What to watch at the Colorado Capitol in the final legislative week
More than a hundred bills are pending at the Capitol as the General Assembly enters the final three days of the legislative session.
What they're saying: "It will be a race to the finish," Senate Majority Leader Dominick Moreno (D-Commerce City) says.
Why it matters: The midnight Wednesday deadline will force legislators to abandon dozens of bills and make deals on other policy priorities.
What to watch: Here's a list of major legislation still left on the table:
- TABOR refunds: Gov. Jared Polis wants to send refunds from the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights ahead of the election instead of waiting until next year. Each taxpayer is expected to get $400.
- Property taxes: A temporary property tax cut for residential and commercial property, part of a grand bargain to thwart ballot measures on the issue, is threatening to unravel because of criticism it uses money earmarked for tax refunds to cover part of the cost.
- Collective bargaining: Democratic state lawmakers are attempting to grant Colorado's roughly 40,000 county employees the right to unionize but not strike, but Denver and small counties are exempted.
- Statewide recycling: This bipartisan bill intends to boost the state's low recycling rates by requiring companies that use packaging materials and paper products to pay fees funding recycling services across Colorado.
- Flavored tobacco ban: The sale of flavored tobacco products would be banned statewide, with the exception of hookah products, premium cigars and pipe tobacco. The hotly contested legislation, which faces opposition from the governor and business groups, may have a tough time passing.
- Cell phones while driving: Most drivers would be prohibited from making calls or sending texts while driving unless they use a hands-free device. It doesn't apply to commercial drivers.
- Unemployment insurance: $600 million in federal aid would pay down the state's $1 billion unemployment insurance debt. It also would give business owners a break on fees and expand benefits.
- State building upgrades: An eleventh hour bill would spend about $40 million on upgrading government buildings, including adding more security features at the Capitol.
- Climate change: A new Office of Climate Preparedness is part of a bill that also seeks to improve the state's wildfire prevention.
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