State Lawmakers Will Return To The Capitol On May 26 To Balance A Budget Ravaged By Coronavirus

May 18, 2020
colorado state capitol, r mcolorado state capitol, r mDavid Zalubowski/AP
The stairs in the rotunda of the State Capitol stand empty as the building remains closed to visitors to stem the rise of the coronavirus pandemic Monday, May 4, 2020, in Denver.

State legislative leaders have adopted informal rules for their return to the Colorado Capitol on Tuesday, May 26, to finish the legislative session and pass a balanced budget. 

The public will be asked to wear masks inside the building and maintain social distancing, but it won’t be required. Visitors will have to undergo a temperature check before entering the building, but a higher temperature won’t prohibit someone from going inside.

“A fever is 100.4 or higher. Anyone whose temperature is over 100.4 will be given health recommendations and information about how to participate in the legislative process remotely,” stated a document of recommendations from a bipartisan committee tasked with creating the rules

Public tours of the Capitol remain canceled.

The legislative chambers will also look slightly different. Lawmakers will be spaced farther apart rather than in adjacent seats. Some members of the House will voluntarily sit in the public viewing gallery above the chamber, and plexiglass will be installed in certain portions of the Capitol where it’s not possible for people to remain six feet apart. 

Lawmakers and staff will enter through separate doors, and they may have to undergo health checks depending on staffing levels. Legislative leaders are also exploring the option of allowing limited remote work for some state lawmakers. Those details have not yet been finalized, and Republicans have objected to significant remote work or voting remotely.

Lawmakers temporarily adjourned the session in mid-March to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. The biggest item left on their to-do list is to balance a $3.3 billion state budget shortfall.