Fri, May 6, 2022 2:45 PM
By By Derek Draplin The Center Square, The Center Square
(The Center Square) – The Colorado General Assembly’s 2022 legislative session is set to conclude next Wednesday, which means lawmakers are scurrying to pass key legislative priorities before it's too late.
Both the majority Democrats and minority Republicans this session prioritized providing economic relief from continuing inflation, as well as addressing increasing crime and improving the education system.
What’s passed so far:
Gov. Jared Polis last month signed the state’s budget bill for the next fiscal year, which included a record-high $36.5 billion in spending.
“Colorado’s thriving economy is the reason we were able to put away record reserves for a rainy day, and make record investments in education to reduce class size and improve teacher pay,” the governor said at the time.
The conservative advocacy groups Americans for Prosperity (AFP) and the Advance Colorado Institute (ACI) announced a lawsuit last month targeting SB 21-260.
Last month, Polis signed House Bill 22-1295, which implements a new statewide universal preschool program. The program will provide 10 hours of preschooling per week for kids in the state, building on the governor’s election promises to expand early childhood education.
What’s yet to be passed:
The bill, which was first introduced on Monday, has already been approved by the House Appropriations Committee and is being considered by the full chamber.
The House must now approve the Senate’s amendments.
A plan introduced last week by lawmakers would spend $600 million to stabilize Colorado’s unemployment insurance trust fund, which is over $1 billion in the red.
Early TABOR refunds
Last week, Democrats announced a plan to provide Colorado taxpayers with $400 checks to provide financial relief.
The plan advances payments – which for fiscal year 2021-22 are required under Taxpayer's Bill of Rights – to before the November election rather than being paid out in spring 2023.
Republicans have criticized the plan for being an election-year ploy.
The legislation has already passed the Senate and is awaiting final passage by the House.
Collective bargaining bill
Colorado Democrats hope to provide collective bargaining rights to county workers across the state. Some counties, however, say the plan would cost them millions, and it's being opposed by the Colorado Municipal League.
The plan was passed by the Senate this week and is working its way through the House.
Flavored nicotine ban
Democrats in the House this week passed a bill that would ban the sale of flavored tobacco and nicotine products in the state. Health groups and doctors have pushed for the legislation to pass, while business owners said it would hurt their sales.
According to the most recent fiscal note, the legislation would decrease the state’s revenue by $15.7 million in fiscal year 2023-24 and $31 million the next year.
The bill is not yet scheduled to be heard by the Senate.