From The Pueblo Chieftain (Patrick Malone):
On Friday, the House voted to refer HB1188 as amended in the Senate to a conference committee with representatives from both chambers. The bill as originally passed by the House sought to allow commercial rafters to float through private property. In the Senate, it first was amended to open rivers through private property to anyone who wanted to use them — including anglers and individual, noncommercial rafters — and then amended to become a study by the Colorado Water Congress with no action to be taken this session by the Legislature. The Colorado Water Congress is the pre-eminent lobby in the state on issues pertaining to water use. Those changes on Friday faced a vote of the House, where the bill was referred to a conference committee.
More coverage from The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Charles Ashby):
When House Bill 1188 cleared the Colorado House in mid-February, it allowed rafters to cross private property but limited how often people can make contact with land. When the Senate debated the bill in March, however, the measure was reduced to a study, and then by a nongovernmental panel that focuses on water issues rather than recreation or landowner rights. As a result, its chief sponsor, unaffiliated Rep. Kathleen Curry of Gunnison, got the House to vote 41-21 Friday to send it to a conference committee of three representatives and three senators. There she hopes a compromise can be drafted. There are 24 proposed ballot questions addressing the issue, and Gov. Bill Ritter even got involved in trying to negotiate a compromise. At issue is the right to float on publicly owned water versus concerns over private property rights.
More coverage from Joe Hanel writing for The Durango Herald. From the article:
Curry asked Friday that the bill go to a conference committee to continue the discussion. The House granted her request on a 41-21 vote. The Senate had adjourned for the day and must agree before a conference committee could begin.
Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling, urged the House to follow the Senate’s lead and turn the bill into a study. “They had the sense to say, you know what, this is much bigger than what we can deal with right now,” Sonnenberg said.
Curry introduced the bill because of a dispute between a rafting company and a developer in her district. The two sides are trying to negotiate a settlement. “Even if they reach an agreement, the problem still persists throughout the state, and the ballot initiative process is out of our reach,” Curry said in a letter to her colleagues Tuesday.
More coverage from The Pulse- of Colorado Farm Bureau (Garin Vorthmann):
Representative Kathleen Curry, the House sponsor of the measure, did not support the Senate version of the bill which directed the Colorado Water Congress to facilitate a study regarding the issue of rafting through private property and to report back to the legislature in November. Rep. Curry asked for permission to have a conference committee established, which will be made up of 3 members from the House of Representatives and 3 members from the Senate. The committee will then be charged with trying to draft a compromise between the two versions of the bill.