2014 Colorado legislative session convenes Wednesday: 5 things to know

DENVER - Here is a look at what's coming up during the first week of the Colorado legislative session:  

-- Welcome speeches and the pomp

Lawmakers will open the 2014 legislative session at 10 a.m. Wednesday with smiles, handshakes, nice-to-see-yous, and opening day speeches from party leaders. The speeches are generally pleasant affairs that tout bipartisanship, but also provide insight on the legislative priorities of each party.

-- Let the lawmaking begin!

After lawmakers deliver their opening-day speeches Wednesday, the first dozens of bills will drop. It will be days before the bills are heard in committee for the first time.

-- State of the state

At 11 a.m. Thursday, it's Gov. John Hickenlooper's turn to deliver his annual State of the State in the House chambers, where he'll tell the 100 lawmakers and other guests what he thinks Colorado's priorities should be and what legislation he'd like to see.

-- New faces

It's the second year of a lawmaking term, but three faces will be new. Two Democratic senators, including former Senate President John Morse, were recalled and replaced with Republicans in September. A third Democrat resigned in November rather than face a recall. Another Democrat was appointed to fill her spot. So Democrats now have a slim 18-17 majority and a new Senate President, Morgan Carroll of Aurora.  

-- Flooding response

On Tuesday, lawmakers on a committee studying issues around the September floods meet to finalize legislative proposals to be introduced. Possibilities still pending include property tax relief for damaged properties and priority grant funding for impacted school districts. So far, the lawmakers have agreed to introduce bills giving counties budget flexibility for road and bridge repair, and helping speed-up the process of fixing irrigation ditches.

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