(The Center Square) - The Colorado General Assembly's temporary adjournment has been extended through May 25, Democratic leadership announced Saturday evening.
The General Assembly, which was originally scheduled to adjourn sine die on May 6, temporarily adjourned beginning on March 14 due to the COVID-19 crisis.
The Colorado Supreme Court ruled in early April that the legislature can make up the days it misses during temporary adjournment.
Democratic leadership said in a joint statement the move would give extra time for safety precautions and allow for "greater clarity on potential Congressional action that could significantly impact our state budget."
"When we set out a tentative timeline to reconvene the General Assembly, we did so with the recognition that we faced a lot of uncertainty, and so we built in the flexibility to extend the temporary adjournment if needed," said House Speaker KC Becker, D-Boulder. "As businesses across Colorado also begin the process of reopening, this extension allows the General Assembly additional time to double check our safety protocols, continue conversations on appropriate legislation and seek more information about any Congressional action that may be coming in the weeks ahead. We are hopeful that Congress may provide additional and badly needed aid to help us avoid budget cuts that will devastate our communities."
Senate President Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, added that "we determined that it would benefit all Coloradans if we gave our budgetary and legislative process a bit more breathing room. Though facing our dire fiscal situation has been a painful task, we are committed to protecting our most critical institutions and vulnerable populations as best as we possibly can."
The state budget faces a $3 billion revenue shortfall due to the economic fallout from COVID-19, Garcia noted.
The General Assembly's Senate GOP said in a statement they weren't notified about the adjournment extension by majority leadership.
"Senate Republicans have heard from constituents across the state who have rightly demanded that their voice be heard and that balance be restored in our state government," said Senate Minority Leader Chris Holbert, R-Douglas County. "We have reassured those constituents that Democrats, who hold majority control of both legislative chambers, planned to return on May 18. Now, with no advance notice, we learn that Democrat leadership has decided to keep the voice of our constituents silenced until May 26."
A spokesperson for Senate Democrats did not respond to a request for comment.
House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, R-Castle Rock, was informed prior to the announcement, a spokesperson for House Democrats said.