Although there have not been many postings here from CW, CW and American Whitewater (AW) have been working hard behind the scenes to create a bill more favorable to all boaters. Here is the letter we sent out to membership yesterday evening:
A very important bill has been introduced in the Colorado legislature that concerns navigation rights of boaters on rivers in our state.
Over the next weeks, Colorado Whitewater will be sending out information and requesting action on this piece of legislation. The subject line of messaging on this bill will always include “HB-1188”, so that you will know that the information in the email is specific to this legislation.
As many of you are aware, the Colorado legislature is considering House Bill 10-1188 (HB-1188 ), legislation that attempts to clarify Colorado’s river access laws. As written, HB-1188 is limited to commercial outfitters and sections of river that have been commercially rafted. On Monday, February 8th, the House Judiciary Committee approved an amended version of House Bill 1188 by a 7-3 vote.
Private boaters who have contacted CW about HB-1188 differ in their views about the legislation as currently written. Some believe private boaters should oppose HB-1188 because it advances only the interests of commercial boaters, possibly to the detriment of private boaters. Others believe HB-1188 will not adversely affect private boaters and that any law that promotes river access is a positive, if incremental, step in the right direction.
CW contacted the sponsor of HB-1188, Representative Kathleen Curry (I-Gunnison) asking that the Bill be amended to include private boaters. For a variety of reasons, the Bill has not yet been amended, although we remain hopeful that it can be changed to include private boaters later in the legislative process, probably in the Senate. CW continues to speak with legislators, and we remain committed to pursuing changes to HB-1188 that will promote the interests of our club members.
We believe it is premature for the CW to make a formal decision to oppose or support HB-1188. The Bill must pass a number of procedural hurdles before it makes its way through the House to the Senate and then the to Governor’s desk; multiple amendments will no doubt be proposed along the way.
The CW board’s position may change as HB-1188 winds its way through the legislature. We are working with American Whitewater to persuade legislators to improve HB-1188 in ways that will benefit private boaters. We believe that calls to amend, rather than to defeat, House Bill 1188 is a better strategic decision at this point in time.
We urge you to contact your legislators (House and Senate) and ask them to amend HB-1188 to include private boaters. We will be sending out specific messaging for you to use in speaking with your elected officials shortly. Currently, HB-1188 is scheduled to be up in the House for floor debate and vote on Friday, February 12th.
CW is committed to be a reliable source of information for our members on HB-1188. We also need your help to inform the broader boating community about the bill. Please re-post this information to lists and online communities you belong to, and talk to your friends.
Information about the bill, how to find your legislators, and how to track the bill through the legislative process is below.
If you don’t know who your STATE Senator and Representative are, you can find out here: Project Vote Smart - American Government, Elections, Candidates and Voting
Here is a link to the Colorado General Assembly website: Colorado General Assembly Home Page
At this website you can:
- download different versions of the bill as it is amended
- track the progress of the bill through the House and Senate
- check on the calendar for when the bill will be heard and debated
- listen/watch to floor debates and committee hearings on the bill online (you must check the calendar to know when the bill is scheduled and in what room).
Want to understand more about the legislative process? Here is a link for a chart on how a bill becomes law in Colorado.