10 July 2006

Colorado Special Session Bills Still In Play

There are only a handful of bills still in play in the Colorado General Assembly this afternoon. For those who don't won't to go through the full day four and morning of day five recap, the remaining bills are as follows:

* H.B. 1023 (state and local services to illegal immigrants). This is center stage in the remaining debate. It passed House and was modified in Senate. The Senate has further undermined GOP opposition by making the bill "tougher" on prospective service recipients. The GOP wants a referrendum for get out the vote purposes; the Democrats want to enact a bill that will take effect in August, not November, to show that they have addressed the issue in a manner more sensible than Initiative 55. This will likely to go conference committee. Something will very likely pass, but what precisely this involves is still a subject of negotiation. The timeline of this bill is entirely up to the pace of the political deal making.

Once something is passed, the Governor is in a hard spot. He may not like the bill, but will be hard pressed to veto something that has most of what he asked for, which, at least, leaves him half a loaf.

* H.B. 1015 (Colorado income tax backup witholding). In conference committee over technical details. This will likely pass in some form today, probably as one of the last bills of the day due to the complexity of the issues involved. UPDATE: A conference committee agreement has been reached, primarily involving a delayed implementation date.

* S.B. 2 (court deadlines for initiative cases). In conference committee over priority v. firm deadline issue. This will likely pass in some form today, probably with some form of firm deadline.

* UPDATE: H.B. 1014 (illegal immigration lawsuit v. feds statute). The conference committee has approved the compromise bill, and it will likely be passed. The terms of the deal aren't clear, but this bill will be passed shortly.

* H.B. 1005 (involuntary servitude and immigration extortion, house version). This is set for appropriations committee consideration in the State Senate, but is unlikely to go forward as parallel bills have been passed. The session may adjourn without further action on this bill.

* H.B. 1018 (governmental photo ID for employment). This passed House, but it is not clear if Senate will follow up. It was assigned to the Senate's "state affairs" committee, which has traditionally been a committee under both the GOP and the Democrats where bills are sent to die in party line votes, and no firm committee meeting time was set as of this morning on the bill. If this was meant to pass, it would have probably been sent to Senate Business, Labor and Technology committee. The session may adjourn without further action on this bill. Still, it has an outside chance of passing as it received bipartisan support in the House.

Aside from H.B. 1023, there are no obvious veto targets, as most of the bills are reasonably close facsimiles of bills requested by the Governor already, but there is a real possibility that the Governor will discover at the last minute that he didn't actually want some of what he requested, or that could be last minute lobbying, either of which could produce some surprise vetos. Given the absence of public discussion of the bills to date, however, it would be politically awkward for the Governor to do so.

The House reconvenes at 7:00 p.m. to consider the deals reached behind the scenes today.

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