In the face of misguided efforts to advance a public land seizure agenda that would degrade our wild places, this year Coloradans sent a resounding message: we established Colorado Public Lands Day. This is a new annual holiday to celebrate the public lands that are part of our identity, and to prove that we won’t stand to see them jeopardized. It’s important to note that this holiday did see some opposition in the legislature, and to remember that come election time.
Spotlight: The Public Lands Story
Debate over our national public lands flared up in January, when a group of militant extremists led by scofflaw rancher Cliven Bundy took over an Oregon wildlife refuge.
Luckily, Colorado is leading the way in demonstrating a different path for questions over public lands management than that of the Bundy agenda. Coloradans made it clear we want to protect our public lands when we shut down an attempt to seize our lands and instead designated a new holiday to celebrate them.
Coloradans understand the value of our lands due to our burgeoning outdoor industry, incredible wildlife, stunning scenery, and unique quality of life that is shaped by our wild places. We’re helping to change the narrative about public lands in the West and in the nation.
Coloradans from all walks of life came together to pass this bill, which establishes a first-in-nation state holiday to celebrate the benefits of public lands in Colorado. This bill reflects the strong affinity Coloradans have for public lands, whether for the scenic value, growing outdoor industry, or incredible wildlife that our lands boast. The holiday offers a rebuke of the extremist public land grab agenda, proving that Coloradans want to keep public lands in public hands. It passed the legislature with bipartisan support, and was signed into law by Governor Hickenlooper.
Pro-Environment Vote: YES
Bill Sponsors: Senator Kerry Donovan, Representatives KC Becker & Diane Mitsch Bush
Status:House Vote: Passed 39-26 | Senate Vote: Passed 25-8
Signed by the Governor: May 17, 2016
A cynical effort to seize control of public lands under the guise of responding to wildfire, this bill was cut and pasted from the Koch-funded think tank, American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and was based on a Utah resolution. This is the third failed iteration of the “concurrent jurisdiction” bill in the Colorado legislature.
Pro-Environment Vote: NO
Bill Sponsors: Senator Kent Lambert, Representative Paul Lundeen
Status: Senate Vote: Passed 18-17 | House: Died in State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee