Weekly Policy Update: Colorado State Legislature Suspends Session for Two Weeks
By: Colorado BioScience Association Date: 03/13/2020
To do their part in slowing the spread of COVID-19, the Colorado General Assembly met on Saturday, March 14th and passed a Joint Resolution to temporarily adjourn until March 30.
The legislature also took other steps before suspending the session, including:
- Passing House Bill 20-1359, which gives county political parties more control about where their assemblies can be held and what procedures they must follow. It includes allowing for changes in location and allowing electronic participation for candidates and delegates. The bill was drafted with the leadership of all four caucuses and with the support of the Colorado Democratic Party and the Colorado Republican Party. It moved through the legislature very quickly and made it to the Governor’s desk by Saturday, March 14.
- Passing a Joint Resolution to ask the Colorado Supreme Court to clarify the General Assembly’s ability to count legislative days non-consecutively. The state constitution limits the session to “no more than 120 calendar days,” but it does not clearly define whether that means consecutive days. Lawmakers hope to get clarification from the Supreme Court and avoid the potential risk of litigation over any ambiguity. If the Supreme Court determines that the days do not need to be consecutive, the General Assembly could return after the original adjournment date of May 6.
During the two-week suspension, the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) will continue to work on the budget and intends to have the state budget bills ready when the General Assembly returns on March 30. State lawmakers are required by the constitution to pass the budget every year, and they will have until June 30 to finalize it. The JBC will also still meet on Monday, March 16 to hear the quarterly budget and revenue forecast, which is expected to be down. We anticipate that the June forecast could be even worse, given the economic impact of COVID-19.
What does this mean for the bills impacting Colorado’s life sciences community?
All pending legislation will remain in place and will be considered through the normal legislative process when the General Assembly reconvenes. Given the expected economic forecast, however, it is likely that bills with large fiscal notes may not pass this session. Additionally, lawmakers may decide to extend the recess if COVID-19 continues to spread and leadership determines it remains unsafe to resume the session.
The CBSA team will continue to monitor developments at the State Capitol and keep our life sciences community updated as more details are confirmed.
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For more information about COVID-19, check out CBSA’s business resource guide.