The Legislature has Adjourned
The Second Regular Session of the 68th General Assembly of Colorado convened on January 11, 2012 and met for the full 120 days allowed by the Colorado constitution. Adjournment sine die took place at midnight on the evening of Wednesday, May 9, 2012. The final two days were tumultuous and controversial - possibly more so than in any year in memory - and a number of bills with strong bi-partisan support "died on the calendar". This prompted Governor Hickenlooper to call the legislature back into special session the following Monday for a three-day session to consider several issues.
On Wednesday, May 9 several of the failed bills were successfully added as amendments to legislation that did pass. One of the bills that could not be amended on to other legislation involved the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. The bill was universally supported by both parties and the Governor's office and will save the business community about $20 million per year in UI costs. Another bill was the annual water projects bill that details projects and appropriations of the Colorado Water Conservation Board. It also enjoyed strong bi-partisan support.
Governor Hickenlooper called the General Assembly back into special session on Monday, May 14 to consider seven unfinished legislative issues. The Governor's Executive Order D 2012-010 details the issues. Ultimately, only two of the seven items successfully passed in the special session - the UI Trust Fund bill and the water projects bill. The civil unions bill died again in the House.
The General Assembly will not convene again until January 9, 2013. There will be a number of statutory and interim study committees meeting during the summer and fall. We will be tracking the work of those committees and will keep you informed of issues discussed by those committees.
The 2012 legislative session was good for economic development. First and foremost, we urged the legislature to "do no harm". With a fragile and recovering economy, moderate and thoughtful legislation was critical to the economic vitality of the state. We are appreciative that the members of the General Assembly "did no harm".
EDCC, along with our strong partners CACI and C3, negotiated with Rep. Ferrandino on HB 12-1241 and achieved consensus on enterprise zones. OEDIT will appoint a task force to do a thorough, objective study of enterprise zones and make a report to the General Assembly by November, 2013 including recommended changes. Enterprise zone tax credits are one of the few tools Colorado has for economic development and it's important to note that all EZ tax credits are performance based - meaning that the company has to perform before being allowed to claim the credits.
The passage of SB 12-035, concerning a limitation on liability for spaceflight activities will position Colorado extremely well in the state's bid to have Front Range Airport in Watkins, Colorado designated a spaceport facility by the FAA.
HB 12-1029 will allow local governments to expand the use of business personal property tax credit incentives.
The appropriation of $5.7 million to the State Strategic Fund, discussed below, will allow the state to continue to compete for good jobs in an ever increasingly more competitive national and global environment.
We were disappointed by the failure of HB 12-1351, concerning "waste to energy". The bill passed the House in the final week of the session, but then died in the last couple of days of the session. Technology exists that can take household waste and use that waste to create electrical energy. The passage of this bill would have been especially helpful in rural Colorado.
The EDCC Policy Committee will continue to work closely with the Governor's Office, OEDIT, our business partners and legislators and candidates over the summer to develop legislative initiatives for the 2013 session.