December Legislative Update

The election has come to a close with leadership for the Colorado General Assembly finalized and ready to begin work in January 2017. The General Assembly is the bicameral state legislature of the State of Colorado composed of the Colorado House of Representatives and the Colorado Senate.

All 65 seats in the Colorado House and half of the Colorado Senate seats were up for re-election this upcoming year. Democrats had controlled the Colorado House with a 34-31 majority the last two years. Republicans had controlled the Senate with an 18-17 majority. Now, Democrats still hold the majority of the House by 37-28 and the Colorado Senate remains in Republican control with a makeup of 18 Republicans and 17 Democrats.

Crisanta Duran (D-Denver) will lead the House Democrats as Speaker of the House and Representative KC Becker (D-Boulder) as Majority Leader. Senator Kevin Grantham (R-Canon City) will lead the Senate Republicans as President with Majority Leader Chris Holbert (R-Parker). Senator Lucia Guzman (D-Denver) will continue serving as Senate Minority Leader with Senator Leroy Garcia (D-Pueblo) as Assistant Minority Leader. House Minority Leader Patrick Neville (R-Jefferson County), assisted by Cole Wist (R-Centennial), will lead the House Republicans.

Within the Colorado General Assembly, the legislative committee that has the most direct impact on Arts for Colorado is the Joint Budget Committee (JBC). The JBC is charged with studying the management, operations, programs, and fiscal needs of the agencies and institutions of Colorado state government. The committee holds meetings throughout the year to help prepare budget recommendations for the General Assembly. The JBC is responsible for approving the budget for the Creative Industries Division within the Office of Economic Development. Senator Kent Lambert (R-Colorado Springs) is the chair of the committee, alongside Representative Millie Hamner (D-Dillon) as vice-chair. Remaining members include Senator Kevin Lundberg (R-Loveland), Senator Elect Dominic Moreno (D-Adams County) and Representative Dave Young (D-Weld County). The Creative Industries Division is requesting the same level of funding as in previous fiscal years and the Joint Budget Committee will review that request during the Figure Setting in 2017.

That’s it for the legislative update as we wrap up 2016! Stay tuned for more as we head into 2017!