(June 6) – Gov. John Hickenlooper signed two bills by Rep. Jonathan Singer, D-Longmont, this morning in his office. The first will improve the ability of radio and communications volunteers to prepare for and respond to man-made and natural disasters. The second will allow medical, non-smokeable marijuana to be administered in schools to students needing such medication.

The first bill, HB16-1040, will harness the efforts of amateur radio operators to improve emergency response in Colorado. Amateur radio operators have provided emergency and natural disasters communications support in Colorado for over 75 years, yet due to lack of coordination, training, and resources, communication failures have been a defining element of recent natural disasters. This bill will help prevent those types of failures in future emergency situations by creating the Auxiliary Emergency Communications Unit within the Department of Public Safety to provide training and credentialing services.

“When an emergency strikes – like the 2013 floods that impacted my district so severely – we need all hands on deck to help deal with the impacts,” said Rep. Singer. “Having a trained and coordinated unit of communication volunteers available will improve Colorado’s ability to prepare for emergencies and quickly respond after disasters.”

The second bill, HB16-1373, allows a parent or primary caregiver to possess and administer medical marijuana in a non-smokeable form to a student on school property. There are about 350 students in Colorado who are registered to use medical cannabis for the treatment of six qualifying conditions including cancer and seizures, but under previous law were unable to have their medication administered on school grounds due to lack of school policies. This bill will ensure that they can get the medical care they need on school property without unduly disrupting their studies.

“We’ve heard from kids with debilitating conditions who no longer want to choose between their medication and their education,” said Rep. Singer. “No one should have to make that choice and this law protects students’ rights to both.”

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