Special Session Wrap-Up

As many of you know, the special session that Governor Hickenlooper called to fix an error in a bill from last legislative session came to a premature end this past week.

The goal of the special session was to fix an error in Senate Bill 267, a bipartisan bill from the last session that prevented massive cuts to hospitals and provided funding for schools and roads around the state. However, an error was made in the bill that rendered special districts like RTD and the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD) unable to receive their share of marijuana sales tax revenues, shrinking their budgets. SCFD provides funding to cultural institutions all over the metro area, including everything from the Denver Zoo to the Museum of Nature and Science to organizations within HD 33 like the Broomfield Symphony Orchestra (and soon, the Butterfly Pavilion).

Although everyone at the Capitol agreed that this was an unintentional consequence of the bill that needed to be fixed, a solution was not agreed upon. The “fix” bill that was introduced in the Senate died in the Senate Transportation Committee, while the identical House version of the bill passed the House only to die in the Senate. I voted for the House bill both in committee and on the floor and was disappointed to see it eventually fail in the Senate.

Even though we were not able to arrive at a bipartisan solution during this whirlwind of a special session, that does not mean that we have lost all bipartisan momentum. As we legislators go back to our other jobs and responsibilities, I hope we all keep in mind those who are and will be affected by cuts to RTD, SCFD, and other special districts so we can come back in January and find common ground to fix this mistake. The rest of SB-267 is a bipartisan success, and that’s the mindset we need to find a solution.

Thank you to everyone who has reached out to me during the summer and fall with your ideas and concerns. Please continue to keep in touch and pass along your thoughts and ideas about our community and how our state government may better serve you.

Governor Comes to Broomfield to Sign Drivers License Law

This morning, I stood in the Broomfield courtroom where I first started as a prosecutor and watched as Governor Hickenlooper signed my most important bill of the session into law. Under current law, if a Coloradan fails to pay a traffic ticket, his or her driver's license will be suspended, and, after that, driving becomes a crime punishable by up to 6 months in jail. House Bill 1162 reduces that penalty to a minor traffic infraction so that no one is charged with a crime simply because they couldn't afford to pay a ticket. Thanks so much to Governor Hickenlooper and Representative Melton for coming to Broomfield today!

 

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End of Session Update

The 2017 Legislative Session has come to a close after a wild ride. While we accomplished many things, such as achieving construction defects reform and reclassifying the hospital provider fee, other key bills such as paid family leave and greater oil and gas protections failed. Here is a look at the highs and lows of the 2017 session.

Lows

A bipartisan transportation package, ultimately killed in the Senate Finance committee, would have asked voters to decide whether or not to increase sales tax to fund transportation projects throughout the state. Proponents pointed to a growing population, crumbling roads and a constricted state budget as to why we need more transportation funding. Others opposed a tax hike and urged a reprioritization of the state budget. Then, an attempt to bring paid family and medical leave to Colorado passed the House, but died in the Senate “kill committee.” I hope to see this issue raised again next year, and that a compromise can be reached in order to support Colorado families. Finally, several oil and gas bills were unsuccessful. An attempt to mandate oil and gas facilities be 1,000 feet away from schools met an untimely end, along with legislation to more closely regulate forced pooling and map flowlines. My amendment to the state budget to provide an additional air monitor for oil and gas sites was stripped out by the budget committee. I will continue to look for common sense solutions to the challenges oil and gas development poses to our community.

Highs

After several years of failed negotiations, a compromise on construction defects reform passed. The bill requires the approval of a majority of members of a HOA before the HOA board can initiate legal proceedings against a general contractor. Sponsors of the bill say that this is a step towards encouraging the construction of more condos and affordable housing options. Plus, a bill to reclassify the hospital provider fee from under the TABOR cap passed in a nail-biting finish. It will prevent massive cuts to hospitals, and provide funding for schools and roads around the state. I applaud the sponsors of this bipartisan compromise for the countless hours spent negotiating this important issue. My proudest accomplishment of the session was the passage of my bill to decriminalize failure to pay a traffic ticket.  Currently, if a person fails to pay a traffic ticket on time or fails to appear in court for the ticket, that person's driver's license can be suspended. Suspending a person's license can result in that person being unable to lawfully drive to work or take their kids to school. This bill repeals the use of license suspension as a penalty, and is a step towards decriminalizing poverty in Colorado.

After Session

I want to say thank you to everyone that took the time to stay active in their government this session. Your phone calls, emails, and letters helped me be a better Representative. I also enjoyed chatting with you at town hall meetings, in my office, and watching you testify in committee. During the interim, please be sure to continue to send me your ideas and concerns about our community. Don't be afraid to stay in touch.

Oil and Gas Updates

Friends and Neighbors,

Many of you may have heard, but some of you may have not, that there was an unimaginable tragedy in our neighbor Town of Firestone last month in which Joey Erwin and Mark Martinez were killed and Erin Martinez was critically injured when there was a violent explosion in the Martinez's home.

Today we learned from local authorities that these deaths were caused by an oil and gas pipeline that was supposed to be closed near a home.  The pipe was cut near the home and, thus, when the pipe was later activated the basement of the home was filled with odorless natural gas, which in turn led to the Martinez's basement being filled with gas.  (To read more, read the article here:http://www.denverpost.com/2017/05/02/firestone-explosion-cause-cut-gas-line/)

There are some important things to let you know:

(1) There are similar lines in our community. We have existing oil and gas wells within our community that are serviced by pipelines to move gas from those wells for use.

(2) There is no evidence that the circumstances that led to this tragedy exist in Broomfield, Erie or Superior at this time.

(3) The Governor of Colorado has taken action to make sure this risk is not shared in our communities by ordering all oil and gas operators to take the following actions:

* Inspect and pressure test existing oil and gas flowlines within 1,000 feet of occupied buildings to ensure integrity;

* Ensure that any lines that are not in use are properly marked and capped;

*Ensure all abandoned lines are cut below the surface and sealed.

To read more of the Governor's order, please click here:https://www.colorado.gov/governor/news/gov-hickenlooper-directs-review-statewide-oil-and-gas-operations-following-firestone-home

(4) For those of you who live in Broomfield, the City government has joined the Governor's call to be assured of what is happening locally.  For more information, see here:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1vO4yFlytAkUVwL_t63NfuKWDxBl87xgwAiY3JzxAUbE/edit

The Governor and Broomfield are right.  Something went terribly wrong here and two innocent people were killed as a result.  It's our job to make sure something like this never happens in our community.  

We must find out exactly what went wrong and fix it.  I will be working on this in the coming days, weeks, months and years and I hope you'll join me.

It's my honor to serve this community every day.

Matt

Updates from the State Capitol

We are in the final stretch of the legislative session with just about ten working days to go. I am grateful to have gained bipartisan support on several of my bills, several of which have been sent to the Governor to be signed into law.

 

Quite a few great pieces of legislation are still working their way through the process. A bill to increase the penalty for texting and driving from $50 to $300 passed the House and Senate and awaits action from the Governor. I supported this bill because it will incentivize drivers to keep their eyes off their phones and on the roads, discouraging distracted driving. Additionally, bipartisan leaders unanimously passed through the House a construction defects reform bill years in the making. The bill requires the approval of a majority of members of a homeowners association before the HOA board can initiate legal proceedings against a general contractor. Sponsors of the bill say that this is a step towards encouraging the construction of more condos and affordable housing options. Also, a resolution to change the minimum age from 25 to 21 to run for state office passed the Senate and will be debated in the House. If passed, the measure will go to the ballot in 2018. Colorado is one of three states that has yet to drop its minimum age to 21 or younger.

 

Important legislation for greater oil and gas protections faces an uphill challenge in the Senate. A bill I cosponsored that requires oil and gas operations to be at least 1,000 feet away from school properties passed the House but was defeated by the Senate Ag committee. Another bill to add guardrails to the act of forced pooling in Colorado passed the House but has been assigned to the Senate “kill committee.” The bill would increase notification time and requires oil and gas operators to provide more information to mineral owners about forced pooling.

 

Thank you to everyone who came out to my Erie town hall with Representative Saine! Please join me for a legislative wrap-up on Wednesday, May 17th from 6pm-8pm at the Broomfield City Council Chambers. Until then, if you have any concerns or comments please feel free to reach out to my office at 303-866-4667.

 

Sincerely,

Matt Gray

Oil and Gas Budget Amendment

As you may know, this week the Colorado State House debated the Colorado state budget for the next fiscal year. I'm excited to announce that Representative Faith Winter (Westminster- D) and I amended the Colorado budget to provide a new air-quality monitoring machine to monitor emissions from oil and gas operations. Right now, the Colorado Department of Public Health has only one of these machines and it responds only when someone believes something has gone wrong. Our new machine would be able to respond to a community when new operations are planned to take baseline air quality information and then to monitor the quality of air as operations occur to make sure that unsafe emissions aren't a result of nearby oil and gas operations.

There is a lot of different information about the the impact of oil and gas extraction on air quality, but the most important information isn't what happened somewhere else: it's whether anything dangerous is occurring right here in our neighborhoods. There are significant oil and gas operations planned in Broomfield and Erie and the residents of our communities deserve to know exactly what, if any, emissions from those operations will be present in and around their homes and schools.

We're not all the way there yet, though. The House-adopted budget and Senate-adopted budget have to be reconciled, but it is my great hope that this item is a part of the final budget and we'll be able to see this new monitoring equipment in action soon.

Watch Rep Winter and I introduce this amendment here.

 

Updates + Healthcare Town Hall

We are just past the halfway point of the legislative session here in the Capitol, and I am proud of our many accomplishments this year. One of my bills, which deals with tax issues in urban renewal authority areas, passed both houses unanimously and was already signed into law by Governor Hickenlooper.

I was also proud to vote for a bill that unanimously passed the House which clarifies that designation as an organ and tissue donor by an applicant for a driver's license or permit remains in effect until revoked by the applicant. This will streamline the process for registering as an organ donor.  I also supported legislation that would ban the use of “conversion therapy” on LGBTQ minors. While this bill would protect our LGBTQ youth from this dangerous and discredited practice, it faces an uphill battle in the Senate.
 
Additionally, my democratic colleagues and I introduced the Ralph Carr Freedom Defense Act, inspired by Colorado Governor Ralph Carr who opposed the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. The bill would make it illegal for the State of Colorado to disclose to the federal government the race, ethnicity, national origin, immigration status, or religious affiliation of any Colorado resident without determining it is for a legal and constitutional purpose, as well as outlawing registries for those identities.

I would like to recognize two incredible groups of young adults. A few weeks ago, the Colorado Association for Gifted and Talented brought students to the Capitol to shadow legislators. Additionally, the Broomfield Teen Council came to spend time with me on the House floor. I enjoyed sharing with both groups our process and a taste of life as a public servant. I was impressed with the intelligence and maturity of my Gifted and Talented shadow Dayana and the Broomfield Teen Council members.  I'd bet that at least one of you will be a future State Representative. 

Thank you to everyone who came out to my town hall in Superior. Meeting with my constituents and hearing their concerns is one of the most important aspects of my job as your State Representative. Please join me, the Colorado Health Institute, and the Colorado Center on Law and Policy for a town hall discussion regarding the future of healthcare in our state. In addition to a presentation, the experts will be available to answer your questions. I hope to see you March 23rd, from 6pm-8pm, in the Broomfield City Council Chambers (1 Descombes Drive).

As always, please reach out to me with any suggestions, concerns or questions. My office line is 303-866-4667.

Resources for You: tax help, senior programs, and more!

Dear Friend,

I will be hosting a Town Hall discussion at Superior Town Hall (124 E Coal Creek Dr), Saturday March 4th from 10am to 12pm. Please join me for the legislative lowdown!


 
As a state representative, I receive a lot of information about events and resources that can be helpful to you as citizens. See below for several resources for seniors and veterans, as well as tax help and career information.
 
Senior Resources
 
If you are age 65 or older, or had a disability for the duration of 2016, and earned less than $13,234 in total income, you may qualify for the Colorado Property Tax/Rent/Heat Rebate. For more information on this tax rebate, visit here.
 
Some folks might be inclined to do a bit of spring cleaning, but may no longer be able to bend down to the baseboards. If you're a Broomfield senior, you can request the assistance of the Senior Resource Center's Chore Service program (303-253-6952) to help with various cleaning and maintenance tasks. Additionally, Broomfield seniors who temporarily need adaptive equipment such as wheelchairs and shower chairs can contact the Loan Closet (303-464-5526) to borrow these essentials.
 
For Boulder County seniors, the Aging and Disability Resources group helps connect seniors with Medicaid, legal assistance, mental health support, and other vital services (303-441-1617). Boulder County Care Connect also provides resources for seniors. If you are in need of grocery delivery, you may apply to Carry Out Caravan (303-443-1933 ext 414). The Yard Busters program can help with seasonal work to eliminate fall risks in your backyard (303-443-1933).
 
Veteran Resources
 
If you are a veteran looking for employment, Hire a Vet and the US Department of Labor can help connect you with jobs. The ACTS resource center supports homeless and end of employment displaced veterans with reintegration programs, shelter, and other services (303-477-0006). If you are the spouse, family member, or dependent of a service member, you could be eligible for many of the same VA resources that veterans are.
 
Free Tax Help
 
Many families depend on tax refunds, but not nearly enough families take advantage of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). If you earned $54,000 or less in 2016, you are entitled to free tax preparation, which includes help with the EITC and other tax refunds. Here is a tool that can locate your nearest free tax help center, or simply dial 211.
 
Job Resources
 
The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment has workforce centers that provide free assistance to job seekers and employers, including job listings and resume help. The Boulder County workforce is located at 5755 Central Ave in Boulder (303 413-7555), and Broomfield residents can take advantage of the workforce office at 100 Spader Way (303 464-5855).
 
Want to meet with employers in person? Check out the Denver Career Fair on March 23rd and April 6th!
 
It is estimated that Colorado will need 30,000 new employees in the construction industry in the next seven years. BuildColorado is a program that helps match participants with career opportunities and provides free education and training (no student loans!). 

 
As always, if you have any questions or concerns about what's going on here in the State Capitol, please do not hesitate to reach out!
 
Sincerely,
Matt Gray

Reminder: Broomfield Oil and Gas Forum 2/21

Broomfield Oil and Gas Public Forum
Tuesday, February 21st
1STBANK Center
11450 Broomfield Ln
Broomfield, CO 80021
6pm


To ensure all citizens have the opportunity to ask questions at the forum, an online form for those at home watching the live stream, and written comment cards for those attending the forum, will be available beginning at 6pm on Feb 21st as the forum begins. 
The live stream and instructions will be available here, and feel free to email oilandgas@broomfield.org with any questions.

Please note: certain items, including outside food/drink and large backpacks will not be allowed inside the venue (full list of prohibited items here).

Updates from the State Capitol

Dear Friend,

We are really getting to down to business here at the State Legislature. In addition to serving on the Finance committee, Business and Labor Affairs committee, and Local Government committee, I was honored to be appointed to the Colorado Bar Association Board of Governors. I also had the pleasure of temporarily filling in on the Legal Services Committee.

A handful of interesting bills were heard in committee, including a bill that would allow a local government to make its own rules for the sale of alcohol for on-site consumption past 2 A.M. As a father of two small children, I can safely say I haven't seen "last call" in many years. Another bill would allow victims of assault and stalking to legally break their leases and help escape their abusers. A caucus priority bill, The Parental Involvement Act, which allows parents to take time off work to attend their child's academic activities, passed out of the House with a 37-27 vote and awaits debate in the Senate. Another exciting bill, nicknamed the "Ballot Selfie Bill" would allow Coloradans to share pictures of themselves with their ballots.

I am enjoying working with my Republican and Democratic colleagues to advance my legislation. My bill to continue funding the Fraud Investigators Unit to protect Coloradoans from white collar crime and identity theft passed unanimously out of the House Finance committee. Also, my bill to increase tax efficiencies in urban renewal areas passed the House chamber unanimously. I am looking forward to continuing the conversation in the Senate.

Finally, a big thanks to everyone who came to my first Town Hall Discussion. It was a great turn-out with fantastic questions and conversations. Please do not forget to put the Broomfield Oil and Gas Town Forum in your calendars. I will see you there. As always, feel free to reach out to me with questions or concerns. I look forward to hearing from you!

Broomfield Oil and Gas Town Forum:
February 21st
6:00pm
1STBANK Center
11450 Broomfield Lane

Sincerely,

Representative Matt Gray

 

Representative Matt Gray
Colorado State Capitol
200 E. Colfax Room 307
Denver, CO 80203

Kicking off the 2017 Legislative Session!

I am so honored to have been sworn in to the Colorado House of Representatives with my family by my side. I am looking forward to doing my very best for the citizens of Broomfield, Superior, and Erie! Thank you to everyone who supported me and helped me get here today. We're really getting to work at the General Assembly and so far it's been great!

 

In the 2017 session, the Colorado House will be focusing on legislation that benefits hardworking taxpayers and their families. One priority bill is the Colorado Childcare Tax Creditwhich seeks to extend the existing childcare tax credit due to expire this year. The extension of this crucial tax credit helps families earning less than $25,000 per year better afford essential yet expensive child care. Another important bill, Parental Involvement in Academic Activities, would allow parents to take unpaid time off work in order to attend their children's school activities. As a parent, I understand how important it is to be present and involved in your kids' academics. A third bill seeks to support our veterans and help them transition to a civilian career, College Degrees for Colorado Veterans would permit veterans to convert certain military training to college credit, making college more affordable and accessible to our highly skilled veterans. We look forward to working across the aisle for support on these priority pieces of legislation.

My upcoming legislation will focus on government efficiency. I am co-sponsoring a bill, Continue Funding Fraud Investigators Unit, which would extend increased funding for investigating identity theft and financial fraud through 2018. This investigators unit is vital to keeping Coloradans safe from cyber crime and digital fraud, which becomes more common each year. Additionally, I am co-sponsoring a bill that would help fix a tax inefficiency in urban renewal projects. The bill would ensure that the local governments surrounding the projects collect the correct amount of tax revenue. 
 
As always, please feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns at matt.gray.house@state.co.us or 303-866-4667. I look forward to hearing from you.

Thank You

Friends,

I am honored to have been elected to the state House of Representatives last night to represent Broomfield, Superior and Erie.  I am excited to work hard to make people's lives better throughout our community.  

I also know very well that this would never have happened without the amazing effort of so many other people.  First and foremost, I'd like to thank my family.  My wife Katie, daughter Ellie and son Theo have brought me so much happiness and support throughout this journey.  They are the three greatest people I know, and I'm so lucky to be a part of our family.

Next, I'd like to thank every volunteer who knocked on doors, made phone calls, filled envelopes, wrote checks, and did hundreds of other little things to make this effort work.  We have an amazing group of people in this community who care deeply about its future, and I have been so fortunate to have their support.

Finally, I'd like to express my eternal gratitude to our campaign staff, Tim Dickson, Jessalyn Hampton and Doug Roper.  As a candidate with another career and an aforementioned amazing family with two young kids, I could never have won without a campaign manager who could take on immense leadership responsibilities for our efforts.  Tim was an outstanding, tireless and effective leader of our team.  Jessalyn and Doug each spoke to thousands of voters on my behalf, working long hours every day.  If you live in House District 33, I guarantee they both know your neighborhood, and probably many of your neighbors, as well as you do. 

There are so many more people who had a hand in this victory as well, more than I could ever mention.  Let me just say thanks to you all.  I appreciate it very much, and I promise to work hard every day at the Capitol to be a Representative that is worthy of your efforts.

Matt

Field Program Kickoff and Supporter Get Together

Please join me and other community leaders for a night of great conversation and fun at NightHawk Brewery this Sunday, 6/11, from 4-6pmThis will be a great opportunity to ask any questions that you may have about the campaign, as well as find out about my priorities while in office.
To RSVP, please call Tim (720 689-2846 or send an email to tim@matthewgray.us

Saturday, June 11th, 2016

4:00-6:00pm

NightHawk Brewery

2780 Industrial Ln, Broomfield, CO 80020  

Special Event with Congressman Jared Polis!

Please join us for a special event with Congressman
Jared Polis
 to support Matt Gray for Colorado State House!

Congressman Polis and co-hosts Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, Representative Dianne Primavera, Representative KC Becker, Representative Mike Foote, Representative Jonathan Singer, Senator Matt Jones, Senate Candidate Steve Fenberg and House Candidate Edie Hooton hope you can join them in supporting Matt’s candidacy.
 
Saturday, March 26, 2016
4:00 p.m. - 6:00p.m.

The Home of State Representative KC Becker
990 7th Street
Boulder, Colorado 80302