Highlights of the Week
This week was the final full week of the legislative session, with only three working days remaining in the 2022 Legislative Session. The rules have officially been waived and committees of reference and Appropriations Committees are meeting throughout the day and night. Both chambers have been spending late nights on the floor to work through bills still on the calendar.
We saw a number of bills introduced this week that are in direct response to ballot initiatives that have been approved by the Title Board. To be placed on the November ballot, citizens initiatives must be approved by the Title Board before seeking approval to gather signatures or the legislature must pass a bill to refer a measure to the ballot. The final meeting of the Title Board was in late April; therefore we know what initiatives potential have to move forward to signature gathering for November. Below are the proposed referred measures that if passed by the General Assembly would be placed on the November 2022 ballot.
- SB22-238, 2023 And 2024 Property Tax, addresses 5 approved titles named “Concerning Property Valuation“ and “Property Taxes.” This bill reduces property tax assessment rates and taxable valuations for the 2023 and 2024 tax years, and requires that the state government reimburse local governments for a portion of the resulting property tax revenue reductions. The projected total revenue reduction attributable to the changes in the bill is $700 million that would be retained by businesses and individuals over the 2023 and 2024 property tax years. The proposal has received press from The Colorado Sun and Colorado Politics. While this deal was struck early in the week, the Colorado Sun reported the negotiations deteriorating Thursday. Rumors were circulating that short-term rental provisions would be included but ultimately were not included in the bill. SB22-238 has already passed the General Assembly and has been sent to the Governor for his signature.
- HB22-1414, Healthy Meals for All Public School Students, addresses the six titles “Establishment of a New School Meals Program” that have been approved. The program, if approved by the voters, would be paid for by capping itemized and standard state income tax deductions for taxpayers with a gross income of $300,000 or more. HB22-1414 has been introduced in the Senate.
- HB22-1417, Alcohol Beverages Task Force And Retailer Licenses, addresses 28 approved titles with the following titles: “Sales and Delivery of Alcohol Beverages,” “Concerning Liquor Licenses,” “Sales of Alcohol Beverages,” “Third-Party Delivery of Alcohol Beverages,” “Minimum Wage for Workers in Alcohol-Related Businesses,” and “Local Approval Requirement for Expanded Liquor License.” The bill creates a task force within the Department of Revenue to study the regulation of alcohol beverages, increases the number of stores a retail liquor store licensee is allowed to own, creates the beer-and-wine-licensed grocery store license, and converts liquor-licensed drugstore licenses to beer-and-wine-licensed grocery store licenses. In it's first committee hearing the bill was stripped of all but the task force and stakeholders are negotiating behind the scenes to determine the final details of the bill. HB22-1417 is waiting to be heard on Second reading.
SB22-232 Creation Of Colorado Workforce Housing Trust Authority, for the purpose of expanding affordable rental housing projects for middle-income workers, passed unanimously out of Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs following a number of amendments adopted to the bill. The bill passed third reading on Friday morning and will head to the Senate. On the other hand, HB22-1363, Accountability To Taxpayers Special Districts was postponed indefinitely on Thursday night following metro districts developers, builders and business groups continued concerns of slowing development and causing increased affordability.
The Senate debated HB22-1326, Fentanyl Accountability And Prevention all day on Thursday. By a one vote margin, the Senate strengthened the penalties in the bill, which now considers possession of 1g+ of fentanyl a felony. The bill allocates more than $30 million on prevention, harm reduction interventions, and investigations, and increases felony charges for distribution as well as possession of any amount of pure fentanyl. The bill passed third reading in the Senate by a vote of 24 to 8 with four Democrats and 4 Republicans voting against the bill. Another bill that’s dominated the headlines, SB22-230, Collective Bargaining for Counties, passed second reading in the House of Representatives on Friday night. After being weakened in the Senate the proposal was amended on the House floor to exempt out Colorado’s 14 smallest counties.
HB22-1220, Removing Barriers To Educator Preparation, and HB22-1390, Public School Finance, both passed through the Senate this week and are waiting the House to concur with Senate amendments before being sent to Governor Polis for his signature.
SB22-175, Mobile Electronic Devices And Motor Vehicle Driving, passed on a vote of 12-1 out of the House Transportation Committee on Monday and has been delayed in getting scheduled in Appropriations. SB22-225, Ambulance Service Sustainability And State Licensing, requires ambulance operators to be licensed by the CDPHE after July 1, 2024 and creates the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) System Sustainability Task Force to make recommendations regarding the regulatory structure for ambulance services. The bill has cleared the Senate and passed the House Finance Committee on Friday.
On Monday morning, Senate Minority Leader Chris Holbert announced his resignation effective May 31st. A vacancy committee will be held, likely smoothing the way for Rep. Kevin Van Winkle who has secured a place on the ballot for SD 30. On Sunday, May 1, the HD33 vacancy committee nominated William Lindstedt to replace Matt Gray as the Democrat running in the November election. Lindstedt is a current Broomfield City Council member and former staffer in the General Assembly.
The Executive Committee of the Legislative Council announced that Monday, January 9, 2023 will be the first day of the 2023 Legislative Session. Traditionally the legislature convenes on a Wednesday but next year will gavel in on a Monday in advance of swearing in the Governor following the November election.