Article

2022 Legislative Wrap Up

by Sol Malick, Peak Government Affairs

The Legislative Session wrapped up its 120 day session on Wednesday, May 11th and will not reconvene until January 11th unless the Governor calls a special session which is unlikely at this point. The APA Colorado Legislative Committee tracked 74 bills (see tracking link at the bottom of document), supported 22, and opposed none.

For the planning community, 2022 was a pretty smooth year legislatively. There was nothing big that APA Colorado had to oppose, and every bill APA Colorado supported passed and has been signed by the Governor. Though no proactive legislation was drafted and run, there were numerous bills that helped move the planning and sustainable communities forward. The biggest issues APA Colorado was involved in pertained to affordable housing and climate change and surprisingly 2022 was NOT the year for big water legislation as projected. That’s not to say that water won’t continue to be a huge priority in the future, it just fizzled out this year.

Priority Bills:

HB22-1304- State Grants Investments Local Affordable Housing- This bill was a product of the affordable housing task force that convened over the summer and fall and was a done deal before it ran in the legislature. That means that it may have been easy for the General Assembly to pass through both chambers, but the real work was done over months by the task force and massive amounts of time was poured into it. APA Colorado was engaged at a high level with the Sponsor (Rep. Dylan Roberts) and our input was a valuable asset for his effort.

APA Colorado Position: Support

Result: Passed both chambers and was signed by the Governor.

HB22-1151- Turf Replacement Program- Though not a bill APA Colorado was highly engaged on, this legislation could pave the way for more aggressive legislation having to do with more water efficient landscapes across Colorado. Don’t be surprised if you see more policy efforts so to reduce the total turfed area statewide due to water conservation concerns that APA Colorado will be asked to help on.

APA Colorado Position: Support

Result: Passed both chambers and was signed by the Governor.

SB22-232- Creation Of Colorado Workforce Housing Trust Authority- Another affordable housing bill that APA Colorado supported had an easy path through the legislature and was the funding mechanism for the previously mentioned HB22-1304. It was a vital piece of legislation to help solve the affordable housing issue in Colorado and was a Joint Budget Committee bill so it passed both chambers easily once the funding details shook out.

APA Colorado Position: Support

Result: Passed both chambers and was signed by the Governor.

Election Preview

Ballots are out for the June 28 primaries in Colorado, with a handful of contested primaries on both sides of the aisle keeping things interesting. Many in the political space believe the Republicans are trending up in the state, due to a combination of the unpopularity of federal Democratic leadership in the White House and Congress, increasing inflation pressure for consumers, and 20-year high crime rates in the state, as well as a redistricting process that should open more seats to competitive races.

  • State Senate: There is a path for the Republicans to flip the State Senate, and 6 or 7 key races have emerged that will determine the balance. We expect these races to get a lot of attention from the lobbying and political classes, despite top-of-ticket Gubernatorial and US Senate races also up in 2022.
  • State House: The State House will likely tighten from its current 41-24 Democratic majority, but we don’t anticipate a change in majority. This will likely have the effect of moving all committees back to a one vote majority, instead of the super-majority committees the Democrats have enjoyed the past two sessions.
  • Governor: Governor Jared Polis remains fairly popular despite some of the headwinds other Democrats are facing. This and his combination of personal wealth should see him back for a second term, despite a game challenger in Heidi Ganahl, who is expected to beat Greg Lopez in the GOP primary.
  • US Senate: Incumbent US Senator Michael Bennet will face the winner of the GOP primary between moderate Joe O’Dea and conservative firebrand State Representative Ron Hanks. If O’Dea wins and the electoral environment doesn’t improve, this could be a race to watch.
  • US Congress: Colorado adds an 8th Congressional Seat through the Congressional Redistricting process in 2022. It is also the only one of the 8 that will likely be competitive in the General Election, with current State Repressive Yadira Caraveo facing off against the winner of crowded GOP field including State Senator Barbara Kirkmeyer, Weld County Commissioner Lori Saine, Thornton Mayor Jan Kuhlman, and military veteran Tyler Alcorn.

Bill tracking Sheet: https://coloradocapitolwatch.com/bill-analysis/3231/2022/0/

Photo 1 by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash

Photo 2 by Paul Moody on Unsplash

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