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Housing debates, next wave of votes on gun laws in Colorado Legislature



Housing debates, next wave of votes on gun laws in Colorado Legislature

Just over two weeks remain in the 2024 session of the Colorado Legislature, and the days are growing longer as leaders work to fit dozens of pending bills into the rapidly shrinking calendar.

That means bills start moving quickly through their lowest votes, getting a second reading one day and a final vote the next. This week will likely be no different: the House of Representatives has passed a bill to protect gig workers (HB24-1129aimed at delivery workers) Monday morning, and several more were scheduled to be put forward, including a bill to study a possible universal healthcare payment system (which is HB24-1075).

The annual logjam in the two chambers’ appropriations committees — which, once the state budget is enacted, must balance available money with the impact of other lawmakers’ bills — is starting to subside.

Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee made progress SB24-117, which would better regulate eating disorder clinics. A similar bill was defeated last year due to funding issues, but this year’s version is moving forward and will receive its first vote in the Senate later this week.

Here’s what else is happening this week.

Important Land Use Commission hearings

Three of the major land use reform bills have now passed the House of Representatives and will go to the Senate this week. All three of these housing-focused bills are likely to gain weight in the Senate, which was far more wary of sweeping zoning reforms last session than the House of Representatives.

We should get a taste of the land use flavor in the Senate early on Tuesday. That is when the Local Government and Housing Committee will debate HB24-1313the bill that seeks to encourage and then require more residential density near transit areas, and HB24-1152which would allow additional housing units to be built in Front Range cities.

Two other housing bills passed by the House will be discussed in the same Senate committee on Thursday. One is HB24-1304, which would eliminate minimum parking requirements in Front Range cities. The other is HB24-1175, a bill that is not part of the land use package, but is tied to housing affordability; it would give local governments the right to be the first to refuse to buy subsidized affordable housing when a building or complex is for sale.

Resolutions galore

This week, a slew of resolutions will be debated in the House of Representatives and its committees.

Rep. Bob Marshall, a Democrat from Highlands Ranch, has two: the first, HCR24-1004, would reform the state’s vacancy board system (the process that quickly replaces early-departing lawmakers using a small, insular party voting process). If the resolution passes, it would ask state voters to adopt a constitutional amendment that would require a lawmaker serving through a vacancy committee to sit out the next election, making them a short-term lawmaker.

The resolution passed an initial committee earlier this month with bipartisan support. We now await a first full vote in the House of Representatives.

Marshall’s second resolution, HCR24-1006would enact a Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights-type system in the state constitution to limit property taxes (Marshall called it “TABOR lite” on the social media platform). The resolution (which also must be approved by voters) is scheduled for an initial hearing in the House Finance Committee on Monday.

Republicans in the House of Representatives have also passed a number of resolutions.

A (HCR24-1005) would ask voters to include a “Parent’s Bill of Rights” in the Colorado Constitution. Another (HJR24-1023) is against the use of forced and child labor in the production of electric vehicles and their components. Both will be discussed Monday in the House State, Civic, Military and Veteran Affairs Committee.