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April 19, 2024

Bipartisan McCluskie Bill to Boost Water Conservation Funding Passes House

DENVER, CO - The House 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. HB24-1436 passed by a vote of 59 to 1. 

“From agricultural use to recreation that drives our tourism economy, protecting Colorado’s waters is essential and will ensure its availability for generations to come,” said Speaker Julie McCluskie, D-Dillon. “We’re asking for a reaffirmed commitment from Colorado voters to fund our water conservation projects by keeping excess revenue from Colorado’s sports betting tax. I’m honored to bring forward this legislation to continue our bipartisan commitment to the future of water in Colorado.”

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 water projects across the state, including water storage and supply, agricultural projects, and watershed health and recreation projects. 

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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