Legislative Update by Senator Bruce Whitehead

It seems to happen to every legislator at least once in his or her time at the Capitol. A bill you are certain is noncontroversial becomes far more complicated and contentious than you expected. That is the case with a bill I am sponsoring, House Bill 1051, which establishes an annual reporting requirement for water providers. These entities, ranging from municipalities to special water districts, already collect much of this information and by statute are required to report it every seven years. My bill would move that requirement up to yearly reporting so we may better examine water conservancy efforts. It all begins with good data, and this bill will establish guidelines for information to be collected on a regular basis. Another bill many legislators thought to be noncontroversial is House Bill 1188, commonly known as the rafting bill. As many of you know by now, that turned out not to be the case. While I understand both sides, I have some real concerns with the bill as it's drafted. Allowing our rivers to be declared ‘navigable’ could have unforeseen legal consequences and may open the door to federal regulation of Colorado's rivers.