The authoritative source on Colorado Governor Bill Ritter brought to you by the Editors at the Cherry Creek News and Denver Community Newspapers
Monday, April 21, 2008
GOV. RITTER SIGNS HEALTHY RIVERS AND CONSUMER PROTECTION BILLS INTO LAW
Gov.Bill Rittersigned several pieces of legislation into law today, including a measure that strengthens consumer rights against unfair business practices by insurance agents and another bill that will help preserveColorado's rivers, streams and lakes.
House Bill 1228was sponsored by Rep. Gwyn Green and Sen. Ken Gordon. It authorizes the insurance commissioner to order an insurance agent or company to pay restitution to a consumer for violating state insurance laws or for engaging in unfair business practices. It passed the House 65-0 and the Senate 26-8.
"In general, insurance companies and their agents are doing a fine job inColorado," Gov. Ritter said. "But giving the insurance commissioner the authority to make the consumer whole if an insurance company or its agent does the wrong thing is the right thing to do for all Coloradans."
The bill was supported by consumer advocates and insurers. "The citizens of this state always benefit when all parties to a problem are willing to come together and recognize the need to find a solution and make it happen," Insurance Commissioner Marcy Morrison said.
"This bill will send a loud message to bad acting insurance companies thatColoradois out of bounds for insurance scams," said Rep. Green.
House Bill 1280,known as the Healthy Rivers Act, was sponsored by Rep. Randy Fischer and Sen. Gail Schwartz. It encourages water-right holders to lease or loan rights to the Colorado Water Conservation Board for environmental purposes to protect instream flows in rivers and streams. Numerous environmental group and many water providers, including Denver Water, supported the bill, which passed the House 59-6 and the Senate 32-2.
"As an avid fly-fisherman, preservingColorado's rivers and streams is extremely important to me," Gov. Ritter said. "It's also vital to our environment and our economy. This new law will strengthenColorado's 35-year-old Instream Flow Program and ensure that water rights leased or loaned to the Colorado Water Conservation Board for environmental purposes will not be weakened, lost or considered abandoned."
"For too long, ranchers and farmers could lose their water rights if they didn't use all the water they were given annually," Rep. Fischer said. "We live in a large, dry Western state that's susceptible to drought, and it's time we reward – not punish – those who conserve. This legislation gives landowners an important incentive to turn off the tap!"
Gov. Ritter signed the following bills into law today: