Great news! On Tuesday, the JBC approved decision item R6 – Trooper Pay Increase & Graduated Pay. The Department had requested an additional $7.3 million to bring trooper salaries in line with the Trooper Pay Statute and implement a graduated pay system. The JBC approved the decision item as requested by the Department. While this is great news, the request still has a long way to go. Approving the decision item means it will be included in the Long Bill that is expected to be introduced on March 27th. The Long Bill will then have to go through the normal legislative process through both the Senate and the House.
During figure setting on Tuesday the JBC also approved some other decision items impacting the State Patrol. These included the following:
R1 – Auto Theft Prevention Initiative: The Department requested $7.9 million of General Fund and 10.1 FTE to augment the capacity of the Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority and the existing multi-jurisdictional task forces to combat auto theft. The JBC approved $7.7 million General Fund and 10.0 FTE. The difference is that the JBC approved funding for the new employees at the minimum of the salary range.
R17 – Colorado State Patrol Records Unit Plus Up: The Department requested $461,139 of HUTF and 5.5 FTE to manage a steady increase in records requests and to prepare for the full roll-out of body-worn cameras. The JBC approved $384,421 and 5.5 FTE. The difference includes centrally appropriated costs for the new employees in the first year that the JBC does not approve based on policy.
R18 – CSP Food Service: The Department requested $500,000 in HUTF to secure a dining services contract for the CSP Academy due to the recent closure and transfer of DOC and the Colorado Correctional Center out of Camp George West. The JBC approved the request.
R20 – CSP Equipment Staff: The Department requested $244,879 HUTF and 1.8 FTE to allow the Communications Branch to effectively manage and support the estimated $28 million of radio, computer, wireless technology assets, contracts, and program budgets, included in the approved decision item for FY 2022-23. The JBC approved $194,151 and 1.8 FTE. The difference includes the centrally appropriated costs for the new employees and funding the positions at the minimum of the salary range.
Just like the Trooper Pay decision item, these decision items will be included in the Long Bill and must go through the legislative process.
Also worth noting, on Friday, HB 1230 Prohibit Assault Weapons in Colorado was introduced in the House. HB 1230 makes it a class 2 misdemeanor, with certain exceptions, to knowingly manufacture, import, purchase, sell, offer to sell, or transfer ownership of an assault weapon as defined in the bill. There is an exception for peace officers.
So far, there have been 408 bills introduced – 230 in the House and 178 in the Senate. Only 63 days until the General Assembly is required to adjourn sine die.