Flood Relief, Wildfire Prevention Bills Advance

(Feb. 5) – Four bills targeting flood and wildfire prevention and recovery cleared legislative hurdles over the past two days.

This morning the House passed a bipartisan bill from Rep. Mike Foote (D-Lafayette) and Minority Leader Brian DelGrosso (R-Loveland) on second reading. SB14-007 will allow a county government to use general fund money to repair its bridges and roads if the governor has declared a disaster emergency within that county.

“This will allow local county governments to rebuild damaged roads and bridges faster,” Rep. Foote said. “It also ensures that counties will be able to recover from future natural disasters.”

The Agriculture, Livestock & Natural Resources Committee passed HB14-1002, sponsored by Rep. Dave Young (D-Greeley), this morning unanimously. The bill will create a grant program to help local governments or private businesses that operate public water systems repair damaged water and wastewater treatment plants. Priority will be given to applicants that have the greatest financial need.

“Right now communities in flood-impacted areas are struggling to repair treatment plants,” Rep. Young said. “The money in this grant program will provide the resources these communities need to get their water systems back up and operating.”

The committee also approved HB14-1008, sponsored by Rep. Millie Hamner (D-Dillon), which will allow the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority to make loans to private entities for projects concerning forest health. Currently the CWRPDA can only make loans to governmental agencies.

Yesterday the House approved another Wildfire Matters Review Committee bill from Rep. Hamner with unanimous bipartisan support. HB14-1010 clarifies who may oversee a prescribed burn, changing the definition from “prescribed burn manager” to “certified burner,” and will now head to the Senate for consideration.

“Both of these bills will increase prevention efforts,” Rep. Hamner said. “They will give firefighters the support they need and expand efforts by private businesses to mitigate fire danger and keep our forests healthy.”

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