With less than 36 hours left in legislative session, more than 100 bills pending
Members of the Colorado House of Representatives on May 9, 2022. (Pema Baldwin for Colorado Newsline)
As of 8 a.m. Tuesday — an hour and a half after Colorado lawmakers adjourned for the night — there were 199 bills left to be voted on in the state Legislature, according to a report provided by the Office of Legislative Legal Services. That total had dwindled somewhat by midday as the House of Representatives made quick work voting on several dozen of the bills left on the calendar.
The majority of the 199 bills pending as of Tuesday morning were awaiting action in the House of Representatives, where members of the Republican minority caucus have prolonged discussion in hopes of running out the clock on bills they don’t like or getting Democrats to concede to significant changes. The state Constitution requires the Legislature to adjourn before midnight Wednesday.
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Of the 199 remaining bills, 65 were bills that started in the House and already passed in that chamber but required another vote in the House to either concur with Senate amendments or reject the Senate’s changes and call for a conference committee to hash out the differences between the two chambers.
Another 47 were Senate bills that required a final recorded vote in the House before they could head to the governor for his signature or back to the Senate for consideration of the House’s amendments.
There were 18 Senate bills on second reading, meaning that the House must debate them Tuesday in order to pass them on a final recorded vote Wednesday, the last day of the session.
“Hopefully the logjam starts to clear soon, and (House lawmakers) are able to get through the main bills on the calendar,” Senate Majority Leader Dominick Moreno, a Commerce City Democrat, told reporters Tuesday morning.
If there’s enough high-priority legislation left unfinished, it’s possible that Democratic legislative leadership could encourage Gov. Jared Polis to call a special legislative session, said Senate President Steve Fenberg, a Boulder Democrat. The state Constitution allows Polis, a Democrat, to call a special session outside of the regular January-May period, but he would need to define a clear purpose and need for the Legislature to reconvene, and lawmakers would have to restart the legislative process for bills that ran out of time in the regular session.
Lawmakers can also vote to call a special session themselves, but they would need a two-thirds majority. Democrats outnumber Republicans 41-24 in the House and 20-15 in the Senate — not enough to allow a special session unless some GOP lawmakers were also on board with the idea.
Some of the most significant legislation still pending in the House as of midday Tuesday included:
- Senate Bill 22-230, allowing county workers to engage in collective bargaining
- Senate Bill 22-180, to reduce ozone pollution by encouraging use of public transit
- House Bill 22-1278, to establish the duties of the new Behavioral Health Administration
- House Bill 22-1390, the School Finance Act to fund K-12 education
- House Bill 22-1326, to address the state’s fentanyl overdose crisis
- House Bill 22-1303, to increase the number of residential treatment beds for behavioral health
- House Bill 22-1314, to expand state regulation of non-consensual towing
- House Bill 22-1287, to provide new protections for mobile home residents
And in the Senate:
- House Bill 22-1355, to create a producer responsibility program to increase recycling rates
- Senate Bill 22-233, to issue refund checks to taxpayers this summer
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