Dylan Roberts: Halfway done at the Capitol
March 6, 2019
We have completed 60 days of the 2019 legislative and that means there are 60 days left go. The first two months have been busy but the final two months are shaping up to be even busier. In this month's column, I am excited to share with you details on some of the significant progress on my legislative priorities on behalf of Eagle and Routt counties.
As you know, my top priority is lowering the cost of health care, particularly in our mountain counties. To that end, I have been leading the charge to create a public health insurance option to increase competition and lower prices. My bipartisan bill with Rep. Marc Catlin and Sen. Kerry Donovan passed the full House on Monday with a strong bipartisan vote of 46-17.
The bill now heads to the Senate. We are also working to pass a bipartisan "reinsurance" bill that will lower premiums on the Western Slope by as much as 35 percent. Also on the health care front is my recently released bill to lower insulin costs. I am also co-sponsoring efforts to increase transparency in hospital spending and prescription drug costs.
This weekend's past snowstorm was a poignant example of the need for another one of my bills that I just filed to increase winter traction requirements when driving on the I-70 mountain corridor. The bill gives the Colorado Department of Transportation and Colorado State Patrol more authority to enforce traction requirements and exercise precautionary road closures to reduce unsafe driving and traffic jams during the winter months.
Last week, another one of my priority bills passed its first committee hearing after strong and emotional testimony from three high school students from our district, among other amazing kids, who came to the Capitol to support the bill. The Youth Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Education Act will provide young adults with more counseling services and mental health resources at school. This bill is just one piece of a large state and local effort that is needed to combat this silent health crisis in Colorado.
Finally, another major priority of mine for our district and state is water. A bill I have worked on for several years to protect water from mining spills passed the House with a bipartisan vote and is working its way through the Senate. I have also filed a bill to help keep more water in our rivers to promote recreation and stream health by expanding an instream flow program used on the Yampa River.
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There are also several major pieces of legislation being brought by my colleagues. The House just passed the "red flag" gun violence protection act. After careful consideration and hours of testimony and floor debate, I was proud to vote “yes” and co-sponsor this important bill that will prevent suicide and tragedies like the one that killed this bill's namesake: Douglas County Deputy Zackari Parrish.
Last week, a major bill to reform the way the oil and gas industry operates and to give more control to localities was released and it will be considered by both chambers soon. In the coming months, look for bills regarding full-day kindergarten funding, climate change mitigation, TABOR reform and more.
I invite you to contact me anytime if you have questions, concerns, or ideas. I have already held my first town hall of the year in Steamboat Springs and have an upcoming town hall meeting that is free and open to the public from 8:30 to 10 a.m. Saturday, March 23, at the Wild Goose Coffee Shop in Hayden.
Stay tuned for more as the session continues. As always, I can be reached directly on my cell at 970-846-3054 or by e-mail at Dylan.Roberts.House@state.co.us.
Thank you for the privilege to serve.
Rep. Dylan Roberts represents Colorado House District 26, encompassing Eagle and Routt counties.