2015 Legislative Session Underway with New Dynamic at Play
The 2015 Legislative Session got underway last week to the traditional pomp and circumstance. 2015 also ushered in a dramatically different political dynamic for the business community than experienced the last couple of years. The 70th General Assembly will be governed by a split majority between the State House of Representatives and the State Senate.
The 2014 election generated a new Republican majority in the Colorado Senate after 10 years of Democrat control. The narrow 18-17 majority means a new President of the Senate and new committee chairs. Former Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman (R- Colorado Springs) was elected President of the Senate. Cadman and newly elected Senate Majority Leader Mark Scheffel (R-Douglas County) appointed new committee chairs. Northern Colorado was well represented among the committee leadership with Senator Kevin Lundberg (R-Berthoud) appointed chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and Vicki Marble (R-Windsor) named as chair of the Senate Local Government Committee.
On the House side, Democrats maintained their majority coming out of the 2014 election cycle but their majority narrowed from a prior 38-27 majority to a 34-31 majority. Former House Majority Leader Dickie Lee Hullinghorst (D-Boulder) was elected Speaker of the House by her colleagues. Northern Colorado retains power positions by holding key leadership positions with the election of Representative Brian DelGrosso (R-Loveland) as the House Minority Leader and the appointment of Representative Dave Young (D- Greeley) as vice-chair of the powerful Joint Budget Committee and chair of the House Appropriations Committee.
The split majorities are present an opportunity for collaboration between the two bodies and two parties. The split majorities also assure to great degree that proposals that are viewed as too extreme in either political direction are either not introduced in recognition of their inability to pass the opposite body or are quickly defeated by the opposing party’s majority.
Given the new political dynamic, we predict a relatively tame session in terms of negative implications for business. Time will tell is such prediction comes to pass
Follow Action at the State House through NCLA’s Legislative Tracking Report
The first day of the 2015 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, etc. I invite you become familiar with this useful resource.