In a series of regularly held town hall meetings, Colorado State Representatives Mike Foote (D 12) and Jonathan Singer (D 11), and Colorado State Senator Matt Jones (D 17) met constituents at Trail Ridge Middle School in Longmont on Monday evening.
Some issues of concern to the district included fracking, construction, and transportation.
Under current law called forced pooling, if there exist 20 mineral owners in a neighborhood and only one mineral right owner wishes to lease the rights, all of the other 19 must concede rights to their own minerals with no standing to refuse to engage in mineral extraction.
Questions regarding this issue included interest in citizen lobbying. Coloradans to have the right to engage in citizen lobbying. Under the topic of the environment for example, groups such as Conservation Colorado and the Sierra Club have contributed through Summary Fiscal Notes, a type of “Cliff Notes” that are part of the legislative process. All bills are written with a non-partisan summary followed by committee hearings on every bill at the state legislature. Particularly in Longmont, input on energy has been received from CLEAN (Citizen Legislation/Legislative Energy
Fracking and the “Rights of Nature” that have been proposed with the backing of the national group Community Environment Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) were discussed ahead of upcoming legislative hearings including SB 17-035 the “Tampering with Oil and Gas sites” bill. The bill passed an initial senate committee hearing in February.
Matt Jones suggested that the community “follow” him on Facebook at MattJonesCO for bills of interest where he confirmed that he will post updates on SB-035.
The Senate and House calendar system was discussed including the basic format: 1) Hearing 2) Debate 3) Formal Vote. The Colorado State Legislature website for following the calendar of the bill process is
Audience concern regarding construction defects legislation was discussed with legislators acknowledging the “extreme” difficulty in adopting a resolution addressing the issue. Developers argue about the cost of insurance. Small Claims Court is not considered an option due to a $7500 cap empowered on Small Claims Court to award civil claims.
The Longmont community as well as their state representatives remain focused on Regional Transportation District (RTD) transportation options. The Northwest Rail Line is part of RTD’s 2004 voter-approved FasTracks plan and became a contentious issue when northwest metro residents paid taxes to have light rail connect Denver with Adams County, Westminster, Broomfield, Louisville, Boulder and Boulder County. In what might be described as a bitter relationship between northwest metro residents and RTD residents are left with searching for answers about where tax dollars went for the northwest portion of light rail and perhaps even scrambling for funds to finish the project. Forthcoming discussions between the Office of the Auditor and Representative Mike Foote are expected to provide more detailed answers to questions raised by constituents although it is expected that those answers may take years to reach according to Matt Jones. Singer indicated that Boulder County and Longmont tax dollars have already been spent by RTD and “we must decide how to raise transportation funding for the next 30 years.”
Instead of Light Rail, Boulder County instead were provided with what RTD called the Flatiron Flyer bus system. While some have criticized that the system only meant newly painted buses, one attendee to the town hall said that he regularly rides from Longmont to Greenwood Village or drives to Superior or Boulder Park n Ride to ride to Greenwood village without too much difficulty. The constituent added that the value of more bus departures over having to deal with departure/arrival time changes.
Opposing positions were expressed in the audience regarding Light Rail. One supported a “Build it and they will come” position in support, another expressed concern about increased construction, traffic congestion, and pollution.
According to RTD FasTracks will begin construction on the line between Westminster and Longmont “when funding becomes available.”
(Daria Guerra-Leverne contributed to this report)