Last Week of the Legislative Session

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It's crunch time for state leaders as they reach the home stretch of the 2008 Legislative session.

During the last week he will spend in the House this year, State Representative Bernie Buescher says he hopes to carry a bill that would put oil and gas royalties back into the communities that are most impacted by the energy industry.

"I think it is the most significant bill that we've done in the legislature in a number of years," said Buescher.

State Represenative Steve King says his "to do" list includes moving along a bill that would require the preservation of DNA evidence collected during the investigation of a crime.

A group of last minute bills to cap off what they say has been an interesting year at the State Capitol.

"A lot of budget issues, a lot of money issues, a lot of difference of opinions when it comes to taxation," said King.

Despite those differences in opinion, both representatives say state leaders made many positive steps this year.

"I think the biggest accomplishment that I'm proud of is our budget," said Buescher.

Buescher says the state government is taking steps in the right direction by giving most of the budget to education. Here on the Western Slope, he says that is evidenced by increased funding to Mesa State College and the Saunders Fieldhouse Project.

King says he thinks the government has made huge strides when it comes to helping law enforcement, moving forward with a bill requiring anyone who gets arrested to give a DNA sample for record keeping purposes, as well as a bill that would create a felony DUI charge for repeat offenders.

"Form a public safety standpoint, I'm proud of those pieces of legislation," said King.

Though they say they've had many triumphs this year, both say there are still shortcomings that will have to be picked up when the legislature starts again in 2009.

"We haven't figured out how to solve the funding problems for transportation," said Buescher. "I know there's a few proposals out there for this year. They're too late and just don't do the job."

"Dealing with the property tax increase and the impact that's going to have on our economy and looking at the rule making for the oil and gas industry, I think there is definitely work left to be done there," said King.

At the end of the day, both say they can't wait for the week to be over, so they can come back to the place they call home.

"Six months over here and away from Grand Junction is about as much as I can handle," said Buescher. "I'm ready to come home."

"I would be being less than honest if I said that I wasn't looking forward to the end of the session," said King. "I am and I'm ready to come home."

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