Time is running out for Colorado lawmakers.
Their 120-day regular session ends on May 10, and with two-and-a-half weeks to go, lawmakers have so far failed to pass a balanced budget, although Colorado Independent capitol reporter Marianne Goodland says that will likely happen soon.
“It’s really the only thing they are required by law to do is to come up with a balanced budget,” Goodland told Anne Trujillo on this week’s Politics Unplugged.
She says what will likely die is the much touted highway funding deal which would have allowed voters to decide whether to raise the state sales tax to raise money for highway spending.
“That bill is pretty much dead,” Goodland said. “Conservatives do not want to ask voters for a sales tax increase. They believe this can be funded by making other cuts in the budget. That is a position they have held on to since the very first day this bill was introduced and they have not backed away from it.”
Goodland says she has noticed a growing number of moderate lawmakers having an increased influence on the bills that do or do not make it through the state house.
She calls them the “Mighty Middle.”
“This is a group of lawmakers, on both sides – both democrats and republicans and they’ve been very active in voting down what we call ‘message bills’,” she said. “This can be everything from an anti-Sharia bill that we had a couple of weeks ago, bills that would restrict abortion, a bill… they did actually help pass one bill that added sexual orientation to the state’s bias and harassment statute. This is a group that has gotten larger in this 2017 session.”
Politics Unplugged airs Sundays at 4:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Denver7.