Opinion | Susan Knopf: What matters most | SummitDaily.com

Opinion | Susan Knopf: What matters most

This week, Colorado Speaker of the House Julie McCluskie, our state representative, closed her first session as speaker, and she is proud of the session’s legislative accomplishments.

For the record, nine bills that she sponsored or co-sponsored passed.

“From improving public education with a record investment in our schools, teachers and students, to reducing the cost of health care and prescription drugs, this session delivered real results on the issues that matter most to Coloradans,” said McCluskie via text

Dylan Roberts, our new state senator, and McCluskie co-sponsored bipartisan HB23-1287. The bill addresses one of the hottest issues in our community: short-term rentals. The bill tightens the county board of commissioners’ grip on short-term rental licensees. According to the act, in 90 days your short-term rental license number must be displayed on any internet site marketing your rental. If there’s an issue with that license, the hospitality site has to remove your listing. That puts some big enforcement teeth into the new short-term rental rules.

Remember, this is our government. If we don’t like the rules, we can change them. We can continue the short-term rental conversation after elected officials adopt regulations. Many of the bills passed in this past legislative session were modifications of prior legislation.

Our county hospital is a self-described Christian nonprofit whose mission is to “extend the healing ministry of Christ.” That gives them big tax exemptions. In exchange, they are required to invest in “community benefit” projects. HB23-1243 requires transparency on the projects they fund.

We have a voice on those projects. The bill states, “Nonprofit hospitals must ensure that their community benefit spending meets the needs expressed by community members.”

HB23-1226, co-sponsored by Roberts, requires more transparent financial reporting from hospitals. We will now see where the money goes, including if it’s going out of state.

The legislature also took a little nip out of the facility charges hospitals and their clinics have been adding to our bills. No more facility charges for telehealth visits!

Jeff Tiernan, president and CEO of the Colorado Hospital Association, says it’s unfair to target hospitals because they are “one dimension of a much broader system,” according to reporting by Axios Denver. Health care costs are skyrocketing at an unsustainable rate. We pay more per capita for health care than any other nation.

Axios also reported Gov. Jared Polis’s response.

“We want to make sure we address all aspects of high health care costs,” said Polis. “It’s pharmaceuticals, hospitals, insurers; it’s every driver of cost.”

During the last session 179 bills were passed.

“The legislation we passed will protect access to abortion, support our workforce and save people money on housing. I’m proud of our work to boost rural economies, protect our water future and pass bipartisan legislation that will uplift people all across our state and help everyone reach their Colorado dream,” texted McCluskie.

The National Resource Defense Council seems just as pleased as they reported their legislative successes. The more than 50 year-old environmental advocacy group traces its roots to the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972.

The council says it worked with legislators to develop environmentally friendly new technologies and to reenvision our energy future. The link to their legislative roundup can be found online at NRDC.org, and it’s recommended reading for environmentally conscious locals. The council was disappointed no agreement could be reached on legislation that would have encouraged more housing development around transportation hubs.

For good environmental news, SB23-292 expands workforce standards for clean energy projects. According to the council, the bill ensures “clean energy infrastructure is built by well-trained Colorado workforce that is paid family-supporting wages.”

That’s just a sampling of the bills passed. I’m sure you’ll hear more as the weeks unfold. I wouldn’t give a lot of thought to Republicans walking out on a bill passed to give us property tax relief. I think it’s clear that many of their ideas about abortion and guns haven’t really met the needs of Coloradans.

Good news: the age to buy a gun went from 18 to 21, there will soon be a three-day waiting period to get that gun, and an expanded group of professionals can advise law enforcement if they think a gun should be removed from a home. Remember we have the last word at the ballot box!

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Summit Daily is embarking on a multiyear project to digitize its archives going back to 1989 and make them available to the public in partnership with the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection. The full project is expected to cost about $165,000. All donations made in 2023 will go directly toward this project.

Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.