Vail area lawmakers field questions about guns, water and I-70
Rep. Meghan Lukens and Sen. Dylan Roberts fielded questions from their Eagle County constituents on Sunday, updating voters on issues being discussed in the Colorado legislature.
A group of about 30 voters gathered at the Avon Library to hear from the legislators, who are about halfway through first regular session of the 74th General Assembly.
The most-discussed issue was HB23-1230, a bill to prohibit assault weapons in Colorado, which both Lukens and Roberts said they oppose in its current form. Many in attendance were opposed to the bill, as well.
“Especially now that we have wolves introduced to the Western Slope,” one commenter said. “My wife is an avid hiker, she’s out hiking, encounters an animal, and she can’t purchase a gun potentially going forward, to protect herself.”
Lukens and Roberts said they had concerns with the constitutionality of the bill, labeled HB23-1230.
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“As an attorney, I look at this through the lens of the second amendment and constitutional rights,” Roberts said. “Some of the gun legislation we’re doing I think is compliant with the second amendment, and this one, I do have some questions about how it would square up, legally.”
Lukens said she has heard “serious concerns around gun violence” from her constituents.
“It’s definitely an important conversation that’s being had,” she said.
Voters also asked about water issues on the Western Slope and in the Western United States.
“If the feds decide to step in and say we have to cut water, do you think first in line, first in right will be honored?” asked one person.
Roberts said if the federal government begin handing down edicts requiring water curtailment, “we will have to face some cuts” in an effort to get water to the energy-generating reservoirs at Lake Powell and Lake Mead.
“We need to deliver at least enough water to keep those going, to power the cities that are in that region,” Roberts said.
With that in mind, Roberts said he opposes any new transmountain diversions, but he and Lukens also acknowledged they have limited jurisdiction over such decisions as state lawmakers.
“Diverting anything more from the Western Slope to the Eastern Plains is only going to put us behind with our down-state partners,” Roberts said.
The recent closures of Interstate 70 were on the minds of many in the room, as well.
Roberts and Lukens said the Western Slope delegation of the state legislature will be working on getting more funding for enforcement and increasing penalties for commercial vehicles that speed through Glenwood Canyon and other areas of I-70.
While it’s difficult for law enforcement officers to stop vehicles for speeding inside the narrow canyon, “there is some technology that could be put in place,” Roberts said. “Cameras that determine the length of time that it takes a truck to enter the canyon and leave the canyon.”
Measures like speed limit adjustments would be out of local legislators’ hands, but “we are having a lot of meetings with CDOT and with our colleagues at the federal level,” Lukens said, encouraging everyone and anyone to contact their representatives. “We are happy to relay questions, concerns and information.”