In this week’s Legislative Video Update, Michael Valdez talks about the budget bill that recently passed through the House and why the “Sunshine in Litigation Act” was laid to rest. Also in this episode, the Senate Judiciary Committee granted preliminary approval of appointments to the Colorado Commission on Judicial Discipline – find out who!
From the CBA Legislative Policy Committee
The Legislative Policy Committee did not meet on Friday, April 13.
From the Capitol
The Budget took center stage at the Capitol for the week of April 9. The House approved the slightly-amended, almost $20 Billion budget on an unprecedented vote of 64-1. The previous high marks for support for the budget bill in the House lingered around 52-13 so this was an unusual vote – there had to have been a temptation to check the electronic voting machine that the House utilizes on 3rd Reading to make sure that it hadn’t been tampered with by the members of the Joint Budget Committee.
At the halfway point in the budget process, it looks very promising for the Judicial Branch; the budget priorities for the Branch have been approved by the House. Those priorities include:
- The remaining two judges from the 2007 judge bill;
- Additional staff to oversee protective proceedings in the probate courts,
- Pro se or self-represented case managers,
- Additional probation officers to monitor sex offenders,
- Modest pay increases for the lowest paid court clerks,
- And more.
The Senate will take their turn with the budget bill starting on Monday when the Joint Budget Committee briefs committees of reference in 45 minute round-robin sessions. Both parties are expected to caucus on the Long Bill on Tuesday and the bill will “run” on 2nds on Wednesday. The final vote in the Senate is expected on Thursday.
Now everyone who follows the budget expects the Senate version of the bill to differ from the adopted House version – it always does. When that happens a conference committee – which is comprised of the folks who put the bill together – will be asked to work out the differences between the two versions. The Budget Bill should complete its legislative journey by the end of next week. We’ll bring you an update.
In other news:
At the request of the sponsor, the Judiciary Committee put SB 12-153 – Concerning the creation of the “Sunshine in Litigation Act” to rest on Monday, April 9 without testimony or argument. The sponsor told the Judiciary Committee that the fiscal impact of the bill was such that he could not move the bill forward.
The bill would have created a rebuttable presumption that information concerning a public hazard must be disclosed in a court action. If a party objected to the disclosure they could seek a protective order to limit disclosure if the court were to find, by clear and convincing evidence, that certain factors had been met. In any event the bill has been pulled and those folks who have been following the bill are now in sadness or are celebrating.
On Wednesday of last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee gave preliminary approval of appointments to the Colorado Commission on Judicial Discipline:
For a term expiring on June 30, 2015
- Albus Brooks of Denver, Colorado, to serve as a non attorney, appointed.
- David Kenney of Denver, Colorado, to serve as a non attorney, reappointed.
- Federico C. Alvarez of Denver, Colorado, to serve as an attorney, reappointed.
For a term effective October 14, 2011 and set to expire June 30, 2015:
- David Lee Dill of Pueblo, Colorado, to serve as a non attorney.
The full Senate is expected to confirm these nominations when their confirmation is heard on the Senate floor.
Also on Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee defeated HB 12-1130 – Concerning offenses against an unborn child. The bill had been held for 10 days to allow the sponsor the opportunity to find language that a majority of the members of the Judiciary Committee could live with. The sponsor was unable to come up with language to satisfy a majority of the Committee so the bill was voted down by the committee on a 5-2 vote. The CBA LPC voted to oppose the legislation at the request of the Civil Rights Committee.