January Policy Update: The 2017 Legislative Session Gets Moving

Critical Items

TAKE ACTION: Urge Legislators to Prioritize Walking and Biking Infrastructure in Transportation Funding

Send a Message to Your Legislators Today!

An August 2016 study concluded that there is a need for an investment of $1 billion a year over the next 25 years to ensure that Coloradans have good access to adequate sidewalks, safe bicycle infrastructure and good transit services. If you believe funding for walking, biking and transit must be included in any proposal the legislature refers to voters- take action here.

Save the Date: LiveWell Colorado’s Day at the Capitol

As the legislative session kicks in to gear, we are finalizing plans for the 2017 LiveWell Day at the Capitol. This year’s event will be held on April 5th at the Colorado State Capitol and will feature a breakfast for our partners, a meet-and-greet lunch with legislators, and a program in the Old Supreme Court Chambers. Watch your emails for more information!

State Policy Update

The first day of Colorado’s 71st General Assembly was Wednesday, January 11. Opening speeches from the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House set the tone for their party’s agenda and priorities. On Thursday, Governor Hickenlooper delivered his seventh State of the State Address, providing his two cents worth on the legislative issues important to the executive chamber. With Democrats in control of the House of Representatives (six vote majority) and Republicans in control of the Senate (one vote majority), this session will prove to be a slug fest with Democratic Governor Hickenlooper holding the veto pen The General Assembly’s web site is a great source of information including legislator contact information, committee assignments, schedules, and calendars and journals of each day’s work.

Transportation Funding

Transportation funding is one of the top issues for the legislature this session. Speaker of the House Crisanta Duran (D-Denver), Senate President Kevin Grantham (R-Canon City), and Governor John Hickenlooper (D-Denver) all included the need to work together in a bipartisan fashion to address the needs of our deteriorating transportation system. Over the past several months, LiveWell Colorado has been working hard with a coalition of walk, bike and transit partners to ensure that funding pedestrian and bike infrastructure as well as transit services is included with specified funding on any measure the General Assembly refers to the voters in either 2017 or 2018.

An August 2016 study conducted by the Colorado Public Interest Research Group (CoPIRG) and the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) concludes that there is a need for $1 billion a year over the next 25 years to ensure that Coloradans have good access to adequate sidewalks, safe bicycle infrastructure and good transit services

Colorado Food Systems Advisory Council

Healthy food access comprises one of the cornerstones of LiveWell Colorado’s goal to develop a sustainable, equitable, health promoting food system. To further that aim, we will be introducing a bi-partisan legislative proposal to create a statewide platform from which food system planning and various healthy food access initiatives can be launched. The policy proposal, which is in the final stages of drafting, expands the scope and reach of the Colorado Food Systems Advisory Council (COFSAC) through the integration of the Farm to School Task Force and the provision of staffing for the Council. The legislation requires COFSAC to work to improve interagency collaboration and the use of technology to develop a more user friendly system for producers and nutrition program participants (e.g. food stamps), so participants can access fresh fruits and vegetables through direct markets and innovative retailers.

SB17-098 Introduced

Senate Bill 17-098 seeks to protect the rights of mobile home owners in mobile home parks and creates an alternative dispute resolution mechanism for tenants seeking redress of grievances against the park owners. Moreover, the bill also creates a mechanism by which tenants can form an HOA and, upon sale of the property, be afforded the opportunity to purchase the park from the current owners. LiveWell is in the early stages of developing an advocacy strategy for this bill and has begun reaching out to stakeholders for feedback on what the bill might been for mobile home residents and how it might be improved.

Federal Policy Update

Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR)

For those of you who have been eagerly awaiting the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act (CNA), it turns out you will have to wait a bit longer – probably at least two years after the mid-term elections, if not more. Word out of Washington, as we transition to a new administration, is that Congress will be fairly busy with health care and tax reform, leaving little time to revisit the Child Nutrition Act

Farm Bill

The federal farm bill is a massive legislative package determines how our food and farming systems function. The bill impacts farming, how food is grown and what types of food is grown. Importantly, this legislation also addresses access to safe and nutritious food and enables the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to further expand markets for agricultural products at home and abroad, strengthen conservation efforts, create new opportunities for local and regional food systems, and provide a dependable safety net for America’s farmers, ranchers and growers. LiveWell is primarily focused pieces of the bill that contain funding or programs that allocate resources to low-income communities and communities of color. Importantly, funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps) is contained within the nutrition title. We are in the process of developing our specific policy positions and will share our advocacy platform as soon as it’s finalized.