KGNU is partnering with the League of Women Voters of Boulder County on a monthly commentary series called Making Democracy Work for All! which focuses on educating listeners on the workings of state and local government and letting them know how they can get involved at different stages of the political process. This month Jeannette Hillery takes a look at the 2018 State Legislative Session.
The League is a nonpartisan organization that does not support or endorse candidates or political parties. We do support or oppose issues that we have studied.
I would like to talk about the League and its involvement with the 71st Colorado General Assembly which convened on January 10th. The Colorado General Assembly convenes for 120 days beginning in January and ending in May of each year. There are 100 members, 65 in the House and 35 in the Senate. Boulder County has 8 representatives, 5 in the House and 3 in the Senate. They are House District (HD) 10 Rep. Edie Hooten; HD 11 Rep. Jonathan Singer; HD 12 Rep. Mike Foote; HD 13 Rep. KC Becker; HD 33 Rep. Matt Gray; Senate District (SD) 16 Sen. Tim Neville; SD 17 Sen. Matt Jones; SD 18 Sen. Stephen Fenberg. The Colorado League has a volunteer lobby core that follows proposed legislation in areas such as voter service, campaign finance, health care, transportation, and education. The Boulder County League advocates for our positions with our local elected representatives.
This year the top priorities of the Legislature are transportation, PERA solvency, cost of living and affordable housing, efforts to address the opioid crisis and bills aimed to reducing health care costs. Colorado has an aging roads and bridge infrastructure. We have supported legislation in the past to fund repairs and replacements to deteriorating roads and bridges. However the state is in dyer need of addition funding and in completing agreed upon projects. At this time SB 1 has been introduced to address this issue.
At present there are several bills to address decreasing health care costs and accessibility. Also a bill to address the opiod crisis. The League has supported state legislation to address inconsistencies or gaps in health care coverage and will continue during this session. In the education arena there is a bill to increase teachers in rural areas and expand accessibility to full time kindergarten.
In the previous session the Colorado Energy Office was defunded. This session a bill has been introduced to request more funding, but there are concerns that too much emphasis is on supporting coal and fossil fuel use. The League has supported goals that address reduction in pollution from power plants and other emitters. We have urged the use of renewables for utilities and individuals.
During the Legislative session the League publishes a Legislative Letter that covers all the bills that they are following. This is published bi weekly. For more information about the legislative letter, contact lwvcolorado.org and hit the legislative action link.
The Boulder County League and its action teams will be looking at the bills that are introduced and how they will effect the county. The schools team will look at programs and issues in both St. Vrain and Boulder Valley. The Social Policy team is addressing minimum wage issues, more access for immigrants to get licenses, and cost of living issues. The Behavioral Health Team is continually concerned about the adequacy of programs and funding for impacted populations. The budgeting and direction from the state plays a great part in implementation of new or ongoing programs.
The Voting Methods Team will look at alternatives to the present plurality voting in the state and expects to have a bill on National Popular Voting to be introduced this session.
The Money in Politics Team continues making presentations in the community to discuss how money affects the outcome of elections and what local municipalities can do to address it in their own community. These presentations are available for free to any group or organization.
Voter Service is a major area for the League. Ensuring people are registered to vote, have access to the ballot and get out to vote is of primary concern.
For information about the Boulder League. Go to lwvbc.org for Teams, a calendar of events and membership.