Colorado General Assembly final updates relevant to wildlife

S 22-151 Safe Crossings for Colorado Wildlife and Motorists has passed both Senate and House. (House passed May 10.) Now onto the Governor’s desk. See news article about this bill. The bill was introduced on March 8. CWF enthusiastically supports this bill which creates a cash fund to help CDOT fund projects for safe road crossings for wildlife connectivity and reduce collisions with vehicles. Sponsors are Sen. Danielson and Story and Representatives McCluskie and Will and Roberts.  Here is the fact sheet: 2022 CO Wildlife Habitat Connectivity Proposal Factsheet_20220311
Here is the bill text:
Safe Crossings for Colorado Wildlife and Motorists

House Bill 22-1072 is to reauthorize the Habitat Partnership Program (HPP) permanently. This is very effective program. The purpose of the HPP is to reduce wildlife conflicts, particularly those associated with forage and fences through problem solving, and to assist ColoradoParks and Wildlife in meeting game management objectives. HPP works through local committees comprised of landowners, land management agencies and sportspersons. The program is funded from five percent of the net annual sales of big game licenses used in the geographic areas represented by the local habitat partnership committees. The bill will expand the program to encourage maintaining big game critical access to their migration corridors. It also will allow for HPP assistance in any location within Colorado. CWF firmly supports this bill. The bill passed out of the House Agriculture, Livestock & Water Committee unanimously on a 11-0 vote , passed Appropriations Committee unamended on 2/17 and passed the House on February 22 and has passed Senate. Governor Polis signed this bill into law April 21.

House Bill 22-1168 would allow local schools to provide a hunter education course to all seventh graders. It requires an agreement with an individual or entity that offer the courses that are certified by CPW. The bill passed out of the Agriculture, Livestock & Water Committee on February 24 to the House floor with 1 amendment – to provide that nothing in the bill precludes a local education provider from offering hunter ed courses as an elective in any other grade.  The bill passed out of the House on March 3 and then by the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee 5-2 on March 16. Bill has passed both House and Senate  March 31. The Governor signed this bill into law on April 21.

Senate Bill 22-031  which would have banned hunting of bobcats and mountain lions was defeated in Senate Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee on a 4-1 vote.  CWF opposed the bill as it is our firm belief,  expressed consistently over the years, that all wildlife management policies must remain within the purview of Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) and Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission.  It is important that CPW retain the authority to responsibly manage these species using its science-based principles that factor in habitat, populations and maintaining sustainable ecological balance, mitigation of conflicts and other components. The healthy populations of bobcat and mountain lion are due to CPW’s careful management of these species within the larger ecological structure, guided by science, retain its jurisdiction over these species populations and habitats.

HB 22-1151 cash for turf replacement passed the House Agriculture, Livestock & Water Committee, amended and passed the House May 4, Senate Appropriations Committee and House second reading on May 6.
SB 22-131 “Protect health of pollinators and people”  is before the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. It was rejected in Committee on March 3 on a 6-1 vote.

S 22- 169 Sensitive species data bil passed the Senate and the House on April 29 and to the Governor’s desk.  CWF supported.

S 22-158 Species Conservation Trust Fund bill moved unamended through Senate and House and was signed by the Speaker of the House and President of the Senate on May 6 and to the Governor’s desk. CWF supported.

S 22-168 Backcountry Search and Rescue passed both Senate and House and to the Governor’s desk May 3. CWF supported.