Rankin off to strong start in rookie legislative session

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“We need a more coordinated effort to ensure federal land is responsibly managed in Colorado and does not negatively affect the livelihoods of our families and business owners.”

— House District 57 Rep. Bob Rankin, R-Carbondale.

If the mark of a good state lawmaker is how many bills he can pass during a legislative session, then House District 57 Rep. Bob Rankin, R-Carbondale, is putting together a solid rookie season at the Capitol in Denver.

Rankin was drafted in November by the voters of Moffat, Garfield and Rio Blanco counties and has introduced three bills during his first session in the Colorado House of Representatives.

Two of those bills were voted on in committee during the last week of February.

House Bill 13-1188, which aims to reduce unnecessary state costs by eliminating certain obsolete state agencies, passed out of the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee on Wednesday with unanimous support.

It’s a feat few House Republicans can claim, as HB13-1139 is only the second Republican-sponsored bill to pass out of the affairs committee this session, according to a news release issued by Rankin last Thursday.

Rankin nearly went 2-for-2 this week when his long-anticipated federal lands bill also came up for a vote Wednesday in the House Local Government Committee.

HB13-1188 would allow local government entities to analyze potential economic impacts of federal land management decisions. The bill also would require the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade to consolidate and compile information from local entities and deliver them to the governor’s office to issue a final response.

Though the bill did not pass out of committee, a motion to suspend HB13-1188 indefinitely also failed with a 6-6 vote.

The bill could have been resurrected this session, but Rankin said Sunday the measure had a deadline of last Friday. He plans to continue working on the bill during the summer and will re-introduce it next session.

“Decisions by federal agencies almost always affect the jobs and the tax base of surrounding counties and nearby towns,” Rankin said in the release. “Thirty-six percent of Colorado is federal land, but we don’t have a process in place to collect and report the local impact of this land’s management.

“We need a more coordinated effort to ensure federal land is responsibly managed in Colorado and does not negatively affect the livelihoods of our families and business owners.”

Seventy percent of HD 57 is composed of public lands, the release states. Six surrounding counties joined the Rifle Chamber of Commerce, Club 20, the Colorado Oil and Gas Association and the Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado in supporting the measure.

Rankin sits on the 13-member Local Government Committee, which is chaired by HD 42 Democrat Rhonda Fields.

Rankin’s third bill, HB13-1203, passed out of the House, 65-0, earlier this session.

The bill, co-sponsored by Senate District 8 Republican Randy Baumgardner, would eliminate the requirement of political subdivisions to provide certain reports on annual basis if passed by the Colorado Senate.

Joe Moylan can be reached at 875-1794 or jmoylan@craigdailypress.com.

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