The Colorado General Assembly adjourned on Friday evening, May 3rd, as the end of one of the most politically charged sessions in recent history.  With a “this was intentional” message from the Democratically controlled House of Representatives and Senate, the Democrat majority spared no time in pursuing their 2018 campaign-promised agenda.  With over 650 bills introduced, the session delivered significant changes to Colorado’s environmental, public health, political, business and criminal justice policy arenas.  Specifically,  those bills included:

 *Establishing more local control over oil and gas permitting and drilling locations as well as repurposing Colorado’s Oil and Gas Commission to focus more on public health, safety and the environment rather than “fostering” the industry.

 *Passing a Colorado climate action plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 26% by 2025, 50% by 2030, and 90% by 2050.

 *Passing a “red flag” bill allowing a court to order guns to be seized from someone deemed to be a threat from themselves or others.

 *Creating new employment laws around a revamped state Equal Pay Act, which authorizes employees to sue over pay discrimination based on sex and prohibits an employer from seeking the wage history of a prospective employee to determine a pay rate.  Additionally, a paid family leave (FAMLI) was watered down to a study to determine the feasibility and viability of a mandatory 12-week paid leave program for an illness to take care of a family member, for all public and private employees.

 *Funding full-day kindergarten, with bi-partisan support, for Colorado’s kindergarteners, which was a campaign pledge for Gov. Polis.

 Not to be outdone in legislative policy proposals, the Republicans relied on the process to slow down the Democrat agenda, from having 2,000 page bills read at length (resulting in a lawsuit to prevent an autoreader from doing so) to extensive questioning of witnesses during committee hearings to excessive debate and amendments during floor work on otherwise non-controversial legislation.  On some major pieces of legislation, the strategy worked and led to compromise by legislative leaders.  Many other times it created a backlog of bills being heard in committee and the floor, resulting in many long nights.

 Some specific accomplishments for LTAC this session include:

 *Passage of HB 1098, the warranty deeds reform bill, and signed into law by Gov. Polis.

 *HB 1167, the Remote Online Notary authorization act passed through the House and almost to the Governor’s desk despite significant opposition.  We will continue to work on this in 2020.  

 *Amendments to HB 1197 regarding limiting the restrictions on making personal information of child abuse caseworkers public information to ensure access for public records searches.

 *Advocacy for the passage of HB 1212 recreating the CAM licensing program and amendments to ensure title industry stakeholder participation.

*Amendments to HB 1264 regarding the conservation easement tax program to require recordation of released, terminated or extinguished conservation easements.

 *Significantly amended HB 1289 regarding changes to the Colorado Consumer Protection Act, to eliminate form contract requirements and limit the exposure and extent of the proposed new law to class action lawsuits.