The 2018 Colorado State Legislative session kicks off Wednesday in Denver, and Eagle County’s new state Rep. Dylan Roberts on Tuesday announced three of the five bills he’s allowed to introduce this session.
Roberts, an Eagle County deputy district attorney who was selected by a Democratic vacancy committee to replace former Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush, will first focus on runaway insulin prices, clean water and a rural district attorney fellowship program.
Mitsch Bush quit her House District 26 seat [Eagle and Routt counties] last year to pursue the Democratic Party nomination to run against 3rd U.S. Congressional District Republican Scott Tipton.
Also on Tuesday, state House Democratic leadership announced committee assignments, and Roberts replaces Mitsch Bush on some key committees.
Here’s a list of Roberts’ first three bills from a press release he put out on Tuesday:
1. Insulin Price Transparency Act of 2018
In Colorado and across the country, the price of insulin has been increasing at enormous rates despite any significant advancement in the actual product. For example, a vial of insulin that cost $21 in 1996 now costs $250. That is a 1200% increase. Those afflicted with Type 1 Diabetes (an unpreventable disease) and many with Type 2 Diabetes need multiple doses of insulin every day to survive.
My bill will ask a simple question with regard to the price increases: why? If passed, consumers will get an explanation as to what is going in to these price increases.
Roberts then pointed to recent news coverage of his proposed bill:
Insulin costs draw statehouse scrutiny; Rep. Dylan Roberts to demand price transparency via Vail Daily
State Rep. Dylan Roberts plans to introduce bill to bring transparency to insulin prices in Colorado via Colorado Politics
Cost of Insulin to be Debated by Colorado Lawmakers (with video interview) via KDVR
2. Protecting Clean Water
I am very excited to introduce a bill that will make sure that water quality is always the first priority when mines are being shut down by their operators. I am currently working on bringing together a large coalition of supporters from many perspectives to advocate for this common-sense measure.
3. Rural District Attorney Fellowship
Too many of our rural District Attorney’s offices do not have the financial resources to attract talented young attorneys to join their offices and serve their communities. My bill will expand on an existing fellowship program that helps partially fund the salary of attorneys from Colorado law schools who chose to move to a rural area and serve our state in offices that need their help.
Roberts then went on to describe his other top priorities:
I am continuing to finalize other bills as well as work with my collegues on both sides of the aisle with their bill ideas. As I do this, I am keeping in mind the some of the most crucial issues that the people of House District 26 are facing. These include:
Here’s a press release on committee assignments from the Colorado House Democrats:
(Jan. 9) – Speaker Crisanta Duran announced changes this morning to House committee assignments for the 2018 legislative session.
Replacing the departed Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush as chairwoman of the Transportation & Energy Committee is Rep. Faith Winter, D-Westminster, who had been vice chairwoman. The new vice chairwoman is Rep. Barbara McLachlan, D-Durango. Rep. Dylan Roberts, D-Eagle, joins the committee to replace Rep. Mitsch Bush.
Chairman of the Local Government Committee is Rep. Jonathan Singer, D-Longmont, and the vice chairman is Rep. Tony Exum, D-Colorado Springs. They replace Reps. Steve Lebsock, D-Thornton, and Paul Rosenthal, D-Denver.
Vice chairwoman of the Agriculture, Livestock & Natural Resources Committee is Rep. Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo, replacing Rep. Mitsch Bush. New to the committee are Reps. Roberts and Dominique Jackson, D-Aurora, replacing Rep. Lebsock.
Rep. Roberts also joins the Health, Insurance & Environment Committee, which becomes a 13-member committee in 2018. House committee leadership and majority caucus appointments are at the sole discretion of the speaker of the House. The 2018 session begins Wednesday.
Meanwhile, on the Senate side of the General Assembly, Vail Democrat Kerry Donovan has her initial sights set on stimulating the Western Slope economy with better rural broadband. Here’s some information on that policy push from her Facebook page on Tuesday:
Today’s joint House and Senate meeting highlighted rolling out brobadband in rural CO – many of the ideas I’ve been working on are being adopted by the Governor’s office and have bi-partisan support. Colorado is a place where we take care of our neighbors and having broadband from corner to corner is a critical next step for our state. It is one of my top priorities for this year’s session.
*A community’s ability to compete & prepare for the future hinges on broadband. Access to high-speed broadband is critical & essential. Students can access online learning resources or professionals can earn additional certificates Doctors can share information via telemedicine & small-businesses can ultimately increase their bottom line. And everything from filing taxes to applying for hunting licenses requires a reliable internet line. But this isn’t an option in some cases as broadband has not come to the doorstep of many of our rural homes, schools, and businesses. That is why I’ll keep telling the story of our communities & making sure the Capitol focuses on finding a funding solution for broadband deployment
*I believe that the issue of broadband accessibility is a matter of fairness. Many of my constituents simply do not have access to this utility that has become almost as integral to business success as electricity.
*Recently the FCC repealed rules that insure an open internet and that all internet sites, be they the smallest store front or the largest warehouse, be treated equally. I believe an open internet is not an extravagance but a footing on which our daily lives begin and end. That’s why I asked our AG to join other states in pushing back against DC & maintain an open internet.
*My efforts have revolved around moving money that currently subsidizes telephone lines to support broadband deployment in unserved parts of the state. For quality of life, for allowing communities to chart their own pathway forward, for economic diversification, & for our neighbors, we must wire all of Colorado & we must make it a priority.