DENVER, CO — The six members of the Executive Committee of the Legislative Council – House Speaker KC Becker, Senate President Leroy Garcia, House Majority Leader Alec Garnett, Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, House Minority Leader Patrick Neville and Senate Minority Leader Chris Holbert, today released the following statements after the General Assembly voted to temporarily suspend the legislative session until March 30, 2020, in the interest of public health:
“We have jointly decided to suspend the General Assembly in order to protect the public, our state employees and our colleagues. Medical experts have been clear that social distancing is the most important tool we have to prevent and contain the spread of COVID-19,” said House Speaker KC Becker, D-Boulder. “We must lead by example to protect vulnerable populations such as the elderly and immuno-compromised. When it is appropriate or necessary, we will come back and continue the work our constituents elected us to do.”
“Today we made an important bipartisan decision to protect the health & safety of state employees and the community at large,” said Senate President Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo. “I am proud that we were able to come together and rise to the occasion in solidarity. This is an unprecedented time in recent history and the decision to recess our session is not one we take lightly. But participation in the process is foundational to our democracy and we will not do the people’s work without their critical input.”
“This decision was made with the recognition that there is a moral high ground that we must always consider when we are faced with unprecedented situations and decisions such as this,” said House Majority Leader Alec Garnett, D-Denver. “We are closely monitoring the situation and are in close contact with state agencies, public health experts and the governor. We will continue to be informed by expert opinions and science, and we are closely watching the actions and recommendations of other states and the federal government.
“The important work being done at the Capitol depends on both legislators and the public. With that in mind, we feel that it is in the best interest of all Coloradans to recess the session until citizens can safely participate in their democracy,” said Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, D-Boulder. “This is an incredibly solemn moment for our state and frankly, the world. So I am grateful that we are acting in unity during this difficult time.”
“We are entering unprecedented territory. To ensure the safety of the public as well as the General Assembly, it is necessary to take a brief two-week recess,” said House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, R-Castle Rock. “The situation surrounding COVID-19 has changed dramatically in the last week. In two weeks, we will reconvene and reevaluate where our state stands. There is still work that must be done, so we hope and pray that the situation around this public health crisis improves and we can once again safely return to the Capitol and complete the work of the people.”
“I appreciate the bipartisan cooperation we have had in crafting the resolution to recess,” said Senate Minority Leader Chris Holbert, R-Douglas County. “This crisis has reminded us that while legislators have an important role in our state government, our being in session is not critical to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s better that we adjourn and relieve the public of the burden of advocating for or against legislation at the Capitol until this crisis subsides.”
On Thursday evening, the legislature announced its plan following the Governor’s emergency declaration.