2016 LEGISLATIVE SESSION UNDERWAY
The first day of the 2016 Colorado Legislative Session is officially underway. NCLA is leading the discussion on transportation funding and actively engaged on their priority legislative agenda which encompass critical issues affecting the northern Colorado business community including water, workforce and energy.
The first week of the legislative session is traditionally reserved for the pomp and circumstance of the opening of the people’s work. Legislative leaders in both houses take to the dais to deliver remarks on the issue priorities of their party caucus’ and the Governor delivers his annual State of the State address.
The split majorities between the House and the Senate assure differences in priorities but remarks by the Governor and the leaders both sounded a call for bi-partisan collaboration to find solutions to the state’s biggest issues.
Speaker of the House, Dickie Lee Hullinghorst (D-Boulder) provided a traditional approach in her opening day remarks laying out a long list of priorities she and her Democrat caucus will pursue and hope to achieve. From the extension of parental leave to detailed specifics on the Clean Climate Plan, there will be numerous issues affecting labor, environment, workforce and business in which NCLA will be engaged on the House side.
House Minority Leader Brian DelGrosso (R-Loveland) led off his remarks with a very strong call for transportation funding and finance. He committed his effort to the $3.5B bonding proposal in which he and the NCLA are working together, Fix Colorado Roads Act. DelGrosso challenged the House members to consider that there are dollars to be found for transportation within the $3 billion of general fund revenue growth experienced since 2009. He capped off his remarks with a deep “line in the sand” opposing any effort to undermine the Constitution and TABOR.
On the Senate side, Senate President Bill Cadman (R-Colorado Springs) was reflective as he enters his last legislative session and last year in office. Cadman served 8 years in the House of Representatives and will complete his 8 years in the Senate, the last two as President of the Senate, at the end of 2016. In his remarks, Cadman took an unexpected and non-traditional approach to his opening remarks, one which typically would outline his priorities for 2016. Cadman took to the dais reflect upon the manner in which bi-partisan collaboration can result in good work for the people of Colorado. He looked to just last year, the most partisan session in recent memory, as an example of bi-partisan accomplishment despite the rancor. Much was accomplished, he said on issues of importance to Colorado. He framed his remarks under the cloak of each Senator’s responsibility under the oath of office and commitment to uphold the US and Colorado Constitutions. He did not make a direct statement about budget fix suggested by the Governor and of significant debate, the hospital provider fee, nor did he speak to any other priorities, but his message was understood.
In her first opening day remarks as Senate Minority Leader, Senator Lucia Guzman (D-Denver) took the opportunity to discuss the philosophies of the Democrat party and how serving in the Minority, while not possessing the majority of votes, they have an important voice in the process to influence change. Her comments were thoughtful, and invited a collaborative spirit in the Senate.
Follow Action at the State House through NCLA’s Legislative Tracking Report
The first day of the 2016 legislative session is behind us and the first of the anticipated 650+ bills have been introduced. Here is a link to our NCLA Legislative Tracking Report. The report is a “live” document that is updated as legislative activity is happening at the statehouse. As the session unfolds, the report will be updated with new bills that the NCLA Board of Directors will consider their possible engagement. In addition, to updated status of the pending bills, there is a wealth of information provided within the tracking report itself with links to bill summaries, complete bill language, amendments, fiscal notes, voting records, and related news articles. I invite you become familiar with this useful resource.