Committee Article

Legislative Committee Update Spring 2020

As with most aspects of life today, the 2020 State of Colorado Legislative Session has been anything, but normal. The Legislature convened on January 8 and was originally scheduled to adjourn on May 6. However, this all changed on when the session was suspended on March 14 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic leaving nearly 500 bills that had been introduced in limbo.

One bill not in limbo is HB20-1095, which links water conservation tools and resources found in the Colorado Water Plan to local government master (comprehensive) plans. The legislation is not mandatory, but it provides tools to link water planning and land use planning. This is the third time APA Colorado championed water conservation legislation, with previous efforts made in 2016 and 2017. Bill sponsors Representative Jeni Arndt, District 53, Senator Jeff Bridges, District 26, and Senator Chris Hansen, District 31, were successful in steering the bill through the legislative process and we are fortunate that it passed through both houses and was sent to the governor’s desk before the legislature was suspended. The bill was signed by Governor Polis on March 24 and we look forward to a great celebration when we can all gather together again.

In the days following the suspension, Sol Malick, Peak Government Affairs, APA Colorado’s legislative liaison,  summed up the suspension of the legislature and APA Colorado’s efforts in the following: “For now, the fate of the 465 bills (out of 563 introduced) still working their way through the legislative process are in limbo, including the bills APA is actively lobbying or monitoring. Luckily, our priority bill, HB-1095, has passed the legislature and is headed to the Governor’s desk.”

We know now that the Legislature is scheduled to open on May 26 and Sol has provided the following information regarding timing, duration, and outcome. As Sol notes below, passing a budget will be the priority since it is required prior to June 30 (end of State’s fiscal year). Following that, disposition of bills (previously introduced and new bills) will occur.

“House and Senate leadership have also indicated that this temporary session will probably last 2-3 weeks, instead of utilizing the 50+ days that the Supreme Court has allowed them to use. There is still a lot of debate as to what will be included in the session as far as legislation is concerned, but we do still understand that the budget and school finance are the highest priorities for the legislature to accomplish. The other priorities to be addressed will be economic recovery bills and other related health care system support bills. Though we don’t know any specifics, those should the basic issue areas covered. … Lastly, we do know that most, if not all bills with fiscal notes will die. … With more than 300 bills still active, the shortened session is making the time crunch a huge aspect of how the legislature will have to operate in the coming month. As stated earlier, we know there will be some new bills introduced to aid in recovery efforts so I will update you as soon as we have a better idea of what those bills are.”

The APA Colorado Legislative Committee has continued to meet on a bi-weekly basis in order to be prepared when the suspension ends and also to consider legislative tools and information that members can use to follow bills and legislative process. Our next meeting (virtual) will be on June 5 at noon. If interested, please sign up to be included on the Legislative list serv for call-in information and to receive regular legislative updates. Please see below for the link to the bill tracker and a link to the list (Sol’s hot list) of bills that APA Colorado has taken positions to support that are still in play.

Bill Tracker:

https://coloradocapitolwatch.com/bill-analysis/3231/2020/0/

Sol’s Hot List:

https://coloradocapitolwatch.com/hot-bills/3231/2020/0/

We hope you will consider joining the APA Colorado Legislative Committee. With more voices, APA CO will have a stronger, more representative voice at the Capitol.

 

Susan Wood, FAICP

Shaida Libhart, AICP

Scott Bressler, AICP

 

APA Colorado Legislative Committee

Committee: 

Publish Date: 

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

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