Baumgardner, White gear up for state legislative session |

Baumgardner, White gear up for state legislative session

Economy, jobs, budget and tourism top priorities

Brian Smith
Randy Baumgardner
Courtesy Photo

— State Rep. Randy Baum­gard­ner said he has a focused plan heading into the 2011 state legislative session starting in early January.

Baumgardner, a Republican from Hot Sulphur Springs who represents House District 57, said the upcoming session will be all about the economy and making Colorado a “more business friendly state.”

“We are going to concentrate on jobs and the economy, trying to put out good legislation to put people back to work or possibly repealing legislation that has passed,” he said.

House District 57 covers much of Northwest Colorado, including Routt County.

State Sen. Al White, R-Hay­­den, said one of his primary goals is to continue to balance the state budget. His efforts to that end will come in spite of his being replaced on the Joint Budget Com­­mittee by Sen.-elect Kent Lam­­­­­bert, R-Colorado Springs.

White said he is continuing to sit in on state budget committee meetings and offering his tenured perspective to the members regarding policies, procedures and other tasks.

“It’s certainly informal because I don’t have a vote, but I still think it is important to try and continue my legislative history with the budget committee,” he said.

White said it will be “interesting” to have a budget committee represented equally by Republicans and Democrats, as is the case this year.

“For the first time, we’ll have to have both parties participate actively in balancing the budget as opposed to one party sitting back and letting the party in the majority balance the budget and then criticize those efforts,” he said.

White isn’t solely focused on the budget. The senator said he has several pieces of legislation being drafted, some of which he declined to speak at length about.

“They are still under development, and so I am not prepared to announce them just yet,” he said. “Certainly nothing earth-shaking, nothing that will rattle the political foundations of government in Colorado.”

White said he is drafting a bill that will address the ramifications of Colorado House Bill 10-1365, also known as the Clean Air, Clean Jobs Act, which was signed into law during the past legislative session.

Although White didn’t elaborate on his bill, he said he wants to be “sensible” about natural resource issues in the state throughout the next legislative session.

“My mindset is I don’t want to see the state of Colorado evoke public policy that will choose winners and losers in our natural resource industry,” he said. “I just think that should be a market-driven issue and our state government has no business determining whether natural gas should be a priority above coal, or vice-versa.”

Baumgardner said he has plans to help introduce legislation that would address immigration.

“We just don’t know how exactly it is going to be, or what it is going to look like,” he said.

Baumgardner said there are several people and organizations involved in the immigration bill.

“But right now, it is kind of a work in progress to see what it is going to all encompass, and we should have something rough in the next three weeks or so,” he said.

White said he will look to redraft some previous legislation related to the Colorado Tourism Office that died in the House Finance Committee last session.

“Right now, if positive action is not taken, the tourism office will lose all of its funding,” White said.

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