By Molly Armbrister June 6, 2013
The Weld County Board of Commissioners has proposed the formation of a new state, North Colorado, following what they consider “overreach” by the state legislature during the most recent legislative session.
Commissioner Mike Freeman said that some of the actions taken by the legislature this year constituted an “outright attack on rural Colorado.” Specifically, Freeman pointed to gun control measures passed earlier this year and the signing of Senate Bill 252 on Wednesday.
S.B. 252, which seeks to raise the renewable energy standard for rural electric utilities, was heavily opposed by rural counties because of the potential for increased electricity rates.
Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the bill into law Wednesday.
Weld also takes issue with oil and gas regulations that have been passed recently, Freeman said.
At the recent Colorado Counties Inc. conference, Weld commissioners spoke with leaders from other rural counties including Morgan, Logan, Sedgwick, Phillips, Washington, Yuma and Kit Carson, who expressed interest in the idea of forming a separate state.
Larimer County officials have not been included in any of the conversations, Freeman said.
Weld commissioners will hold hearings with residents to determine the level of support for the idea, Freeman said. The decision about whether or not to put an item on the November ballot will likely have to be made by Aug. 1, he said.
The ballot item would ask voters if they support asking the state legislature to send a request to Congress to allow the county to secede from Colorado. The decision has to be made on a county-by-county basis, Freeman said.
It is “very, very likely” that the measure will be included on the ballot in November, Freeman said.
County commissioners have the ability to add items to ballots without petitions.