By Ed Bowditch, RMFU Government Relations For Colorado
This week, the Senate shifted its focus to the FY19-20 Long Bill, establishing the state’s spending priorities for over $32 billion in total revenues. A lower than anticipated March revenue forecast created an additional layer of complexity for balancing the FY 2019-20 budget. Although the total budget reflects a 3.7 percent increase, much of the increased revenues are committed to caseload increases, staff salaries, and inflationary costs for existing programs. Budget highlights include a $77 million buy-down of the K-12 budget stabilization factor, $185 million set-aside for free, full-day kindergarten, and $123 million for Medicaid caseload increases.
Perhaps the biggest outstanding question will be total funding for transportation. The original budget produced by the JBC dedicates $230 million ($30 million new funding plus $200 million from SB18-001) for transportation; however, a Senate amendment directed the Governor’s Office reduce the total funding in the Long Bill by $106 million and transfer these funds to transportation. Other Senate amendments add additional funding for seniors, opioid recovery, suicide prevention, and rural economic development. The Long Bill will be debated in the House next week, where it will see a new set of amendments.
Aside from the budget, both chambers remained busy this week working through other major pieces of legislation. The Senate passed the red flag gun bill while the House passed the oil and gas bill. Our bill count continues to slowly rise, having surpassed 500 bills introduced to-date.
Here is our full bill report.
Bill action this week:
- HB19-1124 Protect CO Residents From Fed Govt Overreach – passed House Transport & Local Govt.
- HB19-1247 Study Agriculture Applications for Blockchain – passed House Ag and moves to Approps.
- SB19-181 Protect Public Welfare Oil And Gas Operations – passed House Finance and 2ndand 3rdreading.
- SB19-212 Appropriation General Fund Implement State Water Plan – passed Senate Approps, 2nd and 3rd reading.
Upcoming bill action:
- HB19-1264 Conservation Easement Tax Credit Modifications – House Ag 4/1.
- HB19-1241 University of Colorado Training And Scholarships Rural Physicians – House Ed 4/2.
- SB19-139 More Colorado Road And Community Safety Act Offices – House Transport & Local Govt 4/3.
SB19-186 Expand Ag Chemical Management Program Protect Surface Water – Senate Ag 4/4.