The Presidential Primary is upon us. While it seems like it's already been happening for years now, the actual voting is about to start. Voters in Iowa will caucus this upcoming Monday, February 3. Colorado's primary is not for another month; we are part of 14 states that will vote on March 3, or Super Tuesday. However, keep in mind that February 3 is the last day to register in order to vote in that party's presidential primary. If you're a registered Democrat then you will get the Democratic primary ballot in the mail (17 candidates have qualified for that ballot), if you're a registered Republican then you will get the Republican primary ballot in the mail (six candidates, including Trump, have qualified for that ballot), and if you're registered Unaffiliated then you will get both ballots in the mail but can only return one. You can check your voter registration status and make any changes by visiting govotecolorado.com. Ballots will be mailed out to all active registered voters beginning on February 10.
In the General Assembly, things have been busy to say the least. We now have nearly 400 bills that have been introduced - 241 bills in the House and 153 bills in the Senate. Senator Donovan introduced a bill to introduce and manage gray wolves in Colorado. Senators Ginal and Zenzinger introduced a bill to prohibit exotic animals in traveling performances. And Representatives Kipp and Jaquez Lewis introduced a bill to protect pollinators through pesticide regulation. Wolves and elephants and bees oh my!
The General Assembly also saw it's first long and contentious floor debate this session when the Senate debated whether or not to repeal the death penalty. If ultimately passed by the House and signed by the Governor then Colorado will no longer be able to use the death penalty for any newly committed offenses. This bill does not affect the three individuals who have already been sentenced to death and currently sit on death row. The last time that Colorado executed a prisoner on death row was in 1997.
In lighter news, the General Assembly should have some new members soon. The vacancy committee in House District 6 (East Denver) will convene on February 4 to appoint someone to succeed Chris Hansen. The vacancy committee in House District 38 (Littleton) will convene on February 8 to appoint someone to succeed Susan Beckman. Stay tuned for more news on who wins those vacancy appointments.
Also, this week the Colorado Hospital Association withdrew its lawsuit filed against the Colorado Division of Insurance over rules tied to the state's reinsurance program. Chris Tholen, CHA president, said “we support a forthcoming legislative solution that is a win-win-win for the reinsurance program, for hospitals, and for the state budget. That said, if the administration proceeds with the attempt to collect hospital payments early — especially in the face of a workable solution — we’ll be back in court if necessary." Stay tuned for more news because this issues is not going away.
Finally, more health legislation news came out of the JBC this week. Senator Rankin moved two bills to drafting - one related to the IDD wait list and the other related to Total Cost of Care. Keep in mind, though, that moving a bill to drafting does not mean that a bill will be a JBC bill - all six members must vote yes for something to be a JBC bill but not all six are required to move to a bill into drafting. The Total Cost of Care bill is a potential alternative to the public option bill that we expect to be released in mid to late February.
Until next week…