A Fiscally Responsible Break for Veterans at State Parks

(Jan. 26) – The State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee approved a perk for our veterans today, granting them free admission to state parks and recreation areas to mark Veterans Day.

The committee voted 9-2 to approve HB15-1045, sponsored by Rep. Su Ryden, D-Aurora, waiving veterans’ park admission fees on a weekend immediately before or after Veterans Day.

HB15-1005, an alternative sponsored by Rep. Clarice Navarro, D-Pueblo, would have waived entrance fees at state parks and recreation areas for all veterans all the time, not just disabled veterans, who are currently exempt. But after Steve Cassin, the chief financial officer of the Parks and Wildlife Department, testified that the bill would be too heavy a burden on our parks, no one on the committee would formally move the bill for a vote, and it died.

“I wish I could have voted for Rep. Navarro’s bill, but the lost admission fees and increased maintenance costs would have been too much for our cash-strapped Parks Department,” said Rep. Ryden, who is also chairwoman of the State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee. “Our veterans deserve every break we can afford to give them, but we also have to be fiscally responsible. My bill threads that needle.”

HB15-1045 now goes to the House floor.

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