STATE-CAPITOL-03032020-KS-258

DENVER, CO - MARCH12: The dome can be seen looking straight up from the rotunda at the bottom of the grand staircase inside the Colorado State Capitol on March 12, 2020 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo By Kathryn Scott)

In a hearing kicking off just before 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday and wrapping just before 2 a.m. on Wednesday, a Senate panel voted to advance more than a half dozen bills, including some of the signature pieces of legislation this session.

Included in the slate of bills approved by the State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee in the late evening  and early-morning  hours were:

  • House Bill 1250, a follow-up to last session’s landmark police accountability bill;
  • House Bills 1298 and 1299, two of a package of three gun measures introduced in the aftermath of the mass shooting in Boulder. HB1298 would tighten the background check process and close the so-called “Charleston loophole” while HB 1299 would create a state government office tasked with reducing gun violence;
  • and House Bill 1162, an omnibus bill seeking to phase out the use of plastic bags and polystyrene containers.
House advances 'son of SB 217,' law enforcement accountability measures

The panel also approved Senate Bill 280 and House Bills 1280, 1281 and 1255.

The committee was one of five Senate panels to kick off late in the day after the chamber spent a substantial portion of Tuesday deliberating on House Bill 1232, the so-called “Colorado Option” proposal that seeks to lower healthcare costs in part by developing a standardized healthcare plan.

Though that measure cleared second reading debate and advanced to final vote, the lengthy deliberations pushed the start of the meeting until late into the evening. That was a likely a contributing factor to the unusually high number of witnesses signed up to testify who did not appear.

That, combined with the fact that the House had addressed some of the outstanding issues in the bills it already passed, kept deliberations on each individual bill shorter than in previous hearings. HB1250, for example, had a four-and-a-half hour hearing before the House Judiciary Committee. The Senate State Affairs panel worked through the bill in a brisk 90 minutes, including a 15-minute recess.

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