Top 5 This Week

Related Posts

Next year’s state budget, gun restrictions and Front Range trains under debate in Colorado legislature this week

The Colorado legislature this week will take on one of its only mandated actions — and by far its costliest: The state’s budget.

The budget package, known as the long bill, lays out how the state will spend some $18 billion in general fund dollars in the next year. It also reveals some of the state’s priorities — such as the end of the so-called budget stabilization factor that has shortchanged state education funding — as the proposal works its way through both chambers.

The budget dictates state government spending for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1 and runs through June 30, 2025.

Some of the elements highlighted by lawmakers so far include funding for higher education that goes beyond the governor’s request and an increase in payments to Medicaid providers and home health care workers. But lawmakers weren’t always able to go as far as they had initially hoped as the Joint Budget Committee did months of prep work for the long bill.

It was not immediately clear Monday morning when exactly the proposed budget would be introduced. Lawmakers worked late last week to balance the books after economic forecasts and the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights put additional pressure on state spending limits.

The state will need to refund more than $1 billion in tax revenue collected above the TABOR cap under next year’s budget. But higher projected tax collections in some cash funds and a disparity between the state demographer and the U.S. Census Bureau helped pinch even further the amount of general fund money available to the General Assembly.

When the package is formally unveiled, it will dominate conversations in the Capitol as lawmakers debate the finer details and broader sweeps of the spending package.

But that won’t be the only debate among lawmakers this week:

More firearms regulations head to committee

On Wednesday, the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee will consider two bills concerning firearm sales in the state. HB24-1353 would require firearms dealers to obtain a state license to do business overlapping with federal licensing. SB24-066, which already passed the Senate, would require companies that process payments to create specific category codes for firearms and ammunition sales.

The House on Monday held a formal vote on HB24-1348, which would set requirements for safe gun storage in vehicles. It passed 41-22 and now goes to the Senate for consideration.

A proposal to ban the purchase and transfer of so-called assault weapons, HB24-1292, was also scheduled for debate, but it was pushed as the chamber juggles its calendar. That bill may come up later this week.

Name change bills begin Senate journey

Two bills intended to allow transgender and nonbinary Coloradans to use their preferred names will have committee hearings in the Senate this week. Both already passed the House. HB24-1039 would require school boards to prohibit intentionally using a student’s non-preferred name in school if it goes against the student’s gender expression. That bill will be heard in the Senate Education Committee on Monday afternoon.

HB24-1071 would make it easier for people convicted of crimes to change their legal names to fit their gender identities, though still subject to court approval. That bill is set to be heard in the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday afternoon.

Other notable bills

On Wednesday afternoon, the Senate Transportation and Energy Committee will hear SB24-184, a bill aimed at expanding passenger rail along the north Front Range and tapping into billions of dollars of federal funding to do so. The bill is part of a discussion between the Front Range Passenger Rail District and the Regional Transportation District about joining efforts along RTD’s incomplete northwest rail corridor between Denver, Boulder and Longmont.

On Thursday, the Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee will hear HB24-1150, a bill that would add penalties for people who falsely represent themselves as Electoral College voters. It was part of a package of election bills backed by Secretary of State Jena Griswold.

Stay up-to-date with Colorado Politics by signing up for our weekly newsletter, The Spot.

Popular Articles