Statehouse update: Ice, Ice Baby edition

Steve A. Johnson | Flickr via Creative Commons

Seven bills we’re tracking are in a legislative deep freeze until the state budget is resolved. But that doesn’t mean politicians are lollygagging. Tons of bills are already dead in the water.

The 2012 legislative session hit the midway point Friday.

That means two things: There’s only 60 days left for lawmakers to introduce and pass proposed legislation in calendar year 2012—short of the governor calling a rare special session for emergency business. But more importantly, it means most bills with funding requests grind to a halt until the state’s budget, called the Long Bill, is passed on or around the April 6 deadline.

Until then, both Republicans and Democrats are keeping their bills off the House and Senate Appropriation Committees’ dockets until there’s more information about how much money can be allocated to new laws.

While legislators wrangle over the budget, here’s the roster of bills on ice:

Tekhne IndexBill #Bill titleSponsor(s)Bill summary
tech transferHB12-1044Startup Technology Transfer Program House: Ferrandino-D, Young-D Senate: NoneEstablishes a program to provide grants of up to $750,000 to accelerate commercialization of technology research and discoveries. More info
STEM educationHB12-1061Skills for Jobs Act House: Kagan-D Senate: Newell-DRequires the Dept. of Higher Education to produce annual report that analyzes degree/certificate production and workforce gaps. More info.
startup clusterHB12-1129Small Business Development Center Funding House: Tyler-D Senate: Jahn-DContinuation of sunset provision through 2014 that requires the state to allocate up to $300,000 annually to provide federal matching funds for the SBDC. More info.
startup clusterHB12-1154Regional Economic Development Partnerships House: Coram-R, Hamner-D
Senate: Jahn-D,
Creates regional economic development councils to plan and implement cross-promotional activities within the state's current 14 economic development regions. More info.
startup clusterHB12-1272Enhanced Unemployment Benefits for Job and Entrepreneurial TrainingHouse: Duran-D, Ramirez-R Senate: NoneAuthorizes the state Dept. of Employment and Labor to pay up to $8 million for unemployed claimants enrolled in approved job training programs, including apprenticeships and entrepreneurial programs. More info.
business lawSB12-005Business Retention and Expansion Program Senate: Newell-D House: Massey-R Requires the state Office of Economic Development to develop and administer a program to retain and expand current state-based businesses as part of the Colorado Blueprint Plan. More info.
SB12-144Grow Key Industries Senate: Heath-D, Scheffel-R House: Summers-R, Ryden-DDirects the Office of Economic Development to develop and implement a 3-year plan to grow sectors critical to the state economy. More info.

But don’t get your hopes up yet. None of these bills have yet to make it through the committee process and onto the House and Senate floors for votes. With a narrow one-vote margin in the Republican-controlled House and a wider five vote berth in the Democratically-held Senate anything goes down at the capitol these days.

Need some happier examples of bi-partisan kumbayah? Five tech- and startup-related bills have passed the legislature and are heading to the governor:

Tekhne IndexBill #Bill titleSponsor(s)Bill summary
HB12-1055Rename the Registration DeptHouse: Schafer-D Senate: White-RAmends the name of the Colorado Division of Registrations to the Division of Professions and Occupations. More info.
HB12-1071Portable Electronics InsuranceHouse: Liston-R Senate: Jahn-DRegulates the sale of insurance and consumer protections for portable electronics. More info.
business lawHB12-1127Eliminate Unemployment Insurance Premium Rate Increase on New Businesses House: Liston-R Senate: S. Williams-DAmends 2011 law that requires a rate increase once solvency is achieved in the unemployment insurance fund. More info.
business lawSB12-048Locally Produced Food Senate: Schwartz-D
House: Coram-R
Creates the "Colorado Cottage Food Act" to exempt small, home-based producers from retail food licensing requirements and requires producers to be certified in safe food handling and processing. More info. See also HB12-1027.
business lawSB12-094State Sales Tax on Food Senate: Hodge-D House: Szabo-RAmends definition of non-taxable foods to include those marketed as "convenience" or "prepared" foods. More info.