Colorado General Assemby: House bills for the agriculture community to watch
for The Fence Post
Here are some house bills to watch out for this legislative season in Colorado.
Bill: HB18-1002 “Rural school district teaching fellowship program”
Prime sponsors: Rep. Millie Hamner (D), Rep. Bob Rankin (R), Sen. Nancy Todd (D) and Sen. Don Coram (R)
Sponsors: Rep. Barbara McLachlan (D)
Committee: Education; Appropriations
Status: The bill was amended and sent to Appropriations on Jan. 29.
Next hearing: Not listed as of Feb. 6
The gist: There is a teacher shortage, particularly in rural areas. This bill would create a fellowship program for students in their fourth year of school to work in districts with a teacher shortage.
There will be 100 fellows chosen, as the bill was introduced, who would have half of their $10,000 stipend paid for through the state, with the remaining half charged to the school or district. However, if a school still wants to use the program, even if the student isn’t chosen to have $5,000 paid for by the state, the school must cover the entire cost.
The bill isn’t setting up the program so educators can just get the experience. If the institution offers the fellow a job and the person declines, the fellow will be responsible for reimbursing the full stipend.
Bill: HB18-1043 “Beef country of origin recognition system”
Prime sponsors: Rep. Kimmi Lewis (R) and Sen. Vicki Marble (R)
Committee: Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources
Status: Postponed indefinitely by 7-6 in committee.
The gist: The aim was to require signs indicating the origin of beef in Colorado to replace the federal Country-of-Original Labeling (COOL) act, which was repealed in 2015.
Bill: HB18-1085 “Health affects of wind turbines”
Prime sponsors: Rep. Paul Lundeen (R)
Committee: Transportation and Energy
Next hearing: The bill will be discussed in committee Feb. 8
The gist: The bill calls for a collection of research studies and court decisions regarding the health of people and animals as a result of wind energy turbines. The deadline, as written, would be January 2020 to finish the data collection. Some of the general areas of health the bill specifically includes is a call for data on the impacts of noise and stray voltage.
Bill: HB18-1093 “Reclaimed water use for edible crops”
Prime sponsors: Rep. Jeni James Arndt (D) and Sen. Don Coram (R)
Sponsors: Rep. Jeff Bridges (D), Rep. Dan Thurlow (R) and Sen. Lucia Guzman (D)
Committee: Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources; Appropriations
Status: The bill was amended to the House Committee on Appropriations on Jan. 29
Next hearing: Not scheduled as of Feb. 7.
The gist: This bill calls for more domestic wastewater, properly treated and tested, to be used for crops. Currently, nonfood crops, landscape irrigation and other uses are approved to use reclaimed (or already used) water. This bill would also open up a way for more categories of reused water, other than the two that already exist.
For the edible crops, the bill only would allow this water be used for irrigated crops.
— Fox is a reporter for The Fence Post. She can be reached at (970) 392-4410, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @FoxonaFarm.