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Sat May 11, 2019, 10:47 PM

Colorado Democrats deliver on major changes to health care, education and the environment

Democratic lawmakers ended their work reshaping Colorado on Friday, delivering on most of their campaign promises before the giant rubber band ball fell to mark the end of the session.

Sweeping changes on education, health care and the environment, coupled with a host of social policy changes such as a ban on gay conversion therapy and new gun control legislation, ensure the 2019 legislative session will be remembered as one of the most transformative in decades.

The General Assembly adjourned Friday night after one of the most conflict-filled legislative sessions in recent memory. The 120 days were punctuated with late nights, long-winded debate and lawsuits.

Nevertheless, Democrats, who had complete control of the legislative agenda for the first time in four years, and Gov. Jared Polis were able to pass legislation they believe will drive down the cost of health care, pay for full-day kindergarten and overhaul regulations for the oil and gas industry.

“This is what we ran on,” said state Sen. Julie Gonzales, a Denver Democrat and freshman lawmaker. “This is the transformative policy we fought for.”

Despite all of their efforts, Democrats are leaving some work unfinished, such as figuring out how to provide paid family leave statewide and repealing the death penalty — policy questions that bitterly divided the Senate caucus.

On the other side of the aisle, Senate Minority Leader Chris Holbert said he was proud of his caucus’ work slowing down legislation and adding substantive amendments to bills Republicans saw as threats.


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