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April 11, 2024

Bipartisan McCluskie Bill to Boost Water Conservation Funding Passes Committee

DENVER, CO - The House Finance Committee today passed bipartisan legislation sponsored by Speaker Julie McCluskie that would refer a ballot measure to Colorado voters to allow the state to keep and spend all sports betting tax revenue to fund water conservation and protection projects.

“As the legislator representing the headwaters of the Colorado River, I know how critical it is to protect our water for environmental health, recreation, and the Colorado way of life,” said Speaker Julie McCluskie, D-Dillon. “Our legislation lets voters decide if we can use extra revenue from Colorado’s sports betting tax to boost funding for critical water conservation projects. By protecting the lifeblood of Colorado, we can improve the health of our communities, environment, and agricultural industry.”

In 2019, Colorado voters approved Proposition DD, allowing the state to keep and spend $29 million of sports betting tax revenue per year for water conservation efforts. Any additional revenue above $29 million is required to be refunded to casinos and online sports betting entities.

HB24-1436, also sponsored by Representative Marc Catlin, R-Montrose, would refer a ballot measure to Colorado voters to allow revenue above the $29 million cap to be transferred to the Water Plan Implementation Cash Fund. This cash fund supports projects including water storage and supply, agricultural projects, and watershed health and recreation projects. The bill unanimously passed by a vote of 8-0.

Speaker McCluskie is also sponsoring legislation to restore critical protections for Colorado’s streams, rivers and wetlands for Colorado waters that are not federally protected.

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