Wildlife Related Bills Signed or on Governor’s desk

Here are the wildlife related bills that have been signed and those on Gov. desk:

SB 24-171  Signed by Governor May 20. Concerning Authorization for Restoration of the North American Wolverine in the State  – introduced on March 4. It was heard in the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on March 21, passed, amended, on a 5-2 vote, and was referred to Appropriations Committee. The bill passed the Senate on April 17 and introduced in the House, and passed out of the Agriculture, Water and Natural Resources Committee on April 22 to Appropriations Committee, unamended. Passed Appropriations May 1, unamended and referred to House Committee of the Whole. and passed.  It is a bipartisan bill that is supported by the Governor, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, several wildlife conservation organizations, and the ski industry.  CWF testified in favor of the bill. If the bill passes it will authorize Colorado Parks and Wildlife to reintroduce wolverines after a non-essential experimental population rule under (10j) for wolverines is published by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) under the Endangered Species Act. The wolverine is listed as a threatened species by USFWS in November 2023. USFWS has committed to undertaking a NEPA process for a 10j rule for wolverines in Colorado on an expedited timeline, with support from the State. The requirement for a 10(j) rule resolved the concerns of some key stakeholders. The bill provides for compensation for livestock owners from wildlife cash fund except it shall not use money within the cash fund that is generated from sale of hunting and fishing licenses. Here is CPW’s press release on March 5.

HB 24-1117 Signed by Governor on May 17. Invertebrates and Rare Plants – passed the House Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources Committee, moved to the Appropriations Committee and then to House Floor and has passed second reading, as amended, on March 8 and third reading on March 11. CWF had been neutral before the fiscal note was posted. The bill passed Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee April 3, referred unamended to Senate Appropriations Committee, and passed Second Reading in the Senate on April 25, unamended and passed Third Reading April 26.

SB 24-126  Signed by Governor May 20. Conservation Easement Tax Credit – CWF testified in favor of this bill at the hearing before the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. It passed out of Committee on a 6-1 vote, moved to the Finance Committee, amended and referred to Appropriations (March 5). It passed the Senate on April 17 and in the House,  passed the Agriculture, Water and Natural Resources Committee, amended. on April 22, passed out of House Finance Committee, amended and referred to House Appropriations Committee on April 29. Passed House onMay 7.

SB24-026  Governor signed. Public Engagement Requirement – for CPW Commission. CWF testified in favor of this bill at the hearing before the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, as amended, moved to the Appropriations Committee and then passed second and third readings. Passed by House Agriculture, Water and Natural Resources Committee March 25, referred unamended to Appropriations Committee, and passed the House on April 11. On Governor’s desk.

HB 24-1379 On Governor’s desk. Remedies US Supreme Court Sackett decision re Clean Water Act as to State Waters. It will provide protections for wetlands that otherwise are at risk of pollution and destruction.  The prime sponsors of the bill are Speaker McCluskie, and Rep. McCormick and Senator Roberts. CWF testified in favor of this bill at the hearing on April 8 before the House Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources Committee. It passed from Committee on a 9-4 vote, passed House Finance Committee on April 15 and referred unamended to Appropriations Committee, passed out of Appropriations April 22 and referred to the House Committee of the Whole, and on April 25 House Second Reading Laid Over, and passed House Floor third reading, with amendments April 29. May 2 introduced in the Senate. Bill passed on May 6!   

SB 24-199 Governor signed May 17. Annual Species Conservation Trust Fund. Projects  CWF testified in favor before the Senate Agricultural and Natural Resources Committee and recommended an increase the amount of funding in light of the overall ballooning responsibilities of CPW. The bill passed Senate on April 22, and assigned to the House Appropriations Committee. On May 1, Appropriations referred unamended to the House Committee of the Whole. Passed House with amendments.

SB 24-212  Governor signed May 21. The renewable energy projects study bill, introduced April 22, passed the Senate Transportation and Energy Committee on April 24 on a 5-2 vote and Appropriations Committee on April 30. On May 1, passed Senate on Third Reading, no amendments, introduced in the House and assigned to Transportation, Housing and Local Government Committee. Bill passed the House May 6.   CWF testified in favor before the Senate Committee but noted the bill would benefit from improvements. For example, the bill provides for a report to the general assembly by September 30, 2025 but as to wildlife it speaks of evaluation of wildlife mitigation instead of adding assessment of impacts of renewable energy projects on wildlife habitats, including measures to avoid and minimize impacts.