The Colorado Health Institute offers a recap of the 2020 Colorado legislative session:
Think of everything before that day as occurring in B.C.E. (Before Coronavirus Epidemic). On March 14, legislative leaders decided to adjourn — for two weeks, they thought — to guard against spreading the virus. And so began the days of C.E. (COVID-19 Era).
The pandemic did to legislation what a meteor did to the dinosaurs 66 million years ago. It wiped out the giants and left behind the creatures small and nimble enough to survive the cataclysm.
Legislators ended up staying away from the Capitol for more than two months, and when they returned, their biggest plans had been swept away. Democrats had been preparing to take on high hospital profits with a slate of bills, but they backed off when hospitals began losing money at the same time providers were risking their own health to care for the COVID-19 patients who crowded their wards. A push to create paid family leave — which riled the business lobby — had to be put on hold when many businesses were forced to shut their doors and lay people off.
When the C.E. part of the session began, legislators set to work on two grim tasks — filling a $3.3 billion gulf in the state budget and systematically killing most bills that cost money or required extra time for debate or public hearings.
The pandemic didn’t wipe out everything. House Democratic leaders pushed ahead with a bill to tighten the state’s loose rules on vaccine exemptions for schoolchildren even as opponents packed a weekend hearing on the bill that lasted hours. Bipartisan majorities acted quickly to pass a bill to expand telehealth and a bill to increase police accountability.