A Look Back at the 2019 Legislative Session,…

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The first session of the 72nd General Assembly of the Colorado House of Representatives adjourned for the year on Friday, May 3, 2019 with enthusiastic applause for one of the most successful and transformative sessions in recent memory.

Our legislative body is diverse in backgrounds, experiences and ideals. It’s in the recognition and honor of these differences that we were able to find common ground and solve problems for the people we serve.  Of the 23 bills I carried my first session, I am proud that I had a Republican co-sponsor on 11 of them. To my friends on both sides of the aisle, thank you for your partnership.  It has been my privilege to serve with you.

I am proud to say we delivered on promises to support working families and to protect our Colorado way of life. This includes the passage of significant policies in health care, education, climate action, affordable housing and so much more: 

In HEALTH CARE,…we are dramatically reducing insurance premiums on the individual market with the passage of my reinsurance bill, increasing transparency for health care costs in Colorado’s hospitals, prohibiting surprise out-of-network billing, and reducing the price of insulin.  We are creating a pathway for an affordable and competitive public health care option and health care co-ops in the state of Colorado that will be available to families and individuals when purchasing health insurance. 

In EDUCATION,…we are bringing fully funded full-day kindergarten to every community in the state, investing in early childhood literacy with the renewal of the READ Act, and expanding opportunities for high school students to earn college credits through concurrent enrollment programs across Colorado.  Additionally, the legislature went outside the school finance formula and reduced the budget stabilization factor by $100 million and secured $20 million in one-time funding for rural schools. For more on our accomplishments in education, read this great article from Chalkbeat.

In CLIMATE ACTION,…we are putting pollution reduction goals into statute to reduce Colorado’s greenhouse gas pollution by 26 percent by 2025, 50 percent by 2030, and 90 percent by 2050 of 2005 levels.  We also are increasing the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) oversight authority, strengthening protections for consumers, prioritizing safety, and reducing carbon pollution for our state’s largest power company. We’re moving Colorado forward while ensuring workers and communities dependent on the fossil fuel industry are not left behind as the state transitions to a cleaner economy.  We are updating Colorado’s antiquated oil and gas laws to put health and safety first by increasing local government authority over oil and gas development and empowering affected communities to protect our air and water. 

In AFFORDABLE HOUSING,…we are investing nearly $156 million in housing over the next three years by expanding the existing Affordable Housing Income Tax Credit from $5 million to $10 million,  directing $30 million annually (starting in 2020-21) from the Unclaimed Property Trust Fund for three years ($90 million total), and investing $8 million to housing needs in the first two years ($16 million total) and then $45-50 million annually thereafter from a statutory change in the administration of the state’s vendor fee.   I am particularly proud of two bills I co-sponsored – the creation of an Eviction Legal Defense Fund for low-income Coloradans who face eviction, and The Mobile Home Park Oversight Act which expands county authority and creates a conflict resolution process for aggrieved mobile home owners.

We passed legislation allowing local governments to adjust their minimum wage, and we proudly passed an “equal pay for equal work” bill ensuring women earn the same as their male counterparts.  We passed life-saving gun legislation, expanded access to existing broadband infrastructure throughout rural Colorado, and took one step closer to making sure every Coloradan has a retirement savings plan.

It’s been a remarkable and exciting session, but the work continues. I’ll be traveling House District 61 in the months ahead and look forward to connecting with the good people of the Western Slope. It’s an honor and privilege to serve!

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