Valdez looks back on legislative year

ALAMOSA — “It was a very good session and I think we accomplished a lot,” District 62 Rep. Donald Valdez said in a phone interview on Friday.

The Colorado General Assembly accomplished a lot earlier this year, such as passing Senate Bill 17-267, but the freshman lawmaker is especially satisfied of bills he was personally involved with.

Valdez sponsored six bills in the House that all became law, with the last being signed by Governor John Hickenlooper on May 22. He’s proud of all of them and doesn’t have a particular favorite.

Hose Bill 17-1019, titled “Property Tax Redemption Third Party Costs,” was brought to Valdez by country treasurers. He is glad that he was able to help them save money by making cost collection easier.

He is also pleased with HB17-1094, “Telehealth Coverage Under Health Benefit Plans.” The bill modifies an existing statute to make sure telehealth remains available and doesn’t affect in-person services.

“It’ll benefit individuals that can’t make it to their doctor on a regular scheduled basis,” said Valdez. “That’s a great bill.”

Valdez also sponsored SB17-117, “Recognize Industrial Hemp Agricultural Product for Agricultural Water Right.” This bill makes it easier for those who have agriculture water rights to grow hemp either commercially or for research and development purposes.

“Utilizing hemp for agriculture is absolutely great. It’s another cash crop for our farmers in the San Luis Valley.”

Since the session wrapped up in May, Valdez has been attending meetings with the public and community leaders to see what he can work on for next year. He has also been touring local jails and talking with officials to plan a solution for drug and heroin use issues.

“It’s an issue that I see throughout our communities and southern Colorado.”

The session picks up again on January 10, 2018. “I’m eager to return back and run for reelection in 2018.”