Friday the Colorado Supreme Court announced it would hear arguments on a lawsuit filed by Colorado Concern against Governor Polis’s Executive Order 064 that allows for signatures for ballot measures to be gathered electronically. In Denver court, the judge sided with Governor Polis, upholding the executive order, and the plaintiffs appealed. Normally it would go through the Court of Appeals first, but the Colorado Supreme Court announced it would hear the case. Most campaigns seeking to place an initiative on the November 2020 ballot are up against an August 3 deadline to submit enough signatures to the Secretary of State. The Executive Order is designed to give flexibility for gathering signatures in light of challenges in-person signature gathering presents during the time of COVID-19. Colorado Concern, a business coalition, argues that because the constitution requires in-person signature gathering for ballot initiatives, that Executive Order 064 violates the state constitution.
Key Legislative Actions Today
- An unintroduced bill would decouple the state tax code from certain federal tax deductions for small businesses, LLC and S Corps. These changes could generate an additional $340 million in revenue for the state.
Bills on the Move
- Today the FY2020-21 Long Bill passed the Senate by a vote of 24-9. The budget will go to conference committee to resolve differences between the House and Senate versions.
- SB20-205 Sick Leave For Employees passed Senate Appropriations 6-4. The bill would require that employers provide 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked to all employees up to a cap of 48 hours in a year or 80 hours during a public health emergency. Senate floor amendments are expected.
- SB20-215 Health Insurance Affordability Enterprise passed Senate Appropriations 6-4. The bill would create a health insurance affordability enterprise to extend a new state fee on insurers and revise the fee on hospitals to fund the reinsurance program, pay carriers to reduce premiums on the individual market, and subsidize plans purchased by low income Coloradans.
- SB20-207 Unemployment Insurance passed Senate Appropriations 6-4 and the Senate on second reading. The bill codifies current practices for unemployment insurance related to the public health crisis and increases UI benefits.
- SB20-210 Extend UCC Fee For Fraud Investigators Unit passed Senate Appropriations 6-4 and the Senate on second reading. The bill extends the repeal date for the UCC filing fee until 2024.
- SB20-211 Limits on Extraordinary Debt Collection passed the Senate on Second Reading with a compromise amendment L016. The amendment removes all permanent provisions of the bill, enacts a temporary prohibition on extraordinary debt collections for those impacted by COVID until November 1, 2020, and a temporary bank depository exemption of $4,000 (down from $7,000).
- SB20-212 Reimbursement for Telehealth Services passed Senate Appropriations with 3 amendments L007, L008, and J002, unanimously and was placed on the Consent Calendar.
- SB20-214 Suspend 2020 Legislative Interim Committees passed Senate Appropriations unanimously and passed the Senate second reading. The bill eliminates all interim committees for the 2020 interim.
- SB20-217 Enhance Law Enforcement Integrity passed the Senate Appropriations Committee 6-4. The bill implements transparency measures for police departments, limits use of deadly force, and limits rehire of officers terminated for cause.
- SB20-219 Lease-purchase Issuance For Capital Construction passed the Senate Appropriations Committee 9-1 and Senate second reading. The bill delineates how a portion of COP revenue will be allocated to pay for the final phase of the continuation higher education capital construction projects on the CDC list, specifically projects at CU Anschutz, CSU and Ft. Lewis.
- SB20-200 Implementation of Colorado Secure Savings Program passed the Senate on third reading 18-15. The bill would require the Colorado Secure Savings Board to implement a new retirement savings program.
- HB20-1061 HIV Infection Prevention Medications passed the Senate on third reading 30-3. The bill allows pharmacists to prescribe and dispense PrEP medications.
- HB20-1407 College Admission Use of National Test Score
- The bill temporarily allows higher education institutions to not require national test scores in their admission standards for students set to graduate in 2021.
- HB20-1415 Whistleblower Protection for Public Health Emergencies passed House Finance on a 7-4 vote with three amendments: L001, L002, and L003. The amendments changed the definition of employer and employee, changed the statute of limitations and the burden of proof, and made technical changes. The bill would provide protection for employees and independent contractors who raise public health concerns at their places of employment to local health officials during a public health crisis.
- HB20-1418 Public School Finance passed House Education 9-4 to Appropriations.
- $7,083.61 per pupil base funding (1.9% increase)
- Repeals statute that requires the budget stabilization factor to not increase
- Transfers funds from BEST to school finance
- Requires school budgets to be submitted before June 23, 2020
- Prohibits CDE to assign accreditation ratings in the 2020-21 school year.
- Removes CDE requirements to determine attainment on performance indicators for the 2019-20 school year
- Changes total program mill levies so that for districts who have debruced, the school districts must levy the lesser of: 27 mills, the number of mills to fund the district’s total program, or the number of mills when the district debruced. If school districts have not debruced, they would levy the lesser of: 27 mills, the number of mills in the previous year, or the number of mills that doesn’t exceed the constitutional limit.
- In the 2021 property tax year, all school districts must levy the lesser of: 27 mills, number of mills in the previous year, or number of mills to fully fund district total program.
- Districts may approve a tax credit equal to the increase in number of mills if they are required to levy a higher mill.
Bills Postponed Indefinitely
- HB20-1405 Funding for Eviction Legal Defense Fund was postponed indefinitely in House Finance.