2020 Colorado legislative session

Hart Van Denburg / CPR News

Colorado's government faces a $3.3 billion shortfall for the fiscal year that begins in July, according to a new state economic forecast. 

The Grim Business Of State Budget Cuts Under Coronavirus Has Begun

May 12, 2020
Hart Van Denburg / CPR News

Democratic State Sen. Rachel Zenzinger paused in her car, staring at the grey stone of the Legislative Services Building in downtown Denver before another all day meeting on Thursday. 

Hart Van Denburg / CPR News

A clearer picture is starting to emerge of the deep budget cuts Colorado will likely face to backfill a possible $4 billion hole dug by COVID-19. It is likely to impact everything from affordable housing to health care, to oil and gas regulations, and schools, to transportation and water projects. 

David Zalubowski / AP

Gov. Jared Polis announced Monday March 23, that he had signed the bill to abolish the death penalty, and would commute the sentences of the three men on Colorado's death row to life in prison without parole.

Legislature Takes Historic Pause Amid Coronavirus Concerns

Mar 14, 2020
Kevin J. Beaty / Denverite

The Colorado legislature has officially suspended its work for at least two weeks, amid the growing coronavirus pandemic. In a historic first for the state, the House and Senate approved the temporary halt to their work on a voice vote. 

Mark Lennihan / Associated Press

A Democrat sponsored bill currently being considered by state legislators would increase student access to tampons and pads at Colorado middle, junior and high schools. The measure creates a grant program that schools can use to provide the products for free.

If passed, low-income schools would be given priority access to the funding. The grant would go toward installing tampon and pad dispensers in bathrooms at schools that don’t have them.

Updated at 6:00 p.m.

A bipartisan group of legislators say they plan to introduce a bill aimed at increasing childhood vaccination rates in the state. 

They say the bill would require parents seeking a vaccine exemption for non-medical reasons to use a specific form. Parents would also need to get the signature of a doctor or other immunization provider, or do an online vaccination education class. 

As Gov. Jared Polis and Democratic lawmakers wage a war with hospitals over the rising cost of health care in Colorado, many residents like Jamie Harrison are still stuck paying high premiums on the West Slope.

"I think paying $1,700 a month for an insurance policy I don't use is not sustainable," Harrison said last week after finishing a day of skiing in Beaver Creek. "Something has got to give."

Gov. Jared Polis recently outlined an ambitious agenda for lawmakers in 2020. He vowed to reduce health care costs, find a solution to the state's road funding woes and get more children into preschool. But some of the governor's priorities will prove to be contentious.

Capitol Coverage reporter Scott Franz sat down with the governor after his State of the State address to talk about some of the hot-button issues that are on the table this legislative session.

The opening days of Colorado's legislative session are typically jovial and largely free of partisan politics. The governor capitalized on that mood during his roughly hour-long speech. After an interruption from a heckler in the gallery shouting, "Ban fracking now!" Polis started with a recap of his first year in office.

There were the usual jokes and friendly banter between the House and Senate.

State lawmakers from both sides of the aisle exchanged hugs in a chamber that felt a bit like a school getting back to work after an eight-month break.

But amidst the pomp and circumstance of the opening day of Colorado's 2020 legislative session, lawmakers also drew some clear battle lines.