Jean White-sponsored bill proposes keeping federal mineral lease money in communities

Senate Bill 31 introduced by state Sen. Jean White, R-Hayden, unanimously passed the Senate on Monday.

According to a news release from the Colorado Republican Party, the bill would allow cash-strapped communities to keep the full amount of federal mineral lease payments due to them.

“The federal government owns more than half of the land in my district. It is critical that communities maximize the federal payments they are owed,” said White, whose district includes Routt and Moffat counties. “This money will be especially beneficial to communities that have been negatively impacted by the current economy.”

Counties currently receive only a portion of FML payments.

Under White’s bill, counties may choose to form FML districts, which would be independent of the county and would be solely responsible for receiving and distributing all FML funds.

FML payments are a portion of revenue collected from mineral extraction on federally owned land. The money is usually used to fund local schools, road construction and fire and police services.

S.B. 31 now heads to the House for consideration.

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