Roberts: It’s a wrap at the Capitol | VailDaily.com

Roberts: It’s a wrap at the Capitol

Dylan Roberts
Valley Voices

Last Friday, the gavels fell in the Colorado House and Senate to close the 120th and final day of the 2019 legislative session. It will take a few months for the dust to settle, but I believe that when we look back on this past session, it will be seen as one of the most productive and transformative sessions for Colorado in recent memory.

I am very proud of the work that my colleagues and I were able to accomplish and I am confident that the counties that I represent, Eagle and Routt, will be better off in the coming years because of that work.

Over the last four months, I made sure to prioritize the most pressing issues for Eagle and Routt Counties: health care, transportation, housing, education, and environmental protection. I was the lead sponsor of 35 bills; 30 of them passed and have been signed into law or are sitting on the Governor’s desk awaiting his signature and every single one of those bills had bipartisan sponsorship or received bipartisan votes.

On the health care front, we took real action to finally start lowering the cost of health care and saving you money. My first and biggest bill of the session, making Colorado the first state in the nation to begin the process of creating a public health insurance option to increase choice and competition on the individual market, passed and will be signed into law soon.

I also worked with state Sen. Kerry Donovan to pass legislation that will allow health insurance co-ops to form and negotiate directly with insurance companies for lower rates. I co-sponsored a bill led by Sens. Donovan and Bob Rankin and Rep. Julie McCluskie to create a reinsurance program that will lower private insurance premiums up to 25% in our mountain counties over the coming years. Further, I passed life-saving legislation to allow emergency access to medication[ and a bill to lower the price of insulin and investigate the out-of-control increase in prescription drug prices.

Our transportation infrastructure is crucial to our state’s economy and I am excited to report that when we passed our balanced state budget in April, we were able to increase funding for our roads significantly. I also worked with Sens. Donovan and Rankin to send a bill to the governor’s desk that increases winter traction requirements on I-70 to increase safety and cut-down traffic delays.

Historic investment in affordable housing, particularly in our rural and mountain communities, was made through one of my bipartisan bills that will create a funding grant program for local public-private housing partnerships, all without raising taxes or fees.

Education was a major priority during this session and to that end, Governor Polis will soon sign the bill to ensure fully-funded full-day kindergarten is available to all Colorado families. Also, we bought-down the “negative factor” for education by a large amount and increased rural school funding to better support our teachers and students.

Acting to protect our state’s natural beauty and the outdoor economy and agriculture on which our community relies was also an urgent task. We passed historic climate change legislation that will make Colorado a leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions along with several other bills to protect our environment. I also was excited to see the governor sign my bill to protect Colorado’s water from mining spills and a bill to increase funding for Colorado’s water plan.[

I could go on for many pages about the other work that was done on topics like criminal justice reform, rural broadband, student loan debt, tax reform, mental health access, and more. Since I have to cut this column off, I invite you to contact me anytime if you have questions, concerns, or ideas.

Also, I am back home and holding town hall meetings to recap our work. In Eagle County: join me on Tuesday, May 7, at the Eagle County Building in Eagle at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 14 at the Basalt Library at 5:30 p.m. or Monday, May 20, at Hovey & Harrison in Edwards at 5 p.m.

As always, I can be reached directly on my cell: (970) 846-3054 and e-mail: Dylan.Roberts.House@state.co.us.

Thank you for the privilege to serve you this year.

Representative Dylan Roberts represents Colorado House District 26, encompassing Eagle and Routt counties.