Legislative Update: November is in the rear-view mirror

The elections are over (in Colorado at least). A recount is underway in the third Congressional District which appears to favor Congresswoman Lauren Boebert in a squeaker election. At the state level, there will be 31 new faces at the Capitol—that is, people who have never served in the legislature before in addition to those moving from the House to the Senate. And, after January 10, there will be another “new” face—Sen. Bob Rankin (R-Carbondale) has announced that he will retire effective January 10. His replacement will be selected by a vacancy committee and is yet un-named. Rankin is the Senior member of the Joint Budget Committee and with other new members on that committee his JBC seat will be filled by someone already serving in the legislature, while his Senate seat will be filled by someone not currently serving.

The numbers of majority-minority caucus members are staggering. The House will see 46 Democrats and 19 Republicans, while the Senate will be comprised of 23 Democrats and 12 Republicans. That makes a nearly veto-proof legislature (2/3 necessary in each chamber), with the Senate only one vote short of being able to over-ride a Governor’s veto. Should make for interesting conversations between the first and second floors of the Capitol!

Leadership positions were selected two short days after the elections with Rep. Julie McCluskie from Dillon being selected by her caucus as Speaker of the House. The Senate will be led by Steve Fenberg from Boulder, who returns after being elected President of that body when Sen. Leroy Garcia resigned in the spring to accept a federal position. Majority Leaders are Rep. Monica Duran in the House and Sen. Dominic Moreno in the Senate. Minority Leaders are Rep. Mike Lynch (House) who replaces the late Rep. Hugh McKean, who died unexpectedly before the election, and Sen. Paul Lundeen in the Senate. As of this morning (December 5) we are waiting for announcement of committee assignments in both chambers, since much hinges on the composition of the committees in terms of not only political make-up but experience and subject matter of the committee. While most mining related legislation goes through the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committees, we also see bills in Energy and Environment as well as Business, Labor, and State Affairs committees. At any given time, there are six standing committees meeting to review legislation in addition to the Joint Budget Committee which controls the state’s purse strings.

All these new faces have little or no knowledge of the mining industry, so be sure to attend CMA’s Legislative Reception January 12 and introduce yourselves and your companies.