Colorado Capitol Report

Colorado General Assembly Tentatively Scheduled to Return on May 18th

Colorado General Assembly Tentatively Scheduled to Return on May 18th

This week, the Executive Committee of the Legislative Council, comprised of leadership members in both the House and Senate, discussed a potential timeline for the Colorado General Assembly to reconvene.  The targeted date is May 18th, however, leadership emphasized that the date was tentative since it will depend on whether it will be a safe environment for legislators and the public to return to the State Capitol due to the COVID-19 virus.

We’ve received many questions from Colorado Chamber of Commerce members as to the status of existing legislation or new legislation being introduced when the Legislature reconvenes.  We know that the Executive Committee will prioritize the State’s budget and the School Finance Act and other “critical” bills that are necessary for passage of the State budget when they reconvene in May.  This could include adopting legislation that allows the State to collect federal dollars for state or local programs that alleviate the anticipated budget deficit.  The State could potentially see a $2 to $3 billion budget deficit as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.  A revised revenue forecast will be presented to the Joint Budget Committee on May 12th with the intent of passing the 2020-21 budget and presenting it to Governor Polis by May 30th.

In regard to other existing or new legislation, it is our understanding based on conversations with legislative leadership, that bills with a fiscal impact or very controversial bills will have a difficult path ahead.  Leadership and Committee Chairs are asking the bill sponsors to try to eliminate any fiscal impact or resolve any opposition to those bills PRIOR TO May 18th.

We would note that it is possible that the Legislature could return at a future date this year to finish other legislative priorities.  As previously reported in our Capitol Report, the Colorado Supreme Court recently ruled that the Legislature does not have to count the 120 legislative days that it is allocated as consecutive days.  Prior to recessing on March 14th, the Legislature had completed 67 days of work, therefore, they would have approximately 53 days remaining if they choose to reconvene again.  The Governor could also call a Special Session later in the year to address certain legislation, but normally a Governor will try to coordinate and seek consensus on that list of bills with legislative leadership prior to calling a Special Session.  This step could prove challenging in an election year.

The Executive Committee also discussed whether House and Senate committee meetings and floor work could occur remotely.  Their preference appears to be to hold remote meetings under very limited circumstances.  Establishing a remote testimony and remote voting process would be complicated, and legislative legal staff advised the Committee that it would require passage of a Joint Resolution which needs a 2/3rds vote of the House and Senate members.  The Executive Committee will also be exploring the types of safety protocols that must be implemented for when the General Assembly reconvenes.

Finally, the Executive Committee will introduce legislation to suspend all interim legislative committees except for the Emergency Preparedness Committee in an effort to save money for balancing the State budget.   Articles regarding this topic are provided below:

Please contact Loren Furman at [email protected] or at 303-866-9642 with any questions/concerns regarding this matter.

Governor Polis Extends Deadline for State and State-Administered Local Sales Tax

Please be advised that Governor Polis issued a few more Executive Orders. One of those Orders included a one-month extension for filing and remitting state and state-administered local sales tax. The Executive Order extends the April 20, 2020 filing and remittance deadline to May 20, 2020 and directs the Department of Revenue (DOR) to waive penalties and interest that would otherwise accrue during this period. A copy of the Executive Order can be found here for your review.

Governor Polis Takes Further Action to Address COVID-19

Governor Polis signed Executive Orders on Wednesday taking further action to address COVID-19 in Colorado:

Governor Polis signed an Executive Order amending and extending D 2020 017 to extend the state-wide stay at home order until April 26, 2020. View here. The Governor also rescinded Executive Order D 2020 013 requiring all Colorado employers to reduce their in-person workforce by 50%. This is being rescinded because it is superseded by the stay at home Executive Order. Read the Executive Order here.

The Governor also signed an Executive Order extending D 2020 012, which limits evictions, foreclosures, and public utility disconnections, as well as expedites unemployment insurance claims processing. Read the Executive Order here.

Governor Polis is taking steps to help families and businesses by extending additional tax filing and payment deadlines. The Governor signed an Executive Order issuing a one-month extension for filing and remitting state and state-administered local sales tax. Read the Executive Order here.

In addition, the Governor extended Executive Orders on the temporary suspension of elective and non-essential surgeries and procedures, the closure of ski areas, the suspension of in-person requirements for notarizations, and the issuance of marriage licenses when county clerk and recorder offices are closed, as well as the suspension of other regulatory requirements, including clarifications to alcohol delivery and takeout, requirements related to taxicab carriers, in-person processes for background checks, and driver’s license and identification card renewal, due to the presence of COVID-19.