Led by Dr. Toni Larson, the Colorado League's Director of Action & Advocacy, and Legislative Liaison Andrea Wilkins, trained volunteer lobbyists of the Legislative Action Committee (LAC) work to influence the Colorado General Assembly on selected bills, based on League positions and principals. During each 120-day legislative session, you can read about each bill the Legislative Action Committee is currently following on this "Legislative Letter" web page.
The experts on the LAC would be happy to discuss any of the bills or articles you see below. If you would like to get in touch with them, please call the LWVCO office at 303-863-0427.
Current Legislative Action Report
(2020 Legislative Letter #11)
State Budget Cuts & Bills to Generate Revenue
The final week of the 2020 legislative session was heavily focused on finalizing the state budget and a variety of measures aimed at generating badly needed revenue, as policymakers struggled to establish a path toward economic recovery.
HB 1360, the 2020-21 Long Bill, was subject to relatively few amendments as it was debated by the House and Senate in early June. House and Senate amendments were reconciled by the JBC, acting as the conference committee on the bill, on June 11 and reconciled bill was passed by both the House and Senate on June 12.
Budget cuts were necessary to compensate for a projected $3 billion revenue shortfall stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. The $30.3 billion budget represents a 25% decrease from current spending levels. Some of the biggest cuts were made to K-12 education and higher education. Federal stimulus payments are helping with some of the budget shortfall and the June revenue forecast indicates that more revenue may become available than initially anticipated, largely as a result of the elimination of certain tax breaks approved through HB 1420, though significant shortfalls will remain for FY 2021-22.
Given the deeply concerning fiscal reality in the state, the General Assembly passed several bills in the final days of the session aimed at generating revenue. These include:
HB 1420 – Adjust Tax Expenditures for State Education Fund eliminates certain tax breaks for businesses and is estimated to generate $94 million in FY 20-21 and $32 million in FY 21-22. The bill requires the transfer of $132 million to K-12 education over the next two years.
HB 1427 – Cigarette Tobacco and Nicotine Products Tax is a referred measure that will ask voters to raise taxes on cigarettes and implement a tax on vaping products. The measure is estimated to raise $82.7 million in FY 20-21 and $167.6 million in FY 21-22 for the general fund and then starting in 2023, money generated will also support an expansion of the Colorado Preschool Program.
SCR 001 – Repeal Property Tax Assessment Rates is another referred measure that will ask voters to repeal the Gallagher amendment, which restricts state and local government property taxes.
Money for Education During the COVID-19 Pandemic
HB 20-1418 – Public School Finance sets funding levels for Colorado’s 178 school districts. Due to the fiscal crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic, legislators were forced to make cuts to school spending across the board and reduce or delay many grant programs that support education.
The bill increases base per pupil funding for FY 2020-21 by $132.08 to $7,083.61, which reflects a 1.9 percent inflation rate. The bill increases the budget stabilization factor by $601.1 million, from $572.4 million in FY 2019-20 to a total of $1.17 billion in FY 2020-21. For FY 2021-22, the budget stabilization factor cannot exceed the FY 2020-21 level.
For FY 2020-21 only, the bill transfers $100.0 million from the Public School Capital Construction Assistance Fund to the State Public School Fund and diverts revenue above the first $40 million received in retail marijuana excise tax from the assistance fund to the State Public School Fund.
Bills of Interest
See below for the current bills the Legislative Action Committee is following. You can review bills by topic area and scroll through the complete "Bill Tracker" report. These lists will develop throughout the legislative session, so check back often!
Contact Your Legislators
Email your legislators below and take action on what you are reading! See additional information about your legislators by using the following links, and find your elected official HERE.