Colorado lawmakers won’t finish their calendar, so Democrats deciding which bills will die

John Frank and Jesse Paul
The Colorado Sun
A scene from the Colorado Capitol -- specifically the Colorado Senate -- on Monday, April 22, 2019. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)
Jesse Paul / The Colorado Sun

If the state Senate worked 24 hours a day for the final week, it probably still wouldn’t get through the remaining list of bills before adjournment.

“There will be some bills that simply die on the calendar,” said state Sen. Jeff Bridges, a Greenwood Village Democrat. “We just don’t have time.”

The reality became clear to Bridges at the end of last week. In a room just off the Senate floor, he calculated the math problem for the final push. With more than 200 bills remaining — and new ones introduced Saturday — there’s less than an hour to debate each one before session ends Friday by midnight.

“It is mathematically highly unlikely that we will get through everything that we have to get through,” Bridges said.

A rare weekend lawmaking session Saturday helped make progress, but lawmakers didn’t clear the dozens of key measures that still hang in the balance, from regulating how Colorado colleges and universities respond to campus sexual assaults to a proposal to ask voters to enact a nicotine tax and a measure to allow local governments to put rent control policies in place. Many of the bills are expected to generate hours of debate.

“We’re on track with ‘Game of Thrones’,” said Sen. Brittany Pettersen, a Lakewood Democrat. “Everything’s at risk of dying.”

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