Last week, Rep. Jon Becker, a Fort Morgan Republican, threatened lobbyist Ben Waters with an ethics complaint for lying about Gov. John Hickenlooper opposing a bill that would help remedy long-standing conservation easement problems.
This week Becker’s saying he, Waters and the Governor’s office met and the lobbyist’s untrue claim about Hickenlooper was the result of a “miscommunication,” not a lie.
The bill that led to the dispute was House Bill 16-1174, which would have allowed those fighting the Department of Revenue over disputed tax credits to take the Department to court without having to post bonds, sometimes in the millions of dollars.
Waters was working with the Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts, an industry group working against the bill.
The measure was killed by the Democratic-controlled House Appropriations Committee last Friday on a party-line 7-6 vote.
Waters had played a major role in rewriting the bill, but strongly opposed Becker’s choice of a Senate sponsor.
Becker plans to bring another bill to the Statehouse on the issue before the end of the session, which is three weeks from Wednesday.
In a statement to The Independent, Waters said, “In the fourth quarter of any legislative session, passions run high, but I did not lie and am glad cooler heads prevailed. I will continue to strongly defend the work of the conservation community to keep Colorado the best place to live in America.
“Representative Becker is a strong advocate for rural Colorado and I look forward to working with the good state representative from Fort Morgan moving forward.”