May 1, 2023 - Politics

Colorado lawmakers scramble ahead of adjournment deadline

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Property tax relief, a ban on ghost guns and a measure to delay the reintroduction of wolves are among the hundreds of bills that remain in limbo as the Legislature enters its final week.

Why it matters: How the Democratic-controlled House and Senate prioritize their time will determine whether major policy changes are finished by the session's May 8 adjournment deadline.

By the numbers: 280 of the 611 bills filed this session were still pending Friday, according to Colorado Capitol Watch, a legislative tracking service.

State of play: The outstanding list of legislation includes plenty of high-profile measures that legislative leaders declared as top priorities, as well as other significant policy changes that emerged in recent days.

The intrigue: One of the most important bills this session has not yet been introduced.

  • Democratic leaders are promising to put forward a bill in the final days that would provide temporary property tax relief after new assessments showed home values skyrocketed in much of the state. But how it will work remains unclear.

What they're saying: In an interview last week, Senate President Steve Fenberg (D-Boulder) said: "We are confident we are going to get everything done."

Between the lines: House Republicans are slowing the legislative process in hopes that the clock runs out on some Democratic bills.

  • The delay tactics led the House to work past 9pm Saturday in a rare weekend session that included final votes to pass 35 bills and preliminary votes on 19 others.

Be smart: The number of remaining bills is not entirely unusual.

  • In Colorado, every bill introduced must receive a hearing under a constitutional requirement, which often leads to a flurry of votes at the eleventh hour.
  • It takes a minimum of three days to pass legislation through both chambers.

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