Kelly Sloan,The Business Times
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has signed into law measures allowing remote testimony at legislative hearings and purchasing land for a shooting complex.
Hickenlooper signed the measures during a ceremony at the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, a first for the business organization.
House Bill 1303 allows legislative committees to take remote testimony from one or more locations in Colorado. The Colorado Legislative Council may enter into agreements with state institutions of higher education to host remote sites and provide facilities, equipment and staff.
State Rep. Ray Scott, a Republican from Grand Junction, was among the prime sponsors of the bill. The measure also was a priority for the Grand Junction chamber.
“The remoteness of most of Colorado, along with the weather, discourages many of those who would like their voice to be heard at the Capitol,” Scott said. “Now they will have that ability.”
House Bill 1275 authorizes Colorado Parks and Wildlife to purchase the former site of the Xcel Energy Cameo power plant east of Grand Junction and construct a multi-use shooting and educational complex there.
Hickenlooper acknowledged the efforts of local businesses in making the project a reality. “Xcel really stepped up. And along with Snowcap Coal, this was a great partnership to make something happen.”
State Rep. Don Coram, a Republican Montrose, sponsored the measure. “This is a very important piece of legislation that will bring jobs and help the region’s economy,” Coram said. “Nobody in this room believes that the economy of the West Slope is where it should be, but this is a good step in the right direction.”
Bob Broscheid, director of Colorado Parks and Wildlife, also praised the action, describing what’s envisioned as a “world-class” facility. The facility is expected to attract more than 100,000 visitors annually — along with competitors from around the globe.
Scott called the legislation “a great piece of work, the type of economic opportunity that we don’t get to see very often.”
“It’s not just about shooting, but the outdoor experience,” he added.