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Highlights of the Week   

Committees of reference were busy this week with a number of bills advancing and some that did not. The flood of bill introductions has slowed to more of a trickle as leadership now has to approve late bill status for new bills to be introduced. As of today, 407 bills have been introduced – 230 in the House and 177 in the Senate.   

Affordable housing remains a top priority for both caucuses this session, but lawmakers are proposing a variety of different approaches to tackle the problem. In 1981, the Colorado legislature passed a statewide rent stabilization ban, prohibiting local governments from enacting measures that would address how much rents could increase year to year. HB23-1115 Repeal Prohibition Local Residential Rent Control which would repeal the statewide ban and allow local governments to have the choice to implement rent stabilization measures has cleared the House and is moving to the Senate. HB23-1171 Just Cause Requirement Eviction Of Residential Tenant which prohibits a landlord from evicting a residential tenant unless the landlord has just cause for eviction passed House Transportation, Housing & Local Government this week.   

The media continued to cover HB23-1118 Fair Workweek Employment Standards in advance of the action only hearing on Thursday afternoon where the bill failed in the House Business Affairs & Labor Committee with four Democrats joining the Republicans in opposition. HB23-1180 County Commissioner Elections was also postponed indefinitely this week. The bill would have required counties with populations of 70,000 or more to have five county commissioners, with at least three elected by voters of the candidate’s district.   

As the General Assembly considers efforts to thwart the rise of crime, SB23-097 Motor Vehicle Theft And Unauthorized Use, which modifies and reclassifies motor vehicle theft offenses and creates a new misdemeanor offense for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle passed Senate Judiciary unanimously on Monday.   

SB23-061 Eliminate State Assessment In Social Studies cleared the Senate this week. The bill would remove the requirement to administer a statewide social studies assessment once in elementary and once in middle school grades.  

Following Governor Polis’s press conference on Thursday: State Legislators Announce Plans to Help Save Coloradans Money on Health Care, the following bills were introduced: 

HB23-1224 Standardized Health Benefit Plan makes changes to the “Colorado Standardized Health Benefit Plan Act” commonly called the Colorado Option or state health insurance for purchase on the individual market and small employers. The bill has been scheduled for March 10 in House Health and Insurance.

HB23-1225 Extend And Modify Prescription Drug Affordability Board concerning modifying the affordability review process, allowing the board to establish upper payment limits for an unlimited number of prescription drugs, clarifying which board functions are subject to judicial review, authorizing an individual to request an independent external review of a denial of a request for benefits for a prescription drug that has been withdrawn from sale or distribution in the state, and extending the repeal date of the board. The bill has been scheduled for March 10 in House Health and Insurance.

HB23-1226 Hospital Transparency And Reporting Requirements regarding transparency requirements for hospitals, creating more timely submissions of data; providing insights into transfers of cash and profits and reserves, including those leaving Colorado; reporting on all information received; reporting information by each hospital in addition to health systems; disclosing executive compensation, including compensated incentives; reporting mergers and acquisitions of hospitals and physicians; and reporting investments in capital equipment and construction.

HB23-1227 Enforce Laws Against Pharmacy Benefit Managers specifies that the commissioner of insurance has the power to enforce the current prohibitions and requirements of PBMs and impose penalties on PBMs for failing to comply with these prohibitions and requirements.  

HB23-1215 Limits On Hospital Facility Fees was not mentioned during Governor Polis’s press conference. The bill, scheduled for a hearing on March 17 in House Health & Insurance, prohibits a health-care provider affiliated with or owned by a hospital or health system from charging a facility fee for health-care services for outpatient services provided at an off-campus location and for certain outpatient services that may otherwise be provided in non-hospital settings.  

Next week the package of gun violence protection bills that the Democrats introduced last week will be heard in committees. These bills were scheduled on the heels of East High School students marching to the Capitol to demand action following a fellow student’s shooting death on Friday.   

The Joint Budget Committee held figure setting for a number of departments this week including the Public Health and Environment, Human Services, Behavioral Health Administration and Public Safety. Next week is the final week of figure setting and will include capital construction, the Governor’s Office, and the departments of Health Care Policy and Financing, Natural Resources and Higher Education. The committee is hoping to close the budget on March 20 or 21 in the hopes of introducing the Long Bill March 27. The House Appropriations Committee will begin meeting on Friday to hear bills with a fiscal note as they near the budget finalization.
Bills of the Week
SB23-172 Protecting Opportunities And Workers’ Rights Act   Senator Winter (D), Senator Gonzales (D), Representative Weissman (D), Representative Bacon (D)  

Introduced February 27, assigned to Senate Judiciary  

The bill addresses discriminatory or unfair employment practices pursuant to Colorado’s anti-discrimination laws, the bill enacts the “Protecting Opportunities and Workers’ Rights (POWR) Act.”
HB23-1230 Prohibit Assault Weapons In Colorado   Representative Epps (D), Senator Fields (D)  

Introduced March 3, assigned to House Judiciary  

The bill The bill defines the term “assault weapon” and prohibits a person from manufacturing, importing, purchasing, selling, offering to sell, or transferring ownership of an assault weapon. The bill further prohibits a person from possessing a rapid-fire trigger activator. A violation is a class 2 misdemeanor.