Colorado Democrats look to pass more progressive legislation with four weeks left in session

Colorado Democrats look to pass more progressive legislation with four weeks left in session

FILE - Colorado State Capitol
The Colorado State Capitol in Denver, Colorado.

With four weeks left in Colorado’s legislative session, Democrats in the legislature hope to pass several more pieces of key progressive legislation. 

The Democratic-controlled legislature has had little trouble passing several controversial bills, leading to Republicans and grassroots groups calling for voters to recall some of the lawmakers behind the pieces of legislation that opponents say don’t represent the views of citizens.

Democrats control both chambers of the General Assembly, and Democratic Gov. Jared Polis supports a vast majority of legislation Democratic lawmakers have passed or plan on passing.

The legislature also passed a National Popular Vote bill that requires the state’s nine electoral college votes be cast for the presidential candidate who wins the national popular vote. Polis signed the bill into law last month.

The legislation has led to an effort to let voters decide on the issue by putting it on the ballot in the next election.

One of the most controversial moves by the legislature was the passage of the “red flag” gun control bill, which Polis is expected to sign. Half of the counties in the state have formally opposed the bill, and groups are targeting some Democrats for recalls based on their support for the legislation.

Another bill headed to the governor’s desk will restore federal “net neutrality” rules repealed by federal regulators in 2017.

Despite a Democratic majority, the legislature failed to pass a couple bills that the party broadly supports.

Democrats failed to pass a bill banning capital punishment, which was met by emotional opposition by a member of Democrats’ Senate leadership. They also failed to pass a plastic straw ban similar to California’s ban.

There are still several pieces of progressive legislation Democrats at the capitol hope to pass before the session ends May 3.

House Bill 1257 and House Bill 1258: Colorado lawmakers have a package of bills that, if passed, would ask voters to permanently end their taxpayer refunds provided by the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR). The excess revenue would help fund higher education, public schools, and transportation, but needs voter approval.

Senate Bill 207: The legislature is poised to give its final approval on the state’s budget, which  tops $32.3 billion for the fiscal year and will bump all public employees’ salaries by 3 percent.

Senate Bill 225: Democrats hope to overturn a ban that prohibits local governments from instituting rent control policies, paving the way for municipalities to pass and enforce rent control ordinances.

House Bill 1159: Democrats hope to pass legislation expanding the state’s tax incentives for electric vehicles in a move they say would help reduce emissions. The bill would cause the state’s general fund to lose out on $99.2 million in revenue.

Senate Bill 188: The legislation would require employers to provide three months paid leave through the family and medical leave insurance (FAMLI) program. All workers and employers would have to contribute 0.32 percent of their income to the state’s family leave fund in order to subsidize the program.

Democratic lawmakers are also hoping to pass free full-day kindergarten, which Gov. Polis promised to do during his campaign. Other bills that would allow illegal immigrants in the state to obtain drivers licenses and require a sexual education curriculum in public schools are also both pending in the legislature.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *