Capitol Conversation: Plenty to Do Before Colorado’s 2017 Legislative Session Comes To A Close

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Colorado's annual legislative session ends Wednesday, May 10. Several hundred bills have already passed this year, but some major items still remain. Bente Birkeland talked to statehouse reporters Ed Sealover with the Denver Business Journal and Nic Garcia at Chalkbeat Colorado about what's left to do.

On the mood at the end of the legislative session compared to last year:

Sealover: The twists and turns that have gone into the session are pretty impressive. From the sudden killing of the transportation bill to the sudden passage of this omnibus bill (SB 267) we discussed, as well as construction defects reforms, I tell you I think legislators have been working more behind the scenes this year than they were the last two years. There's more a spirit of compromise and willingness to get something done.

On the debate over K-12 school funding:

Garcia: The heart of the debate over the state school finance act is this charter school bill that is making its way through the session. This charter school bill would require local school districts to share locally approved voter tax increases that are usually designated for very specific programs like funding full day kindergarten or teacher training.

On why the charter school issue is contentious:

Garcia: Supporters of the charter school bill believe local school districts are discriminating against charter school students. Opponents of the bill believe this is a local control issue that local school boards are the ones who are supposed to set budgets, set spending priorities.

Capitol Coverage is a collaborative public policy reporting project, providing news and analysis to communities across Colorado for more than a decade. Fifteen public radio stations participate in Capitol Coverage from throughout Colorado.