Originally Posted by brandon_blomquist
Can anyone/someone post the outcome and general commentary of the hearing this afternoon, please. I gave up at 2:30 since they were not even done presenting the first bill, so I figured it would be hours given 1188 was moved to the last (7th) presentation. Thanks!!!
I was there until the end and the committee voted. The bill was passed through the committee by a vote of 7-3. The testimony lasted for several hours and was not voted on until around 10:15. I think Rep Curry who was the sponsor of the bill was clear that her intent by drafting a narrow bill that only protected commercial rafting was result of the conflict on the Taylor which is her district and was intended to make the bill easier to move through legislature. She was also clear that the bill does not exclude private boaters it just doesn’t include them as written. There were a few private boaters who testified in opposition to the bill as it stands, but would support it if it were amended to include all boaters. The commercial rafting community also testified that if the bill were amended to include private boaters they would be more than happy to support it....they just need a solution immediately, and were advised that the narrower bill would be easier to pass.
The opposition testimony included of course the land owner(Shaw) on the Taylor and all his lawyers as well as the Cattleman’s Association, The Water Congress(which was interesting as this is not a water right issue, but a property right issue), and a few land owners from the area near the Taylor River. They argued that the bill conducted a taking of property rights and that the state could not take the property rights of the land owner and redistribute them to which proponents reply that the right to use the waterways is already the right of the public and this bill will be protecting it. There was also some discussion as to what was considered a navigable waterway. The opposition testified that there were no navigable waterways in Colorado according to the definition outlined in British Common Law, which is the law that public access is allowed under in almost every other state.
I would like to be clear that I am an employee of a rafting company and I am in support of the bill as it is written or amended to include all boaters. I think that passing this bill will be a small step forward, but letting it fail would be a significant regression to boating rights in the state. I am in no way an expert and in no way do I claim this to be anything other than my humble opinion.