Mar 24, 2023 - Politics

Capitol Pulse: What's happening and what's next this session

Gov. Jared Polis speaks to a crowd Wednesday at the Capitol, where he unveiled new housing legislation. Photo: RJ Sangosti/Denver Post via Getty Images

πŸ’¬ Capitol Pulse is a weekly feature to catch up quick on what's happening at the Legislature.

The tension at the state Capitol is starting to mount as the Democratic-led General Assembly reaches a crucial period in this year's session.

State of play: Two major priorities that we've told you about continue to advance, while other major legislation β€” such as new housing bills β€” is just coming to light.

  • Four gun restriction bills are moving toward final votes in the House and Senate as early as next week. Unless amended, they will then go to the governor.
  • Three bills to increase access to abortion and reproductive care passed the state Senate and now move to the House. Democratic Sen. Kevin Priola voted against his party, joining all Republicans in opposition to all of them.

The other side: Republicans landed a big win in the Senate with the narrow passage of a bill to make it a Class 1 felony for illegal drug sales that result in a person's death.

  • The chamber's top two Democrats voted against the bill because it was too punitive. But seven moderate Democrats crossed party lines to support it, including sponsor Kyle Mullica and Sens. Jeff Bridges, Rhonda Fields, Joann Ginal, Chris Hansen, Dylan Roberts and Rachel Zenzinger.

What's next: The state budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 debuts Monday in the Senate with votes expected by the end of the week.

  • The bill crafted by the Joint Budget Committee includes $16 billion in discretionary spending and will create plenty of debate about raising tuition by 5% at state colleges and infrastructure projects.
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