We are over one-quarter of way done with the 2024 session. Our priority bill, HB 1139 Death Benefit for State Employee Surviving Spouse, that will allow the surviving spouses of certain state employees to receive their death benefit for life regardless of whether they remarry, was heard in the House Business Committee Thursday evening. I want to thank Velma Donahue-Sandberg, Amy Moden, DJ Jursevics, and Chief Packard for waiting around most of the afternoon and testifying. Their testimony was essential in the bill passing committee 10 to 0. The Committee also amended the bill to include Port of Entry Officers. On Friday afternoon, HB 1139 passed second reading in the House on special orders. HB 1139 will be heard on third reading today before moving over to the Senate.
On Monday, a delegation of Israeli officials and representatives of six families of hostages and victims of the October 7th attacks were not allowed on the House floor. Speaker McCluskie issued a statement saying that she “did not have assurances that members on both sides of the aisle would rise to the occasion.” However, word around the Capitol was that she was concerned how some members of her caucus would react. You may remember that during last November’s special session one member of her caucus joined pro-Palestinian protesters in the House gallery and yelled at her fellow representatives that they were fascists. However, the families were allowed on the Senate floor where they were recognized with Speaker McCluskie and nearly half of the House members present. The delegation visited with Governor Polis later that day. Also on Monday, HB 1016 that CSPA supports and defines an Emergency Communications Specialist as a first responder passed the House on third reading 64 to 0. HB 1016 was introduced in the Senate and assigned to the Senate Local Government Committee but has not yet been calendared.
On Thursday, the supplemental bills passed the House on third reading. They will be heard in the Senate this week. On Friday, Representatives and Senators gathered on the House floor for Military Appreciation Day to recognize current and former military members and pass ten resolutions concerning: Military, Veterans, and POW/MIA Appreciation Day; Gold Star Families; veterans of World War II, the Vietnam War, and the Persian Gulf War; and others.
So far, there have been 381 bills introduced – 228 in the House and 153 in the Senate. Only 86 days until the General Assembly is required to adjourn sine die.