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LEGISLATIVE SCENE 2021: IECRM Priorities

The 2020 election cycle showed that Colorado continues its shift from a purple state to becoming a blue state. With record turnout not just in Colorado but throughout the country, we saw some changes on every level here in Colorado.   

Colorado voted for the Democratic Presidential Nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden, as well as flipped its U.S. Senate seat to blue by electing former Governor John Hickenlooper to the U.S. Senate over Senator Cory Gardner. The Democrats in the U.S. Senate are looking to take the majority and that was the first seat they picked up on election day 2020. 

As for the Colorado General Assembly, we saw many tight races and continue to see record amounts of money being spent on both House and Senate races.

Post-Election Recap by Jay Hicks and Stefan Stathopolus, Hicks & Associates

IECRM candidate endorsements resulted in 89% election success. Missed 3-4 races out of 34 endorsed. A special session will begin next week to address COVID relief for Colorado businesses and displaced workers. The state has to spend the billion dollars it was allocated by the action of the federal legislature. To review the composition of both the Colorado State House and Senate, visit here.

Colorado House Analysis: Democrat Majority: 41 Seats/ Republicans: 24 Seats

Both parties in the House were hoping to pick up more seats, but the split is going to stay the same as each party picked up one seat from one another. Representative Bri Buentello (D) of HD 47 (Pueblo), was defeated by Stephanie Luck (R) and Representative Richard Champion (R) of HD 38 (Littleton), was defeated by David Ortiz (D).     

Colorado Senate Analysis: Democrat Majority: 20 Seats/ Republicans: 15 Seats 

Before the election, the Democrats held the majority with a 19-16 advantage. The Democrats were hoping to pick up a few more seats but were only able to pick up one seat. The two other seats the Democrats tried to win were extremely close races. In SD8, Sen. Bob Rankin (R) defeated Karl Hanlon (D) and in SD25, Sen. Kevin Priola (R) defeated Paula Dickerson (D). The only seat that the Democrats were able to pick up was in SD27, where Chris Kolker (D) defeated Suzanne Staiert (R). From the beginning, everyone knew the Democrats were going to try and pick up these seats, and it showed by the amount of money they spent on these races.

Ballot Measures

There were many contentious ballot measures this year. Here are the results as of November 5, 2020:

Amendment 76 – Citizenship Qualification of Electors [PASSED]
Amends the Colorado Constitution to state that “only a citizen” of the U.S. who is 18 years old or older can vote in federal, state, and local elections, instead of the existing language that says “every citizen” who is 18 years old can vote. 

Amendment 77 – Local Voter Approval of Gaming Limits in Black Hawk, Central City, and Cripple Creek [PASSED]
Allows voters in Black Hawk, Central City, and Cripple Creek to vote to expand allowed gaming types and limits to help fund community colleges. 

Amendment B – Repeal property Tax Assessment Rates [PASSED]
Repeals the Gallagher Amendment of 1982, which limited the residential and non-residential property tax assessment rates so that residential property taxes amounted to 45% of the total share of state property taxes and non-residential property taxes amounted to 55% of the total share of state property tax. The current property tax rates will be frozen, and the legislature can only lower the rate and the only way to increase would be by a vote of the people.

Amendment C – Bingo Raffles Allow Paid Help and Repeal 5-year Minimum [FAILED]
Would allow nonprofit organizations operating in Colorado for three years to apply for a bingo-raffle license, permits these games to be conducted by workers who are not members of the organization, and allows the worker to receive compensation up to minimum wage. 

Proposition 113 – Adopt Agreement to Elect U.S. presidents By National Popular Vote [PASSED]
Would commit our presidential election votes to the candidate who wins the most votes nationally. Would only go into effect when enough states enter the agreement.

Proposition 114 – Restoration of Gray Wolves [PASSED]
Would reintroduce gray wolves on certain lands west of the Continental Divide. 

Proposition 115 – Prohibit Abortions After 22 Weeks [FAILED]
Coloradans would be banned from having an abortion after 22 weeks of pregnancy, except when there’s a risk to the mother’s life. 

Proposition 116 – State Income Tax Rate Reduction [PASSED]
Cuts the state’s income tax rate from 4.63% to 4.55%. 

Proposition 117 – Voter Approval Requirement for Creation of Certain Fee-Based Enterprises [PASSED]
Requires state government to get voter permission before it creates major new enterprises, which are partially funded by fees and generate over $100 million in its first five years rather than allowing the state legislature to create such enterprises. 

Proposition 118 – Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program [PASSED]
The state will create an insurance program to provide paid family and medical leave benefits to eligible employees in Colorado and will be funded by premiums paid by both employers and employees. 

Proposition EE – Increase taxes on Nicotine Products [PASSED]
Would raise an estimated $168 million next fiscal year by creating a new tax on nicotine vaping products and raising existing taxes on tobacco products.  

Representative Shannon Bird, Adams County

Contact Info: Representative Shannon Bird repbird35@gmail.com 303-435-3480

  • Policy impacts from COVID – Hopeful for another stimulus coming from the Federal Government
  • There will be a special session – Governor Polis sent out a call to reconvene the General Assembly. He sets forth the parameters of what he is addressing. He would like to do some work to boost small businesses. Increasing broadband access for students. Childcare and housing expenses are also likely to be addressed.
  • Small businesses collect 2.9% for the State. Looking at allowing small businesses to keep that amount to help their businesses. Details still to be worked out.
  • Waiting for the Federal Government to take action and truly provide relief.
  • Many proposed policies will likely be considered more pro-worker as far as protections. Rep Bird and others in the legislature will be looking for ways to ensure that policies will be more pro-business to help keep businesses open and allow them to keep their employees.
  • Members are encouraged to call legislators to let them know how policies impact you specifically. Your voice will be crucial here in the coming weeks and the upcoming session.

IECRM will be keeping an eye on inspections and permits going forward. With the consistent rule of no extra hours and with budget shortfalls, how are municipalities handling this? If you have issues, let Hicks & Associates know at jay@lobbyco.com so they can go to DORA to see what they can do as we don’t want to see the budget deficits made up through extra fees on permits and other construction-related items.

 

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