STATE-CAPITOL-03032020-KS-122

DENVER, CO - MARCH12: Visitors pass through on the first floor inside the Colorado State Capitol building on March 12, 2020 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo By Kathryn Scott)

When the General Assembly meets Monday, June 15, the 85th and — for now — projected final day of the 2020 legislative session should be relatively short.

Senate lawmakers worked into Saturday evening to give preliminary approval on some of the last bills left on the calendar, including a tax bill, a measure on housing assistance and axing more than a dozen bills left over from the beginning of the session, some 160-plus days ago.

061320 Coleman lege
Democratic Rep. James Coleman of Denver prepares to box up his desk. He's running for the state Senate in November. 
 
061320 Titone 3rd floor
As part of their efforts on social distancing, some Democratic lawmakers in the House have been "officed" in the House's third floor gallery. Rep. Brianna Titone of Arvada (pictured), Rep. Tom Sullivan of Centennial, Rep. Meg Froehlich of Greenwood Village and Rep. Dafna Michalson Jenet of Aurora.
 

The Senate has fewer than a dozen measures requiring a final vote Monday, most notably House Bill 1420, the tax bill that was dramatically whittled down Saturday night in an agreement primarily with the governor and in hopes of staving off a threatened veto. If adopted, the bill will have to head back to the House for their vote on Senate amendments.

Senate lawmakers also have a short list of House amendments to Senate bills to consider, including the refinancing of the reinsurance program. The House on Friday made sweeping changes to the bill, cutting the fees charged to health insurance providers as well as to hospitals, and extending the program another four years.

The House's Monday calendar is considerably lighter, a change from previous years when the House is usually the last to finish. The calendar includes three measures awaiting second reading and preliminary approval, including one of the budget-balancing bills that would transfer tobacco settlement cash to the general fund. But unless the General Assembly meets on Tuesday or thereafter, those three measures will die on the calendar.

However, failure to pass the budget-balancing bill, House Bill 1373, won't blow a hole in the budget. It would have taken $17.7 million in tobacco settlement cash that goes toward cessation and other programs and moved those dollars into the general fund for Medicaid spending. The bill's fiscal note said that it has a "net-zero cash fund impact." 

061320 women of House

In honor of the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage, the women of the Colorado House huddle up for a group photo. The 2018 election produced a first-ever majority of women in the Colorado House, and a majority of women in the Colorado Senate Democratic caucus, for a total of 47 out of 100. Since then, it's dropped to 45, with a 32-33 women-to-men split in the House, but still a majority in the House Democratic caucus.

The House's light Monday agenda also includes a half-dozen resolutions, including a recognition from the House Republicans caucus on the importance of the state's senior and disabled veterans homestead exemption program. 

An announcement Saturday from Democratic Sen. Brittany Petterson of Lakewood indicated the Senate, which gavels in at 10 a.m. Monday, hopes to be done by noon.

Both the House and Senate in recent days have done tributes to departing members. That's nine in the Senate, including Sen. Lois Court of Denver, who resigned in January due to illness. Thirteen members of the House — term-limited or running for other offices — won't be back next January. 

Leslie Herod Jovan Melton George Floyd portrait
During a tribute to Democratic Rep. Jovan Melton of Aurora, who is term-limited. he was presented with a print of George Floyd by his fellow members of the Black Legislative Caucus he founded. Print held by Rep. Leslie Herod of Denver.
 

The nine in the Senate also includes Sen. Nancy Todd of Aurora, the president pro tem, who is the only lawmaker in 2020 to have served the full eight years in the House and eight years in the Senate. 

What didn't happen at the end of the session: Hummers, the annual House skit when the minority party pokes fun (and they would have had a LOT of material this year) at the majority party. It also appears unlikely that the annual rubber band ball competition in the Senate will take place, when senators who have been collecting rubber bands all session take those balls — nearly a foot in diameter or more — and drop them from the third floor of the Capitol. It used to take place in the Capitol dome, but that came to an end last year when then-Chief Clerk of the House Marilyn Eddins put her foot down, after spending significant funds to restore the period-era light covers on the Capitol's first floor staircase.

The next session will begin on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021.

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