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McLachlan: Session was productive for everyone

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Saturday, May 12, 2018 12:15 AM

The 71st Session of the General Assembly came to a resounding close Wednesday night after 120 days of crafting, discussing, arguing, reconciling, meeting and contemplating.

Fourteen of my bills, all with bipartisan support, will be signed into law, including:

A suicide-prevention bill offering grants for schools to access research-based training programs for all school employees to understand symptoms in students who might want to hurt themselves or others.Help for student teachers by having every school district require the same background check. Unbeknownst to me, every district had a different rule, making student-teacher certification harder and more expensive than necessary.Industrial hemp seeds are now considered an agricultural product, helping the industry in Colorado continue to grow.An Agricultural Workforce Development internship program was developed, paying farmers and ranchers half the cost of hiring a Young and Beginning Farmer to work the land and learn the craft.Two broadband bills passed. One gives a company with the right of first refusal the opportunity to implement broadband, as long as it offers the cost and speed a local broadband provider offers. The other allows Colorado to apply for federal broadband funds once they become available.Another bill will provide a financial incentive for teachers in rural districts to complete coursework that will help them finish a second certification or earn an alternative license. They will need to work in that district for three years.Lower-income homeowners buying a manufactured home will not have to pay sales tax, though they will still pay the property tax. This should save them about $1,000 each.An aquifer water storage study will determine how to best use aquifers in Colorado to store our water.Off-highway vehicle riders will have new safety standards to follow, making this popular recreational activity safer.CDOT will change its bidding process slightly to help award smaller construction companies more jobs working on highway projects.The Fort Lewis College Hesperus Campus income will go directly into the college’s account instead of to the General Assembly.The Southwest Water Conservation District will get to choose its own meeting dates; having them set ahead of time made it difficult for members to travel regularly.A Food Systems bill, which supports the continued communication between food producers and consumers, will not sunset or be killed. Colorado Highway 84 between Pagosa Springs and the state line will be named the Nolan Olson Memorial Highway in honor of Olson, a longtime CDOT employee who was killed on the job.I sponsored a resolution for the Outdoor Retailer Show, which celebrates public lands and has brought its conventions to Colorado.And I sponsored another resolution celebrating Colorado’s educators.I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish together next year.

Barbara McLachlan represents State House District 59. Reach her at barbara.mclachlan.house@state.co.us.

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