By Matthew Dawkins
Starting in 2014, the process for requesting an interim study committee has changed. With the recent amendment of section 2-3-303.3, C.R.S., a legislator can no longer create an interim committee by passing a bill or resolution. Now, a legislator who thinks a group of his or her colleagues should study a particular issue during the interim must submit a formal letter to the Legislative Council for consideration and prioritization.
Requesting the creation of an interim study committee is a fairly simple process. A legislator starts by contacting either the Office of Legislative Legal Services or the Legislative Council office to ask for a letter to formally request the creation of the interim study committee. The only information that the legislator needs to provide when asking for the letter is the general topic that the interim committee will study. Both offices will assign staff to work with the legislator to prepare and finalize the letter. The legislator can also identify lobbyists or others who are authorized to work with staff in crafting the language of the letter.
The letter must specify key details concerning the interim committee, such as:
- The scope of the policy issues the committee will examine;
- The number of legislators on the committee;
- How many times the committee will meet;
- Whether a task force is needed to assist the committee; and
- An estimate of the number of bills the interim committee may request to address the issues it studies.
The legislator who submits the letter request may ask other legislators who are in favor of creating the interim study committee to sign on as “supporters” of the request, similar to signing on as cosponsors of a bill or resolution. Unlike bills and resolutions, a letter requesting the creation of an interim study committee cannot have joint prime sponsors.
Once the letter is ready, the legislator must submit it to the Legislative Council for consideration by the Executive Committee. For the 2014 session, the deadline for submitting the letter is April 11, 2014. To help ensure adequate time to prepare the final letter for submission to the Executive Committee, a legislator should submit his or her request for a letter to the Office of Legislative Legal Services or the Legislative Council office no later than the first week of April.
The Legislative Council will meet no later than April 25th of this year to review and prioritize all of the interim study requests. Before that meeting, the Director of Research of the Legislative Council will review the 2014-15 legislative budget and report to the Executive Committee of the Legislative Council the number of interim committee meetings that are funded for the 2014 legislative interim. The Legislative Council will consider this information in deciding how many interim studies to prioritize. The President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Minority Leaders of the Senate and the House will appoint the legislative members of the prioritized interim committees.
Using this new process, most interim committees will be created by the end of the legislative session. However, after the General Assembly adjourns sine die, a legislator may submit to the Executive Committee a written request for an interim study committee. If the Executive Committee finds that the issue is the result of new or changed circumstances and the issue warrants study, the Executive Committee may create an additional interim committee or add the issue to the agenda of an existing interim committee.
For questions, please contact the Office of Legislative Legal Services at (303) 866-2045 or the Legislative Council Staff office at (303) 866-3521.