Transportation, education and justice on the legislative agenda | Cover Story | Colorado SpringsJanuary 22, 2020
Don’t expect Democrats to back away from their progressive agenda during this legislative session, despite some backlash stemming from the long list of bills that their trifecta of power — controlling the state House, Senate and governor’s office — enabled them to push through last year.
One prominent example: the controversial red-flag bill.
While some sheriffs have said they’d refuse to enforce the red-flag law, which enables someone to petition a court to remove guns from owners seen as a danger to themselves or others, Sen. Pete Lee, D-Colorado Springs, argues most people favor it. (On Jan. 9, El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder issued a statement outlining how deputies would comply with the law but noted they would not conduct searches for firearms without probable cause and a search warrant.)
“There was a groundswell of support for the red-flag law,” Lee says. “I had a lot of people urging me to support that bill, and it’s wildly popular around the country. It’s a mainstream measure that people like.”
Hence, Democrats will push this year for a gun storage bill, which Lee says “increases gun safety.”
Meanwhile, conservative groups working to gain back the majority in the Colorado Assembly this fall are likely to stick with the message that Democrats have overreached, pushing through their own extreme priorities while ignoring their constituents’ desires.
And Republicans have said they will continue using a strategy that helped them slow down some Democratic bills last year: having bills read at length.
“Yes, the state Constitution allows the Majority to pass any bill it wishes and there is nothing at all that the Minority can do to stop it,” Senate Minority Leader Chris Holbert pointed out in his Jan. 8 opening speech. “However, the state constitution doesn’t necessarily grant the Majority the authority to pass an unlimited number of bills during each limited session time frame. Thus, prioritization and communication become important factors in this unique environment in which we work.”
This session, lawmakers will tackle various issues involving health care, education, criminal justice, business, housing and transportation.
We’ve gathered a selection of bills that represent some of the new laws legislators have…