Current Legislative Action Report
(2020 Legislative Letter #6)
State Legislature Temporarily Adjourned
Due to the COVID-19 public health crisis, the General Assembly temporarily adjourned the 2020 session on March 14, pursuant to HJR20-1007. The date for reconvening remains unclear and the state capitol building is closed to the public.
The Colorado State House and Senate were scheduled to convene a limited session on Monday, March 30 at 10:00 am for second reading of selected bills. After determining that neither chamber had a quorum, both the House and the Senate adjourned. The House planned to reconvene on Thursday April 2 at 10:00 am. The Senate did not specify a date for reconvening. It was hoped that in the meantime, the Colorado supreme court would clarify the legal parameters for reconvening the remainder of the session—specifically whether the session can be put on hold in case of an emergency or whether the 120 days in the session must be consecutive, and time spent in temporary adjournment would essentially be lost. [READ MORE]
The Future of Energy Storage - Big Batteries!
“The widespread adoption of storage solutions will be a transformative influence on the current state-of-the-art of solar grid integration and will significantly contribute to an economically viable pathway toward energy efficient and sustainable integration of solar generation at much higher penetration levels than currently possible today”, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
HB20-1059 Valuation Of Energy Storage Equipment would provide an incentive for developing more energy storage systems to support our electricity grid in Colorado by enabling the storage infrastructure properties to be taxed similarly to renewable energy (RE) facility properties. It is a League position to support action by appropriate levels of government to encourage RE including through financial incentives. [READ MORE]
Colorado's Response to the Coronavirus
Governor Polis’ Actions
The first two cases of COVID-19 in Colorado were detected in early March. Since then, there have been dramatic increases in the number of cases in Colorado and throughout the U.S. As of March 26, Colorado had a total of 1,430 confirmed or suspected cases. There have been a number of measures that the state agencies and the governor have taken in recent weeks to mitigate the wide range of health, economic, and social impacts stemming from the COVID-19 crisis.
On March 10, the Governor declared a state of emergency to expand testing and provide assistance to those most vulnerable to the virus. This was followed by the closure of ski areas on March 14 and the closure of bars, restaurants, movie theaters, casinos, and gyms on March 16. Two days later, schools in Colorado were closed and Centers for Disease Control guidelines were adopted prohibiting gatherings of 10 or more people – the latter included sports events, parades, concerts and church gatherings. On March 19, Governor Polis ordered the suspension of “non-essential” surgeries and medical procedures in order to free up equipment and personal protection items for staff. On March 25, he issued a statewide stay-at-home order to deal with the spread of the coronavirus. Unless extended or otherwise modified, the order is valid until April 11.
A Colorado COVID-19 Relief Fund has been established to accept donations with the funds to be used for medical supplies, cleaning supplies, food services, child care for emergency workers, behavioral health support, and much more. Donations can be made here: www.HelpColoradoNow.org.
Governor Polis has also recreated the Colorado Emergency Child Care Collaborative to provide emergency child care to essential workers during the COVID-19 crisis. Information and services can be accessed here.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Colorado State Emergency Operations Center have created an extensive resource library with information on the following topics:
Graduated State Income Tax for Colorado - a petition drive for the 2020 ballot
Initiative 271 - Policy Changes Pertaining to State Income Taxes - is a response to the financial log jam created by TABOR, the tax and spend limitation section of the Colorado Constitution. Because Colorado’s tax code is in the state constitution, any change must go to voters in the form of a ballot measure.
Basically, Initiative 271 establishes a graduated income tax (not a flat tax as we have now) that reduces taxes for many yet is structured to bring in more revenue for state services. The proposed graduated income tax would reduce the tax rate for incomes below $250,000 for all Colorado income tax payers. This would give a tax cut to 95% of Coloradans, meaning that all Coloradans earning less than $250,000 a year will pay a lower income tax rate.
Three new tax brackets would be created that increase tax rates on marginal income above $250,000. Analysists project this graduated tax will generate approximately $2 billion in additional revenue for the state.
The League of Women Voters of Colorado supports Initiative 271 and will take an active part in the petition drive and campaign. [READ MORE]
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.