released in the coming weeks. The Long Bill (State’s Budget) is not expected to come out for a few weeks yet. The JBC is busy at work with long days of hearings to address the $1Billion shortfall in next year’s budget.
For a complete list of bills that CFB is currently following please check out the link to the Legislative Tracking List.
As a reminder, next week is National Ag Week – March 13 through the 19th – www.agday.org
Colorado will be celebrating National Ag Day on Wednesday, March 16th at the Colorado State Capitol!
The Colorado General Assembly will present a House Joint Resolution, sponsored by Rep. Sonnenberg and Sen. Schwartz, on Wednesday, March 16th, in recognition of National Ag Week and in celebrating National Ag Day in Colorado.
At Noon there will be a press conference on the West Steps of the State Capitol followed by a sandwich lunch prepared by members of the Colorado Ag Council.
Press Conference Agenda
Referred to the Voters!!! Victory for SCR – 001 (Ballot Measure Initiative Reform) successfully passed the full Senate and House this week with greater than 2/3rds support from both chambers in order to become a referred measure on the 2012 Ballot. Troy Bredenkamp, Exec. VP for CFB, testified as the voice for agriculture and rural Colorado on this measure in the House State Affairs Committee on Wednesday. Farm Bureau would like to thank all those legislators that supported this measure which will help to strengthen the voice for rural Colorado in the initiative process.
Also successfully passing the House chambers this past week and being referred to the Senate were the following measures:
HB 1004 – Rep. Baumgardner’s Farm Truck Registration bill
HB 1083 – Rep. Swerdferger’s Hydroelectricity and Pumped Hyrdo bill
HB 1084 – Rep. Baumgardner’s Modify Late Vehicle Registration Fee bill
HB 1093 – Rep. Bradford’s Special Mobile Machinery Ownership bill
HB 1111 – Rep. Sonnenberg’s CDA Livestock Confidential Data bill
HB 1192 – Rep. Coram’s bill to give CDOT authority to authorize state highways for travel with longer vehicle combinations
DEFEATED: HB 1165 (Align County Treasurer Water Dist. Fees) was successfully killed this week (2/23) in the House Local Government Committee. CFB was working in opposition to this bill which would have allowed the county treasurer’s office to dramatically increase fees for their services to collect irrigation and drainage district assessments. There was testimony for willingness of a more appropriate increase in this fee; however, this bill would have caused an unreasonable fee increase for some of our irrigation districts across that state that would have seen their fees go from $100 to greater than $12,000.
Here is a highlight of some of the major happenings from the Colorado State House and Senate this week:
The Colorado General Assembly has got down to business this week, addressing numerous pieces of legislation. The Senate has been dealing with supplemental bills, trying to refill the hole in this current fiscal year’s general fund budget. Those measures will move to the House next week.
Last week Farm Bureau assisted in killing SB 17, a bill which would have increased Anhydrous Ammonia Incident Reporting Requirements. CFB has agreed to further discussions over the interim with the Department of Ag to understand what exactly needs to be addressed with reporting incidents. The Senate State Affairs Committee killed a number of measures this week including, SB 35 – Prohibit Severance Related Revenue to Gen Fund.