The First Regular Session of the 74th Colorado General Assembly convened on Jan. 9, 2023. The 2022 General Election didn’t change the make-up of the legislature when it came to which party holds the majority, but what did change was how large of a majority the Democrats hold in both the House and Senate Chamber. The House split went from 41-24 to 46-19, and the Senate went from 21-14 to 23-12, both in favor of the Democrats.
In the Colorado House of Representatives, there is new leadership for both the Democrats and Republicans. Representative Julie McCluskie (D) from the Western Slope was elected as the Speaker of the House and Representative Monica Duran (D) of Wheat Ridge was elected as the Majority Leader. The Republicans elected Representative Mike Lynch (R) of Wellington as the Minority Leader after the sudden passing of Minority Leader Hugh McKean (R) Loveland. In the Colorado Senate, Senator Paul Lundeen (R) of Monument was elected as the Minority Leader. Senate President Steve Fenberg (D) of Boulder and Senate Majority Leader Dominick Moreno (D) of Adams County will continue their leadership roles they were elected to midway through the 2022 Session.
As the 2023 Session gets under way, there are many new faces around the Capitol with over 30 new legislators. There won’t be a lack of issues for the General Assembly to address this year, including the state budget, which has some tough obstacles to deal with, especially with inflation and cost of living continuing to be issues throughout the state.
The most anticipated issue for CNGA/GreenCO this year will be the Pesticide Applicator Sunset Bill. CNGA/GreenCO continues to work on all pesticide issues with a larger coalition called CRPA (Coloradans for Responsible Pesticide Application). This group has been able to defeat multiple bills in the past that would have had a negative effect on the industry. We will continue to work closely with CRPA members to get the best outcome possible on the Sunset legislation and any other pesticide legislation that is introduced.
Water continues to be one of the state’s biggest issues. Last year we didn’t see many pieces of legislation pertaining to water but we expect this year we will. CNGA/GreenCO will continue to support legislation that will help fund the Colorado Water Plan as well as work with state agencies and other stakeholders to look at opportunities and address the current drought conditions in Colorado.
In 2021 SB21-260, “Sustainability of the Transportation System,” passed the General Assembly and was signed into law. This legislation was the biggest investment the state has made in our crumbling infrastructure in both one-time money and recuring funding. There were multiple new funding mechanisms that were part of the bill, one of which was a 27-cent retail delivery fee. This was meant for the Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) of the world, such as Uber, Lyft, DoorDash etc. But when the Department of Revenue implemented the legislation, it roped in our industry along with many others, which wasn’t the intent of the legislation and caused a number of issues. There is no way that this fee will be repealed, but leadership in both the House and Senate are aware of the issue and plan to address it. CNGA/GreenCO will continue to work with the legislature and other affected industries to mitigate the effects on our businesses.
As the General Assembly landscape has changed in recent years, Colorado businesses have had to be on the defensive more and more, especially when it comes to employer mandates and other regulatory oversight. CNGA/GreenCO will continue to support incentives rather than mandates, support legislation to simplify the states sales and use tax, and help with the ever-growing workforce shortage seen around the state. As the 2023 Session gets under way, CNGA/GreenCO will need to continue to build and establish key relationships within the General Assembly as well as state agencies. The continued need to educate the new faces around the Capitol is essential to ensure that our industry’s voice is heard, and we retain our seat at the table. If you have concerns about any legislation, you are always welcome to call Glenda at the office at 303-759-6672 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.