Ellen Roberts calls for end to unfunded mandates

A joint senate resolution (pdf) proclaiming that the Colorado State General Assembly is fed up with federal unfunded mandates and will not legislate the same onto local governments passed the Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee yesterday with a rare unanimous vote.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Ellen Roberts, R-Durango, and Rep. Cheri Gerou, R-Evergreen, states: “That we, the General Assembly, call on the federal government to refrain from creating any new unfunded mandates to be passed down to state or local governments; and that we, the General Assembly, will not create new mandates on local governments without providing adequate funding.”

Roberts said her bill was simply a reiteration of past statutes enacted by the Colorado legislature. She said in 1991 the General Assembly put into Colorado Statues what is now CRS 29-1-304.5.

“…We said we wouldn’t pass any new state mandate either increasing a level of service or starting something new without providing funding. If we did that the local government could determine such services to be optional,” Roberts said, noting that it allowed for some exceptions.

Roberts said she hadn’t even been aware of the statute until recently, but she said she thought the principle was a place where Republicans and Democrats could come together to renew their pledge.

While Roberts’ resolution has no force of law behind it, Democrats and Republicans signed on as they acknowledged the importance of not allowing unfunded programs to roll downhill.

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