Gov. Polis Reflects On His First Legislative Session

Originally published on May 5, 2019 2:13 pm

Speaking to reporters in the final hours of the legislative session, Gov. Jared Polis touted the passage of several health care bills and the funding for full-day kindergarten.

But he quickly faced questions about some recent setbacks at the Capitol, including the death of a bill he backed that would have asked voters to add taxes on cigarettes and vaping products.

Democrats in the state Senate voted overwhelmingly against the measure on Thursday night.

“Of course no legislature will solve every problem of the state in only four months,” Polis said. “I heard from a lot of Republicans and Democrats who are concerned about our highest in the nation teen vaping rate.”

Polis was upbeat as he went down the list of health care bills that were passed this session, including a measure passed Friday to establish a reinsurance program.

He said the reinsurance pool will bring immediate relief to residents who have seen their premiums rise on the state’s insurance marketplace.

“I don’t think there’s a family in Colorado that doesn’t worry in some way about their health care costs,” he said.

He said he’s optimistic the Trump administration will approve the federal waiver Colorado will need for the program.

The governor also said he’s looking forward to signing the bill to provide funding for full-day kindergarten, which was his top budget priority.

Polis said he doesn’t have any plans to call lawmakers back for a special session to take up more work.

“I’m excited by everything we’ve gotten done,” he said.

Polis is expecting to receive more than 200 bills to sign as the Legislature closes for the year. He wouldn’t say whether there are any he plans to veto.

“I’m looking forward to reading all of those bills,” he said.

He also acknowledged there are some bills he signed that he wasn’t happy about. But he declined to specify what those bills were.

“I don’t want to offend the legislative champions,” he said. “I’m not going to rain on their parade even though I don’t love their work.”

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