We are almost three-quarters on the way through the 2021 legislative session. Unless the legislature is able to save some legislative days for later in the year, they will be required to adjourn sine die by midnight on Saturday, June 12th. Previously, I mentioned that the legislative leaders were thinking of temporarily adjourning just before Memorial Day and leaving about two weeks in the 120-day limit to come back later in the summer or fall to allocate the $3.9 billion the state anticipates receiving under the American Rescue Plan. However, now with the COVID-19 vaccine widely available and more and more Coloradans being vaccinated each day, the word is the state of emergency, and as a result the legislature’s ability to save legislative days, might soon expire. As a result, the current word around the Capitol is the legislature will likely work straight through to sine die.
If they do work straight through, they certainly have a number of big bills left to address. This week the Colorado Option healthcare bill (HB 1232) was debated on the House floor. It needs one final vote in the House before moving to the Senate. Legislative leaders also introduced the much-anticipated transportation funding bill (SB 260). This bill is designed to raise approximately $5.3 billion for the state’s highway system, local transportation, transit, electric vehicle charging infrastructure and incentives and air pollution through general fund transfers and a number of fees. The most controversial of these fees is likely to be a new road usage fee on the sale of each gallon of gas that will operate much like the existing gas tax. In addition, the business community is anticipating two bills will be introduced this coming week that will reduce or eliminate approximately $375 million in annual tax breaks for businesses and individuals.
HB 1250 concerning measures to address law enforcement accountability is the only bill the CSPA is tracking that moved this week. The House Appropriations Committee referred HB 1250 to the House floor with no debate or substantive amendments. Although this was a relatively slow week for the bills we are tracking, given the short amount of time left in the session, they will be moving soon. Only 33 days until the General Assembly is required to adjourn sine die.