2015

Aspen paramedics to provide home health care in 2016
Aspen Public Radio- December 14, 2015
The Aspen Ambulance service is expanding its efforts beyond immediate medical care and a ride to the hospital. Next year paramedics will be trained to help people at home through a program called community paramedicine. 

"Many times a hospital is not the place that a patient should be transported to. These are things that could be resolved through a health care provider coming to your home,” Says Sen. Garcia.

Garcia is a democrat and a paramedic, himself. He plans to introduce a community paramedicine bill during the upcoming session.

Let Freedom Ring!
La Voz Bilingüe- November 13, 2015
Garcia joined the Marine Corp just after graduation from high school in 2001 and served through 2007.

Today, as a legislator, Garcia is focused on a number of things, including veteran's affairs. "We can't forget someone who answered the call," he said. "I'm passionate that I can work as a senator, as an advocate. There are too many veterans who are homeless or with substance abuse problems. Our office helps as a liaison. But we have so much more to do."

Colorado energy companies spend top dollar on lobbyists; what do they get in return?
The Gazette- August 24, 2015
Colorado state Sen. Leroy Garcia hit a powerful force, the well-funded energy lobby, during the 2015 legislative session when he tried to make the board that regulates utility companies representative of the entire state.

"You can be up against 15 or 20 lobbyists easily," Garcia said. "You're spending your time talking to your colleagues about the facts, and they could be distorting that. They can work a committee pretty quick."

Pueblo leaders denounce Denver Post editorial on state fair
NBC News- July 30, 2015
Pueblo leaders are responding after a harsh Denver Post editorial called for the state fair to be moved out of Pueblo. They say there are inaccuracies in the article and that they will continue fighting to keep the fair in town.
[...]
The article also highlighted the concerns of a couple lawmakers with interests closer to the capital. Sen. Leroy Garcia from Pueblo says, "We have a couple rogue colleagues who like to, at times, say they want to move the Colorado State Fair. They forget the investment that's already here, the historic buildings that are landmarked and cannot be moved and cannot be shuttered."

Last legislative breakfast of year held in Pueblo
The Pueblo Chieftain - April 19, 2015
With just 19 days left in this year’s legislative session, local representatives gave updates on bills they are working on — including one to curb human trafficking, one dealing with school accreditation and one pertaining to overseas military voters — Saturday morning at the final Greater Pueblo Chamber of Commerce Legislative Breakfast of the year.

State Sen. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, said a bill concerning voting by military and overseas voters in municipal elections passed unanimously in the Senate Friday. 

Time running out for Colorado's utility ratepayer watchdog
The Denver Post - April 6, 2015
The state agency that fights for homeowners, farmers and small businesses in electric, gas and telephone rate cases is up against a ticking clock — one that consumer advocates say is a time bomb.

The Colorado Office of Consumer Counsel, or OCC, must be reauthorized by the legislature or it will expire on July 1. But with a month left in the four-month legislative session, a bill that would do that hasn't even been filed.
[...]
The night before, as the Senate debated next year's budget, Sen. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, introduced a facetious budget amendment to defund the office, forcing a floor debate, which annoyed Sonnenberg and some other Republicans. The amendment was unanimously defeated.

Making the case for agritourism
The Pueblo Chieftain - April 4, 2015
Growing up in Southern Colorado, I was fortunate to experience many activities that make Colorado wonderful, such as local farmer’s markets, dude ranches, picking fruit at an orchard and our Colorado State Fair. As a state senator who currently serves on the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, I now know the term used to define these activities is “agritourism.”

Sen. makes strategic move for consumers
The Pueblo Chieftain - April 2, 2015
In a political chess move that clearly irked some Republicans, state Sen. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, forced the Senate to defend the state Office of Consumer Counsel late Wednesday by voting down Garcia’s own amendment to erase the consumer office’s budget.

So he forced the issue with his budget amendment Wednesday. Which clearly rankled state Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling, who has prevented the reauthorization bill from coming out of Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee, which he chairs.

A successful process
The Pueblo Chieftain - April 2, 2015
NOW THIS is how the legislative process is supposed to work.

We were pleased to see that a bill sponsored in the Senate by Pueblo Democrat Leroy Garcia and Alamosa Republican Larry Crowder, and in the House by Pueblo’s Daneya Esgar, a Democrat, and Clarice Navarro, a Republican, quietly made its way through the General Assembly this week. The proposal is now on its way to the governor’s desk.

Garcia's April Fool's Day move: Push amendment to defund agency he wants to preserve
The Colorado Springs Gazette - April 2, 2015
DENVER - Call it an April Fool's joke or a sly political maneuver, on Wednesday Sen. Leroy Garcia pushed an amendment to the state's $25 billion budget that would have defunded the state agency he's been working to save.

Garcia said he put the public's utility and telecom advocacy agency on the chopping block to force a conversation that's not occurred at the Capitol.

It's the nonbill that is generating speculation, angst and general intrigue under the Gold Dome.

Youth offender bill advances
The Pueblo Chieftain - April 1, 2015
State Reps. Clarice Navarro, R-Pueblo, and Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo, successfully passed Senate Bill 182 through the House Monday with unanimous support (65-0).
[...]
The YOS facility is located on the grounds of the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo. SB182 passed on the third reading in the Senate earlier this month guided by Sens. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, and Larry Crowder, R-Alamosa.

A call for leadership
The Pueblo Chieftain - March 31, 2015
COLORADO IS lucky to have a strong consumer advocate in the Office of Consumer Counsel, or OCC. And Southern Colorado is fortunate that State Sen. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, recognizes this fact.

“I know the OCC isn't the complete solution (to high utility rates), but it is a tool ratepayers need,” Sen. Garcia told The Chieftain. “I don’t know what kind of gamesmanship is going on, but we need legislation to start moving to renew the consumer office.”

Chugging ahead on the Chief
The Pueblo Chieftain - March 31, 2015
There is reason to be cautiously optimistic that rail service through Kansas, Colorado and northern New Mexico could stay put.

“We are making progress,” Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari told The Chieftain Monday, “but we have not yet resolved the funding issue from Albuquerque to Las Animas. There is not a solid plan in place.”
[...]
And now the state is searching for $8.91 million to cover its share of the funding. Senate Bill 176, a bipartisan plan co-sponsored by Sens. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, and Larry Crowder, R-Alamosa, would foot that bill.

Southwest Chief battle not over yet
The Pueblo Chieftain - March 31, 2015
While Amtrak has announced it is no longer contemplating moving the route of the Southwest Chief, Colorado officials remain vigilant on the need to fund upgrades.

“We still need to come up with the rest of the funding,” said Pueblo County Commissioner Sal Pace, who chairs the state’s Southwest Chief Commission.
[...]
State Sen. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, who along with Sen. Larry Crowder, R-Alamosa, is sponsoring SB176, said he was encouraged.

Garcia wants to keep consumer council 
The Pueblo Chieftain - March 28, 2015
The clock is winding down on the 2015 session of the General Assembly and no legislation has been introduced yet to keep the state Office of Consumer Counsel alive. 
[...]
State Sen. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, sent a letter to Senate Republican leaders this week asking to carry legislation to extend the life of the office until 2026.

Overseas voting bill advances
The Pueblo Chieftain - March 18, 2015
A new state law that would extend to cities the absentee voter system currently in place for military overseas who want to vote in state and federal elections, passed committee on Wednesday.

State Sen. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, said the bill passed through the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee unanimously and will go to the Senate floor next.

Esgar pushes PUC expansion
The Pueblo Chieftain - March 15, 2015
State Sen. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, and state Rep. Ed Vigil, D-Alamosa, also attended the breakfast and spoke.
[...]
A bill that would allow youth offenders up to the age of 24 to stay at the Youth Offender System in Pueblo passed in the Senate recently and is headed to the House, Garcia one of the bills' sponsors said at the breakfast.

Letter: Highway 50 study a logical step (Letter submitted by Richard “R.J.” Hicks Colorado Motor Carriers Association Lobbyist)
The Pueblo Chieftain - March 14, 2015
On behalf of the Colorado Motor Carriers Association of Colorado, with over 600 companies throughout Colorado, I write in support of SB179. The study by CDOT on Highway 50 for economic opportunities makes sense, as our transportation system long has been considered a driving force in economic development.
[...]
Thanks to Sen. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, and Rep. Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo, for bringing this bill to the Colorado General Assembly. Thanks, as well, to the many local officials who also support this measure.

County to help fund U.S. 50 study
The Pueblo Chieftain - March 5, 2015
Pueblo County will take the lead in funding a portion of an economic impact study into the construction of improvements along the U.S. 50 corridor in the state.
[...]
The transportation committee will be looking at a bill today to establish an economic impact study of the U.S. 50 improvement projects. The study will explore the economic conditions of the areas affected by the U.S. 50 corridor before the construction, during the work and after the highway has been improved.

Agritourism: A promising economic success story for Colorado
The Colorado Statesman - Feb. 27, 2015
Growing up in Southern Colorado, I was fortunate to experience many of the activities that make Colorado wonderful. From farmer's markets to dude ranches, whether it's the Colorado State Fair or picking fruit at an orchard, agritourism is critical to Colorado's agrarian lifestyle and economy.

Southwest Chief funding advances
The Pueblo Chieftain - Feb. 27, 2015
A bill to fund Colorado’s share of keeping passenger rail service in Southeastern Colorado passed the Senate local government committee on a 5-2 vote this week. 
[...]
“I want to thank the bipartisan leadership of state Sens. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, and Larry Crowder, R-Alamosa, for their work on this bill,” Pueblo County Commissioner Sal Pace said.

Colorado Senate bill helps rural communities promote agritourism 
The Craig Daily Press - Feb. 23, 2015
Craig — On Jan. 28, Sen. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, introduced a piece of legislation intended to help rural communities like Craig attract tourists with less of a burden on advertising and marketing agencies.

SB15-127 allows such agencies to “deduct from its federal taxable income for state income tax purposes an amount equal to 50 percent of the costs the agency incurs in donating advertising or marketing services to a local government with fewer than 120,000 residents for the purpose of advertising and marketing an agritourism activity,” according to the bill.

State eyes SW Chief funding
The Pueblo Chieftain - Feb. 22, 2015
The drive to save the Southwest Chief Amtrak route through Pueblo needs $8.91 million to keep chugging ahead.
[...]
SB176, sponsored by state Sens. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, and Larry Crowder, R-Alamosa, would provide teh $8.91 million funding requested by the commission.

Area lawmakers work on gaining region representation
The Pueblo Chieftain - Feb. 22, 2015
State Rep. Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo, said she and several others have been working on a bill that is set to come out this week that aims at getting regional representation on the Public Utilities Commission.
[...]
Esgar, along with state Rep. Clarice Navarro, R-Pueblo, and Sen. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, gave updates about what they've been working on in the state Legislature Saturday morning at the Greater Pueblo Chamber of Commerce Legislative Breakfast. [...] Garcia said his bill designed to introduce state money to help pay for local courthouses has moved forward to an appropriations committee after passing with bipartisan support in its first committee

Agritourism bill moseys along
The Pueblo Chieftain - Feb. 18, 2015
Legislation to promote agritourism, sponsored by Sen. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, is moving ahead. 

“I am pleased to see this bill move forward. Our farmers, ranchers and Colorado’s agritourism industry will benefit greatly from this bill,” Garcia said. “This bill is a win-win for rural Colorado, since it will help attract tourists to rural areas they might be visiting for the first time.”

A proactive proposal
The Pueblo Chieftain - Feb. 13, 2015
THE STATE Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources & Energy Committee gave the unanimous nod Wednesday to a novel bill that would create tax incentives for the promotion of rural agritourism.

Senate Bill 127, which is sponsored by State Sen. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, would let private advertising and marketing firms deduct expenses they incur while working for small local governments.

Courthouse bill moves on
The Pueblo Chieftain - Feb. 12, 2015
A state Senate bill designed to introduce state money to help pay for local courthouses has made it out of its first committee. 

State Sen. Leroy Garcia said this week that the bill passed through the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee on a 3-2 vote. 

In the right direction
The Pueblo Chieftain - Feb. 12, 2015
A BILL aimed at helping the pocketbooks of cash-strapped residents of lower-income counties took a step in the right direction on Tuesday.

The Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee voted, 3-2, in favor of a proposal that would shift the financial obligation for county judicial buildings away from the counties and onto the state. The proposal was the joint brainchild of Pueblo County Commissioner Terry Hart and Sen. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo.

Judicial bill gets more looks
The Pueblo Chieftain - Feb. 6, 2015
State Sen. Leroy Garcia said that he’s optimistic about the ongoing conversation over how the state might start paying for judicial buildings. 

Garcia’s bill remains in the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, but he said Thursday that the Capital Development Committee examined the bill and there was some discussion about alternative ways to fund some of the county courthouses.

Honoring the USS Pueblo
The Pueblo Chieftain - Feb. 3, 2015
COLORADO LAWMAKERS have a message for North Korea: Release the USS Pueblo.

The General Assembly late last week approved a joint House-Senate resolution that designates Jan. 23 of each year as “USS Pueblo Day.”
[...]
We couldn’t agree more and thank the legislators who took the lead in securing this legislative honor for the heroic sailors of the USS Pueblo. Pueblo Reps. Daneya Esgar, a Democrat, and Clarice Navarro, a Republican, partnered with State Sens. Leroy Garcia and Larry Crowder, a Democrat from Pueblo and Alamosa Republican, respectively, in sponsorship of this important resolution.

PUC says rates are too high
The Pueblo Chieftain - Jan. 30, 2015
Pueblo electric customers are in a “bad situation” where poor customers are paying among the highest rates in the state, the director of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission told state lawmakers Thursday.
[...]
Dean defended the PUC in answering questions from state Sen. Leroy Garcia and state Rep. Daneya Esgar, both Pueblo Democrats.

OCC hearings
The Pueblo Chieftain - Jan. 28, 2015
It’s been more than three decades since the state formed the state Office of Consumer Counsel. 

And now the office charged with advocating for the consumers and advising the Public Utilities Commission on rates and policy matters is due to “sunset,” or expire. That is, unless the General Assembly renews it this legislative session. 
[...]
“Frankly, we need a strong advocate for ratepayers in dealing with the PUC,” State Sen. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, told The Chieftain. “I’m hoping that in this sunset review process, we can improve the OCC’s effectiveness. I don’t want it to go away.” 

Watchdog agency might get stronger: Garcia says he wants tougher consumer advocate office
The Pueblo Chieftain - Jan. 28, 2015
Pueblo-area ratepayers were surprised but delighted last year when the state Office of Consumer Counsel announced it was arguing against a requested rate hike by Black Hills Colorado Electric and even declared that local customers deserved a rate cut instead.
[...]
At a Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee hearing last week...questions to OCC Director Cindy Schonhaut were sharp about the OCC’s role and effectiveness. Some even came from new state Sen. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo. 

An intriguing proposal
The Pueblo Chieftain - Jan. 26, 2015
STATE SEN. Leroy Garcia and Pueblo County Commissioner Terry Hart have a novel idea.

The duo teamed up on a bill that would require the state to help cover the cost of maintaining and operating courthouses in low-income counties.

Judicial costs bill proposed
The Pueblo Chieftain - Jan. 25, 2015
State Sen. Leroy Garcia and County Commissioner Terry Hart are hoping a new bill just introduced will start the conversation about the state covering the physical cost of its judicial districts.

Garcia’s bill is currently in the Veterans Affairs Committee and it makes an ambitious proposal for how the state would begin covering the costs of maintaining its courthouses.

Local legislators give progress report
The Pueblo Chieftain - Jan. 25, 2015
Three members of Pueblo’s delegation to the Colorado General Assembly gave about 100 community and civic leaders a view of their plans for the 2015 session.

The breakfast was the first of four monthly events, a partnership between the Greater Pueblo Chamber of Commerce and Parkview Medical Center, held at the Pueblo Convention Center Saturday.

The audience heard from state Sens. Larry Crowder (R-Alamosa) and Leroy Garica (D-Pueblo) and state Reps. Daneya Esgar (D-Pueblo) and Ed Vigil (D-Alamosa.) Rep. Clarice Navarro (R-Pueblo) was not in attendance but was represented by her

CBI groundbreaking
The Pueblo Chieftain - Jan. 7, 2015
A HISTORIC day.

That was how Ron Sloan, director of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, described a ceremonial groundbreaking on Monday.
[...]
It came to fruition thanks to legislation pushed by then-state representative, now state Sen. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo. His bill last year authorized the CBI to lease-purchase the new building.

CBI office becoming a reality
The Pueblo Chieftain - Jan. 6, 2015
After years of planning, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation ceremonially broke ground Monday on a new regional office in Pueblo West.
[...]
Sloan said the building was given the green light after legislation, sponsored by state Rep. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, was passed in April authorizing the CBI to lease-purchase the new building.

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