Gibbs becomes a state senator Tuesday | VailDaily.com

Gibbs becomes a state senator Tuesday

Nicole Formosa
Summit County Correspondent
Vail CO, Colorado

DENVER ” Dan Gibbs will officially resign his Colorado House of Representatives seat Tuesday morning and will be sworn in as a state senator an hour later.

“It’s exciting. I’m looking forward to it. I’ve really enjoyed serving in the House and I look forward to this new opportunity to serve in the Senate,” said Gibbs, a Silverthorne Democrat who represented Eagle County as a state representative.

A 42-member vacancy committee tapped Gibbs last month to fill former Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald’s Senate District 16 position. She resigned to run for U.S. Congress. Gibbs will have to run next November to retain the post.

As a senator, Gibbs will serve on the Agriculture, Livestock, Natural Resources and Energy Committee, the Transportation Committee ” both of which Gibbs sat on the House versions of last legislative session. He will also be the vice chair of the Judiciary Committee, which will be new territory for him.

Gibbs said on Monday he has narrowed the five bills he will introduce as a senator this session. He plans to reintroduce the Colorado Forest Restoration Act, which in its first year provided $1 million for forest health projects around the state. Another bill, dubbed the Firefighter Protection Act, would give firefighters the same legal protection as law enforcement officers so they can’t be held liable for injuries or deaths at incidents to which they’re responding.

He’s also looking at legislation that would clarify who can buy and sell gaming machines (Gibbs now covers Gilpin County, where Black Hawk and Central City are located); another that would require school districts in the state to follow guidelines for basic nutritional standards to cut down on childhood obesity; and one that would prohibit receipts from manual credit card transactions from printing a consumer’s full credit card number.

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Legislators are allowed to introduce five bills per session.

Gibbs’ move to the Senate leaves open his House seat, and a Democratic vacancy committee will meet at 7 p.m. at Frisco Town Hall on Dec. 19 to select a candidate to fill the post.

The candidates are Danny Padnick of Eagle County; Lake County Commissioner Mike Hickman; and Kim Fenske, Emily Tracy, Rosanne Shaw, Sheila Groneman and Christine Scanlan, all of Summit County.

Edwards attorney Rohn Robbins pulled his hat out of the ring this week, citing time constraints in balancing family and the legislature.

Gibbs’ swearing in to the Senate will take place at 10 a.m. on the Senate floor at the state Capitol. The public is invited to attend.