Gov. Polis makes Fishers Peak official state park, helps rural communities with latest bill signings

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COLORADO SPRINGS — Governor Jared Polis made multiple stops across Colorado on Monday to sign off on numerous bills for the state.

Gov. Polis signed the first few bills at Fire Station 8 in Colorado Springs. He spoke about SB20-057-Fire Prevention & Control Employee Benefits, which provides wildland firefighters benefits for circulatory conditions in connection with a stressful or strenuous activity that took place while responding to an emergency. It also provides benefits for certain kinds of cancers to employees of the Division of Fire Prevention and Control, who respond to wildfires in Colorado.

“I want to thank Colorado’s firefighters for their brave work every single day – putting themselves at risk so the rest of us can sleep a little bit easier,” Gov. Polis said.

He also signed HB20-1119-State Government Regulation Of Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances, and SB20-026-Workers’ Compensation For Audible Psychological Trauma.

HB20-1119 sets stringent guidelines for the testing and use of PFAS-based firefighting foam in order to protect firefighters and prevent the chemicals from entering Colorado’s groundwater sources. The bill also requires the state to certify and register every facility that possesses, tests or uses PFAS fire fighting substances.

“You can only get the certificate by showing they can safely store use capture and clean the foam from further contamination,” Rep. Tony Exum, D-Colorado Springs said.

“What’s important is that if toxic foam is being used, there’s a cleanup procedure around that to prevent it from contaminating the water sources we live or the area the workers might go in,” Gov. Polis added.

SB20-026, which was also signed Monday, will provide workers compensation to crisis response professionals who audibly witness death or serious bodily injury or the immediate aftermath of those events.

Prior to this new law, those diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of audible trauma were not eligible.

“This bill (SB20-026) helps the first responders who answer 911 calls and the horrible things happening to get the need when it becomes too much to handle,” said Exum, a co-sponsor of the bill.

Governor Polis went to Pueblo and signed a few bills at Musso Farms including: HB20-1184-Sunset Colorado Seed Act, SB20-002-Rural Economic Development Initiative Grant Program, SB20-030-Consumer Protections For Utility Customers, and HB20-1229-Peace Officers Standards and Training Board Scholarship Rural And Small Law Enforcement.

Later in the day, an announcement was made (SB20-003) in Trinidad, where Polis said a new state park which will be located at Fishers Peak.

According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Fishers Peak property was purchased in February 2019 through a collaboration between the City of Trinidad, The Nature Conservancy, the Trust for Public Land, Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) and Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW). In April 2020, CPW acquired the property and will develop Colorado’s next state park.

Gov. Polis also signed HB20-1403-Colorado Water Conservation Board Construction Fund Project and SB20-201-Species Conservation Trust Fund Projects.

Also in Pueblo, Gov. Polis signed off on HB20-1366-Higher Education Funding Model, HB20-1109-Tax Credit Employer Contributions to Employee 529s, SB20-095-Middle School Students Concurrent Enrollment Information, and HB20-1424, Social Equity Licensees In Regulated Marijuana.

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