State Affairs Briefing: Legislation Session Roundup

In his State Affairs briefing to the Board of Directors, Government Relations Director, Zane Kessler, provided an overview of River District activities at the State Capitol as the end of the 2022 legislative session draws close.

April 21, marked the 100th calendar day of the 120-day legislative session, meaning there are less than three weeks to go before the legislature is forced to adjourn sine die. “Late bills are continuing to be introduced, but they have slowed down significantly in recent days,” said Kessler.

As of the close of business on Friday, April 22, the House had introduced 397 bills and the Senate had introduced 226 bills. That is a total of 623 bills so far this session with a few more still to come.

With next year’s budget finalized, much of the legislature’s attention has turned to the appropriation of one-time federal dollars remaining from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). In early March, lawmakers began introducing legislation to allocate roughly $1 billion in one-time federal aid from ARPA, which was passed by Congress in 2021.

In total, the Colorado General Assembly received $3.8 billion through ARPA but about $1.2 billion of which was distributed by the legislature last year.

SideBar: South Platte Priority Bill Falls Flat: Senate Bill 126, which the River District opposed, was postponed indefinitely by the House Agriculture Committee on Monday, March 28thAs introduced in the Senate, this controversial bill would have prioritized the distribution of Colorado Water Conservation Board funding to projects in the South Platte River basin at the expense of water users in other river basins in the state.

Kessler noted that West Slope members of the House Agriculture Committee — Representatives Marc Catlin (R), Dylan Roberts (D), Barbara McLaughlin (D), and Perry Will (R) — voted en bloc to help defeat the bill.