Highlights of the Week
This week made clear that the clock towards Sine Die is beginning to tick louder as both chambers ramped up efforts to clear the remaining bills on their dockets. As of today, April 29, the General Assembly has introduced 612 bills, Governor Polis has signed 150 of them, 90 have failed, leaving 372 still to pass or be signed by the Governor.
The Senate and the House worked long days on the floor this week. This Saturday morning, the House held Appropriations committee before returning to the floor to continue to work through bills on the calendar, we anticipate the House to work all day through seconds and thirds. Monday marks seven days remaining before Sine Die on May 8.
Property value assessments have started arriving in homeowners’ mailboxes causing concern over the significant increases in taxes expected. The legislature in coordination with the Governor are expected to release legislation early next week to thwart the dramatic effects of keeping property taxes level for the upcoming year. The last few sessions legislators have passed a bill late in the session to offer a temporary fix. A permanent fix was originally said to be in the works this year, but given how little time remains in the session another one year adjustment seems more likely.
On Wednesday morning, Senate Majority Leader Moreno brought forward a strike below amendment on SB23-213 Land Use, the Governor’s affordable housing and land use reform priority bill. The rewrite stripped local pre-emption from the bill, a sticking point for Republicans as well as key Democrats on the Appropriations Committee and would create a state board tasked with helping communities assess affordable housing needs and develop long-term plans. After significant discussion, the amendment was adopted and SB23-213 passed Senate Appropriations to the Committee of the Whole on a party-line vote followed by a flurry of press surrounding the changes. A long discussion on SB23-213 followed on Second Reading with a number of amendments brought forward and adopted by Democrats and the Republicans filibustering. The bill passed third reading on Friday on a vote of 20 to 12 with 3 excused and one Democrat joining the Republicans in opposition.
SB23-292 Labor Requirements For Energy Sector Construction creates a category of public works projects called energy sector public works projects, which consist of projects that generate, transmit, or distribute electricity or natural gas, and are built by a public utility with some public funding or approved by a cooperative electric association. The proponents are getting pushback on the project labor agreements, but the bill passed Senate Business, Labor & Technology 6-3 before clearing the Appropriations Committee.
HB23-1229 Amending Terms Consumer Lending Laws, which modifies the requirements for loans not exceeding $1,000 and provides that state law applies to interest rates on consumer credit transactions, cleared Senate Business on a party line vote as amended on Thursday before heading to the floor on second reading where an amendment to push back the implementation date was adopted.
SB23-098 Gig Work Transparency was heard in Senate Finance on Tuesday. After listening to Transportation Network Companies and Delivery Network Companies concerns with the ability to implement the legislation and proponents and drivers seeking more transparency, the bill was laid over at the request of the sponsor. Senate Finance took the bill back up on Thursday but laid it over again until Tuesday, May 2.
HB23-1120 Eviction Protections For Residential Tenants, requires mediation between a landlord and a residential tenant in an eviction proceeding if the tenant receives supplemental security income, federal social security disability insurance, or financial assistance from the Colorado Works program. It passed 4-3 out of Senate Local Government and then cleared Appropriations Committee. It is expected to be heard on second reading next week.
HB23-1190 Affordable Housing Right Of First Refusal continues to be laid over daily on the Senate Second reading calendar. SB23-060 Consumer Protection In Event Ticketing Sales, which was laid over daily on the House Second Reading calendar for nearly three weeks, passed this week and was sent back to the Senate. The Senate rejected House amendments and has requested a conference committee. HB23-1002 Epinephrine Auto-injectors is also headed to conference committee after the House rejected the Senate amendments due to Viatris getting on an unfriendly amendment in the Senate.
On Friday, Governor Polis signed the gun violence prevention package into law surrounded by legislative champions, advocates, and young students.
HB23-1115 Repeal Prohibition Local Residential Rent Control was postponed indefinitely on a 4-3 vote with one Democrat joining the Republicans in opposition in the Senate Local Government & Housing Committee. The 40 year ban on Colorado cities and counties enacting rent control policies will remain in place. Another bill that gained significant media attention, HB23-1202 Overdose Prevention Center Authorization, which would allow local municipalities to authorize overdose prevention sites, failed in Senate Health and Human Services on Wednesday after a motion was made to postpone the bill indefinitely by a member of the committee.
Legislative Council met on Wednesday morning, approving only two interim committee requests of the six requests originally submitted. An interim committee on Colorado’s Child Welfare System was approved for 5 meetings and Aligning Definitions of Recidivism When Used as a Measurement of Criminal Justice Related Program Success or Failure was approved for 3 meetings.