Last Friday, the Senate Finance Committee, on a 3-2 vote, killed House Bill 17-1321, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife financial sustainability bill. CTU supported the bill, considering the modest ($12.50 maximum) increase in an annual fishing license fee, along with reinstating a discounted senior fishing license, to be reasonable asks from an agency that has not seen a fee increase in 12 years - even as its revenue buying power was eroded by inflation over those years. Among the priorities that would have been funded through the bipartisan bill were needed maintenance on CPW reservoirs (some of which otherwise may face draw-down orders for dam safety reasons), restored funding for the "Fishing is Fun" grant program to help develop fishing opportunities in communities statewide, expanded investment in public hunting and fishing access, and sustainable funding for aquatic nuisance species inspections of boats coming onto key Colorado lakes and reservoirs.
In recent years CPW has already cut $40 million and defunded 50 staff positions. With the failure of HB17-1321, the agency will have to wait at least until the 2018 legislative session for possible financial relief.