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Legislative Year: 2018 Change

Colorado Eyes & Ears »

The big bills came together Wednesday after lawmakers convened for the last day of the 2017 session. As far behind as legislators always seem to be at a session's final days, they somehow always pull things together - although a couple of issues weren't resolved.

Here’s a quick recap of where things stand on top issues. For more details, check the links here to full stories from the Capitol press corps.

Hospital Provider Fee – The House gave final 49-16 approval to SB17-267, which would do everything from preventing cuts to rural hospitals to easing some business taxes. The bill passed the Senate 25-10 earlier. Because their were no House amendments, the bill goes directly to the governor. This was the big bill of the session, and its passage represents a remarkable compromise. It's also mind-bendingly complicated.

Energy policy – A measure to renew and shake up the Colorado Energy Office ate up a lot of Senate time Monday. But SB17-301 passed the Senate 21-14 Tuesday, sending it to the House, where it was significantly amended later in the day. The House and Senate struggled into the evening Wednesday over the bill. It died when they couldn't agree, as does the energy office.

School finance and charters – A running battle over whether to include special funding provisions for charters in the annual school finance measure, SB17-296, started in the Senate Monday morning and raged through a House committee and on the House floor until nearly midnight. After the dust settled, the finance bill passed the House without the charter provisions. HB17-1375, introduced late Monday afternoon, got preliminary approval late in the evening. It proposes a compromise method for school districts to share tax override revenues with charters. The House passed the charter bill by a wide margin Tuesday morning, and the Senate passed it 31-4 wihtout amendments on Wednesday morning. This is a done deal.

The school finance bill passed the House 52-13 Wedneday morning, and the Senate accepted House amendments and re-passed the bill 35-0. Relax - your district will have funding next school year, even if it's not as much as district administrators might like.

Primary elections – SB17-305 passed the Senate 31-4 Monday. This is the bill that puts into effect the 2016 ballot measure that allows unaffiliated voters to cast ballots in party primaries. Amendments cooled some of the controversy over this bill, and the House passed the bill 65-0 Tuesday evening.  

-- Todd Engdahl, updated 9 p.m.

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