Legislative Session Closes – CBSA Reviews Policy Accomplishments
By: Colorado BioScience Association Date: 06/14/2021
The 2021 legislative session, the First Regular Session of the 73rd General Assembly, has concluded. It was an unprecedented session that started during the heights of the COVID-19 pandemic and ended as restrictions were being lifted. Due to the month-long break at the beginning, the session stretched into the summer. Legislators ultimately wrapped up the session a few days before their hard deadline to adjourn.
One main storyline from this legislative session has been recovery. Recovering from the public health emergency presented by COVID-19, recovering from the economic fallout, and recovering from the deep budget cuts last session. It’s almost unbelievable now, but last session the state was forced to cut $3.3 billion from the state budget. Thankfully though, many of those cuts were able to be restored this session due to state and federal stimulus spending.
The Advanced Industries Accelerator Grant Program is important to the growth and development of the life sciences ecosystem in Colorado. That program, along with many others, was facing serious budget cuts last session and lost $10 million in funding. However, early in this legislative session, CBSA and our partners worked on the passage of Senate Bill 42 that will restore those cuts in the program. This funding came through a supplemental budget appropriation and the Governor signed the bill in March.
Another bill that CBSA supported this year was Senate Bill 106 about successful high school transitions. The bill creates a new pilot program in the Department of Higher Education to provide state funding for low-income students who graduate early from high school to use for postsecondary education. The bill also provides full-time funding for students in participating high schools that provide innovative learning opportunities to support transitions to postsecondary education or the workforce. This bill is currently awaiting being signed by the Governor.
The legislature will now take a much-needed rest before diving back in with interim committees this summer and fall. Legislative leaders will be announcing details for those interim committees that will meet and discuss recommendations for “transformational change” in spending some of the federal stimulus funds. Plans are for those recommendations to be ready for potential action early in the 2022 legislative session.
The Second Regular Session of the 73rd General Assembly is scheduled to being on January 12, 2022.
Colorado BioScience Association looks forward to sharing a complete end-of-session report with our community in the coming weeks.