These big Colorado bills fell through on the last day of the 2021 legislative session
DENVER – Colorado lawmakers have spent the past two weeks reviewing more than 200 bills that were yet to be debated. On Tuesday, it seemed likely their work was drawing to a close after a tumultuous year since the novel coronavirus arrived in our state in March of last year.
Here are some of the most important bills introduced over the past year that either went unsuccessful or simply died when they came to the Senate.
1. SB21-200: Reducing greenhouse gases and increasing environmental justice
SB21-200, Colorado’s greenhouse gas bill sponsored by Sen. Faith Winter, Sen. Dominick Moreno, and Sen. Dominique Jackson – all Democrats – was all but dead on arrival after Governor Polis had threatened to veto the bill, arguing that its passage would give too much control to an unelected air quality control commission.
As we reported on Monday, Senate Bill 200 was supposed to add more enforceability measures to high-emitting sectors of the state, charging a fee on those shows and creating an ombudsperson position to ensure focus on communities disproportionately affected by climate change.
Meghan Lopez of Denver7 reported that Democrats ended up compromising with the governor’s office, and parts of the SB 200 will be incorporated into HB21-1266, the Disproportionate Environmental Justice Bill on Affected Communities, which addresses the effects of environmental injustice on disproportionately affected communities.
The amended bill will add emission measurement requirements to five sectors: electricity, transportation, built environment, industry, and oil and gas. Three of these five (electricity, industry and oil and gas) will also face application requirements.
Environmental groups were not happy with the outcome as reports indicate Colorado could miss its 90% emissions reduction targets by 2050, but business groups have previously said the bill goes too far. and unfairly targets some sectors and not others.
2.SB21-273: Pre-trial reform
Colorado SB 273, the Prison Population Reform Bill, would have created the Community Response to Low Intensity Offenses Working Group within the Department of Public Safety to develop policies and legislative initiatives to minimize interactions between the police and the public for minor offenses and calls for service, such as traffic offenses, minor offenses, drug-related offenses, among others.
There were a few exceptions to the bill, including offenses that included “an element of illegal possession or use of a firearm,” unlawful sexual behavior, violation of a temporary protection order, extreme risks, threats to a school, motor vehicle theft, among others.
It also prohibited judges from issuing a monetary bond for these offenses, as well as for non-violent crimes in Classes 4, 5 and 6, and allowed an accused not to appear twice before being issued a bond in cash.
Finally, it allowed sheriffs to actively manage their prison populations to keep the number of prison beds as low as possible while ensuring the safety of the community.
Supporters of the bill hoped it would be one more step towards improving what they claim to be a failing criminal justice system, while those who oppose it argued that the bill would have created a scenario where dangerous people would be free to roam the streets. The bill was postponed sine die by 7 votes to 4.
3.SB21-176: Protection of Opportunities and Workers’ Rights Act
A bill that would have broadened the definition of workplace harassment, added protections for workers discriminated against, extended the deadline for filing complaints against employers, among other provisions, died in committee Monday evening.
Colorado’s Workplace Harassment Bill, SB 176, would not only have removed the state’s “harsh or pervasive” standard for proving harassment in the workplace, but would also have allowed complaints to be brought directly to a civil court. – which worried business groups and Republicans. about, as they feared it could lead to potential lawsuits against the companies, according to the Denver Post.
The bill was introduced by Senator Faith Winter, who in 2017 went public with allegations against former Democratic State Representative Steve Lesbock, claiming that Lesbock made inappropriate comments about him at the party. 2016 celebrating the end of this year’s legislative session, and that he ‘I tried to get her to go with him.
The Post reported on Monday that some groups of people with disabilities were concerned about how the bill might affect the people they represent, and lawmakers on the committee were concerned about the scope of the bill. The bill failed on a 9-2 vote.
4.SB21-033: Proposals of the Conservation Easements Working Group
Colorado’s conservation easements bill, Senate Bill 33, would have created a new state income tax credit for certain taxpayers who have been denied tax credits on the state income for conservation easements given between 2000 and 2013 if the IRS allowed a federal income tax deduction for the same donation
The Colorado Sun reports that the bill would have helped landowners who donated development rights to their properties by setting aside $ 149 million from the treasury to pay for conservation easement tax credits rejected by the Ministry of Revenue nearly ten years ago.
The bill was defeated 7-4.