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Highlights of the Week   

The 2023 Legislative Session is officially one third of the way through as Friday marked the 40th day of a 120-day session. So far, 376 bills have been introduced – 210 in the House and 166 in the Senate. There are many late bills in the queue still to be introduced.   

This week the Joint Budget Committee continued figure setting hearings, making decisions on the FY2023-24 budget for the Department of Early Childhood, portions of K-12 and Human Services, and the Department of Regulatory Agencies. On Friday afternoon, the JBC rejected the Division of Insurance’s request for three senior leadership positions: Chief of Staff, Budget Director, and Policy Advisor. The committee narrowly approved additional funding and staffing resources for implementation of the Prescription Drug Affordability Board.   

The Supplemental Package that passed quickly through the Senate last week faced a little more scrutiny in the House with the Department of Corrections Supplemental in particularly drawing amendments on second reading. The amendments ultimately failed but tied up floor work for several hours.   

HB23-1057 Amenities For All Genders in Public Buildings, which creates requirements for public buildings regarding non-gendered bathrooms, baby diaper changing stations, and signage, passed on a party line vote on Monday and is now pending in Appropriations. HB23-1098 Women’s Rights in Athletics failed on a party line 8-3 vote on Monday. The bill would have required that any school sport in K12 or higher education be designated as either male, female, or coeducational and would have dictated that students may only participate in a designated sport matching their biological sex at birth. The House Health and Insurance Committee killed three Republican-sponsored abortion bills following significant public testimony on Friday: HB23-1119 Abolishing Abortion In Colorado, HB23-1097 Painkiller Administration Prior To Abortion, and HB23-1150 Provide Information On Abortion Pill Reversal.   

The General Assembly considered a number of bills in committees of reference. HB23-1114 First-generation-serving Higher Education Institutions, was taken up again after being laid over last week. The bill as amended and passed unanimously directs the Colorado Department of Higher Education to set criteria for recognition as a First-Generation Serving Institution. The designation criteria must be equal to or higher than the statewide average percentage of first generation college students. HB23-1153 Pathways To Behavioral Health Care, concerning a feasibility study to determine pathways to behavioral health care for people with serious mental illness, also passed unanimously. SB23-101 Candidate Ballot Access For Primary Elections failed on a 1-4 vote. The bill would have repealed the ability of major and minor political party candidates to qualify for the primary ballot via the assembly process and modified requirements for candidates to qualify for the primary ballot by petition.  

On Thursday, HB23-1118, Fair Workweek Employment Standards, after a 7-hour hearing with extensive testimony from proponents and opponents, was laid over by the sponsors seeking additional time to make amendments. The legislation continues to get significant media attention and faces extensive opposition from the business committee, from small restaurateurs to the state’s chamber of commerce. The bill has emerged as the business community’s top priority thus far, drawing concern about far reaching impacts on business management and the increased cost of goods. Bill proponents include labor unions and Towards Justice.  

Senate President Steve Fenberg and House Speaker Julie McCluskie announced Thursday that they are forming a Joint Select Committee to investigate the causes of Coloradans’ rising utility rates and explore potential actions to prevent future price hikes, saving Colorado’s working families money on their energy bills. The Joint Select Committee on Rising Utility Rates will seek expert testimony from utility companies, relevant agency staff, regulators, consumer advocates, and policy experts in order to better understand issues such as the impact of volatility in natural gas markets, the frequency and justification for rate increases sought by utilities, and other relevant factors.  

Next week will continue to be busy for committees of reference. SB23-105 Ensure Equal Pay For Equal Work, which requires employers to comply with additional requirements when hiring and promoting employees and adds additional requirements of the director of the division of labor standards and statistics in the department of labor and employment to enforce and investigate wage inequity, will be heard on Tuesday in Business, Labor, & Technology. SB23-060 Consumer Protection In Event Ticketing Sale will be heard on Thursday in Senate Business, Labor, & Technology. The bill expands the definition of deceptive trade practice for online ticket resales, exempts select tickets from sale limitations, and outlines a civil penalty structure for violations.   

The General Assembly will not meet on Monday, February 20, in observance of President’s Day. Next week the JBC will continue figure setting for the Departments of Natural Resources, Corrections, Public Safety, Public Health and Environment, Local Affairs, and the Department of Law.  
Bills of the Week
HB23-1192 Additional Protections In Consumer Code  
Representative Weissman (D), Senator Gonzales (D), Senator Rodriguez (D)  

Scheduled to be heard on Feb. 28 in House Judiciary  

The bill creates additional protections in the consumer code – making changes to the deceptive trade practices provisions and repeals the “Colorado Antitrust Act of 1992” and reenacts the “Colorado State Act of 2023” establishing new requirements. 
HB23-1209 Analyze Statewide Publicly Financed Health-care  
Representative Boesenecker (D), Representative McCormick (D), Senator Jaquez Lewis (D)  

Introduced Feb. 17 and assigned to House Health & Insurance

The bill requires the Colorado school of public health to analyze model legislation for implementing a publicly financed and privately delivered universal health-care payment system for Colorado that directly compensates providers. The bill also creates the statewide health-care analysis task force consisting of members appointed by the general assembly for the purpose of advising the Colorado school of public health during the analysis.