Week draws constituent feedback, action on bills

It has been a very active week in the Capitol. Last Monday, we voted on four gun safety bills that passed and are on their way to the state Senate. During the week, I received an outpouring of calls, emails and letters discussing these bills, and I held a town meeting at Durango Public Library last Saturday. At least 400 people came to voice their opinions about gun safety.

To all who have contacted me and those who came out for the town-hall meeting, thank you. Although many of your communications have been disapproving of my votes, I do believe itís an important aspect of our government for elected officials to be questioned rather than blindly accepted without a struggle. Iím proud to represent a district with such passionate constituents, and I look forward to respectful discourse on the issues to come. Thank you also to the many constituents who contacted me and support what I believe are common-sense solutions.

My first bill will be signed by the governor tomorrow. HB 1076 removes the requirements that the director of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation be certified by the Peace Officers Standards and Training Board. Without fiscal impact, the bill provide more job opportunities with the CBI by removing the POST certification.

HB 1193 is a jobs bill I am co-sponsoring with Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp, D-Arvata, that passed in committee and now is ready for a House vote. The Colorado Advanced Industries Export Accelerator Act is a tool for small- and medium-sized businesses in the advanced industries that do not have the resources needed to engage in international export development. It will offer financial resources, training and consulting services to these businesses to boost job creation in the advanced industries of Colorado. I am proud to bring this bill through the General Assembly because it will help create jobs and spur economic development in Colorado.

Another bill of mine, HB 1164, continues an income-tax checkoff for voluntary contributions to help the stateís unwanted horses. About 6,000 unwanted horses entered the state system last year, and the form checkoff brought $93,000 in for these animals. The House passed this bill unanimously, and it is in review in the Senate.

My bill to remove a fishing fee for wounded veterans passed a House committee this week and now is up for a vote on the floor. HB 1232 authorizes a person assigned to the warrior transition battalion to obtain a fishing license free. This is but one way we can honor our veterans who have fought for our freedoms in Afghanistan and Iraq. Fishing provides great benefits to our wounded warriors, and assists with rehabilitating soldiers who have come back from war with mental and physical injuries. I am glad to have such overwhelming support for this bill.

As you know, everything we do here is not directly related to legislation. We also are fortunate to have many groups to raise our awareness of important issues. Last week, I was able to participate in an awareness-day luncheon sponsored by Alliance Colorado for people with developmental disabilities. In our efforts to improve public safety for all Coloradans, we need to remain constantly vigilant for these special communities. The House also passed a unanimous resolution honoring those who are developmentally disabled.

Finally, I was pleased to meet with the board of trustees for Western State Colorado University. I am the only state representative who has two state colleges in his district. And I send my congratulations to President Jay Hellman upon his retirement. He and the board of trustees have served Western well, and I look forward to working with the schoolís new leadership.

I continue to be honored to serve as your State Representative for District 59.

Mike McLachlan represents the newly reconstituted House District 59 in Coloradoís General Assembly. The district now encompasses La Plata, Archuleta, San Juan, Ouray and Hinsdale counties and part of Gunnison County. Contact McLachlan at (303) 866-2914 or mike.mclachlan.house@state.co.us.

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