Polis, Democrats outline top legislative priorities

DENVER (AP) – Colorado’s rising cost of living and rising crime topped the list of priorities set by Governor Jared Polis and allied Democratic leaders who take control of the state for the session. Legislature 2022 begins this week.

After two legislative sessions largely devoted to the coronavirus pandemic emergency, Polis and Senate and House leaders on Monday said they would also focus on continued efforts to limit costs. health care, laying the foundation for early childhood education, investing in mental health services, and addressing fire mitigation in the aftermath of the devastating Boulder County wildfires.

“You’ll find this session really focused on saving people money,” Polis said during a press conference at the Capitol.

According to the governor, who is joined by Senate President Leroy Garcia, Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, Speaker of the House Alec. Garnett and House Majority Leader Daneya Esgar.

Republican lawmakers complain that the focus on fees, inflation and crime has stolen from their own pre-sessional playbook.

“I didn’t hear that two years ago,” Minority Leader Hugh McKean said Democrats’ pledge to lower fees. “And now we find out, long after the fact, that we really need to recall all of that.”

A new poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows the management of the coronavirus pandemic are beginning to recede from the American mind and are increasingly overshadowed by financial concerns – inflation in particular. – topics that could put Republicans in the 2020 midterm elections.

Colorado’s inflation rate has hit 6.5%, reflecting a national trend, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Colorado’s unemployment rate has improved markedly, reaching 3.9% in December, after peaking at 14.7% in April 2020 when the pandemic hit full-time. Polis and others pledged to replenish the state unemployment trust fund, depleted during the pandemic, in new ways to save employers who put money into the fund.

Colorado, like most countries, has also seen an increase in crime. In 2020 and 2021, lawmakers enacted a series of police accountability measures in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. This year, Democrats said, lawmakers will look to invest in grants to local police departments, police recruitment and preventive measures designed to cut the relapse rate. crime and behavioral health.

With the help of federal bailout money, Democrats hope to create a revolving fund to quickly finance the construction of affordable housing as well as use prefab homes to alleviate housing shortages. in the state, Garnett said.

Fenberg said that air quality, electric vehicle fleets and wildfire mitigation are part of upcoming initiatives to tackle climate change, adding that Colorado is “just a hurricane, a spark to avoid the next unfortunate tragedy.”

The four-month legislative session begins on Wednesday.

https://www.westernslopenow.com/colorado-news/polis-democrats-outline-top-legislative-priorities/ Polis, Democrats outline top legislative priorities

Emma Bowman

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