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Colorado lawmakers address bills on remote participation, electronic wills, among others

© Colorado Capitol Building Denver - iStock - kuosumo
Robert Davis | The Center Square

(The Center Square) – Colorado lawmakers moved several bills on Thursday, among them one clarifying CARES Act refunds and another that would allow remote participation in legislative proceedings.

Senate Democrats said they will give the bills final approval on Friday before entering temporary adjournment until mid-February for safety precautions.

Colorado’s constitution requires lawmakers to meet for 120 days each year. Last year, the state Supreme Court ruled that those days do not need to be consecutive.

House Bill 21-1001, sponsored by Sen. Majority Leader Stephen Fenberg, D–Boulder, would allow lawmakers and the chairpersons of political parties to attend committee meetings remotely through the end of the year. State law currently requires party chairs to organize meetings in congressional districts but is silent on the manner in which meetings are conducted.

House Bill 21-1002 would reduce the income tax liability for taxpayers who carry back federal income tax deductions as allowed under the federal CARES Act to access corresponding state income tax benefits in 2021. It also broadens eligibility for the state earned income tax in 2020.

If enacted, the tax deductions would decrease revenue for the general fund by $24.3 million in 2021, $24 million in 2022, and $21.5 million in 2023.

House Bill 21-1003 allows lawmakers to participate in legislative proceedings remotely through fiscal year 2022. Members are still allotted per diem participating and “may receive reimbursement for travel expenses to an alternate location to allow the member to participate electronically,” according to the bill.

House Bill 21-1004 would allow wills to be served electronically. The bill’s fiscal note estimates it will “increase trial court workload by about 400 hours, equivalent to 0.2 FTE of judicial officer staff time.”