Colorado Interim Update - June 2016

If there is one word to synthesize the 2016 legislative session, it would be divided.  The two chambers of the General Assembly remained divided, with the Republicans leading the Senate and the Democrats at the helm in the House. Moreover, there was a sense of division amongst the two political parties which seemed to grow stronger as the session progressed.  There are numerous factors for this growing divide, including the pending 2016 election and the trickle-down effect of the national political scene.

Closer to home, there seemed little that the two parties could agree upon causing many a stalemate over the 120 day session. There was little action on key public policy issues outlined on Day One as priorities for the session. Transportation funding, election reform, and affordable housing all started as the highest priorities in January, yet lawmakers failed to reach compromise solutions. Much time was spent on “message bills” which allowed each political party to make a case for issues important to their base supporters, in advance of the November election.

The 2016 interim is slated to be a busy one with the upcoming November elections.  All 65 House members and roughly a third of the 35 Senate members are up for re-election in the fall, and are furiously campaigning during the summer months. At stake is the balance of power as the current Senate is divided by only one vote, so the outcome of the election is extremely important for all parties. The June 28th Primary will determine many of the races, especially the safe seats across the state.

Additionally, we expect it to be a very crowded ballot with no less than a half dozen statewide measures for citizens to weigh in on.  The only measure to be certified at this time is Amendment 69, which would create a single payer health care system for Colorado called ColoradoCare.  Other measures expected include TABOR reform, a tobacco tax increase, and grocery store liquor sales among others.  Needless to say this is an extremely important year for Colorado and the nation as we move forward to elect the next slate of leaders who will shape the future of our state and our country. Stay tuned for updates…

A comprehensive legislative report will be provided at our mid-year meeting in August during NCSL. For additional details, or to register for the meeting, please click here. This update was provided by Aponte & Busam, CompTIA's contract lobbying firm. Please let me know if you have any questions or would like any additional information. Thank you!