Colorado Legislature Tackles River Access Bill
The Colorado legislature is considering House Bill 10-1188 (HB-1188), legislation that attempts to clarify Colorado’s river access laws. As written, HB-1188 is limited to commercial outfitters and sections of river that have been commercially rafted. On Monday, February 8th, the House Judiciary Committee approved an amended version of House Bill 1188 by a 7-3 vote.
AW and Colorado Whitewater have contacted the sponsor of HB-1188, Representative Kathleen Curry (I-Gunnison) asking that the Bill be amended to include private boaters. For a variety of reasons, the Bill has not yet been amended, although we remain hopeful that it will include private boaters interests later in the legislative process. We continue to speak with both members of the House and Senate, and we remain committed to pursuing changes to HB-1188 that will promote the interests of our members and affiliates.
Private boaters who have contacted AW about HB-1188 differ in their views about the legislation
as currently written. Some believe private boaters should oppose HB-1188 because it
advances only the interests of commercial boaters, possibly to the detriment of private
boaters. Others believe HB-1188 will not adversely affect private boaters and that any law
that promotes river access is a positive, if incremental, step in the right direction.
Calls to amend, rather than to defeat, House Bill 1188 is a better strategic decision at this point in time. We believe it is premature to make a formal decision to oppose or support HB-1188 as the bill passes a number of procedural hurdles on its way through the House to the Senate and then to Governor’s desk; multiple amendments will no doubt be proposed along the way.
In the next week, we will need you to contact Colorado legislators (House and Senate) and ask them to amend HB-1188 to include private boaters. We will be sending out specific messaging for you to use in speaking with your elected officials shortly. Currently, HB-1188 is scheduled to be up in the House for floor debate and vote on Thursday, February 11th.
Information about the bill, how to find your legislators, and how to track the bill through the legislative process is below.
If you don’t know who your STATE Senator and Representative are, you can find out here: www.votesmart.org.
Here is a link to the Colorado General Assembly website:
At this website you can:
- download different versions of the bill as it is amended
- track the progress of the bill through the House and Senate
- check on the calendar for when the bill will be heard and debated
- listen/watch to floor debates and committee hearings on the bill online (you must check the calendar to know when the bill is scheduled and in what room).