By Ed Bowditch, RMFU Government Relations For Colorado
We had another busy week here at the Capitol as legislators faced late night hearings debating vaping, evictions, and sex education. In addition, the Governor held two press conferences this week to announce major legislation. First, a reinsurance program was announced to address the high costs of healthcare across the state, which passed its first committee hearing that same day.
Second, Governor Polis, Speaker Becker, and Senate Majority Leader Fenberg announced their intent to introduce legislation to substantially modify the authority of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), including changes that will return oil and gas development decisions to local communities. Years of debate has focused on the appropriate balance of oil and gas development with public health, safety, and environmental concerns. After two competing ballot measures both failed in 2018, the legislature made it clear they intend to step in to make broad changes to the COGCC to address public safety concerns. Perhaps the most anticipated provision of the proposed legislation will be the authorization of local communities to regulate oil and gas development through zoning and land use regulations. The bill hasn’t been introduced yet, so not all the details are known.
Meanwhile, next Monday marks the halfway point of the 2019 session. Major legislation is still anticipated to address paid family leave, fiscal policies, transportation, and the death penalty. Moreso, soon-to-be Rep. Perry Will is to be sworn into office on March 5th, bringing our grand total to 26 new House members this session. We expect March to continue picking up steam as more bills are introduced, revenue forecasts are announced, and funding priorities begin to dominate conversations.
Here is our full bill report.
Bill action this week:
- HB19-1102 Nonanimal And Lab-grown Meat Misbranding – postponed indefinitely House Health & Human Services.
- SB19-139 More Colorado Road And Community Safety Act Offices – passed Senate Finance and moves to Approps.
- HB19-1114 Agriculture Commissioner Farm Produce Safety – passed Senate Ag.
Upcoming bill action:
- HB19-1191 Allow Farm Stands On Any Size Principal Use Site – House Rural Affairs & Ag 3/4.
- HB19-1202 Food Systems Advisory Council – House Rural Affairs & Ag 3/4.
- HB19-1148 Change Maximum Criminal Penalty One Year To 364 Days – Senate Judiciary 3/4.
- SB19-158 Sunset Pet Animal Care And Facilities Act – Senate Local Govt 3/5.
- HB19-1132 School Incentives To Use Colorado Food And Producers – House Ed 3/7.
- HB19-1113 Protect Water Quality Adverse Mining Impacts – Senate Ag 3/7.
SB19-150 Sunset Public Livestock Markets – Senate Ag 3/7.