Legislature could take on new flooding laws

Flooding in Lyons, Colo.

DENVER — Several proposals designed to remove bureaucratic obstacles and expedite rebuilding efforts after September’s floods could be introduced in the next legislative session.

Lawmakers return to work next month. According to the Associated Press, there are several bills already being drafted.

Sen. Matt Jones planes to introduce a bill that would allow counties to shift their general fund dollars to road or bridge accounts to make repairs. Currently the law forbids that kind of transfer.

Local governments are still repairing roads damaged by the flooding and many are waiting for FEMA money. Repairs to state highways were completed before Dec. 1.

Another proposal addresses irrigation ditches. Many were washed out or moved by the flooding. The proposal by Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg would allow farmers to change points of diversion without going through the lengthy process of water court.

Other ideas include allowing out-of-state disaster workers to be exempt from paying Colorado income taxes if the traveled to help flood victims; waiving property taxes for people who had property destroyed; and giving schools grants for rebuilding.