Public access radio that connects community members to one another and the world
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
The next KDNK Board of Directors meeting takes place Monday, May 20th at 5:30 PM. Click here for more information.

Legislative session preview: Senator Dylan Roberts

State Senator Dylan Roberts
Courtesy photo
State Senator Dylan Roberts

With the 2024 legislative session beginning on Wednesday, January 10th, KDNK decided to reach out to legislators that serve where our listeners live. KDNK’s Hattison Rensberry asked about their main priorities for this session. Here is State Senator Dylan Roberts, who represents the 8th District.

"Roberts: I am really excited and looking forward to building off a lot of the work we've been doing the last couple of years, and I think we can make more progress on these important priorities, specifically on my two issue priority areas, which are around affordability, specifically as it relates to housing and promoting our local workforce, and then secondly, water and protecting our state's precious water resources on the housing front.
Over the last few years, we've been able to make some pretty historic and significant progress. Financial investments from the state level that have now starting to get distributed to communities across the state, including many on the Western slope. And we're starting to see a lot of affordable housing projects break ground that in the next few years are going to house hundreds, if not thousands of families across our region.
And so that's very exciting and, you know, something that I've been working on tirelessly to make sure we can protect the folks that work in our communities and make sure they can live close to where they work, whether they're teachers, police officers, nurses, or folks that work in tourism or in our small businesses.
So what we need to continue doing now is focusing on the policy barriers that are getting in the way of more affordable and attainable housing for people in our region. So there are some bills that are going to be focusing on that during this upcoming legislative session.

And one bill that I have written and I'm going to introduce on the first day is a bill that will help property owners, both residential and commercial, with their property taxes. It will allow counties and cities to create property tax rebate programs that will be available to homeowners or commercial property owners that rent to a long term tenant rather than do a short term rental. And so if you're renting to somebody who works in our communities and is going to be there for a while. You as the landlord are going to be able to get a long term property tax rebate or deduction for making that decision rather than putting your unit on short term rental platform. This also could allow property tax rebates for landlords of commercial properties that decide to lease to a child care provider or to a behavioral health, mental health clinic or other things that the community really needs by us passing. This bill will give counties and municipalities the ability to do that. I think it could make a difference on the margins for creating more available housing stock as well as other entities that we want to encourage in our area.

We're also working on legislation that is going to help every community better plan So this is a bill that would give financial resources to every community for them to conduct housing needs assessments to get a real grapple, a real handle on what they need in their community as far as housing for their workforce and for people that need to live in the community to keep it running and then they'll submit those to the state and the state is going to be able to set strategic growth goals and provide the assistance and the help to meet those goals, but also help us plan regionally And encourage more collaboration amongst various towns in similar regions so that we can look at this more holistically than just town by town or county by county.

And then in the other topic, I brought up water as a state senator for part of the Western Slope. My constituents and I fully know that water is our most precious resource, and due to the ongoing drought that we're facing in the West, and what is likely to be hotter, drier summers into the future, we need to protect our water.

And we've passed some bills in the last few years that are doing that. We've also have some ideas that we can work on this year to continue that. The Colorado River Drought Task Force, which was created by a bill that I passed last session, worked all summer and fall, um, traveling the state, having long meetings, coming up with really good ideas, and they've just made their recommendations a few weeks ago, and so we're looking forward to taking their recommendations and turning those into piece of legislation so that we can change water policy to encourage more conservation and protection of agricultural water rights and outdoor recreation, as well as hopefully increase our funding support for water projects across the state.

Rensberry: Who are you most excited to collaborate with on this session?

Roberts: I'm really excited to continue working with my Western Slope colleagues. Those are probably the first folks I think of with that question. People like Senator Perry Will, Representative Elizabeth Velasco, Representative Megan Lukens, and Speaker Julie McCluskie.
We all represent the Western Slope in the mountain communities, in the agriculture communities in our region. And even though we come from different parties, we have to work together to stand up for the Western Slope because there are so many more. front range legislators than there are us that come from the western slope.
And so in order to advocate for our constituents needs and our part of the state, we all have to band together and we've done that in the past. And then secondly, a lot of the ideas that I get for bills come from constituents of mine. News come from meetings that I've had. since we've been out of session at coffee shops or at the post office or just running into folks at different events and they come to me and they say, here's a problem I'm having and it's always such a joy to turn their idea into a bill and then get it passed so that we can fix that problem that's specific to that person or to a community.
And so working with my constituents to bring their ideas down to the Capitol is, is something I'm looking forward to."

Each of the legislators encouraged constituents to contact their offices with questions or needs, and the full set of interviews are available on KDNK.org.

Hattison Rensberry has a Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design and Drawing, but has worked for newsrooms in various capacities since 2019.
She also provides Editorial Design for the Sopris Sun.