The snow slowed us down, but only a little. The House enjoyed a snow day on Wednesday, and I was able to get a lot of work done from home— making calls and doing research on the bills I’m working on. I hope you stayed safe and warm during this week's storm. I’m sorry we had to cancel the Town Hall we had scheduled for Thursday, but it seemed prudent! I’m pleased to say that Civics and Stouts has been rescheduled for Wednesday, March 27 at 6 PM at Tony Rigatoni’s in Morrison. I hope to see lots of you there!
This morning, the day began with some sobering news. Forty-nine souls lost their lives in New Zealand in the sanctity of their place of worship. We had a moment of silence this morning in their honor, and I shared this with my colleagues:
These people were killed by hate. We talk a lot about making life better. We may disagree, but I know that every one of us in this chamber is here because we want to make the world a better place. The world is never going to be better until we stop the hateful rhetoric and divisive comments that create a false sense of separation. If you believe in God, all life is given by the same God. And I’m going to do my best every day to see every person in this chamber, on the street and on TV as nothing less than a child of God. We ALL matter. I wrote this poem several years ago and left it at the Columbine memorial. It is unfortunately appropriate for too many situations.
Across town, shots ring out.
My heart shatters.
I stoop to pick up the pieces, but some are missing.
And life goes on.
On a lighter note, I learned that Haven Coleman, one of the young women helping to organize the US Youth Climate Strike, lives in Denver. You can read more about Coleman here. Young people like Haven give me hope, and they inspire me to do everything I can to help make the world better, including doing whatever we can to address climate change. I’m hoping to connect with Haven soon so I can thank her in person.
Representative Bird and I have also been gathering stakeholder input for my Anti-SLAPP Bill. SLAPP stands for Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. These lawsuits are used to stifle public protest. Baseless suits can often take years to resolve, and more importantly, cost more than the average citizen is able to afford, meaning citizens often give up before the suit is resolved. My bill aims to ban this practice in the state of Colorado. Corporations should not be able to use their deep pockets as leverage against citizen activists.
My colleague, Representative Brianna Titone, has led the way in working to expand broadband access to rural communities in Colorado. Access is vital for seniors seeking healthcare, students, businesses, and individuals working from home. There are still many parts of Colorado that either do not have broadband, or have connections so slow that it limits their access. We’ve been working hard to explore creative options to address this, and I’m excited to be part of this exciting initiative.
Some say a complex bill takes years to pass, and I’m not sure if my recycling legislation will see daylight this session. Not everyone realizes the dramatic impact that recycling has on climate change. Increasing our national recycling rate would reduce waste in our landfills, resulting in fewer greenhouse gasses. Recycling also decreases the number of products that must be made from so-called "virgin" materials. I’m still hopeful we might introduce something this session, but regardless, I am 100% committed to this issue and plan on learning more over the recess so I can continue to create and champion legislation that will help Colorado become green.
My media literacy bill will head to the House Appropriations committee soon. But in the meantime, I’m working with my bill drafter and relevant stakeholders to reduce the bill's fiscal impact. In its current form, I have heard concern that it may come with a heftier price tag than I am comfortable with.
We have rescheduled our Civics and Stouts for Wednesday, March 27 at 6 PM. I’ve put in a request for NO snow that night, so hope to see you then! I also have two joint town halls planned with Senator Tammy Story and Commissioners Dahlkemper and Tighe in the coming months at the Buchanan Recreation Center in Evergreen. Those will take place on April 13 and June 8. Look for more info and reminders as we draw closer.