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The 2015 Legislative Session: CREA Forges Bipartisan Solutions

May 13, 2015

There has been a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking going on with respect to the just-completed 2015 session of the Colorado general assembly. Many commentators have employed phrases like “partisan stalemate” and “legislative logjam” to describe the current environment in which Republicans have a majority in the state senate and Democrats are in control of the state house of representatives. The implication is that the 2015 legislature was a “do-nothing” body that was rendered impotent by partisan wrangling.

That was not CREA’s experience in 2015. While it’s certainly true that many bills passed through one chamber only to meet their maker in the other chamber, CREA was able to find a path through both houses on several bills that we supported in 2015. Not only were we able to move our own bill, SB 15-046, through the process, but we were also instrumental in the passage HB 15-1377 and HB 15-1364. These bills made common sense amendments to the Colorado renewable energy standard and the laws governing small hydropower facilities to give electric co-ops more flexibility in complying with our obligations under the renewable energy mandates.

These outcomes did not occur by happenstance, but were the result of the hard work of our dedicated lobbying team.  Geoff, Jeani and Heather worked countless hours with legislators and stakeholders to explain our issues and find solutions that could be supported by both Democrats and Republicans. We are very grateful to the many legislators that helped us this session, particularly Senators Grantham (R-Canon City) and Donovan (D-Vail) and Representative Moreno (D-Commerce City) who were the prime sponsors of SB 15-046.

On a bittersweet note, we are saying goodbye to our friend and colleague Jeani Frickey, our contract lobbyist who will be heading to greener pastures as the Executive Director of Stand for Children. Jeani has been a tireless supporter of Colorado’s electric co-ops and a tremendous asset to our government relations team for many years. We wish Jeani the best in her new endeavor; her knowledge of our program and her boundless enthusiasm will be missed!

We want to thank the CREA board for its direction of our efforts in 2015, and we’ll try to keep the (properly inflated) ball rolling in 2016 as well…

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