Tony Exum

We are committed to passing legislation that builds an economy for all, invests in our future and protects our Colorado way of life.

By State Rep. Tony Exum

Guest column, special to the Express

The next legislative session of the Colorado General Assembly begins on Jan. 8, 2020.

We 100 elected lawmakers will have just 120 legislative days to improve the lives of all Coloradans by changing the laws of Colorado. Each legislator is allowed to sponsor up to five bills per session — with special allowances made for more bills if they’re critical.

So what will we work on during this upcoming session?

We are committed to passing legislation that builds an economy for all, invests in our future and protects our Colorado way of life. We need to ensure that every Coloradan can share in the economic growth our state is experiencing.

From lowering the costs of healthcare to protecting our clean air and water, we made tremendous progress on these issues during the last session, and we’re going to build on that progress going forward.

As for me, I’ll be sponsoring several bills this legislative session:

An amendment to HB19-1279. One of my bills from last session, prohibiting the use during training of firefighting foams containing toxic PFA substances, forgot to include an exemption for airports when federal law requires they test their fire suppression systems using foams with PFA substances. We need an amendment to allow for such testing, but with strict requirements that all foams with PFA substances used while testing must be captured and cleaned, and not released into underground water supplies.

Eighth-grade to ninth-grade minimum standards. Students who have not met certain minimum standards in education should not be forced to advance from eighth grade up to ninth grade, and should be kept by the eighth grade school until the student can be brought up to minimum standards. This would help reduce high school dropout rates by ensuring students are adequately prepared for the challenge of high school.

Driving instructions for foster youth. This bill creates a grant program to reimburse counties for the cost of driver education classes for 15- to 17-year-old youths in foster care. This will help make it easier for young people in foster care to learn how to drive.

And while I might not sponsor such bills, I would be very interested in supporting one that requires state legislators to have committed some actual malfeasance or abuse of power before any recall election against them could be commenced; and one that requires that any police-involved shooting to be investigated by an agency from outside the judicial district where the shooting occurred.

If you want to follow along and know exactly what we’re working on and what’s coming up, check out the Colorado Legislature’s website, This excellent resource: shows what bills have been introduced, with their full text and a helpful Fiscal Note report; shows when and where committees will meet; and shows vote results, along with much more.

This website also gives you the contact information for every elected legislator, so you can find who represents you in the state government and reach out to them with any questions, comments and ideas and you may have.

To reach me, email or call 303-866-3069. I look forward to hearing from and working for you in this upcoming legislative session.

State Rep. Tony Exum represents Colorado’s 17th district, which includes Southeast Colorado Springs.

** Additional column by Tony Exum:  Looking back on a productive session **