Highlights of the Week
The General Assembly has taken today off, Friday, April 7, in observance of Good Friday.
While there were rumors swirling this week that the House might not take the long weekend due to the Republican’s threat of reading the Long Bill at length on second reading, negotiations held strong. The House debated the budget, SB23-214: FY 2023-24 Long Bill on second reading, with members adopting only a handful of amendments, many of which were also adopted in the Senate. The budget will head back to the Senate where they will send the bill to a conference committee – in this case it will be the Joint Budget Committee – to determine the final details. Under statutory deadlines, the budget must be passed by the end of next week.
With the budget getting closer to final passage, Appropriations Committees in both chambers have begun meeting and passing bills with fiscal notes. The JBC when putting the final touches on the budget next week will determine if the $30 million set aside is in fact the final dollar amount the General Assembly has to spend on legislation this year.
Following Tuesday’s Municipal Elections, Representative Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez announced her win for Denver City At-Large. We anticipate she will resign shortly after the legislative session and a vacancy committee will be held for House District 4.
SB23-172 Protecting Opportunities And Workers’ Rights Act passed the Senate Judiciary committee as amended on a 3-2 vote. Senator Winter, one of the prime sponsors of the bill, has brought forward similar versions in previous legislative sessions that didn’t move forward. The bill adjusts the statutory definition of workplace harassment for the purposes of addressing discriminatory or unfair employment practices. The sponsors and committee members spoke to the work they have done with stakeholders; however, many of Colorado’s institutions of higher education expressed concerns that the bill is overly complicated, too vague, and creates competing standards. Additionally, the Department of Regulatory Affairs and the Colorado Civil Rights Division unexpectedly testified in opposition after receiving word from the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that striking the current “severe and pervasive” standard could be problematic for their contract. We expect to see negotiations continue.
On Thursday, HB23-1272 was approved by the House Energy & Environment Committee by a vote of 8 to 3 and will next be heard in the House Finance Committee. Numerous amendments were adopted, including an amendment that eliminated the $55,000 MSRP cap for eligibility of the tax credit for cars. As amended, the bill will provide expanded tax credits for electric vehicles including cars, trucks and SUVs up to $80,000 MSRP. An additional credit is also made available for purchase of vehicles up to $30,000 MSRP.
SB23-213 Land Use was heard in the Senate Local Government & Housing committee for testimony only on Thursday. The upon adjournment hearing lasted well into the night lasting just over 12 hours with over 250 witnesses signed up. Supporters of the bill touted the statewide approach to increased access to housing supply and affordable housing options in the face of an affordable housing crisis and opposition was overwhelmingly local government officials and leaders speaking to the sweeping approach the bill would implement, overriding local control. Sponsors referenced amendments in the works, and we expect the bill to be rescheduled for a vote soon.
HB23-1255 Regulating Local Housing Growth Restrictions the second bill in the Land Use package, which prohibits local governments from enforcing local housing growth restrictions, passed on a 9-2 vote in House Transportation, Housing & Local Government on Wednesday. Another housing measure that is being closely watched by renters rights advocates and property owners, HB23-1190 Affordable Housing Right Of First Refusal, cleared Senate Local Government with significant amendments on Tuesday.
Next week, SB23-252 Medical Price Transparency, which requires hospitals to make public a list of all standard charges for all hospital items and services provided to patients and authorizes HCPF to monitor hospital compliance and outlines penalties associated with deceptive trade practice law, will be heard in Senate Health & Human Services on Wednesday. HB23-1024 Relative And Kin Placement Of A Child, concerning measures to increase family resiliency through providing greater supports and protections for children involved in the child welfare system to be placed with kin was laid over this week after a long hearing and is scheduled for action only on Wednesday.
Bills of the Week
- Speaker McCluskie (D), Representative Lukens (D), Senator Roberts (D), Senator Will (R)
- Introduced April 5, scheduled to be heard in House Transportation, Housing & Local Government on April 11
- Counties currently have the ability to regulate short term rentals, the bill would allow them to regulate short term rental platforms to include a license number field and mandatory take down ability should the county find an STR out of compliance with local ordinances.
- Speaker McCluskie (D), Representative Amabile (D), Senator Roberts (D)
- Introduced April 6
- The bill creates a nonprofit unincorporated legal entity, the fair access to insurance requirements plan association to help persons who are unable to find coverage in the voluntary market obtain property insurance coverage for their real property.