Making Colorado Communities Safer & Healthier, Governor Polis Signs Legislation to Fight for Clean Air & Ensure Wildfire Preparedness

Thursday, June 2, 2022

LOUISVILLE — Today, Governor Polis is signing bills into law to protect the air we breathe, elevate Colorado’s wildfire preparedness, response, and recovery capabilities, and enhance the Colorado way of life. The transformative package of laws includes record investments to expand Colorado’s wildfire response capabilities, provide real relief for wildfire victims, and enhance the state and local governments’ ability to collaborate and most effectively mitigate and combat wildfires. 

"Today we are making major improvements to our year-round wildfire recovery efforts, fighting for Colorado’s clean air, and building our nation-leading tools and resources to prevent and respond to wildfires across our state. Our strong actions to improve our air quality, prevent the spread of fires, and help communities impacted by natural disasters build back quickly will help ensure we have a cleaner, healthier, safer Colorado for generations to come,” said Gov. Polis.

Gov. Polis recently signed SB22-206, a new law led by Senate President Fenberg, provides landmark support for critical aerial firefighting equipment, establishes the Office of Climate Preparedness to take a long-term approach to wildfire mitigation, and helps Coloradans to build back with resilience to future natural disasters. Today in Louisville, Governor Polis signed a package of new laws to bolster Colorado’s wildfire preparedness, resiliency, and recovery capacity amidst the year-round threat of wildfires. The bipartisan HB22-1225, sponsored by Rep. Edie Hooton, Rep. Perry Will, Sen. Stephen Fenberg, and Sen. Sonya Jaquez Lewis, supports the efficient and effective Colorado Resiliency Office, a critical tool to provide high-quality support to Coloradans. 

Governor Polis signed a law to provide real support for disaster survivors and to build up Colorado’s water and electric grid resilience. The bipartisan HB22-1111, sponsored by Rep. Judy Amabile, Sen. Fenberg, and Sen. Bob Rankin, ensures Coloradans are protected now and in the future, addressing underinsurance and challenges with insurance claims following natural disasters. The bipartisan HB22-1013, sponsored by Rep. Rod Pelton, Rep. Marc Snyder, Sen. Faith Winter, and Sen. Dennis Hisey, protects the power grid for Coloradans from potential disruption caused by inclement weather and climate change. Continuing to protect and support Colorado’s water projects across the state, Gov. Polis signed bipartisan HB22-1379, sponsored by Rep. Karen McCormick, Rep. Marc Catlin, Sen. Kerry Donovan, and Sen. Cleave Simpson, to improve the resilience of Colorado’s water resources with support for watershed restoration and flood mitigation. 

Taking bold steps to continue fighting for clean air for Colorado, Governor Polis signed legislation into law to provide transformative support for clean transportation, energy efficient buildings, manufacturing innovation, geothermal energy, and air quality monitoring, regulation, and incentives to save people money on clean energy investments. SB22-193 reduces air pollution from industrial and manufacturing operations, expands access to electric bicycles, and supports the Colorado’s school bus fleet transition to electric, saving school districts money and protecting the health of Colorado’s kids. This landmark law is sponsored by Sen. Stephen Fenberg, Sen. Julie Gonzales,  Rep. Alex Valdez and Rep. Meg Froelich. 

Governor Polis also signed HB22-1362, sponsored by Rep. Tracey Bernett, Rep. Alex Valdez, Sen. Chris Hansen and Sen. Faith Winter, providing transformative support for public buildings, schools, and communities to adopt high-efficiency electric appliances, saving taxpayers money through reduced energy bills.  Gov. Polis also signed HB22-1249, sponsored by Rep. Tracey Bernett, Rep. Edie Hooton, Sen. Chris Hansen and Sen. Bob Rankin, to reduce the state’s reliance on imported and volatile fossil fuels, and support increased energy resilience. 

Taking bold steps to keep Colorado on the pathway to achieving 100% renewable energy by 2040, Governor Polis will sign three bills today into law that reduce emissions, save Coloradans money and invest in renewable energy sources. Governor Polis signed bipartisan legislation to cut red tape and save Coloradans money on geothermal energy, including HB22-1381, sponsored by Rep. Brianna Titone, Rep. Hugh McKean, Sen. Faith Winter and Sen. Rob Woodward, and SB22-118, sponsored by Sen. Rob Woodward, Sen. Nick Hinrichsen, Rep. Richard Holtorf, and Rep. Donald Valdez.  SB22-051, sponsored by Sen. Emily Sirota and Rep. Chris Hansen, saves Coloradans money and reduces emissions, making it easier for homeowners and businesses to adopt high-efficiency heating and cooling technology. 

Gov. Polis will later sign the Colorado Election Security Act, sponsored by Sen. Stephen Fenberg, Sen. Kevin Priola, and Rep. Susan Lontine, bolstering election equipment security to preserve and protect Colorado’s gold standard for elections. The Governor will also sign HB22-1273, sponsored by Rep. Monica Duran, Rep. Emily Sirota, Sen. Stephen Fenberg, and Sen. Brittany Pettersen, protecting Colorado’s dedicated election officials and the bipartisan SB22-034, sponsored by Sen. Chris Kolker, Sen. Kevin Priola, Rep. Shannon Bird, and Rep. Shane Sandridge to provide critical support and protection for businesses, empowering business owners to report fraud and seek recovery without having to spend a businesses own resources to recover the loss. 

Later today, Gov. Polis will join bill sponsors to sign laws to empower Coloradans with disabilities. The bipartisan HB22-1031 sponsored by Rep. Brianna Titone, Rep. David Ortiz, Sen. Rachel Zenzinger, and Sen. John Cooke, equips wheelchair owners with the tools and resources needed to repair powered wheelchairs more efficiently and affordably. HB22-1290, sponsored by bipartisan legislators Rep. Brianna Titone, Rep. David Ortiz, Sen. Rachel Zenzinger, and Sen. Don Coram, cuts red tape to help ensure people on Medicaid can get timely repairs to complex rehab equipment. HB22-1253, sponsored by Rep. David Ortiz and Sen. Jessie Danielson, increases accessibility of rental cars by requiring rental companies to make the request for adaptive equipment an option on their website - opening the door for those who need this equipment to rent cars with greater ease.

Gov. Polis will also sign HB22-1297, sponsored by Rep. Cathy Kipp, Rep. Patrick Neville, Sen. Jeff Bridges, and Sen. Ray Scott, allowing Colorado to remain on Daylight Saving Time year round pending federal legislation and approval by four other Mountain Time states. 

Gov. Polis will then join bipartisan sponsors Sen. Stephen Fenberg, Sen. Ray Scott, Rep. Mike Weissman, and Rep. Perry Will, to sign SB22-198, which creates an industry-funded Orphaned Wells Mitigation Enterprise that will ensure that taxpayers aren’t left with the bill when it comes to cleaning up abandoned oil and gas wells. 

“The Commission, along with all stakeholders, has found an innovative solution for orphaned well sites that will ensure the protection of Colorado’s public health, safety, welfare, wildlife and the environment. By establishing an enterprise, these dedicated funds will allow for sites to be returned to use by communities rather than be potential hazards. We want to thank everyone involved in creating this pragmatic solution that allows for industry’s fees to be used to plug abandoned wells and sites, and improve our lands better than how we found it,” said Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission Chair Jeff Robbins. 

“I am really proud of this legislation and the 8 years of work and consensus building that led to it. Colorado has created a proactive, long-term solution that will address orphan wells. Moving forward, we know that Colorado, because of its operators, local governments, and engaged citizens, will have the resources to properly address plugging of orphan well sites and ensure that these can be returned to the community for their use. Thank you to all the stakeholders involved in this effort to ensure we are able to reclaim these sites, reduce pollution and protect Colorado’s resources,” said Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission Director Julie Murphy.    

To conclude today’s bill signings, Gov. Polis will sign HB22-1244, sponsored by Rep. Chris Kennedy, Rep. Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez and Sen. Julie Gonzales, to protect communities against toxic air contaminants. This legislation will increase protections for low income and communities of color that are historically disproportionately impacted by air pollutants.