Steve in the News

March 25,2017

Adams County Democrat Steve Lebsock announces he’s running for state treasurer

February 23, 2017

Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission Predator Management Plans

by Rico Moore

Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s (CPW) two predator management plans have been embroiled in controversy and uncertainty as to their scientific legitimacy since being unanimously approved by CPW Commissioners late last year (see Boulder Weekly’s “Off target,” Feb. 9). As a result, Colorado Rep. Steve Lebsock (D-Northglenn) arranged for CPW researchers, Colorado State University (CSU) professors and members of the Colorado General Assembly to participate in a panel discussion at the state capitol on Feb. 16 as part of the Colorado Legislative Animal Welfare (CLAW) Caucus. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Executive Director Bob Randall, who oversees CPW, was present in the packed room.

Read the rest of the article…

April 26, 2016

April 25, 2016

Plan to Ban Red-light Cameras in Colorado Moves Forward 

Denver- A bill approved by the House-Senate negotiating committee would ban red-light cameras statewide after this year.

The measure calls for a stricter ban than earlier versions of the bill, which could have allowed continued red-light camera use in school zones and construction zones.

The latest bill puts lawmakers on a collision course with Gov John Hickenlooper’s veto pen.

Under the compromise measure, red-light camera will be banned in the state by the end of this year.

“The most recent studies show that red-light cameras when they’re installed at traffic intersections increase rear-end collisions,” said State Rep. Steve Lebosck, D-Thornton.

Lebsock wrote the new bill with bipartisan support from lawmakers in both houses.

“Current law allows red-light cameras on every single signalized traffic light in the state of Colorado,” Lebsock said. “That to me is a violation of your civil liberties and your family’s privacy.”

But Denver police said they have seen a decrease in serious accidents at some intersections with red-light cameras and want to use more.

“We would like the opportunity to be able to deploy that resource when we see fit and where we see it as Denver grows and as roadways change,” Denver police Lt. Robert Rock said.

Critics call the cameras a backdoor tax. But police said enforcement is the answer.

“So if it’s not about public safety and it’s violating people’s privacy, then we need to do away with it,” Lebsock said.

The latest ban gets rid of all red-light cameras, replacing an earlier version that allows them in school and construction zones. Hickenlooper vetoed two similar bills last year.

“I’m sure the governor will be thoughtful and read the new bill and make a decision about what he thinks is best,” Lebsock said.

April 24, 2016

Colorado Legislators Vote to Ban Red-Light Cameras

DENVER – Colorado lawmakers voted Friday to ban red-light cameras – even though the governor is almost certain to put the brakes on their plan.

A bill approved by a House-Senate negotiating committee would ban red-light cameras statewide after this year.

The measure calls for a stricter ban than earlier versions of the bill, which could have allowed continued red-light camera use in school zones and construction zones.

The latest bill puts lawmakers on a collision course with the governor’s veto pen.

Gov. John Hickenlooper vetoed two bills last year that would have banned red-light cameras, saying the photo enforcement protects public safety.

Hickenlooper suggested that lawmakers pursue red-light camera limits, but not a ban. He told lawmakers again this week to review his veto from last year.

“We know that no one is ever pleased to receive a traffic ticket,” Hickenlooper wrote. “Photo-enforcement tools may not be universally popular. But some communities feel the need to use them.”

It appears that lawmakers are unwilling to compromise on the unpopular cameras.

The statewide ban passed the conference committee 5-1 Friday, meaning it awaits only formal agreement by the full House and Senate next week before heading to the governor’s desk.

Lawmakers supporting a red-light camera ban pointed out that last year’s bill also banned photo speed enforcement, something not mentioned at all in this year’s ban. They disputed the governor’s assertion that a blanket ban on red-light cameras could endanger public safety.

“The use of red-light cameras violates people’s civil liberties and personal privacy,” said Rep. Steve Lebsock, D-Thornton.

Legislative analysts say eight of the state’s most populous cities use red-light cameras – Aurora, Boulder, Commerce City, Denver, Fort Collins, Greenwood Village, Lone Tree and Pueblo.

April 21, 2016

Drillers May Have to Reveal Plans

Local governments would be allowed to ask oil and gas operators working in their jurisdictions what their long-range plans are when it comes to drilling, under a bill that narrowly cleared the Colorado House on Thursday.

While the 34 Democrats who voted for HB 16-1430 said the measure merely allows counties to ask that question, the 31 Republicans who voted against it said it’s really a mandate on drillers.

“If the true intent of the bill is to have these requirements be permissive, I would suggest to you that arguing that this bill is permissive is disingenuous,” said Rep. Cole Wist, R-Centennial.

“Don’t be fooled. This is a kinder and gentler version of (HB) 1355, which we voted down.”

That second measure, which died when two Democrats joined Republicans in opposing it, was designed to “clarify” that state law allows local governments control over land-use matters on the surface, particularly when it deals with any type of development.

This measure, however, is only intended to help local governments know what drillers expect to be doing in years to come so they can make those land use decisions, said. Rep. Steve Lebsock, D-Thornton, who introduced the bill.

“We’re only asking oil and gas operators to share … oil and gas plans with the county just the same as (state rules) you’re required to share those plans with cities,” Lebsock said.

April 6, 2016

Industry Should Notify Local Governments of Planned Wells

When Gov. John Hickenlooper convened the Task Force on State and Local Regulation of Oil and Gas Operations in 2014, the intent was to improve the sometimes fraught relationship between local entities, which have some control over where and how gas and oil development occurs, and the state of Colorado, which is primarily in charge of the activity. Given the inherent tension of this arrangement, underscored by state law that both separates mineral rights from surface ownership and then clearly affirms mineral rights owners’ ability to access their subsurface property, it is not particularly surprising that the task force failed to produce major reform recommendations after its seven-month tenure.

April 5, 2016

Colorado House, Senate at Odds Over Red Light Camera Limits

A bill to limit red-light cameras to major streets, school zones and roadwork area is tied up in the Colorado statehouse as Republicans push Democrats to expand the limits to photo radar, as well.

March 3, 2016

A Green Light on Traffic Camera Bill

Gov. John Hickenlooper’s position on photo radar and red-light cameras is perfectly clear: He likes them and will defend their use.

But in his veto message last year of bills restricting or banning the technologies, he laid down criteria he’d accept. And now Rep. Steve Lebsock, D-Thornton, has not only adopted them into House Bill 1231 but successfully ushered the measure through the House.

The Senate should follow suit.

Unfortunately, Lebsock’s measure deals only with red-light cameras, when the greater abuses by local government occur with photo radar, which some communities have used to create revenue-generating speed traps. Still, HB 1231 is a useful measure.

As Lebsock told us, “Current law allows red-light cameras on every single intersection with a traffic light. That’s tens of thousands of intersections. This bill sets reasonable parameters.” The bill limits the cameras to school zones, marked construction zones, and arterial roads (as opposed to local and collector streets).

And the bill requires fines be spent on safety-related purposes.

Hickenlooper also suggested limiting the technologies to areas with unusually high traffic and pedestrian accidents, but Lebsock said that turned out to be too difficult to define in law. Too bad. Red light cameras and photo radar are defensible in high-accident areas. Unfortunately, that’s often not where they are deployed.

February 26, 2016

Colorado Lawmakers Update Homebrewing “Family” language

DENVER (AP) — Good news for single beer brewers — an outdated requirement that Colorado homebrewers be a “head of a family” is on its way off the books.

The state Senate Friday voted 34-0 Friday for a bill changing that language from “head of a family” to “adult.”

Colorado’s homebrewing law lays out who can brew beer or wine without a liquor license. Currently the law requires those home brewers to be “head of a family,” though the requirement is considered an anachronism and isn’t enforced.

The brewing update has already passed the House and now heads to the governor’s desk.

February 25, 2016

Will Hick Find Excuse to Veto Red-light Photo-radar Bill Again?

Last year, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper vetoed bills related to banning traffic cameras and photo-radar enforcement, causing plenty of critics to see red.

In explaining his reasoning, Hickenlooper suggested that he might okay legislation on the topic if it allowed the technology to be used under much more limited circumstances.

Now, a new bill that’s progressing through the Colorado General Assembly comes close to duplicating the parameters Hickenlooper cited, raising hopes that improvements in the oft-abused system can be made even if the gadgets aren’t totally eliminated.

February 24, 2016

Green Light for Lebsock’s Red Light Camera Bill

(Feb. 24) – Rep. Steve Lebsock’s bill to limit the use of red-light cameras in Colorado passed its first legislative test this afternoon when the House Transportation & Energy Committee approved it on a 10-3 vote.

HB16-1231 would restrict “automated vehicle identification systems to detect disobedience to traffic signals,” but unlike a 2015 version of the bill that was vetoed by Gov. John Hickenlooper, red-light cameras would still be allowed in school zones; marked construction or repair zones; and on arterial roads.

“We have made reasonable accommodations for those who have opposed this measure,” said Rep. Lebsock, D-Thornton. “But the bottom line is this: current law allows red-light cameras at every traffic signal in the state. This bill simply puts reasonable parameters on the use of red-light cameras.”

The bill now goes for consideration by the full House.

February 24, 2016

Red Light Camera Bill Gets Green Light From House Committee

DENVER (CBS4) – Drivers love to complain about red light cameras, especially when they get a ticket. Now there’s talk at the state Capitol about restricting them.

Colorado legislators have tried to get rid of red light cameras before, but this time those against the cameras are willing to compromise.

After failing to get a red light camera ban signed into law last year, Rep. Steve Lebsock, D-Thornton, now hopes to push through a new plan that would restrict the use of cameras by keeping them out of local streets and neighborhoods. But under the bill arterial roads that connect to highways could still have cameras.

A House committee passed his bill 10-3 on Wednesday.

“It’s a good first down, it’s a nice 10-yard pass down the field,,” Lebsock said. “It’s not a hail Mary, it’s not a touchdown.”

But opponents are not giving up the fight saying the cameras benefit communities. Diana Goldberg, executive director of Sungatekids, opposes the bill.

“What’s at risk is direct services to the children and families that we serve,” Goldberg said.

In Aurora, Goldberg says money from red light camera tickets funds programs for abused children and victims of domestic violence. She worries $500,000 in funding would be lost under the bill.

“It’s certainly not lining anyone’s pockets, its going toward greatly needed services that really help support the community,” she said.

Now that the bill passed in committee it moves on to the House floor. Lebsock says the governor’s office has indicated that Gov. John Hickenlooper would sign the bill. But Hickenlooper’s spokespeople to CBS4’s Lauren DiSpirito that the governor has not yet changed his mind from last year when he vetoed two other bills regarding red light cameras.

 February 18, 2016

State legislators take a new stab at photo red-light reform

AURORA | For years state lawmakers have attempted to make photo red-light systems illegal, and lawmakers as well as residents have remained divided on Aurora using the program.

“This year we are putting reasonable parameters on where red-light cameras can and cannot be used,” said state Rep. Steve Lebsock, D-Thornton, who is sponsoring a bill that would ban the cameras on the state’s local and collector roads.

Lebsock said House Bill 1231, which he is sponsoring with Aurora Sen. Morgan Carroll, is a compromise that would prevent red-light cameras and radars from expanding in Colorado.

February 10, 2016

Pikes Pub: Trio of Colorado bills aim to boost brewing

The Colorado General Assembly is mulling a trio of beer-related bills this session, including a measure aimed at helping home brewers.

House Bill 1084, from Rep. Steve Lebsock, D-Thornton, would change language on liquor laws to clear up confusion for home brewers.

Currently, home brewers can make beer without a license only if they’re “head of a family” and the beer is for “family” use. Lebsock’s measure would let any adult make unlicensed beer for “personal use.”

Lebsock’s measure declares the change is needed immediately for the “preservation of the public peace, health, and safety.” The measure has passed committee and is headed to the House floor.

February 4, 2016

AHA Director testifies on behalf of Colorado homebrew bill

On Thursday, January 28, American Homebrewers Association (AHA) Director Gary Glass, along with Quirky Homebrew shop owner Gregory Radziewicz, testified before the Colorado House Business Affairs and Labor Committee on behalf of House Bill 16-1084, sponsored by State Representative Steve Lebsock. This bill updates some antiquated language in the existing homebrew statute, which currently states that “a head of family may produce, for family use…malt beverage or malt or vinous liquor…”  HB16-1084 changes “head of family” to “adult” and “family use” to “personal use.”

The new language proposed in HB16-1084 reflects the Colorado Liquor Enforcement Division’s (LED) current interpretation of the law; thus, if passed, the bill will not have any immediate impact on the state’s homebrewers. However, the clarification in language by this bill could help ensure that Colorado’s homebrewers do not run into issues with alternative interpretations of the arcane language in the existing statute by future leadership within the Liquor Enforcement Division.

The members of the Colorado House Business Affairs and Labor Committee voted unanimously to pass the bill on to the full House. If passed by that chamber, the bill will move on to the state Senate.

January 28, 2016

Colorado advances bill to update homebrewing law

In Colorado, only the “head of a family” may homebrew beer for limited “family use.”

It’s far from reality in the state with the most members of the American Homebrewers Association, but it remains part of an outdated state homebrewing law that lawmakers are taking steps to fix.

A bill sponsored by state Rep. Steve Lebsock, D-Thornton, is headed to the House floor after receiving unanimous approval Thursday in committee. The measure would replace “head of family” with “adult” and rewrite “family use” as “personal use.” Under the law, “adult” would mean anyone 21 years or older.

July 25, 2015

A path forward on photo radar

State lawmakers who wish to outlaw or curtail the abuses of red-light cameras and photo radar in Colorado have two options.

They can beat their heads against the wall by passing measures that ban the automated devices (or require public votes on them) and watch Gov. John Hickenlooper pull out his veto pen, as he did with two bills passed in this year’s legislative session.

Or they can take Hickenlooper at his word and write a bill that meets his own recommendations and accept the reality that some progress on an issue is better than none.

State Rep. Steve Lebsock, D-Thornton, is choosing the more pragmatic path — and deserves support for his efforts.

Lebsock told The Colorado Statesman that he is drafting a bill that will incorporate what Hickenlooper has twice suggested as a path to reform — most recently in his veto message. He urged lawmakers to pass a bill limiting the cameras to school zones, construction and roadway work zones, and areas with “disproportionately high traffic and pedestrians accidents, injuries and fatalities.” And he said fines should be used solely for traffic safety improvements and enforcement, rather than be channeled into general operating funds.

These are useful suggestions. Lebsock, who sponsored legislation this year to crack down on automated traffic enforcement, is wise to seize the opportunity. We suggest his legislation carefully define what “disproportionately high … accidents, injuries and fatalities” means, too, so cities can’t simply pull any definition they like out of thin air.

Unfortunately, some lawmakers will undoubtedly balk at the idea of a partial loaf — and indeed Sen. Tim Neville, R-Littleton, already has. He told The Statesman the governor’s criteria amount to a “bad bill” and that he wants no part of it.

Neville should reconsider. For one thing, it would be quite useful to bar communities from becoming dependent on automated devices for operating revenue.

Let’s hope he represents a minority of lawmakers and that most will not let the perfect, from their perspective, become the enemy of the good.

July 6, 2015

 Junior’s Bullet Pens becoming statehouse writing tool of choice

If you’ve spent much time at the Colorado Capitol the last few months, chances are you might’ve noticed the gold and silver ink pens many of the House Republicans are using. They’re shaped like bullets, because that’s what they were.

Junior’s Bullet Pens are made in Highlands Ranch. Jeff Falkel has produced about 150,000 of them in his basement, one at a time.

The political pen de rigueur is a symbol of patriotism and soldiers’ ultimate sacrifice, say those who have them, but I can tell you from personal experience it’s a damn-fine writing instrument. Like Barney Fife, I always have a bullet in my shirt pocket.

I wrote about the bullet pens’ meaning on the Fourth of July. The back story is that I bought mine when House GOP media ninja Joel Malecka was getting up an order during the session. I just thought it was a cool pen that writes smoothly. When I found out the origin and meaning of the pens, I thought others would like to know about that. I suspect you’ll see more and more them around the Capitol as time goes on.

You can read my Saturday story here, but the short version is that Jeff Falkel makes them to honor his son, Sgt. Chris Falkel, a Green Beret who was killed in Afghanistan on Aug. 8, 2005. His heroism in saving the lives of his fellow soldiers with his .50 caliber rifle that day earned him the Silver Star, one of the highest military medals for valor. So far, the pens have helped Jeff donate about $300,000 to four charities that support veterans and their families, and another that helps young dancers afford to participate.

You find the pens he has for sale online as well.

The House Republicans bought 70 pens at one time during the session — for themselves, as gifts and for their aides.

“When I learned about Jeff Falkel’s bullet pens and how each pen he makes is in honor to his heroic son, Chris, I was eager to support such a noble cause,” said House Republican Caucus chairwoman Lois Landgraf of Fountain (spare me the Fountain pen jokes).

“I spoke to our caucus and was very pleased that everyone agreed purchasing personalized pens for each of our legislative aides was a great idea. The pens are beautifully crafted and I thank Mr. Falkel for allowing us to be a part of his son’s legacy.”

Democrats like them, too, or at least Rep. Steve Lebsock of Thornton certainly does. He crossed the aisle and bought one in the House Republican order.

“Purchasing a pen was one way I can honor men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice,” said Lebsock. “I survived my Marine Corps service and I have had an opportunity to continue to serve my community and state as a volunteer, city councilman and currently as a state representative. There are many who have not had that same opportunity because they gave the ultimate sacrifice.

“I must do everything I can to honor our veterans and their families. I take my current service to the people of Colorado, as a state representative very seriously. In 2014, I ran a bill that is now Colorado law that allows spouses of deceased 100-percent disabled veterans to continue to be eligible for certain benefits/programs after their veteran passes away.”

You can get your name and a second line engraved. Mine says “The Denver Post,” because I couldn’t think of anything clever “Please don’t steal my pen” was wordy. When I was out interviewing Jeff, who is the nicest guy you’d ever meet, – I bought three more for two relatives and a friend who are veterans. I had their branch of service engraved beneath their names.

Jeff also does special orders. He said he gets a lot of requests for things such as turning the shell casing from when someone takes their first deer. The prices range from $18.95 to $24.95

April 12, 2015

Davidson: Colorado Nonprofit Association honors legislators, others at luncheon

State Rep. Steve Lebsock devoted countless hours to the 2014 Pet Animal Care and Facilities Act, facilitating the sunset review through the legislative process by helping state agencies and stakeholders reach agreement on acrimonius issues regarding animal welfare.

April 6, 2015

Colorado lawmakers have right idea on taxis

Rep. Steve Lebsock, D-Thornton, who is a key sponsor of the legislation, told us that new taxi firms shouldn’t need a “by your leave” from government in order to compete in the market. He values the PUC’s role in protecting public safety, he emphasized, but sees no reason why normal market forces should be suppressed in deciding whether demand exists for additional service.

March 24, 2015

Sterling vet speaks for animal fighting bill

House Bill 15-1062 would levy a minimum $1,000 fine for the first conviction of animal fighting and at least $5,000 for a second or subsequent offense.

Currently, judges may decide whether or not to assess a fine. In the past three years, there have been two convictions for animal fighting but neither included a fine.

The bill had strong bipartisan support throughout its journey through the General Assembly. In the House, HB 1062 was sponsored by Reps. Jovan Melton, D-Aurora; and Steve Lebsock, D-Thornton. Sonnenberg and Sen. David Balmer, R-Centennial, carried the bill in the Senate.

Lebsock told the House Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources Committee in January that the bill sends a statement that Colorado does not stand for animal fighting. Melton said Colorado is behind other states in its penalties for animal fighting by not mandating a fine, which can go as high as $50,000 in Illinois and $10,000 in Texas, he said.

March 20, 2015

As Colorado ages, reliable funding for AAAs a must

Colorado is growing older. One in four Coloradans will be over the age of 60 by the year 2035. That is only 20 years from now. The aging of the Baby Boomers and the Millennials, combined with advances in science and health care, will allow us to live longer, more fulfilled lives. This unprecedented demographic shift causes several challenges for Colorado. As leaders, we must make preparations to ensure our older residents thrive. We must plan and invest wisely. Our seniors deserve nothing less.

February 2, 2015

Sealing Misdemeanor Records

“Good people deserve a second chance, people like Shari,” said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Steve Lebsock, D-Thornton.

January 28, 2015

Tougher penalties for animal fighting clear first vote

Penalties for people who engage in animal fighting may face tougher penalties under a bill that cleared its first vote in the Colorado House of Representatives Wednesday.

January 15, 2015

Lebsock Focused on Older Population

Lebsock, who represents Northglenn, Federal Heights and parts of Thornton and unincorporated Adams County, is hoping to add funding to the Older Coloradans Act, which provides funding for nutritious meals, nutrition screening, education and counseling, health promotion, disease prevention and physical activities for seniors.

December 22, 2014

Colorado’s Aging Population Will Need Increased Services to Age at Home

Over the next 15 years, the number of people 60 or older in Colorado is expected to more than double, boosting the need for long-term care and services that enable older adults to live independently in their homes.

Keeping needy senior citizens in their homes will require an expansion of services like transportation, meals-on-wheels, counseling and nutrition education, according to the Colorado Department of Human Services.

December 12, 2014

Lebsock Appointed Vice Chairman of Local Government

Rep. Steve Lebsock,  was appointed vice chairman of the House Local Government Committee today by Speaker­-designate Dickey Lee Hullinghorst.

December 3, 2014

AARP asks legislators to meet needs of older Coloradoans

AARP sent its legislative request to the legislature this week for the session that begins January 7th. Atop their wish list is medical care and programs that help keep older residents living independently in their homes.

November 18, 2014

Thornton council alum win higher offices
Four members of 2007-09 council elected to county, state seats

Steve Lebsock, Beth Martinez Humenik, and Erik Hansen. All of these names were on this years ballot for house, senate and county commissioner seats; and all three won their races. But they share another commonality serving together during the same time period on Thornton City Council.

April 21, 2014

Legislators Request Audit of US36 Project

(April 21) – Rep. Mike Foote (D-Lafayette) and 14 other state legislators are calling on the Legislative Audit Committee to order a state audit of the public-private partnership that is scheduled to perform the next phase of the renovation of U.S. Highway 36 between Denver and Boulder.

The state High Performance Transportation Enterprise, affiliated with CDOT, recently finalized a deal to partner with Plenary Roads Denver, a private consortium, to complete Phase 2 of the US36 upgrade between Boulder and Broomfield. The deal calls for Plenary Roads to maintain US36 for the next 50 years and to collect tolls on the HOV lanes it will build.

Many Coloradans, particularly those living along the Denver-Boulder corridor, have voiced concerns about the transparency of the US36 agreement and about giving private interests so much authority over a vital public right-of-way.

In a letter sent today to the Legislative Audit Committee and State Auditor Dianne Ray, Rep. Foote requests the audit “to assure the public interest is protected in present and future public-private partnerships.”

“I’m asking for this audit because the people deserve trustworthy answers to the many questions they have raised regarding the US36 project,” Rep. Foote said. “A state audit will clear up the confusion and give us guidance about the proper role of public-private partnerships in transportation development in Colorado.”

Joining Rep. Foote in signing the letter were Majority Leader Dickey Lee Hullinghorst (D-Boulder) and Reps. KC Becker (D-Boulder), Crisanta Duran (D-Denver), Tracy Kraft-Tharp (D-Arvada), Steve Lebsock (D-Thornton), Dominick Moreno (D-Commerce City), Dan Pabon (D-Denver), Dianne Primavera (D-Broomfield), Joe Salazar (D-Thornton), Jonathan Singer (D-Longmont) and Angela Williams (D-Denver).

Also signing were Sens. Lucia Guzman (D-Denver), Matt Jones (D-Louisville) and Lois Tochtrop (D-Thornton).

April 8, 2014

SB14-115s goal is greater public participation in the #COWaterPlan #COleg

From The Durango Herald (Joe Hanel):
…legislators fret they will be left out of the process. And they worry the public will be caught unaware, even though years of work and hundreds of public meetings have gone into drafting the plan.

April 7, 2014

Haven’t heard of the Colorado Water Plan?

No one is trying to keep it a secret, but legislators are worried few people have heard of the Colorado Water Plan.

Mar 18, 2014

Focus Colorado: Economic and Revenue Forecast

This report presents the budget outlook based on current law and the March 2014 General Fund revenue, TABOR situation, and cash fund revenue forecasts. A summary of expectations for the national and Colorado economies and current economic conditions in nine regions around the state are also presented.

Mar 13, 2014

Fighting for Working Families

Mar 14, 2014

Measure to Prevent Identity Theft Becomes Law

This afternoon Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a bill requiring County Clerks and Recorders to redact the first five digits of social security numbers on public documents if the county has the electronic capability to do so and it is requested by an individual.

HB14-1112, sponsored by Rep. Steve Lebsock (D-Thornton), passed the House and Senate with unanimous support.

“I worked with a bipartisan group of clerks and other stakeholders on this important bill and I want to thank them for their input to make sure the statute is solid,” Rep. Lebsock said. “This will ensure that we are protecting people’s identities and preventing identity theft.”

Mar 14, 2014

Animal bills get off to howling start at Capitol

Some of the biggest winners of the legislative session walk on four legs, as lawmakers have passed bills that would prohibit greyhound racing, extend laws that govern health and welfare at pet facilities and allow emergency medical technicians to provide care for ill and injured pets.

Feb 11, 2014

Colorado State University: still rocking 144 years later

Colorado State University’s concert choir serenaded lawmakers today and school mascots mugged for the cameras as the college celebrated Founders Day.

Feb 7, 2014

Renewable energy has helped rural counties” – The Colorado Statesman

Lawmakers on Wednesday heard from renewable energy industry leaders and county commissioners on how energy portfolio mandates are helping to increase business and create jobs, as well as boost tax revenues in rural Colorado.

Jan 27, 2014

Pet animal care – The Colorado Statesman

Tied to the discussion is the Pet Animal Care and Facilities Act, which is set to sunset if the legislature does not continue it this year. Under PACFA, any place that is used for the keeping of pet animals must obtain a license from the Commissioner of Agriculture.

The goal of the act is to promote public health and welfare by regulating the facilities in which pet animals are bred and housed. Rules have been established around the build-out of facilities, sanitation, ventilation, heating, cooling, humidity, nutrition, humane care and medical treatment. Facilities must submit to inspections in order to prove compliance.

The Department of Regulatory Agencies has recommended that the legislature continue the regulatory program. Lawmakers appear ready to take up the cause.

“PACFA creates the framework within which the Commissioner… regulates those who breed, groom, train, board, rescue, shelter and sell pet animals,” Barbara Kelly, executive director of DORA, explains in the agency’s written recommendation.

“When Colorado’s pets are housed in a licensed facility, they are assured of a clean, safe and healthy environment,” the recommendation continues. “Additionally, animals can carry diseases that are transmissible and harmful to humans. PACFA protects the public health by imposing minimal animal husbandry standards on the pet industry. Animals that are well taken care of are less likely to contract and thus transmit disease to humans and other animals.”

Rep. Steve Lebsock, D-Thornton, has been charged with the task of presenting a bill that would continue the regulations.

It is not an easy task, as he will need to bring together a wide range of stakeholders, including breeders, animal welfare agencies, animal advocacy groups, state agencies, health associations, agricultural interests, pet stores and veterinarians, among others.

But Lebsock is hopeful, pointing out that while there are many interests at play, everyone agrees that PACFA should be continued. He said there would be a stakeholders meeting on later this week to discuss the matter.

“Everybody agrees that PACFA needs to move forward, it’s just the details of it that we need to work out,” said Lebsock.

But he acknowledges that there would be many interests at stake, which complicates the process.

“There are definite priorities for some of the stakeholders, but one thing that I found that is very refreshing is that every one of the stakeholders believes that PACFA is important and needs to move forward,” Lebsock added. “I’m hopeful and certain that we will be able to come to an agreement on some of the priorities, and then when it comes back to committee for testimony we can have that bigger discussion.”

Colorado Voters for Animals has emerged as a leading stakeholder, requesting that the PACFA continuation include mandatory disclosures in light of animals being brought to Colorado from out-of-state breeding facilities.

“We would like to see mandatory disclosures so that consumers know where animals are coming from and they can be a bit more informed before taking home a little pup that they don’t know anything about,” explained Lori Greenstone, president of Colorado Voters for Animals.

She would also like to see rules around solid surface flooring at facilities.

“Right now, animals do not have to stand on solid surfaces, they can stand on wire their whole lives,” Greenstone said. “It is not a rule through PACFA that they have to have solid surface flooring.”

Overall, however, Colorado Voters for Animals believes continuation of the regulatory program is critical.

“It’s long overdue,” said Greenstone. “We believe very strongly in PACFA and we do want to see it renewed, and it will be.”

Pedersen said the Colorado Federation of Animal Welfare Agencies is also supportive of continuation. Her organization’s priorities include strengthening protections around rabies, which has also been recommended by DORA.

But the Federation would like to see more of a responsibility placed on owners by requiring would-be adopters and purchasers to swear to have their pets properly vaccinated.

“We’d like to see shelters and pet stores and retailers that are providing an animal to a family have a requirement that those individuals adopting or purchasing an animal sign a statement saying they understand that they are agreeing to have their animals vaccinated,” explained Pedersen, who believes that it would also help individuals establish a relationship with a veterinarian.

Other priorities for the organization include prohibiting issuing licenses to individuals who are convicted of animal cruelty and strengthening the department’s ability to inspect facilities.

Jan 20, 2014

Colorado Legislative Women’s Caucus 2014 Reception” – The Colorado Statesman

The Colorado Legislative Women’s Caucus, a bicameral and bipartisan group of women currently serving in the Colorado General Assembly, aims to build collegiality among its members and to honor the history of women in Colorado.

Nov 14, 2013

Legislative Brief

Community Reach Center’s crisis response approach and community partnerships were the focus of its 2013 Legislative Breakfast on Nov. 6, at Noah’s of Westminster.

Feb 6, 2013

Bill tackles mortgage confusion

A Democratic state lawmaker is sponsoring a bill that he says will “keep homeowners in their homes,” but it’s one that has not garnered any support from Republicans thus far.