Hello everyone,

The first full week of the 2024 legislative session was quite chaotic. It started on Monday when House Republicans held a vote of no confidence in House Minority Leader Mike Lynch (R-Wellington). The question concerning Rep. Lynch’s leadership stemmed from a Denver Post story from the prior week revealing that Rep. Lynch had been arrested for driving under the influence, speeding, and being in possession of a firearm while intoxicated back in September 2022. Very few, if any, people in the Capitol were aware of the arrest before the story broke. Some House Republicans were upset that Rep. Lynch did not disclose the arrest prior to his selection as Minority Leader which took place approximately six weeks after his arrest. Rep. Lynch survived Monday’s vote when the caucus deadlocked 9 to 9 with one member, Rep. Stephanie Luck (R-Penrose), excused. Some House Republicans asked for a revote with Rep. Luck participating remotely but that was denied.

On Tuesday, Rep. Scott Bottoms (R-Colorado Springs) called for another caucus meeting from the House floor. However, this time most of the caucus did not attend and as a result those present failed to have enough members for a quorum. Rep. Bottoms indicated that he intended to call for a caucus each morning on the House floor until another vote of no confidence was held. After some back and forth, it was decided that another vote would be held on Thursday at 8 am.

On Wednesday morning, Rep. Lynch took a moment of personal privilege on the House floor and announced he would be stepping down as Minority Leader at the end of the day. On Thursday morning, the caucus elected Rep. Rose Pugliese (R-Colorado Springs), the assistant minority leader under Rep. Lynch, as the new House Minority Leader. Rep. Pugliese beat out Rep. Matt Soper (R-Delta) and Rep. Ken DeGraaf (R-Colorado Springs) for the position. On Friday, the caucus elected Rep. Ty Winter (R-Trinidad) as new assistant minority leader. Rep. Winter’s election was uncontested.

However, the week wasn’t all chaos. We also finalized our bill to allow the surviving spouses of certain state employees to remarry and continue to receive their death benefit. Under current law, workers’ comp death benefits are paid to a widow or widower for life or until remarriage. Rep. Sheila Lieder (D-Littleton), Rep. Ryan Armagost (R-Berthoud) and Sen. Perry Will (R-New Castle) will be carrying a bill for the CSPA to allow the surviving spouses of certain state employees who were killed at work and worked in a high-risk job classification (state troopers, CBI agents, corrections officers, parole officers, state fire fighters, parks and wildlife officers, and CDOT safety and maintenance employees) to continue to receive their workers’ comp death benefit if they remarry. I expect the bill to be introduced next week.

So far, there have been 224 bills introduced – 120 in the House and 104 in the Senate. Only 100 days until the General Assembly is required to adjourn sine die.

Bill Skewes

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