Jim Wilson

Well, just when you think things are starting to go well, reality strikes you right upside the head.

Last Monday evening, the House Finance Committee had the opportunity to keep the House from falling into the morass of using stall tactics (like the Senate has been doing).

The Senate has been slowing the overall process, and specifically they tried to slow the Oil and Gas Bill (SB 19-181).

SB 19-181 made it to the House last week. House Minority Leadership appealed to the Majority Leadership to allow an amendment for a Petition Clause as opposed to a Safety Clause on SB 19-181.

Unfortunately, the Petition Clause Amendment failed in committee. Therefore, Tuesday, House Minority Leadership pulled out the stops on the only tactic remaining – stall.

Morning announcements (usually completed by 9:30 a.m.), finished around 12:30 p.m.  Third reading floor work did not finish until 2 p.m. There were requests for every bill to be read at length with a multitude of Rs going to the well (as the podium is called), to comment on each bill.

Morning committee work was delayed until afternoon and 1:30 p.m. committees could not meet until the morning committees concluded. Are you starting to get the picture? The battle of wills began.

On Thursday, the Ds blinked but did not fold. To her credit, Speaker Becker agreed to an amendment package that made a bad bill better, but did not get where the Rs wanted.

Republicans firmly believe the people spoke in defeating Prop 112 last fall, and SB 19-181 is a blatant end run around the will of the people.

The debate lasted late into the night, but the deal had been struck. SB 19-181 passed out of the House Friday on a 36-28 vote. It now goes back to the Senate with the agreement that the Senate will not mess with the House amendments.

As the debate wound down, I was reminded of a statement made by Speaker Becker at the beginning of the 2019 session

“I think that it is likely that no matter what we do some people are going to scream overreach because they’re not going to like it,” Becker said.

“There’s a lot that was passed in 2013 that people yelled overreach about and now, today, are saying that actually turned out to be really good policy.”

Overreach or good policy, that is the question. The answer will not be known for some time.

Speaking of overreach or good policy, HB 19-1177 (Red Flag Bill) passed the Senate on Thursday on an 18-17 vote.

All the Rs plus President Garcia (D-Pueblo) voted against it, but it still passed on to the Governor’s desk. Meanwhile, the number of sanctuary counties continues to grow.

In spite of the delays, a lot of bipartisan legislation continues to move forward. March 25, the second of my bills was signed into law.  SB 19-009 (Financial Incentives for Rural Educators) will provide stipends for educators who agree to work in rural areas.  Thursday, March 28, my HB 19-1137 (Expand Teacher Cadet Program to Include Early Childhood Education) was also signed into law. HB 19-1137 is an effort to recruit more educators into the field. The lack of new educators in the state is reaching a crisis point.

April 1, I presented HB 19-1264 (Conservation Easement Tax Credit Modifications) – a bill I am carrying for the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association. April 2, I had the trifecta – HB 19-1241 (CU School of Medicine Training and Scholarships for Work Experience to Assist Rural Areas’ Doctor Shortages), SB 19-003 (Educator Loan Forgiveness Program) and SB 19-183 (Alternate Procedure to Reorganize School Districts) were all heard in the House Education Committee.

Next week comes HB 19-1262 – the “little” State Funding for Full-day Kindergarten Bill. Whew.

We are down to the last 30 days of the session, so stay tuned. Trust me, you do not want to miss any of the fun stuff. Please feel free to call my office at 303-866-2747 or send me an e-mail at wilsonforhd60@gmail.com or james.wilson.house@state.co.us.

We are also able to schedule a visit to the Golden Dome if you would like to visit onsite.

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