Remember that scene in the Wizard of Oz, where Dorothy was told not to look behind the curtain? Well, on Monday September 23, 2019 the Colorado Legislative Committee and guests took a good look at the various parts played by the dedicated staff people who are “working behind that curtain” at the General Assembly. At our meeting we learned first-hand that NOTHING would get done at the Capitol without these people and their work in supporting Colorado legislators.
We were joined by representatives from each of the three nonpartisan General Assembly staff groups who work behind the scenes in support of all 100 legislators. This is a brief summary of their presentations.
Legislative Legal Services – represented by Christy Chase is composed of 27 attorneys and 20 other staff members. These folks actually spend a lot of time working with legislators to transform an idea into a bill in standardized language that can then be heard, debated, and further action taken. There are often many different drafts for each piece of potential legislation; the legal services team is involved in each of them. Legal Services provides in-house legal counsel to the legislators, while also providing the continuity of historical perspective regarding specific pieces of legislation. They also maintain a high level of confidentiality for the legislators as they work on drafting bills up until they are ready to be released for consideration by the entire body and the public. To see the entirety of Christy’s presentation, see the link at the bottom of this article.
Legislative Council Staff (LCS) – as represented by Luisa Altmann covers a wide range of activities, from Fiscal Notes to the Blue Book you have now received for November to manning the Capitol tours and many, many others. LCS is the nonpartisan research agency for the Colorado General Assembly. The fiscal notes they prepare are a critical piece of information in the consideration of bills introduced by legislators – here is where you see the costs and revenues associated with each bill.
The Joint Budget Committee staff – as represented by Eric Kurtz is a team of 16 who provide research and make funding recommendations each year for 22 state agencies. It is this team, working with the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) (composes of 3 Representatives and 3 Senators) who create the annual state budget that is acted upon the General Assembly every year in the Spring. While it is actually a never-ending process, it really kicks into gear on November 1st and intensifies from there. (There is an excellent and simple diagram of this process in Eric’s presentation – included on our website under member resources.)
As part of the event each presenter shared a short PowerPoint presentation focused on their particular area.
- Legislative, Legal, and JBC Staff Services PowerPoint Presentation – CLICK HERE