Senator Steve Fenberg | Newsletters
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Newsletters

15 Feb Update on Senate Business So Far

It’s been a busy few weeks at the Capitol with committee hearings already going late into the evening and all four of my introduced bills moving quickly through the legislative process.

Some Bad News

Just yesterday, the Senate State Affairs Committee, on which I sit, voted on 11 bills, including suicide prevention in schools, establishing an opioid overdose prevention facility, and repealing the permit requirement for gun owners to conceal-carry in public. After the 8-hour long committee, children and our public health were put on the back-burner by a party-line vote, but rolling back gun safety measures was unfortunately fast-tracked through committee.

On the Bright Side…

On the bright side, all of my introduced bills so far have either passed all the way through the Senate or have been given initial approval in committee!

Community Tour
Tonight!
Finkel & Garf Brewing Co.
5455 Spine Rd | Boulder
6pm-7:30pm


Town Hall
with Maj Leader Becker & Rep Hooton

Thurs, Feb 22nd
Twisted Pine Brewing Co.
3201 Walnut St | Boulder
5:30pm-7pm
RSVP here

To keep up-to-date on other bills of importance, such as the bill to ban bump stocks, and more events around Boulder County, sign up for texts from my team. We will keep you in the loop on what’s happening at the Capitol and in the district.

Onward,

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08 Feb My First Bill Passes the Senate!

Residential Energy Storage Passes the Senate!

Today my bill with Sen Kevin Priola passed the Senate chamber with a strong bipartisan vote. The bill declares the right of consumers to install & use residential electric energy storage without unfair burdens. By removing barriers, it enables Coloradans to more easily incorporate energy storage at home, which enhances the reliability and efficiency of the electric grid, saves money, and reduces the need for additional electric generation facilities. The bill now moves to House committee before it heads to the House floor for a full vote.

My Next Two Bills

Ensuring Financial Sustainability of Colorado Parks & Wildlife
Colorado Parks and Wildlife cannot withstand more internal cuts–a long-term solution is needed. By creating a more sustainable financial structure for CPW, SB143 raises revenue to keep pace with inflation. Without modest fee increases, outdoor recreation programs and conservation projects will remain at risk. Go here to learn more about the effort.

Ensuring Ex-Felons’ Right to Vote
Did you know that ex-felons regain the right to vote in Colorado once off paper? Yeah, neither do they. SB150 aims to change that by not only preregistering parolees to vote but also educating persons on parole and probation on their voting rights. It seeks to re-enfranchise an historically marginalized group.

A young Democrat myself, I joined the newly formed Boulder County Young Democrats to celebrate making it a year under the current presidency. To learn more about the group, go here.

In Committee

The start of the session has already brought intense emotions to committee testimony that were received by an unmoved Republican audience. Two bills that would improve road safety were struck down by the Republican majority even after families, motorcyclists and bicyclists, and experts offered distressing testimony, from stories on the loss of loved ones to the unequivocal statistics supporting the bills.

Further, three bills on reigning in the oil & gas industry were heard, and subsequently rejected by the Republicans. From allowing cities and counties to deny fracking (if they see fit) to requiring fossil fuel companies to pay for the damages and clean-up of spills and abandoned wells, the bills received overwhelming testimony support. But, again, it fell upon deaf ears and all three lost on a party-line vote.

I have a ton of events coming up across the district, from South Boulder to Niwot. Feel free to sign up for texts to learn more about them and to get updates on important bills as they move through the legislature.

Onward,

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18 Jan Expanding Opportunity

Expanding Opportunity for Refugees & Immigrants

With the recent disparaging remarks about immigrants coming from President Trump, I wanted to do something to fight back against hate and racism here at home. That’s why I’m especially excited to announce my second bill of 2018: allowing refugees and special visa immigrants in Colorado to pay in-state tuition rates for college.

By allowing in-state tuition instead of expensive out-of-state rates for refugees and Special Immigrant Visa holders, the bill ensures that Colorado is a welcoming and supportive community for those who now call Colorado home. Whether they’re a refugee from a war-torn region or have been given a Special Immigrant Visa after serving as a translator for the U.S. in Iraq and Afghanistan and now fear retribution, they deserve the opportunity to work hard and pursue a degree to further contribute to the Colorado economy.

Unfortunately, Senate Republican leadership already assigned the bill to the State Affairs Committee, where most bills receive a party-line vote. However, I’m not backing down; I plan to ensure this bill serves as a message of not just acceptance, but active support of immigrants and refugees during a time of hostility coming out of Washington D.C. and around the world. 

Today, we state loud and clear: immigrants and refugees have a place in our Colorado story.

Community Tour 2018!

In addition to full town halls, I will be doing a “community tour” by setting up tables at breweries, coffee shops, and local businesses around the district to have one-on-one conversations with constituents.

First stop on the tour is Upslope at Flatiron Park on Tuesday, January 30thCome by for good conversation (and a beer or two!). RSVP here.

To stay up-to-date on this bill and others, sign up for texts from my team. We’ll keep you informed and let you know how you can get involved.

Onward,

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12 Jan My Firsts of 2018

My Firsts of 2018

 

First Bill
On Opening Day, I reintroduced last session’s effort to expand clean energy access through residential utility storage, i.e. batteries, through my first bill of 2018. The bill creates the right for homeowners to install and connect battery systems without overly-restrictive regulations by utility companies. By establishing it as a right, it will reduce barriers to installing electric storage systems and will significantly increase the rate of adoption. With bipartisan sponsorship and support, it was assigned to the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Energy Committee where it will hopefully receive a fair shot this time around. If passed, Colorado will become the first state to declare it as a right for consumers to install storage systems on their property!

 

First Town Hall

On Monday, January 15th I will join Majority Leader KC Becker and Representative Edie Hooton at Sanitas Brewing (3550 Frontier Rd, Boulder) for our first town hall of the legislative session. A panel discussion on consumer protection starts at 5:30pm and then we open up the floor for questions on any and all issues. Come join us for good beer and an even better conversation. If you haven’t already, RSVP here. See you Monday!

Onward,

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08 Jan Kicking Off the 2018 Legislative Session Right

About next week…

The 2018 legislative session for the Colorado General Assembly kicks off on Wednesday, January 10th. After taking the past several months to meet with constituents and brainstorm new ideas, I’m excited to get working on our district’s progressive values at the Capitol again. With bills on diversifying clean energy options, improving fairness in health care, and expanding election access, I hope to put Colorado, and Coloradans, on a path of greater success.

Before we get started, I wanted to reach out and get ideas from you on what else I should prioritize this time around. While several of my bills were signed into law last year, others died on a party-line vote. I’ll be reintroducing some of those bills again, specifically a bill on bringing more residential battery storage options for Coloradans and a bill on bolstering Colorado Parks & Wildlife around the state. However, the best legislation ideas come from constituents and that’s why I want to hear from you!

Check out this post to hear more. You can provide feedback on what I should work on at the Capitol by posting a comment or just replying to this email.

FIRST TOWN HALL!
Who:
Sen. Fenberg, Maj. Leader Becker, & Rep. Hooton
What:
We’ll start with a presentation on consumer protection re: breaches like Equifax. We’ll then open it up to all questions!
When:
Monday, January 15th
5:30-7pm
Where:
Sanitas Brewing
RSVP here
Thank you for the continued support! Feel free to always be in touch and let me know how you’d like to be involved this upcoming legislative session and election season. There’s a lot of work to do, so let’s roll up our sleeves and get to it!

Onward,

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17 Jul Summer Break

So much for part-time

While we’re not officially in session right now, the summer has been dedicated to prepping for the next one. I’ve been meeting with stakeholders, local officials, constituents, and other community members in an effort to define my legislative priorities for the 2018 legislative session, which starts in January. Oh yeah, and I also got married, adopted a puppy, and have been spending weekends in the mountains at my small business in Silver Plume.

A “back-to-school” Town Hall
Last week, House Majority Leader KC Becker, State Representative Edie Hooton, and I held a town hall panel discussion on education. We invited experts from the Boulder Valley School District, Great Education Colorado, and the Department of Education to serve on the panel and discuss top concerns such as school finance, testing, and safetyStay in touch to know about our next town hall!
Coming up in Boulder
For those of you who haven’t already done so, you can buy tickets to the Truman Dinner here. The Truman Dinner supports the Boulder Democratic Party and celebrates its members and volunteers. The event includes a silent auction, prizes, and awards while confirming the Party’s mission to elect leaders and institute policies that reflect our Democratic values.
Friday, September 22nd
5:30-9:30PM MTBest Western Plaza
1850 Industrial Circle
Longmont, CO 80501Cost: $95
I teamed up with former state senator Jesse Ulibarri to reflect on the current redistricting proposal put forth by the falsely-claimed “bipartisan” effort. Underneath the guise, the coalition has obvious ulterior partisan motives and doesn’t present the best plan for tackling gerrymandering. To know more, check out our op-ed in the Daily Camera.

I’ve enjoyed receiving notes of encouragement and support over the summerabout last session, and am interested in hearing about what you want to see accomplished next year. Feel free to reply with the issues you care about most and any ideas you may have on how to tackle them.

Onward,

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09 May Week 15

Final Week of the Legislative Session

 

At the start of the week, I had eleven bills with each one at a different stage in the legislative process.

Now, after many committee hearings, a number of proposed amendments, hours of testimony, and countless debates, I’ve made it to the end of the week with one bill headed to the governor, another that passed the senate with bipartisan support, a few that passed out of committee, and several that died in committee.

 

 

On Monday, three of my bills were heard back-to-back and received a consistent party-line vote with the Republicans voting no.

House Bill 17-1310 would have made renting more accessible and affordablefor Coloradans by holding landlords and leasing companies accountable for the application fees they charge prospective tenants. With already limited affordable housing options, the bill would have helped individuals between housing put a roof over their heads without going into debt or falling behind financially.

House Bill 17-1260 would have applied the current laws for campaign contribution limits and rules on disclosure to county-level elected offices. Even with the support of county commissioners across the state, it died without much consideration by the Republican committee members.

House Bill 17-1320 would have made mental health resources, specifically talk therapy, more accessible to young adults by lowering the age of consent for outpatient psychotherapy. Colorado ranks 6th in the country for suicide, and if making a simple conversation with a mental health professional, like a school counselor, more available could save one life, I think it’s worth it. The Republicans didn’t and it died on a party-line vote.

 

In addition, I had a few bills heard in other committees.

House Bill 17-1259 would have closed a loophole in our campaign contributions laws. We need to uphold voter trust and increase transparency in our elections. Unfortunately, it died in committee on a party-line vote.

House Bill 17-1321, which would have ensured the sustainability of the Colorado Parks & Wildlife division, received hours of testimony in support, but died on a party-line vote. Our parks and wildlife are intrinsic to the state’s identity and way of life. Unfortunately, with the failure of the bill, some of our parks and reservoirs across the state are at risk of closing.

After being sent to the Finance committee with a death wish, House Bill 17-1227 passed with a 3-2 vote, but with new amendments that effectively gut the energy efficiency program. I hope the bill is changed on the senate floor next week to make sure the bill carries its original intent by extending the current energy efficiency standards and savings Coloradans millions of dollars.

 

 

Onward,

 

 

 

 

 

Steve Fenberg

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01 May Week 14

Playing Politics with 40,000 Jobs

 

“An Embarrassment to the Process”

With overwhelming support from both small businesses and large corporations across Colorado, my bipartisan bill, 17-1227, had the votes to pass the Senate Energy committee during its hearing this past Wednesday.

However, in a last-minute procedural move, the Republican leadership “re-routed” the bill out of the committee by sending it to the Finance committee where the Republican leadership knows they have the votes to kill it. 

By doing so, the Senate Republicans are threatening more than 40,000 Colorado jobs that rely on this program.

The bipartisan bill would have extended a 10-year-old program that requires utility companies to cut energy demand by 5% over the next decade, which not only saves Coloradans millions of dollars in energy costs each year but also contributes to tens of thousands of jobs. One of the supporters, the corporation Johns Manville, employs 500 Coloradans in Mesa County whose jobs rely on these energy management programs. Republican leadership put party politics before working families.

 

An Attack on Basic Rights

On a party-line vote, the Senate Republicans passed Senate Bill 17-281, which requires sanctuary cities to comply with federal policy on immigration, such as detaining undocumented persons in local jails. And if they don’t, the local officials like city council members and city employees can be held liable. What about local control?

I introduced an amendment that would have removed the loss of state funding for noncompliance; however, it was denied and if the bill were to pass in the House, so-called sanctuary cities would lose all state money, which puts our public safety, public health, roads, schools, etc. at risk.

 

I was joined by 4th graders from Friends’ School in Boulder this week! I learned some new jokes and how to put on a clip-on tie. Who knows, maybe one of them will fill my seat in the future.

I had the chance to speak at Colorado’s Go Code event at Google in Boulder this weekend. The program, housed at the Secretary of State’s office, brings tech developers together with our government to solve problems.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Final Two Weeks

Two of the bills that I’m running will be heard this Monday, May 1st in the Senate State Affairs committee.

The first, House Bill 17-1310, would hold leasing companies accountable by requiring that screening and application fees for prospective tenants actually reflect the true cost. In the House, it received hours of testimony in support and I hope that it’s given a fair hearing in State Affairs.

The second, House Bill 17-1260, places a limit on campaign contributions for county offices to make it consistent with other elected offices in the state. Even though it has support from county commissioners across the state, it passed the House on a party-line vote.

 

 

While this past week marking the loss of major bipartisan efforts, including the transportation funding bill, I hope that the next two weeks prove differently.

 

Onward,

Steve Fenberg

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24 Apr Week 13


 

United Against Hate

 

The Senate Democrats took a stand for Coloradans’ basic rights this week. It’s been great to see the Senate Democrats stand united, and to bring in a few of our colleagues from across the aisle to stand strong against hate. Senate Bill 17-283, which would have allowed private businesses to openly discriminate against customers whose beliefs they don’t agree with (remember the bakery case?), died on senate second reading. I’m proud of the Senate Democrats for taking down this discriminatory bill. As a state, we need to focus on moving forward, not backward, by defending, not stripping, the rights of all people.

 


 

The Senate Republicans introduced a bill at the start of session to repeal Colorado’s health insurance marketplace, Connect for Health Colorado. It’s now up for second reading discussion and a vote this Monday, April 24th, and we have the chance to once again come together in opposition to this regressive bill.

Hundreds of thousands of Coloradans depend upon our state’s healthcare exchange to access their health insurance options.

If it were repealed, Coloradans would have less access to affordable and quality options and lose the transparency of these insurance options that we have now.

 

Share this post on Facebook to voice your opposition!

 


 

Cutting Greenhouse Gas Emissions

 

Yesterday, a bipartisan bill that I’m running was heard in the senate energy committee. House Bill 17-1227 requires utility companies to cut energy demand by 5% over the next several years. This bill helps ensure better demand-side management and greater energy efficiency investments across the state. This bill has received a hugely positive response from Colorado press and enthusiastic support from companies and industries since the program contributes to millions of dollars in energy savings for consumers each year.


 

We hit the 100 day mark this week. From what I’ve heard, the last few weeks of session are always the busiest with everything coming down to the last minute. Stay engaged by following me on Facebook and Twitter and by signing up to receive texts from my team for direct actions to make your voice heard!

 
 
 
 

Onward,

Steve Fenberg

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17 Apr Week 12

The Final Push

Proud to report the governor signed HB17-1081, a bill I sponsored with Rep. Nordberg to make higher education more accessible to Olympic athletes in Colorado. Great to meet some of our state’s most successful Olympic athletes and the next generation of competitors!

In Committee Last Week

House Bill 17-1256
This bill would have simply clarified current statute that requires all new oil and gas operations to be at least 1,000 feet from school property. By making sure that drilling occurs at this distance from playgrounds, rather than just the schools’ front doors, this bill would have recognized our children’s health and safety without hurting the oil and gas industry. I voted yes on HB17-1256, but, unfortunately, it died in committee.

Senate Bill 17-283
At the start of the week, the state senate, with the support of the GOP, added LGBTQ people and people with disabilities to the anti-harassment statute to make it consistent with the anti-discrimination law. Then in Senate State Affairs committee, the Republicans flipped their stance with the introduction and passage of SB17-283, which basically makes it legal for private businesses to openly discriminate against the groups protected under these laws. This bill would legalize discrimination and protect businesses that deny service to anyone based on skin color, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, and more. Why are we wasting our time on a bill that, one, cannot coexist with current statute and, two, we know won’t hold up in court? I voted NO in committee and will continue to voice my opposition when it comes to the senate floor.

 

Fixing Budget Cuts: SB17-267

The state budget cuts funding for the Hospital Provider Fee, which refers to the program enacted after the expansion of Medicaid under the ACA to help support rural hospitals. A bipartisan effort in the state legislature offers a viable alternative that creates a state-run enterprise to ensure continued funding without the revenue limits imposed by TABOR. SB17-267 supports rural hospitals, allocates money to rural schools, secures money for transportation projects with a focus on small counties, and frees up money that can now be used for schools, health care, and transportation. I will be a yes vote.

 

Senate Bill 17-284

Last week, SB17-284, which limits women’s access to accurate and comprehensive health care and undermines their right to seek an abortion, was heard on the senate floor. Considered one of the mostanti-choice bills Colorado has ever seenthe bill was killed by a 16-19 vote from the uniting effort of the Democratic caucus.

 

Town Hall Tomorrow!

I’ll be joining the students and faculty of CU Boulderto cover topics such as student debt, the economy, equal rights, and clean energy.

Tues, April 18th
6:30-8:00pm

CU Boulder
Butcher Auditorium
3415 Colorado Ave
Boulder, CO 80303

RSVP to the Facebook event!

 

Onward,

Steve Fenberg

 

 

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