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Highlights of the Week    Representative Kyle Brown was appointed to HD 12 on Saturday by a vacancy committee. He was sworn in on Wednesday and has been assigned to the House Heath and Insurance Committee, replacing Rep. Willford, and the House State, Civic, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee. Rep. Brown previously served as the Deputy Commissioner of Insurance for Colorado and a Louisville City Council member. The General Assembly has introduced 282 bills so far, 111 in the Senate and 171 in the House.   

This week the legislature began moving bills to the floor. HB23-1001, Expanding Assistance For Educator Programs, passed on second and third reading in the House and is headed to the Senate. HB23-1006, Employer Notice Of Income Tax Credits, which requires employers to notify their employees annually of the availability of certain federal and state tax credits, has also cleared the House. Bills with a fiscal impact will start to queue up in the Appropriations committee, including SB23-018, Ongoing Funding For 911 Resource Center, which would support $250,000 of ongoing funding for the Colorado 911 resource center. The bill passed the Senate Health & Human Services Committee unanimously this week. The House Public & Behavioral Health and Human Services Committee heard significant witness testimony on HB23-1071, Licensed Psychologist Prescriptive Authority, concerning the authority of a licensed psychologist to prescribe psychotropic medication for the treatment of mental health disorders passing to the Committee of the Whole 10-1.   

The Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE) released a press announcement this week highlighting the Colorado Commission on Higher Education’s statewide plan. Building Skills in an Evolving Economy aims to advance the economic mobility of Colorado’s learners and earners by aligning postsecondary talent development with industry and statewide need.  

Next week, committees of reference are picking up the pace with many bills on the calendar. House Transportation, Housing, and Local Government will hear three Special or Metro District related bills on Tuesday afternoon: HB23-1023, Special District Construction Contracts, which increases the dollar amount of a special district contract that requires notice for bids; HB23-1065, Local Government Independent Ethics Commission, concerning the scope of the independent ethics commission’s jurisdiction over ethics complaints against local government officials and employees; and HB23-1090, Limit Metropolitan District Director Conflicts, which would place a prohibition on the purchase of debt issued by a metropolitan district by any entity with respect to which any district director has a conflict of interest.  

HB23-1114, First-generation-serving Higher Education Institutions, will be heard on Thursday in House Education. The bill creates a special designation for public higher education institutions that serve at least 45% first generation college students.  

We anticipate a workforce package to be released in the coming weeks including legislation focused increasing the number of individuals gaining a credential or degree in high demand career pathways. CDHE is proposing a $40 million one-time investment in zero-cost education and training opportunities at the certificate and associate degree level focused on elementary and early childhood education, nursing, construction, firefighting, law enforcement, and forest management among others. To confront Colorado’s workforce challenges, OEDIT will establish a universal scholarship program, providing scholarship funding to allow students to access a wide range of education and training opportunities aligned to Colorado’s high demand jobs. An anticipated total appropriation of $25 million will serve more than 15,000 Coloradans in the graduating class of 2024.   

Looking ahead to next week, the Capital Development Committee and Joint Technology Committee are taking up prioritization of FY 23-24 projects at their meetings next week. The Senate Appropriations Committee will hear supplemental bills, and the Joint Budget Committee will continue figure setting, focused on Tobacco Master Settlement, federal ARPA funds requested adjustments and decisions on funds not yet allocated, and the Departments of Labor & Employment and Transportation.    
Bills of the Week
HB23-1153 Pathways To Behavioral Health Care Representative Amabile (D), Representative Armagost (R)  

Introduced Jan. 31, assigned to Public & Behavioral Health & Human Services  

The bill requires the state department of human services (state department) to contract with an independent third party to conduct a feasibility study to determine the feasibility of creating a system to support individuals with serious mental illness through a collaboration between Colorado’s behavioral health and judicial systems.
SB23-110 Transparency For Metropolitan Districts   Senator Marchman (D), Senator Zenzinger (D), Representative Kipp (D), Representative Taggart (R)  

Introduced Jan. 31, assigned to Local Government & Housing  

For a proposed metropolitan district, the bill makes changes to the service plan submission process before the board or boards of county commissioners requiring the inclusion of a maximum mill levy that may be imposed for the general obligation indebtedness, the maximum debt that may be issues by the metropolitan district. The bill makes adjustments to public transparency and engagement practices required by the metropolitan district.