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May 20, 2024

Bipartisan Water Conservation Bill Signed Into Law

PAONIA, CO - Governor Jared Polis today signed a bipartisan water conservation bill into law. HB24-1436 will 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.

“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 proud to carry this law to continue our bipartisan commitment to the future of water in Colorado.”

“Water is Colorado’s most precious natural resource, because it powers everything we do, from agriculture to our outdoor recreation economy, which is why I am fighting tooth and nail to secure our state’s water future,” said Senator Dylan Roberts, D-Frisco. “Now, we’re giving Colorado voters an opportunity to join in the fight and allow sports betting revenue to fund critical water projects that will benefit communities across our state. I am proud of this bipartisan effort that will help protect our precious water resources and our Colorado way of life.”

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. Current law requires any additional revenue above $29 million to be refunded to casinos and online sports betting entities.

HB24-1436, also sponsored by Senator Cleave Simpson, R-Alamosa, and Representative Marc Catlin, R-Montrose, will 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 fund supports water projects across the state, including water storage and supply, agricultural projects, and watershed health and recreation projects. 

Speaker McCluskie and Senator Roberts also sponsored legislation this session to restore critical protections for Colorado’s streams, rivers and wetlands for Colorado waters that are not federally protected.

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