Kirchhof Group Inc
Weekly Legislative Update
January 16, 2015
All the statewide officers were sworn in this week. Governor John Hickenlooper (D), Attorney General Cynthia Coffman (R), Treasurer Walker Stapleton (R) and Secretary of State Wayne Williams (R). Coffman replaces term limited John Suthers (who is now a candidate for Mayor of Colorado Springs). Coffman is married to U S Representative Mike Coffman. Williams is the former El Paso County Clerk and Recorder replacing Scott Gessler who ran for Governor but lost in the Republican primary.
Governor Hickenlooper appointed Doug Friednash as his new Chief of Staff replacing long-time confidant Roxanne White who left after four years to return to the private sector. Friednash most recently came from the powerhouse law firm Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber and Schrek. Previously, he served as Denver City Attorney in the Mayor Michael Hancock administration. Friednash will be responsible for overseeing management of state agencies and will provide advice and counsel to the Governor and his cabinet. He will start on February 2.
In a surprising development late Friday, Rep. Libby Szabo (R) Arvada was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Jefferson County Commission. She decided to apply for the position citing her frustration with the legislative process and her belief that she can accomplish more at the local government level. Upon her resignation, a vacancy committee will be convened to appoint her successor. Her departure will result in a change in the House Minority Leadership as she was the Assistant Minority Leader.
State of the State
In his longest address yet – 44 minutes (Governor Romer has the longest in recent memory of 65 minutes), Governor Hickenlooper spoke about the many issues facing the state but gave few specifics on his plans to address them. Issues included: the first ever statewide water plan; Colorado’s economic successes including small business and high tech; his initiative for the long-term unemployed; K-12 funding and policy issues around standards and testing; higher education affordability and scholarships; energy issues and the pending outcomes of the taskforce; healthy communities; natural resources; marijuana industry; transportation; fiscal impact statements for ballot initiatives (note: introduced with bi-partisan sponsorship as HB 1057 and supported by almost 30 organizations); and constitutional challenges around TABOR, Amendment 23 and Gallagher.
Legislature (106 days until May 6)
On Friday, the House recognized the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King through a resolution, readings from his work and personal comments by legislators. The Senate will do the same next Tuesday. The Legislature is closed on Monday January 19, 2015 in observance of Martin Luther King Day.
Committee work will continue on Tuesday on many of the bills introduced in the Senate (98) and the House (128). The Joint Budget Committee continues to meet on supplemental budget requests from the departments for the current fiscal year as well as preparation of the 2015/2016 budget to be introduced in March.
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