This Week in the Legislature, March 20, 2017
DENVER — Now that the Legislature’s Joint Budget Committee has received the all-important March revenue forecast, the quarterly report on which the following fiscal year’s budget is based, the six-member bipartisan panel will finalize next year’s spending plan, which is expected to approach $30 billion.
• Today: The Senate State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee is to hear HB1187, a measure introduced by Rep. Dan Thurlow, R-Grand Junction, to base the state’s annual budget growth on average personal incomes rather than inflation and population growth.
• Tuesday: The Senate Finance Committee is to debate SB57, a measure that would tax the state’s hospital provider fee program, used to fund health care programs for the poor, out from under the revenue limits under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. Doing so would increase the amount of money the state would have to spend on other programs, such as education and transportation.
• Wednesday: The Senate State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee is to hear HB1156, a measure to outlaw the use of conversion therapy, a controversial practice of turning gay people straight.
• Thursday: The House Health, Insurance & Environment Committee is to discuss HB1256, a measure that would base oil and gas drilling setback rules to apply to the edge of school boundaries, rather than school buildings.
• Friday: This day is reserved for floor debate on bills that reach that stage in the House and Senate.
• Next week: The Legislature is to begin its two-week cycle of debating the budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year, which begins July 1. The measure, known as the Long Bill because of its hundreds of pages, will start in the Senate. The week after that, the House will debate it.
Scheduled committee hearings are subject to change. All floor action and committees can be watched or heard on the Legislature’s website, leg.colorado.gov. Check that website to see which measures are available for remote testimony, and how to register to speak.
— Charles Ashby