As my first legislative briefing op-ed, I wanted to take the time to describe some of the issues and bills that have dominated much of the debate here in Denver. The newest member of the house, I have already begun to sponsor and work on the legislation that affects our corner of the state most. I have worked to have the Colorado Department of Natural Resources more clearly define a landowner’s ability to allow recreational users to access their property for hunting and other outdoors activities without liability—something that was persistent during my tenure as a game warden. I am working to protect the Colorado River Basin, help solve the maintenance problems with our roads and much more. It has already been a great honor to serve the constituents of HD-57 and I look forward to addressing the needs of the district in the future.
On the subject of pieces of legislation that I have heard a lot about from residents of House District 57, the “Red Flag” gun bill, I want to explain my reasoning for voting no. I believe an opportunity to address the issue of mental health was missed, and further, I believe that this bill will lead to dangerous situations for our law enforcement officers, and violations of law abiding citizens’ rights guaranteed under the second, fourth and fifth amendments. It is these same concerns that formed the basis for our law enforcement communities and more than half of Colorado’s counties’ opposition to the bill. I want to be clear on this, I will side with our law enforcement, local officials and our judges whenever these communities stand united against a single issue. As of April 12, HB19-1177 has been signed by the Governor and my concerns remain. It shares similarities to other bills across the country that fail to protect potential victims and aid the mentally ill. In this case, I was sad to see politics, not sound policy, under the dome.
On a positive note, I am happy to be working for additional rural school funding as well as coming legislation to keep our children safe on the way to and from school. I am also very excited to see a proposed rural economic grant program for early stage rural businesses.
I remain thankful for the opportunity to serve this great community and every day I look to approach each issue with respect and an open mind. Though I may be the newest member of the legislature, I have been working hard to ensure House District 57 has strong advocate for its interest on the other side of the slope. I will continue to fight for the values of the western slope in the 14 remaining days of the legislature. I look forward to hearing from you and the chance to work to solve issues to make HD-57 an even greater place to live.
If you find yourself in Denver, please stop by and say hello at the capitol. I am always open to hearing questions, comments and concerns via phone or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
By Rep. Perry Will
Special to the Herald Times