The state of Colorado values healthy, resilient forest landscapes and is willing to invest state funds in the stewardship of these resources.

BILL/RESOLUTION TITLESUMMARY
HB17-1070Study Drone Use by Public Safety AgenciesThe bill does the following:

  • Requires the center of excellence (center) within the division of fire prevention and control within the department of public safety (department), upon receiving sufficient money in the form of gifts, grants, and donations, to conduct a study concerning the integration of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) within state and local government operations that relate to certain public-safety functions (study). At a minimum, the study must:

    -- Identify the most feasible and readily available ways to integrate UAS technology within local and state government functions relating to firefighting, search and rescue, accident reconstruction, and emergency management; and

    -- Include consideration of privacy concerns, costs, and timeliness of deployment.


  • Creates, upon receipt of sufficient money in the form of gifts, grants, and donations, a UAS pilot program (pilot program) to integrate UAS within state and local government operations that relate to certain public-safety functions. The bill requires the center to operate the pilot program.
SB17-050Consolidate Forest Risk and Health Grant ProgramsPrior to the passage of SB17-050 law authorized 2 grant programs relating to forest management: One relating to wildfire risk reduction that was administered by the department of natural resources, which is financed by a one-time transfer of $1 million from the general fund, and one relating to landscape-scale forest health that was administered by the Colorado State Forest Service, which is financed by annual transfers of $1 million from the severance tax operational fund that ended on July 1, 2016.

The bill does the following:

  • Repeals the grant program administered by the department of natural resources, and transfers it to the Colorado State Forest Service, renamed as the 'forest restoration and wildfire risk mitigation grant program'.


  • Adjusts the composition of the technical advisory panel and specifies that the panel is no longer subject to sunset review.


  • Realigns the funding for the new grant program and the healthy forest and vibrant communities fund by allowing $50,000 that had been allocated to the department of public health and environment relating to the air quality impacts of prescribed fire to be used for any authorized purpose of the healthy forests and vibrant communities fund and extending funding for the consolidated grant program for 7 years.


  • Allows the Colorado State Forest Service to use the existing unencumbered balance of the forest restoration and wildfire risk mitigation grant program cash fund for community watershed restoration purposes.


  • Extends the funding for 2 related forest programs for 7 years.
SB17-259General Fund Transfers Protect Natural ResourcesConcerning a transfer of money from the general fund to cash funds administered by state departments for the protection of the state's natural resources.

The bill requires the state treasurer to transfer money from the general fund as follows:

  • $2,272,727 million to the forest restoration and wildfire risk mitigation grant program cash fund;


  • $4,090,909 million to the species conservation trust fund;


  • $2,452,193 million to the division of parks and outdoor recreation aquatic nuisance species fund; and


  • $1,184,171 million to the division of wildlife aquatic nuisance species fund.

SJM17-001Memorialize Congress to Fund Wildfire ResponseThis Resolution is concerning the need for Congress to fund catastrophic wildfire response costs outside of federal forest management agencies' normal budgets.

The Resolution encourages Congress to enact laws necessary to protect federal land management agencies' ability to mitigate the risk of catastrophic wildfires and manage the lands within their jurisdiction by funding catastrophic wildfire response in a manner analogous to that used for natural disasters.
SJR17-002Support for Use of BiocharThis Resolution is concerning the Colorado general assembly's support for the continued research, development, and application of biochar from our forests.

The Resolution states that the Colorado general assembly, support the United States Forest Service, the Agricultural Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture, and other research into the removal of fuel loads on the forest floor for the creation of biochar and the use of biochar as a soil amendment for reforestation, the continued creation of biochar from woody biomass found in our forests, and the use of biochar as a soil amendment within our forests and farms, towns, and cities to assist with reforestation treatments.