Last week, today. CLS highlights on last week's capitol hopp-enings.
The house was scrambling in order to finish the budget before Good Friday while the Senate debated long and hard about gun rights and transportation while leadership was trying to put to rest questions about the chamber's tolerance of sexual harassment.
A late night for both chambers on Wednesday continued to chime the bells of partisanship and set the tone for what we can expect to be a long month and a half until the end of session, Sine Die. Republicans and Democrats seeing eye to eye on only a few issues, but the House was still able to pass a budget which will now travel to the Senate to be heard.
Alongside the budget are 18 "orbital" bills. These bills generally have big price tags, but unlike budget line items, they require some legislative changes. One of those bills is HB18-1340, which appropriates $495 million to help repair the state's run-down transportation systems.
When the budget moves to the second chamber, it is customary for all amendments passed by the first house to be stripped. We can expect that to happen when the Senate takes up the long appropriations bill. or "the long bill," this week. Each of the Senators this week will be meeting with their caucuses and maybe even members of the opposing party to craft amendments altering the budget the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) has been working the last few months to compromise on and construct.
The Senate may be faced with some questions regarding a letter released by Senate President Kevin Grantham (R-Canon City) at the end of last week regarding Senator Jack Tate (R-Centennial), that sexual harassment allegations by a former intern against the Centennial senator do not amount to sexual harassment.
Sen. President Grantham's letter said his interpretation of the case varied from the independent investigator and supports a different conclusion. Colorado Politics reported that the Sen. President "consulted with an attorney and the Employer's Council and said none of the accusations violate state or federal employment laws."
Senate Democrats continue to keep their focus on a resolution that would expel Sen. Randy Baumgardner (R-Hot Sulfur Springs) from office, much like the resolution that was ran successfully against* former-Rep. Steve Lebsock (Thornton).**
On Thursday of last week, former Rep. Lebsock's replacement was sworn in - Rep. Alex "Skinny" Winkler (R-Thornton) - just in time to cast a vote for the state's big budget bill.
More updates coming Friday of this week. Stay well friends. Until then!
Session Highlights Provided By: