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On Saturday, March 14, as expected, the Colorado Senate passed HB20-1359 and two joint resolutions in response to Colorado’s COVID-19 outbreak. Its media notification reads “in light of increased community spread of COVID-19, the General Assembly has approved bipartisan joint resolution HJR-1007 to recess the legislative session until March 30, 2020.

Colorado State Capitol. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

HB-1359, will extend various deadlines for county assemblies related to ballot access requirements as well as amend their bylaws as needed to accommodate remote participation in assemblies, conventions, and vacancy committees. Effective until Dec. 31, 2020, it will allow delegates to assemblies to participate remotely if allowed by the party, and parties may reduce or waive any quorum requirements to allow assemblies to proceed.

“In order to combat the spread of COVID-19, it is crucial that we limit large gatherings, especially those involving vulnerable populations,” said Majority Leader Fenberg (D-Boulder). “Currently, some of our essential democratic processes require in-person voting and therefore present a serious community-spread risk for participants. This bill will take public safety concerns into account while allowing important functions of our democracy to continue.”

Due to the viral transmission of COVID-19, the state is limiting public access to the Capitol “in the best interest of public health and limiting the spread of the virus”.

The General Assembly is awaiting clarification from the Colorado Supreme court on state statutes limiting its legislative assembly days to 120. Statutes are silent on whether those days are required to be consecutive days.

An earlier Ark Valley Voice article captured the details of the bills, available here.