Guv issues 1st veto of 2017 session

Bill harms 'ability to educate the public on risks associated with tobacco use'

Rep. Don Coram



FILE - In this Jan. 9, 2014 file photo, Colo. Gov. John Hickenlooper delivers his annual State of the State speech during a joint session of the Colorado Legislature, at the Capitol, in Denver. A new Quinnipiac poll has Hickenlooper in a statistical tie with Republican challenger Bob Beauprez. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, file)



DENVER — Gov. John Hickenlooper issued his first veto of the 2017 session Friday.

The governor said he was “unpersuaded” about Senate Bill 139, which meant to indefinitely extend the state’s excise tax credit on sales of non-cigarette tobacco products, which was set to end September 2018.

The bill, which had bipartisan support — it was sponsored by Sens. Angela Williams, D-Denver, and Owen Hill, R-Colorado Springs, and Reps. Dan Pabon, D-Denver, and Jon Becker, R-Fort Morgan — would have lowered state revenues only by about $10,000 a year.

“We are unpersuaded that this credit created any significant economic impact,” Hickenlooper wrote in his veto letter. “Senate Bill 17-139 harms Colorado’s ability to educate the public on risks associated with tobacco use.”

In the letter, Hickenlooper said taxes have long proven to be a good deterrent to smokers.

PARKS AND WILDLIFE

Fees and fines charged by Colorado Parks and Wildlife could go up by as much as 50 percent over the next several years under a bill that won final approval in the Colorado House on Friday.

House Bill 1321 gives the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission the authority to raise hunting, fishing, park entry and many other fees as it sees fit, capping some at increases ranging from 25 percent to 50 percent.

The increases are needed, the bill’s sponsors say, because of reductions in overall revenues and increases in use, saying fees haven’t increased in more than a decade to keep pace.

The measure, which is partly sponsored by Sen. Don Coram, R-Montrose, cleared the House on a 42-22 vote.

All Western Slope lawmakers regardless of party supported it.

It requires more votes in the Senate.


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