Weekly Policy Blog: Start of the 2024 Colorado Legislative Session 

Colorado’s 2024 legislative session kicked off on Wednesday, January 10th, and will continue for 120 days until May 8th.  

The Legislature: For the sixth year, Democrats have total control of the legislature. This is the second year with historically large majorities: 46-19 in the House and 23-12 in the Senate. Democrats’ supermajority in the House means they can override the Governor’s vetoes, refer constitutional changes to voters, and call a special legislative session. They are just shy of a supermajority in the Senate. 

Democrats’ Priorities: Senate President Steve Fenberg and House Speaker Julie McCluskie emphasized the importance of civility and spoke about their priorities for the year, including education, housing, affordability, workforce development, and environmental issues. They also warned that global conflict, the 2024 presidential election, and artificial intelligence will be hot topics. Read more about Democrats’ priorities, finding unity, and decorum.  

Republicans’ Priorities: Senate Minority Leader Paul Lundeen and House Minority Leader Mike Lynch also spoke about the need to address affordability and keep discourse civil while staying focused on state policy instead of global issues. They also highlighted their different business goals, emphasizing that business owners “feel they are overtaxed and overregulated.” Read more about Republicans’ priorities, challenges, and opportunities

State of the State: On January 11th, Governor Jared Polis delivered his State of the State address to the General Assembly, which outlined his priorities for the year, including reducing housing costs, transit, public safety, and education. “Saving people money” was also a consistent theme, which Governor Polis highlighted in the healthcare realm by pointing to how his administration has “been bold in taking on the entrenched special interests and tackling the true cost drivers in healthcare.” With respect to pharmaceuticals, Governor Polis said:  

“We’ve also capped the cost of insulin and, last session, thanks to the leadership of Senator Roberts and Representatives Mabrey and Representative Jodeh, epi pens as well.

But we know our work isn’t done. 

Prescription drugs still account for a significant portion of healthcare costs in Colorado and across the country. The simple truth is that Coloradans, and people around the country, are being ripped off on the prices of necessary medications. 

Spending on prescription drugs in the US is double that of any other nation. Nearly 10% of Coloradans were unable to fill a prescription because of cost in 2021. 

That’s why we continue urging the FDA to approve our application to import lower-cost prescription drugs, and why the Prescription Drug Affordability Board is so vital.” 

Bills Introduced: So far, 139 bills have been introduced, with hundreds more to be introduced in the coming weeks. CBSA plans to take positions on three of those bills this week:  

  • HB24-1010 Insurance Coverage for Provider-Administered Drugs (Rep. Jodeh, Rep. Soper; Sen. Michaelson Jenet): HB24-1010 addresses insurer and pharmacy benefit manager practices related to the distribution of provider-administered medicines by specialty pharmacies (“white bagging”). 
  • HB24-1036 Adjusting Certain Tax Expenditures (Rep. Frizell, Rep. Weissman; Sen. Hansen, Sen. Kolker): HB24-1036 would repeal a variety of infrequently used tax expenditures, including the Biotechnology Sales and Use Tax Refund, which was discussed in the September 2022 Tax Expenditures Compilation Report from the Colorado Office of the State Auditor. 
  • HB24-1058 Protect Privacy of Biological Data (Rep. Kipp, Rep. Soper; Sen. Baisley, Sen. Priola): HB24-1058 would expand the definition of “sensitive data” in the Colorado Privacy Act to include “biological data,” which would also include “neural data.” 

CBSA’s Advocacy: CBSA’s Policy + Advocacy team collaborates with partners and policymakers focused around CBSA’s Policy Priorities. CBSA will continue to be at the forefront of efforts to support a collaborative, pro-innovation environment for life sciences in Colorado that will help advance the state as a leading life sciences hub. The Colorado legislature and Polis administration continue to show that they’re not afraid to lead the country on issues that affect the life sciences ecosystem and the patients it serves, so CBSA’s role as the voice of Colorado’s life sciences ecosystem is more important than ever. Following the passage of SB23-066 reauthorizing the Advanced Industries Accelerator Grant Programs in 2023, CBSA plans to bring a follow-up bill in 2024 to extend full funding for these critically important grant programs until 2034. 

CBSA will be hosting its annual Day at the Capitol on February 28th. To get involved with CBSA’s advocacy efforts or talk about your concerns, perspective, or position on a bill, please contact CBSA’s Vice President and Counsel for Policy + Advocacy, Amy Goodman

Categories: CBSA News