Senator Steve Fenberg | Current Legislation & Priorities
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Current Legislation & Priorities

“If we don’t fight hard enough for the things we stand for, at some point we have to recognize that we don’t really stand for them.”
― Paul Wellstone

I ran for State Senate District 18 not because I want to be somebody, but because I want to do something. You can count on me to remain a strong progressive voice at the Capitol and to stand up for what we believe in. This session I’ve already pursued legislation on the issues that matter most to us, including energy and student debt, and will remain committed to our progressive values as we move forward.

My Legislation

House Bill 17-1076

Artificial Recharge Nontributary Aquifer Rules

Concerning rule-making by the state engineer regarding permits for the use of water artificially recharged into nontributary groundwater aquifers.

House Bill 17-1081

Olympic Athletes Colorado In-state Tuition

Concerning authority to offer in-state tuition classification at state-supported institutions of higher education for athletes training in Colorado in programs approved by the United States olympic committee.

House Bill 17-1227

Electric Demand-side Management Program Extension

Concerning an extension of demand-side management goals for investor-owned utilities as set by the public utilities commission.

House Bill 17-1266

Seal Misdemeanor Marijuana Conviction Records

Concerning allowing persons who were convicted of misdemeanors for marijuana-related behaviors that are no longer illegal to petition for the sealing of criminal records relating to such convictions.

House Bill 17-1332

Teachers Nonpublic Child Care & Preschool Facility

Concerning state board of education authorization for an alternative teacher license for a person who participates in an alternative teacher program provided by a designated agency working with a nonpublic early child care facility.

Senate Bill 17-305

Primary Election Clean-up

Concerning modifications to select statutory provisions affecting primary elections enacted by voters at the 2016 statewide general election to facilitate the effective implementation of the state’s election laws, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation.

My Bills

Senate Bill 17-037

Measure Voter Service And Polling Centers Wait Times

Concerning data-gathering at voter service and polling centers in certain counties during each general election.

Senate Bill 17-086

Authorize Local Governments Inclusionary Housing Programs

Concerning a clarification that the statute prohibiting local governments from enacting local legislation that would control rent on private residential housing units does not prohibit local governments from adopting inclusionary housing programs.

Senate Bill 17-089

Creating a Right for Electric Utility Customers to Install Energy Storage

Concerning the rights of consumers of electricity to install electricity storage systems on their properties.

Senate Bill 17-145

Electric Utility Distribution Grid Resource Acquisition Plan

Concerning modifications to the electric utility resource acquisition process, and, in connection therewith, promoting a more resilient, reliable, and cost-effective electrical grid through enhanced planning and data transparency.

Senate Bill 17-147

Distribute Information Federal Loan Forgiveness

Concerning information relating to employee eligibility for student loan repayment and forgiveness programs.

House Bill 17-1156

Prohibits Conversion Therapy Mental Health Provider

Concerning a prohibition on conversion therapy by a licensed mental health care provider.

House Bill 17-1260

Contribution Limits For County Offices

Concerning the establishment of contribution limits under the ‘Fair Campaign Practices Act’ for candidates for county offices.

House Bill 17-1310

Residential Landlord Application Screening Fee

Concerning an application screening fee that a residential landlord charges a prospective tenant.

House Bill 17-1320

Age Of Consent Outpatient Psychotherapy For Minors

Concerning lowering the age of consent for minors seeking outpatient psychotherapy.

House Bill 17-1299

Transportation Legislation Review Committee Interim Hearing Electric Utility Energy Storage

Concerning a transportation legislation review committee hearing on the integration of energy storage into the electric resource planning process for public utilities.

House Bill 17-1321

Parks And Wildlife Financial Sustainability

Concerning the parks and wildlife commission’s authority to set certain charges assessed on people engaging in activities regulated by the division of parks and wildlife, and, in connection therewith, setting certain hunting, fishing, parks, and recreation fees and fines, creating an aquatic nuisance species sticker and associated fee structure, and requiring reporting by the division of parks and wildlife on fee amounts and the use of division-managed lands by nonconsumptive users.

My Priorities

Climate & Energy

The economic, moral, and environmental ramifications of climate change are not just something we read about anymore–they’re now something we experience on an all-too-regular basis in Boulder County and throughout our state. Whether it’s a 100-year flood that leaves utter destruction in its wake, forest fires which threaten habitats and residents’ homes, the Pine Beetle epidemic, or a shortage of snowpack, climate change is a problem that requires aggressive intervention by our government to solve. There’s a lot we can do as individuals, but even more that we can do together. I’ll fight for proactive solutions to address the systemic problems facing our community and planet right now:

  • Creating a statewide carbon tax and/or carbon cap in Colorado. It’s time we charge polluters to pay their fair share.
  • Increasing the renewable energy standard from 30% to at least 50% by 2030
  • Altering the stated purpose of regulatory agencies such as the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission and the Public Utilities Commission to prioritize consideration of carbon emissions and impact on land, water, and air.
  • Creating new incentives/requirements for private industry to accelerate investment in critical technologies such as energy battery storage, etc.
  • Expanding and protecting net metering, ensuring we promote distributed rooftop solar options for Coloradans.

Although fracking is not a separate issue from climate change, it’s important enough to receive its own parallel political and policy strategy. In many ways, Colorado is ground zero in the fight against the unsafe, destructive, and short-sighted fracking boom that we’re seeing in regions across the country. At the absolute minimum, we need stronger statewide regulations that effectively limit where, when, and how fracking can occur in our communities. However, I also think it’s imperative that we give more control to local communities to regulate fracking within their boundaries. Allowing private industry to take what they will without regard for a local community is against the ideals we stand for as Americans.

 

Economic Opportunity

Although Colorado’s economy has been and continues to be performing better than most states across the country, it’s clear that it’s still not working for all of us. We need an economy that benefits not just the wealthy, but everyone. The most critical change we need to make as a state is to untangle the fiscal knot created by restrictive policies such as TABOR. Aside from this, I’ll support further limiting the latitude of predatory lending institutions–whether it be payday lenders, private student loan companies, or banks. Our government shouldn’t be shy about cracking down on institutions and companies that make unfair profits off of the backs of the workers who allow our state to run each and every day of the year.

I’ll aggressively defend the rights of public and private workers to organize and collectively bargain for working conditions and wages. But, that’s not enough; it’s time we also raise the minimum wage statewide and allow municipalities to increase local minimum wages even higher. Further, nobody should fear losing their job or wages because of being sick. We need stronger requirements that allow workers to use paid sick days and have increased access to affordable childcare.

 

Access to a Quality Education

I believe the fundamental building block of a strong economy and a vibrant democracy is our public education system. However, Colorado ranks right near the bottom in terms of level of investment in k-12 and higher education. Although there are always going to be many areas for improvement in terms of evaluating outcomes, curriculum standards, etc., I think the absolute most pressing issue is increasing funding for our public schools so we can begin investing in more modern classrooms, paying our teachers competitive wages, and adequately funding not just the core, but also programs such as art, music, physical education, etc.

Further, higher education needs to not only be taken off the chopping block for budget cuts, but we need to double-down on the amount of public dollars available for further investment. If we continue to rely on only private dollars and repeated tuition increases, we’re only going to make higher education further and further out of reach from the average Coloradan. Runaway student loans with double-digit interest rates are not the answer and we need to make college more attainable for everyone.

 

Reproductive Rights & Women’s Health

One would think we wouldn’t still be having the conversation about a woman’s access to birth control and the right to make decisions about what’s best for her health and family. But, we are. And that’s why it’s even more critical to have strong voices in the legislature ready to stop conservative politicians from getting in between decisions best left to a woman and her doctor.

Further, we shouldn’t only be standing our ground, but also moving forward and expanding access to comprehensive birth control. For instance, the government should fund the successful and proven program that provides IUDs for low-income women in Colorado. This program is a no brainer–it saves money, reduces teen pregnancies, and reduces the number of abortions.

 

Equality & Justice

We’ve made huge strides in the past several years when it comes to treating LGBTQ individuals as equal, respected, and valuable members of our community. However, we must remember that this fight was never only about marriage. Discrimination is very much still a reality for many LGBTQ Coloradans and we need to be steadfast in supporting policies that create a more fair, just, and equal state for everyone, with an extra focus for Transgender Coloradans who often suffer the brunt of discrimination in the healthcare, criminal justice, and education systems.

Additionally, there are still too many racial disparities across our state. People of color make up too high of a portion of the prison population, suffer disproportionally from police brutality, and are much more likely to experience economic disparities. Policies to blunt the negative impacts of gentrification, to increase affordable housing, and to put in place real, tangible criminal justice reforms are in order to create a more fair and just state for everyone.