DENVER — The 2021 Colorado legislative session will officially begin the regular session Tuesday after convening for a few days back in January to pass COVID-19 specific bills.
During the convening of the General Assembly last month, legislatorse passed four pieces of legislation during the three-day period:
- HB21-1001: Ensures the smooth continuation of our democracy by giving leeway to members of a party central committee or vacancy committee to participate in a committee meeting remotely, including by casting the member's vote by email, mail, telephone, or through an internet-based application if allowed by the party's rules, through the end of 2021. The bill was referred to the Committee of the Whole by a vote of 10-1.
- HB21-1003: Protects public health by allowing members of the General Assembly to safely participate in legislative proceedings remotely during a declared disaster emergency. The bill also permits joint committees of reference to hold SMART Act hearings remotely any time after the General Assembly convenes, allowing legislative oversight to continue during the temporary adjournment between now and February. The bill was moved to the Committee on Appropriations with a favorable recommendation by a vote of 7-4.
- HB21-1002: Clarifies the original intent of HB20-1420 to address unintended consequences impacting business and independent tax filers. HB20-1420 aimed to decouple Colorado from federal tax changes in the CARES act, leaving taxpayers no better nor worse off than prior to the passage of CARES. Since the passage of HB20-1420, the bill has been misinterpreted to disallow taxpayers the ability to carry forward various tax benefits over the annual allowable limit to future tax filing years. This bill affirms taxpayers ability to carry forward specified amounts. The bill also allows ITIN filers to claim the Earned Income Tax credit beginning in the 2020 tax year. The bill was referred to the Appropriations Committee by a vote of 8-3.
- HB21-1004: Protects public health by enacting the "Colorado Uniform Electronic Wills Act,” which ensures that Coloradans can settle their affairs remotely, without putting their health or the health of their loved ones at risk. The bill permits the execution of wills using online platforms designed for the remote notarization of electronic documents. The bill was referred to the Committee of the Whole by a unanimous vote.
Some of the priorities lawmakers will address in this session are economic recovery, transportation, education and police reform.
If you're looking to participate in this legislative session, the state's General Assembly website has a section you can sign up to testify either in support or against any bill or you can just listen in to a committee hearing by clicking "watch and listen" at the top of their website.