A little over three weeks down in the 2024 legislative session and bills are starting to move. On Monday, our bill, HB 1139, that I mentioned last week, was introduced. HB 1139 will allow the surviving spouses of certain state employees who were in high-risk jobs to remarry and continue to receive their death benefit. It was assigned to the House Business Committee but has not yet been calendared.
On Wednesday, HB 1016 Defined Personnel for Emergency Telephone Services (Lieder & Aramgost / Kolker), which the CSPA supports, was heard in the House Transportation Committee. HB 1016 defines “emergency communications specialist” as a first responder. Currently, these 911 professionals, including our comm officers, are classified as administrative. Designating these professionals as first responders will recognize the essential role they play in the public safety infrastructure. When I first started representing the CSPA, I spent a Friday evening at the Pueblo Regional Communications Center. I was amazed at how our comm officers were able to juggle multiple screens and calls on what they considered to be a slow night. All the testimony in committee was in support of the bill and the House Transportation Committee referred HB 1016 to the full House unanimously. On Friday, HB 1016 easily passed second reading in the House. I expect HB 1016 to pass third reading in the House early this week before moving onto the Senate.
On Friday, 24 supplemental bills were introduced. A supplemental bill adjusts a department’s current-year budget. The supplemental for the Department of Public Safety, HB 1197, does not make any changes to the State Patrol’s current-year budget. The introduction of the supplemental bills is a sign that the JBC will be shifting its focus from the current-year budget to next year’s budget, most of which will be included in the Long Bill.
So far, there have been 320 bills introduced – 215 in the House and 105 in the Senate. Only 93 days until the General Assembly is required to adjourn sine die.