As many of you know, the special session that Governor Hickenlooper called to fix an error in a bill from last legislative session came to a premature end this past week.
The goal of the special session was to fix an error in Senate Bill 267, a bipartisan bill from the last session that prevented massive cuts to hospitals and provided funding for schools and roads around the state. However, an error was made in the bill that rendered special districts like RTD and the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD) unable to receive their share of marijuana sales tax revenues, shrinking their budgets. SCFD provides funding to cultural institutions all over the metro area, including everything from the Denver Zoo to the Museum of Nature and Science to organizations within HD 33 like the Broomfield Symphony Orchestra (and soon, the Butterfly Pavilion).
Although everyone at the Capitol agreed that this was an unintentional consequence of the bill that needed to be fixed, a solution was not agreed upon. The “fix” bill that was introduced in the Senate died in the Senate Transportation Committee, while the identical House version of the bill passed the House only to die in the Senate. I voted for the House bill both in committee and on the floor and was disappointed to see it eventually fail in the Senate.
Even though we were not able to arrive at a bipartisan solution during this whirlwind of a special session, that does not mean that we have lost all bipartisan momentum. As we legislators go back to our other jobs and responsibilities, I hope we all keep in mind those who are and will be affected by cuts to RTD, SCFD, and other special districts so we can come back in January and find common ground to fix this mistake. The rest of SB-267 is a bipartisan success, and that’s the mindset we need to find a solution.
Thank you to everyone who has reached out to me during the summer and fall with your ideas and concerns. Please continue to keep in touch and pass along your thoughts and ideas about our community and how our state government may better serve you.