Senator Nicholson fights to protect families from threat and impact of wildfire
Today’s legislative actions comes during already destructive season
Senator Jeanne Nicholson (left) looks on as Governor Hickenlooper signs SB 110 into law today
DENVER— Today, against the backdrop of an already destructive Colorado wildfire season, Senator Jeanne Nicholson (D-Gilpin County) made headway with two bills that will protect state residents from the threat of wildfire and the reality of loss from a natural disaster. Governor John Hickenlooper signed Senate Bill 110 today which marks a critical step in protecting property owners and residents from the threat of forest fires. Also today, the Senate approved House Bill 1042, a significant bill that will repair the effect of an unfair tax policy on the families who have lost their home to natural disasters and forest fires.
Senator Nicholson offered the following comment on the wildfire prevention and assistance measures today:
“Forest fires and the threat of natural disasters are an ever-present threat for many Colorado residents, and I am proud to stand behind legislation that will continue to make safe-guarding Colorado communities from forest fires a top-priority.
We have a critical mission to protect families, especially as we enter one of the driest seasons in Colorado, and this legislation will help prevent forest fires and help affected families get back on their feet and rebuild their lives.”
House Bill 1042: Fixing an unfair tax policy
House Bill 1042, sponsored by Senator Jeanne Nicholson (D-Gilpin County) closes an unfair tax policy that punishes those who have lost a home to a wildfire but have not yet rebuilt their home.
Under current law, when a home is lost due to a natural disaster and the owner doesn’t immediately rebuild, their property is no longer assessed at the residential rate (7.96 percent) and is instead assessed at the vacant property rate (29 percent). When families are struggling to put their lives back together this additional cost can be tough to bear. This bill keeps property tax rates for these families at the residential rate.
Senate Bill 110: Reducing wildfire fuel
Some counties in Colorado have systems for residents to clear and burn slash, but others do not. Slash, or woody debris, accumulates in heavily forested areas and increases the danger of forest fires. Senator Nicholson’s bill ensures that all counties will have a burn system in place to protect residents and property owners.
Under Senate Bill 110, county commissioners of heavily forested counties will create an open permit to allow for slash pile burning. The removal of this slash will drastically reduce the amount of fuel for forest fires, reducing potential damage and destruction. Senate Bill 110 ensures that residents and property owners in local communities can protect themselves and their neighbors from the potential damage and devastation of a forest fire.