PUEBLO, CO– At Musso Farms in Pueblo, Governor Jaerd Polis today signed four bills that will boost rural economies, help smaller communities afford the costs of peace officer training programs, improve seed regulation and better protect energy consumers.

“We can’t leave Colorado’s rural communities behind as our state recovers from the pandemic,” said Rep. Bri Buentello, D-Pueblo. “The legislation signed today will improve a critical economic development initiative and enhance seed regulation to help Colorado’s agriculture producers. To support our communities that are struggling with smaller and smaller budgets, we created a new scholarship to help them afford to hire and train new law enforcement officers. I’m proud of our work to boost rural economies and help build an economy that works for all parts of our state.”

HB20-1229, sponsored by Representative Bri Buentello, establishes a scholarship fund for rural and small communities to assist in paying for the cost of potential police officers to attend an approved basic law enforcement training academy. SB20-002, sponsored by Representatives Barbara McLachlan and Buentello, strengthens and cements a successful existing program, REDI, in the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) to ensure that the program continues and make improvements to spur rural economies. HB20-1184, sponsored by Representatives Buentello and Rod Pelton, improves seed regulation in Colorado to help agricultural producers. 

“Colorado’s rural communities have been hit hard by ongoing trade disputes, declining tourism revenue from the pandemic and dwindling town budgets,” said Rep. Barbara McLachlan, D-Durango. “Today, the governor signed my bill to spur rural economic growth. The law makes the successful Rural Economic Development Grant Initiative permanent and bolsters the program to help our small businesses and rural communities recover faster and get back on their feet.”

SB20-030, sponsored by Representative Daneya Esgar, imposes various requirements on public utilities and the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) related to information reporting, billing, and customer interactions. The bill nearly doubles the level of income that the PUC may use to means test the medical exemption, allowing more Coloradans with medical needs to take advantage of the program. 

“Across our state, hardworking Coloradans are struggling to make ends meet and pay their electricity bills,” said Rep. Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo. “We can lower electricity costs by strengthening consumer protections and increasing transparency in billing. Importantly, this new law provides utility relief that so many Coloradans rely on to a lot more older Coloradans with medical conditions to help them make ends meet.” 

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