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Fed Land Control, I-70 Tread Bills Debated At The Capitol As Time Ticks Down

KUNC File Photo

As the state Legislature enters the home stretch, lawmakers recently debated a measure to study whether to transfer federal lands to the state. Another bill aimed at relieving congestion on Interstate 70 heading through the mountains also became contentious. There's not much time left for these debates, the annual session ends May 6.

In the roundtable to discuss these bills are statehouse reporters Peter Marcus with The Durango Herald and Joey Bunch with The Denver Post.

Capitol Conversation Highlights

On The I-70 Tire Tread Measure

Joey Bunch, Denver Post: "Mostly what it would have done is required the [Colorado Department of Transportation] to turn on the signs warning people that they need adequate tires or chains to go into the mountains, where now CDOT does that on a voluntary basis."

"The bill eventually got turned into a study with the Senate couldn't agree with the version the House passed."

"The issue is only getting worse. But now it's a study, and people who have been meeting on this for months feel like they're going to wait another year to get any resolution."

On Federal Land Switching To The State

Peter Marcus, Durango Herald: "It's a narrative from a national movement which a lot of people believe is steeped in conservative politics, to switch lands from federal to state control."

"One would create a commission to look at the possibility of transferring those lands. Another bill would deal with clarifying jurisdiction over federal lands so that Colorado could have more of a voice."

"The Senate Republicans have really been trying to push this effort … and on the other side you have the sportsmen and conservationists saying we can't have this. It's really no good for the people in Colorado."

Bente Birkeland has been reporting on state legislative issues for KUNC and Rocky Mountain Community Radio since 2006. Originally, from Minnesota, Bente likes to hike and ski in her spare time. She keeps track of state politics throughout the year but is especially busy during the annual legislative session from January through early May.
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