Good government bills advance, pass in Legislature

Last week, I joined Gov. Hickenlooper for my first bill-signing ceremony, which is a pretty exciting event for a first-term legislator. House Bill 1076, is a good-government bill to expand opportunities for directors at the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. I was pleased to work with Republican Sen. Steve King from Grand Junction on this bill.

Last week was very busy, because I had two other bills pass second reading in the House of Representatives. The first bill, HB 1060, is another good-government bill that was brought to me by the Colorado Municipal League. Municipal court fines have been capped at $1,000 since the early 1990s, and unlike our other courts, the fine limit is also the restitution limit. Thus, in addition to inflation, additional reasons to raise the cap include that some offenders found it cheaper to bypass our designated landfills or weight limitations and break our municipal ordinances than to comply with the law.

Another issue supporting this change was my belief in the municipal court system as the front line of the judicial process because many people who never go to court or hire a lawyer are brought into municipal court. I am sure our municipal court judges in the 59th District will fairly enforce this new law.

The second bill, HB 1198, will encourage a more collaborative conversation between Native and non-Native groups and help strengthen the relationship between the state government and the tribal governments. The bill makes several changes to the Indian Affairs Commission, giving the governor the role of appointing members to the the commission and extending the term of service for its members.

The purpose of this bill is to strengthen the representation of native and non-native voices on the commission and to bring more folks to the table who were previously left out of the conversation. HB 1198 is a good bill that has bipartisan support. It passed out of the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee unanimously and passed second reading on the House floor without opposition. I am very pleased to be working with Rep. Don Coram, R-Montrose, on this important bill, and I look forward to working with him on more bills in future legislative sessions.

On Saturday, I will be hosting my first two legislative update and listening tour events.

The first event will begin at 10:30 a.m. at John Wagner Public Library, 206 N. Silver St. in Lake City. I will present a short update on the legislative session and then take questions from my constituents. County commissioners Jonathan Houck and Paula Swenson will also be joining me to answer your questions on local issues.

The second event will begin at 2:30 p.m. at Ann Zugelder Public Library, 307 N. Wisconsin St. in Gunnison.

I want to encourage all of my constituents to come out and hear about the exciting things happening in the 69th General Assembly and to voice their opinions.

I fully expect to hear from supporters and opponents of new gun legislation at both events, but I do expect that all attendees, regardless of politics, will be respectful of one another and conduct themselves in a way that positively reflects the outstanding residents of House District 59.

Iíve appreciated hearing from all of you during the last two months, and Iím sure youíll have plenty more to tell me this weekend. I look forward to a lively, balanced and respectful conversation with you.

I also want to thank everyone who has sent me letters, emails and phone messages of encouragement. I continue to be honored to serve as your state representative.

Mike McLachlan represents House District 59 in Coloradoís General Assembly. The district encompasses La Plata, Archuleta, San Juan, Ouray and Hinsdale counties and part of Gunnison County. Call McLachlan at (303) 866-2914 or email mike.mclachlan.house@state.co.us.

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