Next Steps on Amendment 64

(March 7) – House Speaker Mark Ferrandino and Senate President John Morse announced today that they are creating a joint select committee to process the recommendations of a task force appointed by Gov. John Hickenlooper to chart a course for the implementation of Amendment 64.

Officially titled the Joint Select Committee on the Implementation of the Amendment 64 Task Force Recommendations, the select committee is to include 10 members, five from each chamber.

“The people of Colorado have ordered us to set up a system to promote public safety, protect our children and regulate recreational marijuana,” said Assistant Majority Leader Dan Pabon (D-Denver), who sat on the task force and was appointed today as the select committee’s chairman. “A select committee is the most efficient, most transparent way to draft a bill that deals with the many, many facets of implementing Amendment 64.”

In their letter announcing the formation of the committee, Speaker Ferrandino and President Morse wrote: “The Joint Select Committee on the Implementation of the Amendment 64 Task Force’s Recommendations is directed to evaluate the work of the task force, to solicit public feedback regarding the task force’s recommendations, and to refer legislation to the General Assembly for consideration based on the task force’s recommendations.”

They wrote that the goal is to make the process as “transparent as possible,” and that they expected the select committee to complete its process of vetting the task force’s recommendations by March 29.

“This select committee is a continuing effort on the part of state to implement Amendment 64 in a way that provides an effective road map for businesses, promotes public health, and addresses numerous policy issues relative to this new law,” said Sen. Cheri Jahn (D-Wheat Ridge), the committee’s vice chairwoman.

The joint select committee format has been used many times before, most recently in 2011 for congressional redistricting. Per the directive of the Speaker and Senate President, the select committee will meet at least once to consider the 74 recommendations made by the task force for inclusion in legislation and any other recommendations put forth by the joint select committee, and will hold at least one public meeting to solicit citizen input.

Along with Rep. Pabon, Speaker Ferrandino appointed Reps. Jonathan Singer (D-Longmont) and Jenise May (D-Aurora). In addition to Sen. Jahn, President Morse appointed Sens. Gail Schwartz (D-Snowmass Village) and Jessie Ulibarri (D-Commerce City). The other four members – two from each chamber – will be appointed by the House and Senate minority leaders.

Additionally, in the coming days, the House and Senate will consider resolutions creating new five-member committees of reference to consider any legislation that comes forward.  It is expected that the members composing the select committee will sit on the new House and Senate committees of reference.

The announcement of the select committee and consideration of new committees of reference continues a process started earlier this year to address the passage of Amendment 64 by Colorado’s voters last November.  That process began with an executive order by Gov. Hickenlooper that empaneled a 24-member task force of various interested parties to identify legal, policy, and procedural issues requiring resolution following the approval of Amendment 64.

On Feb. 28, 2013, the task force finished its work addressing the issues it identified, and will submit its final report of recommendations to the Governor, the General Assembly, and the Attorney General.  Lawmakers must now consider how to best apply the work of the task force in legislation.

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