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This Wednesday marked the 80th day of the 2023 Legislative Session, we are now officially two thirds of the way through session. Monday marks the 35-day countdown which will increase the pace at the Capitol to ensure deadlines are met and bills cross their necessary hurdles before the clock strikes midnight on May 8th, Sine Die.

The Senate considered the budget this week, SB23-214 2023-24 Long Bill, debating many amendments and adopting a handful that garnered enough support that will be included in the bill as it moves to the House. The House will strip those amendments in the Appropriations committee hearing on Monday morning before they debate the budget considering amendments in their own chamber next week. Amendments that are adopted in both chambers are typically considered for funding in the final long bill. There are rumors circulating that the House Republicans at threatening to read the Long Bill at length, we expect the bill to be heard on Second reading on Tuesday and third reading on Thursday.

Last year’s TABOR surplus was refunded in part with flat checks of $750 or $1,500 sent to Coloradans. The Colorado Sun digs into the outstanding question of how this year’s tax revenue surplus of $2.7 billion will be refunded to Coloradans, those close to the issue have indicated changes coming. The legislature must decide before Sine Die.

The Polis administration has been clear on their goals to reduce Colorado’s carbon emissions by targeting transportation as a key lever for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Increasing the amount of electric vehicles is critical to their approach. HB23-1233 Electric Vehicle Charging And Parking Requirements which includes a number of provisions to incentivize the expansion of electric vehicle charging infrastructure cleared committee on a party-line vote this week and is headed to the House floor. Another bill that compliments the administration’s goals was introduced this week, HB23-1272 Tax Policy That Advances Decarbonization would extend tax credits for purchases of EVs, implementing GHG emission reduction improvements in industrial facilities, geothermal energy projects, deployment of heat pump technology, for construction of sustainable aviation fuel production facilities, and much more. HB23-1272 is scheduled for its first hearing next week on April 6th.

Health care remained a topic under the dome this week.  HB23-1226 Hospital Transparency And Reporting Requirements and HB23-1243 Hospital Community Benefit both cleared their respective committees adopting significant amendments negotiated by the proponents, Colorado Hospital Association, and the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing.

On Monday, April 3rd, the First Lady will join Governor Jared Polis at the Colorado State Capitol to highlight how state officials are prioritizing investments in community colleges and workforce training programs, the Denver Post covered the upcoming stop in the President’s “Investing in America” efforts.

On Thursday, the Senate Local Government & Housing Committee will consider SB23-213 Land Use, the administration’s biggest priority this legislative session that is ruffling feathers with some municipal leaders for public testimony only. The bill would make some matters of local land use policy a matter of statewide concern in order to remove barriers to affordable housing, specifically by setting model codes and minimum standards while limiting local government’s ability to be more restrictive in the areas of accessory dwelling units, transit-oriented development, middle housing, multifamily housing, and key development corridors. The second bill in the package, HB23-1255 Regulating Local Housing Growth Restrictions, concerning preemption of local regulations limiting the number of building permits issued for development, will be heard in House Transportation, Housing & Local Government on Wednesday. Not included in the administration’s affordable housing package, HB23-1190 Affordable Housing Right Of First Refusal which creates the right of first refusal for local governments to purchase multi-unit residential properties for long-term affordable housing, will be considered on Tuesday in Senate Local Government & Housing.

Last weekend in an unprecedented schedule, the House met on Saturday and Sunday to pass the Democratic gun violence prevention package on second and third reading. After the Republican’s extensive filibuster, the Democrats leveraged their majority to invoke Rule 14, limiting debate. SB23-168 Gun Violence Victims’ Access To Judicial System, SB23-169 Increasing Minimum Age To Purchase Firearms and SB23-170 Extreme Risk Protection Order Petitions await Senate concurrence with House amendments, the final hurdle before the bills head to Governor Polis’s desk for signature.

This Saturday, the House will convened at 10 am to consider third reading of the reproductive health and gender affirming health care package. All three bills – SB23-188 Protections For Accessing Reproductive Health Care, SB23-189 Increasing Access To Reproductive Health Care, and SB23-190 Deceptive Trade Practice Pregnancy-related Service – were passed on second reading between Thursday and Friday under a Rule 14 limited debate to 6 hours per bill.

SB23-252 Medical Price Transparency

  • Senator Van Winkle (R), Senator Gonzales (D), Representative Daugherty (D), Representative Hartsook (R)
  • Introduced March 27, scheduled to be heard in Senate Health & Human Services April 13
  • The bill requires hospitals to make public a list of all standard charges for all hospital items and services provided to patients. The standard charges include the gross billed charge, the payer-specific negotiated charge, the minimum and maximum negotiated charges, and the discounted cash price. The bill requires HCPF to monitor hospital compliance and outlines penalties associated with deceptive trade practice law.

SB23-258 Consolidate Colorado Educator Programs In Colorado Department of Education

  • Senator Buckner (D), Senator Lundeen (R), Representative Michaelson Jenet (D)
  • Introduced March 30, scheduled to be heard in House Education April 10
  • The bill consolidates the review and approval process for educator preparation programs under the department of education and the state board of education.