Weed-control bill headed to governor



House Bill 1137, which heads to Gov. John Hickenlooper’s desk, cleared the Colorado Senate on a 22-13 vote. It was approved in the House on a 54-10 vote Feb. 12. Here’s how local lawmakers voted on it:

• Sen. Randy Baumgardner, R-Cowdrey: Yes

• Sen. Steve King, R-Grand Junction: No

• Sen. Ellen Roberts, R-Durango: Yes

• Sen. Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass Village: Yes

• Rep. Don Coram, R-Montrose: Yes

• Rep. Bob Rankin, R-Glenwood Springs: Yes

• Rep. Ray Scott, R-Grand Junction: No

• Rep. Jared Wright, R-Fruita: No

DENVER — A bill introduced by Republican legislators to give county commissioners more authority over weed control on private land suddenly won some GOP opposition Tuesday.

The bill’s Senate sponsor, Sen. Randy Baumgardner, said the measure started out as a simple way to give counties the authority to control noxious weeds on smaller lots. Current law allows them to do so in larger tracts of private land.

“This is just about weed control and being responsible,” said Baumgardner, whose district includes Garfield County.

But Sen. Kevin Grantham, R-Canon City, said he doesn’t believe his GOP colleague fully understands what his own bill does.

“We all go into this with great intentions on every bill, and we don’t always see all the unintended consequences,” Grantham said. “But on its very face, this one transmits too much power to a small group of people over the individual’s private property rights.”

Under HB1137, which now heads to the governor, county commissioners would have the right to compel landowners with lots that are 2 1/2 acres in size or less to remove noxious weeks and brush unless the land is used for agricultural purposes.

The Senate initially killed the bill on a 28-7 vote because Democrats thought Republicans were intending to raze Baumgardner, as lawmakers tend to do to freshman members.

Later, when they realized it wasn’t a joke, Democrats revived the bill and passed it on a 22-13 vote.

It cleared the House earlier this month 54-10.


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