Important bills sponsored by Sen. Gibbs signed into law this week
DENVER— Senator Dan Gibbs (D-Summit County) has had a busy year. He was the main sponsor on one of the biggest bills of the session: FASTER, which will create jobs in Colorado and repair and rebuild our crumbling roads and 125 structurally-deficient bridges in the state. He was the Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. And, on the opening day of session, the Senator/ volunteer firefighter had to rush out of the Capitol to fight a wildfire in Boulder County.
Well, Sen. Gibbs isn’t done yet. This week will be a busy week for him as he travels across the state and has many of his bills signed into law by Governor Bill Ritter.
Tuesday, Governor Bill Ritter signed Senate Bill 235 sponsored by Senator Gibbs, Senator Jim Isgar (D-Hesperus) and Rep. Mike Merrifield. This bill creates a conservation stamp, streamlines the license purchasing process, and provides opportunities for non-sportsmen to contribute to essential wildlife habitat protection. Thanks to 235 we will conserve tens of millions of acres of habitat in Colorado.
But the bill signings didn’t stop there. Wednesday, Governor Ritter traveled to Summit County with Senator Gibbs to sign several of his important bills. The first was Senate Bill 161 which establishes a ski country license plate. This was a fitting signing for the Governor to sign at A-Basin Ski Area.
“I have nine ski resorts in my area and I know how integral theses businesses are to Colorado’s economy, leisure and identity,” said Sen. Dan Gibbs. “By creating this ski country license plate people will be able to show their support for a very important part of Colorado.”
After the signing of SB 161, Senator Gibbs then traveled with Governor Ritter to the Colorado Wildland Fire Academy in Montrose. Senator Gibbs is a type II Wildland Firefighter and, as the Chair of the Interim Committee on Wildfires last year, he sponsored many important wildfire bills this session.
In March, Gov. Ritter signed three of those bills. The first was Senate Bill 1, which establishes community wildfire protection plans throughout the state. Gov. Ritter also signed SB 20 and SB 105 sponsored by Sen. Dan Gibbs and Rep. Christine Scanlan (D-Summit County). SB 20 clarifies the responsibilities of fire protection districts, county sheriff’s offices and the State Forest Service when responding to wildfires. SB 105 removes limits on counties to generate funding for the purpose of fighting both forest and prairie fires.
Wednesday Gov. Ritter signed the remaining wildfire bills which came out of that committee, all sponsored by Sen. Dan Gibbs. SB 13 provides limited civil immunity for fire departments and other groups that donate surplus firefighting equipment for use. It also covers volunteer firefighters, their commanders, and the organizations that employ them. SB 21 encourages more people to become volunteer firefighters, like Sen. Gibbs, by creating vouchers to help them pay for their training. HB 1041 increases funding for local fire departments by allowing fire protection district boards to set fees for some of their services.
“I am proud of the significant work we did this session to protect Colorado from the devastating effects of forest fires,” said Sen. Dan Gibbs. “Not only was I able to travel to Washington D.C. to fight for federal support for Colorado’s wildfire projects, but I was also able to work with legislators on both side of the aisle to make sure we are prepared when the next wildfire hits. These bills continue to preserve our safety, environment, and quality of life in Colorado particularly for the one million Coloradans who live in forested areas.”
Finally on Thursday, Governor Bill Ritter is planning on signing HB 1010 at the Colorado Film Commission. This bill, with bipartisan sponsors Sen. Dan Gibbs and Sen. Nancy Spence, will create jobs in Colorado thanks to a meaningful incentive program. Not only will this bill help encourage job growth within film professions, but restaurants, stores and other businesses will also gain by having more economic activity in their communities. In fact, film activity occurred in 72% of Colorado’s 64 counties in 2006 and during that time production and post-production employers were paid above-average wages.
“We all know movies are fun and a great distraction, but there is more to it than that,” said Sen. Gibbs. “Movie production is a fantastic source of economic growth for the communities where these films are made. By encouraging more films to be made in Colorado we will stimulate our economy, get more Coloradans to work, and grow more Colorado businesses. And we’ll be able to see Colorado locations on the big screen. What’s better than that?”
It’s been a busy session for Senator Dan Gibbs, but he likes it that way. Sen. Gibbs will continue to volunteer as a wildland firefighter and work as a member of the Interim Committee on Electronic Device Recycling Task Force. He is also going to keep knocking on doors and meeting with his constituents before next session starts in January, 2010.