Rep. Rod Pelton reflects on 1st year in General Assembly
Republican Rep. Rod Pelton is the first lawmaker from Cheyenne Wells to represent northeastern Colorado since 1960 and only the third from Cheyenne County in more than a century. (If you’re wondering who preceded him, see below.)
Pelton, a former Cheyenne County commissioner, reflected on what his first year — by all accounts a successful one — in the General Assembly was like and what he looks forward to next year.
Pelton was one of 24 first-year lawmakers in the House, seven Republicans and 17 Democrats, and in a chamber with more women (33) than men (32) for the first time in state history.
Pelton showed his chops for representing rural Colorado, especially the Eastern Plains, during the session.
That started with appointments to three committees: Rural Affairs (later renamed Rural Affairs & Agriculture, after rural lawmakers fussed that ag was getting short shrift); Appropriations, and Public Health Care & Human Services.
The bills he sponsored in 2019 reflected his interests in agriculture and behavioral health. Five House bills with Pelton’s prime sponsorship went to Gov. Jared Polis for signing, including House Bill 1132, which incentivizes schools to buy Colorado produce. That bill was signed into law Wednesday, May 15.
Pelton’s other successes include House Bill 1162, which extended the state sales and use tax exemption on ear tags and ear tagging equipment and which won unanimous approval from the General Assembly. House Bill 1193 expands eligibility for high-risk pregnant women and new mothers in a state substance abuse disorder program. The bill also requires the Department of Human Services to set up a childcare program for those women so that they can continue treatment. That bill also won unanimous support from the General Assembly and awaits Polis’ signature.
Another measure that Pelton pointed to from the 2019 session: House Bill 1259, which provides funding from a trust fund for endangered species conservation. The bill taps $3.9 million for those projects, with the biggest chunk — $1.9 million — dedicated to the Platte River Recovery Implementation Program. Four species have been identified for protection in the Platte: the bird species Piping Plover, Least Term and Whooping Crane, and the Pallid Sturgeon. Polis signed House Bill 1259 on Friday, May 17.
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