Mitsch Bush gives an update to constituents

Matt Stensland

— State Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush visited with constituents Friday evening to chat about laws that were passed and not passed in the past year.

About 30 people very knowledgeable of state politics attended the event, hosted by Butcherknife Brewing Co. in Steamboat.

Mitsch Bush said both Democrats and Republicans were able to work across the aisle to make strides.

Three of Mitsch Bush’s bills were signed into law, including a bill that helped remove red tape for the Colorado Mountain College system.

There was bipartisan support for another bill that addressed small businesses and workplace development skills.

“That was a great example of bipartisanship and working together,” Mitsch Bush said.

Mitsch Bush also expressed frustration over some proposed bills that died without explanation. That included a bill that would have provided tax incentives for young farmers and ranchers, so as to help them get established in the industry.

Mitsch Bush said months were spent by stakeholders to get the bill passed.

“I can give you lots of examples like this,” Mitsch Bush said. “Lots of things die.”

Mitsch Bush got a lot of attention from a recent bipartisan bill she co-sponsored that would have required drivers of passenger vehicles to carry chains or use snow or all-season tires with adequate tread when traveling on I-70 between Morrison and Dotsero in winter conditions.

Mitsch Bush said she started working on the bill in July and got the support of stakeholders, such as the Colorado State Patrol and businesses impacted by I-70 weather-related delays and shutdowns.

“We hammered out what we thought was a very good compromise,” Mitsch Bush said.

She said there was a lot of misinformation circulating about the bill. She said she had news reporters asking her if people would now have to have chains on their snow tires. With her bill, that was not the case.

“We had this misinformation that was in circulation,” Mitsch Bush said.

As part of a compromise, legislators plan to further study the issue for the next year.

Jim Clark, CEO of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, attended the event and voiced his support for the I-70 bill. He encouraged everyone to contact State Sen. Randy Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulphur Springs, who emerged as one of the leading critics of the I-70 tire bill.

Clark also serves as president of the Travel Industry Association of Colorado Board of Directors.

“This really has to happen,” Clark said.

Mitsch Bush said she is not giving up on the I-70 bill.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

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