Southwest Colorado’s legislators have begun the 72nd session proposing several bills that follow up on their mission to address a host of rural issues, including wildfire concerns, health care costs, incentives for educators and water rights.
Rep. Marc Catlin, R-Montrose, and Rep. Barbara McLachlan, D-Durango, both serve on the new Rural Affairs and Agricultural Affairs Committee, which has expanded the committee’s former focus on livestock and natural resources to include all issues that resonate in Colorado’s rural communities.
Rep. Marc Catlin, R-Montrose
Catlin is the former longtime manager of the Uncompahgre Valley Water Users Association who started his second term this year serving the House’s 58th district, which includes Montezuma, Dolores, San Miguel and Montrose counties. Born and raised on the Western Slope, Catlin plans to sponsor a series of practical bills focusing on rural and agricultural issues, ranging from water easements to prescription drug access.
Contact Rep. Catlin in Denver and follow the bills he sponsors throughout the session.
Committee assignments: Health and Insurance; Rural Affairs and Agriculture
Bill sponsored to date:
House Bill 1082: A bill to give water easement holders the right to maintain or repair their easements.House Bill 1053: Jointly sponsored with Sen. Don Coram, R-Montrose, this bill requires state-run schools to report on the availability of computer science courses.House Bill 1004: Jointly sponsored with Rep. Dylan Roberts, D-Eagle, this bill directs the state’s Division of Insurance to compile a proposal for a state insurance plan to increase insurance options for Coloradans and lower insurance costs. Rep. Barbara McLachlan, D-Durango
McLachlan, a retired teacher, was elected in 2016 to serve House District 59, or Archuleta, Hinsdale, Gunnison, Ouray, San Juan and La Plata counties. McLachlan’s passion is education, but as a rural legislator she will also be focusing on wildfire mitigation, broadband and business development.
Contact McLachlan in Denver and follow the bills she sponsors this session.
Committee assignments: Chair of Education Committee; Rural Affairs and Agriculture
Some bills sponsored to date:
House Bill 1036: This bill offers stipends for certified school professionals.House Bill 1006: This bill would create a state-run grant program, run by the Colorado State Forest Service, that offers funding for wildfire mitigation programs. House Bill 1002: This bill would create a pilot professional development program for public school principals. Sen. Don Coram, R-Montrose
Coram, a cattle rancher turned hemp farmer, is in his second session as the senator for District 6, the southwestern corner of Colorado. Coram’s interest are diverse – and often defy party ideologies – and he expects to support measures addressing health care, wildfire mitigation and rural development.
Contact Sen. Coram in Denver and follow the bills he sponsors.
Committee assignments: Agriculture and Natural Resources; Local Government
Some bills sponsored to date:
Senate Bill 067: A bill that would create a grant program to help rural businesses.Senate Bill 020: A bill that would require the Rifle-based Center of Excellence for Advanced Technology Aerial Firefighting, a state-funded research center, to create a system to patrol airspace above a wildfire.