With the legislative session about two months away, State Senator Kerry Donovan is preparing her legislative agenda. She represents Pitkin, Eagle and other Western Slope counties. This session, she says finding ways to provide internet in rural areas will be a top priority. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.
Donovan, a democrat, points to the 20-plus communities where voters weighed in on broadband internet service in this fall’s election. In Pitkin County, 92 percent of voters allowed an opt out of a state law that prevents the county from pursuing ways to provide better service.
"Broadband is a fairness issue in today’s environment and society. There’s still a lot of our state that still does not have broadband."
The senator from Vail says now that many communities are free from the law, the challenge is finding money.
"I think a lot of the state will still have issues solving broadband access because of the scale of the dollar amounts that accompany broadband solutions."
She hasn’t refined details, but she’d like to craft a bill that finds ways for communities to get state dollars for broadband projects. She also wants to modernize Senate Bill 152 - the bill so many communities opted out of.
She rattles off several ideas for bills she’s exploring for the upcoming session...
"Tiny homes - wading into that issue and seeing if the state can make that permissive to do. I’m looking at a somewhat unique circumstance a lot of middle class families are finding themselves in, where they’re supporting an elder while they’re supporting their kids. I want to see if there’s a way to acknowledge that economic situation with a credit or deduction."
And that’s just the half of it:
"I’m also looking at data centers. Data centers are one of our biggest energy users. Big companies like Google, have done a lot of work on simple measures to decrease data use. I want the government to follow their lead to make sure our data centers are efficient as well. And, I’m looking at a bill that would allow hunters to wear blaze pink. Colorado statute says you can only wear blaze orange. Hunting is an important economic driver in my communities and one of the only areas of growth is with women hunters. So, if we can get a few more women interested in hunting, that could be fun as well."
Donovan can only carry a handful of bills, so some of those ideas may not come to fruition. The legislative session starts on January 13th.
Donovan was in Aspen Thursday (11/5), speaking with elected officials and citizens.