Letter to the Editor: More on OHV bill clarification

Dear Editor:
In response to various questions and conversations we have had, we would like to provide some additional facts regarding the recent bill, HB15-1054, concerning OHV (off-highway vehicle) usage.

To begin with, this bill has died, so it proves to no longer be a threat to Rio Blanco County’s OHV enthusiasts.
Since we are in the heart of the 2015 legislative season, we thought it might be a good idea to give a quick overview of the legislative process and explain where confusion might lie concerning proposed bills.
Using the OHV bill as an example, it is easy to find the original version of the proposed bill, but we must research a little further to find all amendments. Once a bill is proposed, it tends to “take on a life of its own,” and amendments are continually proposed. Tracking those changes can be easily followed at www.leg.state.co.us. This website provides all Senate and House bills currently proposed, amendments, committee reports, Joint Budget Committee analysis and a variety of additional information concerning the legislative process.
Continuing with the OHV bill example, you can see that the original bill, which was crafted by several commissioners, including Rio Blanco County’s commissioners, was introduced Jan. 7, 2015, amended Jan. 28 and on Feb. 19, the House Committee on Finance postponed the bill indefinitely.
The original bill language was beneficial to OHV enthusiasts and helped advance the current OHV tourism actions in our county, which is why RBC was in support. The various amendments, which ultimately led to the bill being killed, put an unacceptable twist on the original concept, and it could not garner enough support to continue moving through the legislative process.
So, what are county officials doing to ensure proposed legislation that would negatively impact citizens does not move forward in the legislative process? The RBC commissioners are all actively engaged in organizations, such as Associated Governments of Northwestern Colorado, Club 20 and Colorado Counties, Inc.
Organizations such as these are continually watching the bill’s progression and alerting us to amendments that could be deemed harmful. Commissioners perform weekly legislative update teleconferences within these organizations, and work closely with lobbyist companies to ensure no details “slip through the cracks.”
The Legislative session is a busy time for all government agencies, and working collaboratively with neighboring counties and various non-profit organizations ensures the Western Slope of Colorado is working together to offset non-rural proposed legislation.
If you have any questions concerning proposed legislation, please email the Rio Blanco County Commissioners at bocc@rbc.us or call 970-878-9430.
Shawn Bolton
Rio Blanco County Commissioner