The Colorado State Capitol is the place where more law is made that directly impacts our daily lives than anywhere else. In 2019, the progressive majority went to work protecting college students from drowning in debt, helping Coloradans save for retirement, and tackling the problem of addiction with compassion. These are changes you’ll see and feel.
For decades, one industry had the power to run roughshod over the local land use authority that everyone takes for granted to keep their homes, schools, and businesses safe. Thanks to the passage of Senate Bill 181, locals have more power to control where oil and gas drilling happens, and the state’s focus is on public safety over profit.
Kindergarteners (and their parents)
Gov. Jared Polis took office in January with a promise to make full-day kindergarten a reality for every public school student in our state. It took some time personally lobbying lawmakers, but in the end a bipartisan vote, helmed by education champions Reps. Barbara McLachlan and Jim Wilson, kept Polis’ top promise to the families of Colorado.
People who need healthcare
The progressive majority in the Colorado legislature took action on health care in a big way in 2019. Legislation to reduce insurance premiums by up to 20%, import pharmaceutical products from Canada at big savings, ensuring access to mental health care–the list goes on and on.
After years of unsuccessfully trying, in 2019 the Colorado legislature finally passed a bill to outlaw the hateful practice of so-called “conversion therapy” on LGBTQ children. Legislation also passed to make the process of gender transition more dignified. Colorado is a hate state no more.
Gov. Jared Polis
Gov. Jared Polis’ first legislative session proved he’s a new kind of leader for Colorado. In addition to delivering on his promise for full-day kindergarten, Gov. Polis helped steer the landmark oil and gas drilling reform bill through the process, and played a big role in the passage of health care bills that will reduce the cost of care for everyone.
Sen. Don Coram of Montrose once again proved a partner across the aisle for passing important legislation that will make his constituents’ lives better. From water conservation to wildfire prevention and rural education, Sen. Coram commendably put the interests of the state above party and was part of the solution instead of the problem.
Spurlock & Sullivan
Two men with first-person experience with the tragedy of gun violence, Sheriff Tony Spurlock of Douglas County and Rep. Tom Sullivan, whose son was killed in the Aurora shooting, worked together to pass legislation to prevent gun violence by people suffering from mental illness in crisis–the most important gun law passed in Colorado since 2013.
Colorado isn’t waiting for politicians in Washington to stop playing games. This year, the Colorado Climate Action Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 90% by 2050 was passed into law, making Colorado a leader not just in America but the entire world in doing our part to clean up the damage we’ve done to Mother Earth.
He might not be able to win elections, but longtime political stuntman Jon Caldara of the right-wing Independence Institute has finally figured out a way to cash in on duping his angry followers: a fundraising platform where he takes a 6% cut plus fees of every transaction! That’s nice work if you can get it.
After four years of divided government, in which good policy ideas would go to die in a Senate kill committee, the session was a productive breakthrough. While in the past as much time was spent positioning each party for the next election as writing bills with a chance to see the governor’s signature, 2019 was the year where lawmakers could actually make laws again. While some partisans were complaining about too much, too fast, their real beef might have been with working harder.
Look, it sucks that the state’s #1 job is not to “foster oil and gas development” instead of looking out for public health and safety. Actually, no that doesn’t suck. That’s great news for everyone except polluters! The truth is that the industry isn’t going out of business in Colorado–but regular people just might breathe easier.
Democrats are coming to take your guns! Democrats want you to freeze in the dark! Insane allegations about legislation flew wildly on social media, but the reality doesn’t live up to the rumors. The new gun law is supported by over 80% of the public and even Big Oil says they’re going to survive after all. Don’t believe the hype!
Much like Jon Caldara, the Neville political dynasty can’t win elections and they proved it again in 2018–but hope springs eternal as the possibility of recalls gives the Nevilles a chance to raise more money for their family political consultant business. Unfortunately, the Neville’s loser reputation precedes them–and many locals give them the side-eye.
The usual suspects at the NRA and the local Rocky Mountain Gun Owners tried once again to frighten both ordinary gun owners and politicians on both sides by threatening them over the new “red flag” law to temporarily remove guns from people who are a threat to themselves or others. But it didn’t work, and now this law supported by 80% of Coloradans will save lives.
Sen. Owen Hill of Colorado Springs didn’t take his party’s defeat in the 2018 elections well, and used 2019 as basically one long temper tantrum. Besides leading the charge on misusing Senate rules to grind the process to a halt and defending the handling of the GOP’s sexual harassment fiasco, Hill actually said that Americans should be able to “buy and own a rocket launcher.” Yikes!
A mostly positive legislative session turned ugly with the introduction of a bill updating Colorado’s comprehensive sex-ed laws. Opponents organized activists out of the Centennial Institute under the banner of parental rights, but were discovered within minutes of committee testimony to simply harbor prejudice against LGBTQ people. While this sort of thing is good for ginning email lists and fundraising, it further marginalized conservative groups from the mainstream.
Colorado’s most embarrassing member of the House now that Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt is history struck again this year with fictional civil rights history, a fact-challenged defense of Christopher Columbus, and leading the charge to repeal Colorado gun laws after being caught with a loaded gun in a DIA security line.
If you own an electric vehicle, there are few things more irritating than finding an old-school internal combustion engine vehicle parked in an EV charging space. Thanks to House Bill 1298, “ICEholes” will face a $150 fine–literally clearing a path to making electric vehicles a viable option for more people.
Every time progressives win a majority in Colorado elections, which happens most of the time these days, disaffected conservatives get much more serious than they should about a few rural counties in northeast Colorado either seceding or joining another state. It’s a fool’s errand and only makes its proponents look silly, which happened again this year.
Lori Saine’s counterpart in crazy in the Colorado Senate, GOP Sen. Vicki Marble, kept her unbroken string of dim-bulb lowlights going with threats against reporters, baseless speculation about nonexistent illegal voters, and asking of climate change, “is anything a settled science?”