Only 21 days left! Even though the compromise between House Democrats and Republicans that I mentioned last week is still holding up – no House Republicans have asked for any bill to be read at length and the House did not work this past Sunday – we still had a couple of late nights this week. On Monday, the House went until 11:15 pm. On Wednesday, it was the Senate’s turn when they worked on the floor until almost 11:00 pm. In addition, committees are regularly working until late into the evening. We are at the point of the session when everyone is tired, and tempers can be short. It’s going to be a long but interesting three weeks.
A bright spot this week included finalizing the Long Bill for next year. The conference committee on the Long Bill (i.e., the JBC) met on Wednesday to make decisions on which of the amendments passed by the Senate and House should be included in the final conference committee report. The conference committee was unable to fund all the amendments because of the constitutional requirement that the budget be balanced. Some of the amendments adopted by the conference committee included the following:
• $500,000 for the Tony Grampsas Youth Services – the Senate and House had each approved $1 million.
• $11,727 for the Colorado Civil Air Patrol – as approved by both the Senate and the House.
• $8 million for Crime Victim Services – the Senate and House had each approved $30 million.
• $1 million for Denver Health – the House had approved $5 million.
On Thursday, both the House and the Senate adopted the conference committee report and repassed the Long Bill. Once it is sent to the Governor, he will have 10 days to consider which, if any, line items and footnotes he would like to veto before he signs the bill.
So far, there have been 578 bills introduced – 294 in the House and 284 in the Senate. Only 21 days until the General Assembly is required to adjourn sine die.