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Governor Hickenlooper Signs SB 252, Creates Advisory Committee

June 6, 2013

Despite repeated requests from the electric co-op community, agricultural producers, and business and labor interests that he veto SB 13-252 and establish a stakeholder process, Governor Hickenlooper signed the bill into law yesterday.

Citing his “misgivings” with the bill, the Governor also created an “advisory committee” that is directed to “address the cost and feasibility concerns of the companies impacted by this legislation.”

I have been involved with the legislative process in Colorado for nearly thirty years, and this is the first time I have seen an advisory committee appointed to consider whether the requirements of a piece of legislation are feasible at the same time the bill is signed. If the Governor had concerns about Colorado’s rural electricity ratepayers and the feasibility of the requirements of SB 13-252, he should have vetoed the bill and initiated a stakeholder process to come up with a better bill for the 2014 legislative session.

We met with the Governor on two occasions to ask him to veto SB 13-252, and I believe he sincerely wanted to understand our problems with the bill. That said, it is disappointing to me that in his signing statement the Governor referred to a “failed compromise” as though it was the fault of the electric coops that no agreement was reached. The fact is that we were never involved in any serious negotiations and the Governor’s offer of a small concession at the 11th hour to try to convince us to no longer oppose the bill was much too little, too late.

We are disappointed that the Governor signed the bill, because we believe it will make it more difficult for electric co-ops to provide low-cost, reliable service to the thousands of farmers, ranchers, small businesses and families that are co-op member-owners. We will, however, participate in the advisory committee process as constructively as possible to seek support of measures that will mitigate the impacts of the bill.

Finally, we are very grateful to our many coalition partners and supporters in the legislature who went to great lengths to oppose SB 13-252. We appreciate all of your hard work and we look forward to strengthening our relationships to support rural Colorado.

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