Gov. Polis makes Fishers Peak newest state park, helps rural communities with latest bill signings

DENVER (KDVR) — Gov. Jared Polis signed several bills into laws on Monday, holding signing ceremonies for each at a location related to the bill.

Polis began at 10:30 a.m. in Colorado Springs at Fire Station 8. He signed three bills pertaining to firefighters and their health into laws.

One bill addresses the authority of the state government to regulate perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), specifically their use for firefighting foam system testing both in general and in certain aircraft hangars.

The Workers’ Compensation for Audible Psychological Trauma bill determines eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits related to a “psychologically traumatic event” that has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder by a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist after a worker visibly or audibly witnessed a death-related or bodily injury-related incident.

Polis made a new law that will include firefighters employed by the department of public safety in the division of fire prevention and control to be eligible for certain employee benefits.

The governor then headed to Pueblo where he signed four bills at Musso Farms at 11:45 a.m. The new laws boost rural economies and employ peace officers in rural areas.

Gov. Polis signed bills to help rural communities, courtesy of Gov. Polis Facebook page

“We can’t leave Colorado’s rural communities behind as our state recovers from the pandemic. The legislation signed today will improve a critical economic development initiative and enhance seed regulation to help Colorado’s agriculture producers,” state Rep. Bri Buentello, a Democrat from Pueblo, said.

“To support our communities that are struggling with smaller and smaller budgets, we created a new scholarship to help them afford to hire and train new law enforcement officers. I’m proud of our work to boost rural economies and help build an economy that works for all parts of our state.”

The next stop was southeast of Trinidad to Fishers Peak. At approximately 2 p.m., Polis signed a bill officially making Fishers Peak the newest Colorado state park. Notably, that bill was amended from $10 million to $6 million before being approved. The $4 million budget cut affects the development of infrastructure to open a state park on the property surrounding Fishers Peak and to accommodate additional visitors at other state parks.

Gov. Polis signed a bill officially making Fishers Peak the newest Colorado State Park, courtesy of Gov. Polis Facebook page

Polis signed two other bills into law at Fishers Peak: The Colorado Water Conservation Board Construction Fund Project, HB20-1403, and the Species Conservation Trust Fund Projects, SB20-201.

At 4:15 p.m., Polis signed three education-related bills at Pueblo Community College. A change to the higher education funding model will become law, an existing law is getting extended and parents of middle school students will receive more information on their child’s options in high school.

According to the official document regarding the higher education funding model, “the bill creates a new funding model beginning with the 2021-22 state fiscal year that includes new provisions for calculating fee-for-service contracts for institutions and makes related changes to the calculation of state funding to support specialty education programs, area technical colleges, and local district colleges.”

HB20-1109 extends the income tax credit for employer contributions to employee 529 qualified state tuition programs for an additional 10 years.

The Middle School Students Concurrent Enrollment Information bill “directs the community college system to work with school districts, boards of cooperative services, the Colorado school for the deaf and the blind, and charter schools to provide information to the parents of students enrolled in grades 6 through 8 concerning concurrent enrollment opportunities available in grades 9 through 12″.

Polis finishes his signing tour at Simply Pure in Denver’s Lower Highland neighborhood on Monday evening. The only bill he will sign into law there changes the existing term “accelerator licensee” to “social equity licensee” and alters the qualifications of the title in the “Colorado Marijuana Code.”