by Julie Pelegrin
One hundred twenty days of heavy lifting, deep diving, guard-rail strengthening, collaborating, and serious negotiating came to an end Wednesday evening. At 8:02 p.m. in the House and 8:11 p.m. in the Senate, the Speaker and the President banged the gavels to adjourn the first regular session of the 70th General Assembly sine die.
As is usually the case when one party controls the House and another controls the Senate, there were many bills, resolutions, and memorials introduced, but not many passed. Starting in January, the General Assembly introduced 682 bills. By last night, they passed 367 of them – a pass rate of 54%. This compares with pass rates of:
- 68% in 2013 and 72% in 2014 when the same party held the majority in both houses;
- 56% in both 2011 and 2012 when control of the houses was split between the parties; and
- Pass rates of 70% or higher for each of the 2007 through 2010 regular legislative sessions when the same party again held the majority in both houses.
As usual, the General Assembly tackled several difficult and contentious issues – red light cameras, changes to birth certificates, K-12 assessments, rain barrels, guns, abortion, TABOR refunds, governmental immunity for school districts, requirements affecting peace officers, student data privacy, workforce development, felony DUI, and, of course, the state budget – just to name a few.
Before the session ended, the General Assembly passed Senate Joint Resolution 15-028, which sets Wednesday, January 13, 2016, as the convening date for the second regular legislative session of the 70th General Assembly.
Between now and next January, some legislators will be busy meeting in interim committees. In addition to the pre-existing statutory committees, the General Assembly approved several new interim committees. This interim, watch the Legislative Council website for meetings of:
- The transportation legislative review committee;
- The early childhood and school readiness legislative commission;
- The police officers’ and firefighters’ pension reform commission;
- The water resources review committee;
- The interim committee to study vocational rehabilitative services for the blind;
- The interim committee to study profiling-initiated contacts by law enforcement;
- The interim committee on school safety and youth in crisis;
- The Colorado health insurance exchange oversight committee – formerly known as the health benefit exchange implementation review committee; and
- The off-highway vehicle task force.
And the legislative staff agencies – Legislative Council Staff, the Office of Legislative Legal Services, the Joint Budget Committee Staff, and the State Auditors’ Office, as well as the staff of the House and the Senate – will be working the full interim. First, there’s session work to wrap up, including enrolling and finalizing the bills that passed, finalizing the state budget, and publishing the new Session Laws and the new statutes. Then staff will be busy reviewing executive branch rules, auditing state agencies and programs, staffing interim committees, researching legal, policy, and fiscal issues, and generally preparing for the next legislative session.
And, starting July 9, we’ll be back publishing weekly articles to the LegiSource. If there’s a topic you would like us to address, please let us know by emailing email@example.com.
Legislators who want to start working on their ideas for legislation for the next legislative session can submit research requests and bill requests to the Office of Legislative Legal Services by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or or calling (303) 866-2045.