2016 Forestry Legislation in Colorado
The state of Colorado values healthy, resilient forest landscapes and is willing to invest state funds in the stewardship of these resources.
|HB16-1019||Broadcast Burns Watershed Protection||This bill adds broadcast burning to the types of projects and methods for which the CSFS may award grants from the Healthy Forests and Vibrant Communities Cash Fund, and the Forest Restoration Program Cash Fund.|
|HB16-1040||Auxiliary Emergency Communication||This bill creates the Auxiliary Emergency Communications Unit (unit) in the Office of Emergency Management in the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management in the Colorado Department of Public Safety (DPS). The unit has the power to:
• Establish programs for the training and credentialing of auxiliary emergency or disaster communications across the State.
• Assume all the duties and responsibilities of the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services (RACES), and
• Ensure that the auxiliary emergency communicators are authorized volunteers entitled to the appropriate protections and benefits of emergency volunteers when assisting local governments with the maintenance or demolition of communication facilities.
In pursuance of this authority, DPS may develop and issue photo identification cards to auxiliary communicators, conduct criminal background checks, and reimburse emergency communicators, conduct criminal background checks, and reimburse emergency communicators for necessary travel and other expenses incurred in performance of their duties. This bill also increases from 23 to 24 the number of members serving on the Public Safety Committee in the DPS. The additional member is the section emergency coordinator for the Amateur Radio Emergency Service of the Colorado section of the Amateur Relay League.
|HB16-1255||Manage Forests to Improve Water Supply Conditions||This bill directs the Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) to conduct demonstration pilot projects via the Good Neighbor Authority with the U.S. Forest Service to implement forest management treatments that:
• Improve forest health and resilience,
• Supply forest products to Colorado businesses, and
• Target a Colorado watershed.
This bill requires at least $200,000 of the $1 million annually allocated to the CSFS for community watershed restoration be used to implement these pilot projects. The CSFS, in conjunction with the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB), is also required to conduct a study to quantify and document the relationship between the state water plan and the importance of forest management in protecting and managing Colorado’s water resources. Study results must be submitted in a report to the House and Senate natural resource committees by January 1, 2017.
This bill also creates with the CSFS the 24 member Forest Health Advisory Council to advise the State Forester on a broad range of issues, opportunities, and threats to Colorado’s forests. Council membership will be appointed by the Governor and legislative leadership and is subject to sunset review in 2021.
|SB16-012||Time to Reconstruct Residential Improvements||This bill allows residential property to maintain its property tax classification for an indefinite period of time if the county assessor determines the property owner is making a good faith effort to rebuild an improvement destroyed by a natural disaster. A residential improvement is a home or other structure that has been built on residential property. Under current law, the property can maintain its residential classification for up to four years after the improvement has been destroyed if, in the assessor’s judgement, the owner intends to repair or replace the structure.|
|SB16-167||Severance Tax Operational Fund Reserve Reduction||This bill reduces the portion of the reserve requirement based on the Tier 1 programs by $2.98 million for the FY 2016-17 only.|
|SJM16-002||Federal Funding for Catastrophic Wildfire Response||This resolution asks the Federal Government 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.