Last week you got to read about many of the storms moving through the Golden Dome. Once in a while, a ray of sunshine breaks through. Such was the case when SB 19-103 made it to the House floor. SB 19-103 became known as the “Lemonade Stand” bill, allowing minors to operate a small business for no more than 84 consecutive days.
The bill resulted from police shutting down a lemonade stand in Stapleton last year. The three boys did not have a permit, so the police acted on a complaint.
As a result of the incident, the City of Denver changed their rules governing lemonade stands, and the Colorado Legislature passed SB 19-103. Minor entrepreneurs can now rest easy; lemonade stands will not be targeted by police this summer. Who says the Colorado State Legislature cannot do something positive?
Before you assume the waters have calmed in the Capitol, check out what happened this past week. Ground zero was in the Senate, as the minority Rs lashed out at the majority Ds for jamming through a series of high stakes bills (specifically SB 19-181 “the Oil and Gas Bill”) without ample time for debate.
To slow down the process, Sen. Cooke requested a 2,000-page bill be read at length during the morning session. The reading took about 6 hours to complete. The Ds brought in computer readers to read at 625 wpm as opposed to the 150 wpm of a human. The Rs countered by filing a temporary restraining order against the unconstitutional action of the Ds.
A judge agreed and granted the restraining order. Nonetheless, SB 19-181 was heard in the Senate during the blizzard on Wednesday and passed on a 19-15 party line vote. The irony of forcing Senators to remain at the Capitol during a major blizzard to debate a bill touting “public health and safety” was not lost on legislators and staff who had to fight their way home in hazardous conditions.
On Friday, the much-anticipated March Revenue Forecast was released.
The March Forecast is the cornerstone for setting the new budget figures for next year’s State Budget. (The more than $30 billion state budget is covered in a 500-page bill aptly named “The Long Bill.”)
The forecast projects $1.18 billion in new revenue over what is budgeted for the 18-19 budget year. The $1.18 billion figure is down slightly from the December projection of $1.22 billion.
One of the many bills patiently waiting in the wings for the results of the forecast is “Fully Funding Kindergarten.”
Rep. McLachlan (D - Durango) is my co-sponsor on the bill. We are waiting for the “start your engines” command following the forecast to finally put our bill into the process.
There is continued debate between the Governor’s Office, the Joint Budget Committee and the House and Senate Democrat Leadership over the funding. Now that we know the figures, the real fun will begin.
As I have mentioned before, even though the Ds are in the majority across the board, opportunities still exist to partner on good legislation.
This past week I agreed to be a prime sponsor on two more bills. One of the bills will address the READ Act, an act focused upon all students being able to read by the third grade.
Unfortunately, millions of dollars have been spent and the test scores are stagnant. Only 40.4 percent of third graders met or exceeded expectations in the latest CMAS assessment. This bill will address the lack of progress in reading proficiency.
The contentious bills just keep on coming. SB 19-181, the Oil and Gas bill, received its first hearing in the House on Monday in the Energy and Environment Committee.
The bill to make Colorado a Sanctuary State for illegal immigrants (HB 19-1124) was scheduled to be heard in the House Transportation and Local Government Committee on Wednesday, March 20. This bill promises to be a “burning the midnight oil” bill. And, in case we have not had enough marijuana legislation since Amendment 64, HB 19-1230 (Marijuana Hospitality Establishments) is coming soon. This session is becoming a series of “If you can dream it, you can bring it” list of bills.