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Wildfire, flood legislation, first bills of year

New Senators highlight new legislative session

DENVER - Proposals providing tax relief for people who lost their properties during the September floods and incentives for wildfire mitigation are among the first bills of the Colorado legislative session.

The first House bill of the year would reimburse property taxes for people whose properties were destroyed during flooding last year. Another bill seeks to expedite the repair of irrigation ditches damaged by the floods by allowing people to bypass water court to begin work immediately.
Lawmakers also want to create a tax credit for homeowners who conduct fire mitigation on their properties.
The 2014 legislative session started Wednesday. About 25 bills were introduced in the Senate late in the afternoon. Around 75 House bills were introduced throughout the day.

Southern Colorado Republicans who have public backlash to thank for their seats say they are hopeful that they can work in a bipartisan fashion to tackle a number of issues -- from job creation to helping families save money.

"The economy is terrible and we just need to do what we can to help people," said Sen. George Rivera of Pueblo.

Rivera also said he has an obligation to repeal the gun reforms that led to the historic recall that ousted Sen. Angela Giron in September.

Sen. Bernie Herpin is taking over for last year's State Senate President John Morse.  On Wednesday, a bill was introduced that Herpin co-sponsored that  would repeal the 15-ammo limit on gun magazines passed last year.

Overall though, Herpin said he sees Republicans and Democrats working together on a number of issues.

"Democratic and Republican leaders both talked about working together for the betterment of Colorado," said Herpin. "Maybe trying to put aside some of the political differences evident last session, and I'm enthused by that."

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