DENVER – Gov. Jared Polis is celebrating the 72nd legislative session, his first as governor, as a success for his top priorities – the expansion of early childhood education and tackling high health care and insurance costs.
The session ended Friday and left Polis with more than 400 bills to sign, including a bill for free full-day kindergarten, efforts to address climate change and plans for a state-backed insurance plan and a reinsurance pool, among many others.
He had already signed into law a sweeping rewrite of oil and gas regulations as well as a “red flag” gun bill that grants law enforcement the right to seize firearms from a person considered to be a threat.
During a Monday conference call with The Durango Herald, Polis particularly touted the work of Durango Democrat Rep. Barbara McLachlan to craft legislation for Polis’ plan to offer free full-day kindergarten. House Bill 1262 set aside $175 million for the program, which will save school districts in Southwest Colorado more than $2 million.
“There was really historic progress that was made with this legislation,” Polis said.
In early April, Polis unveiled a health care road map highlighting at least 10 bills to address hospital charges, a state-backed insurance plan, a reinsurance pool and prescription drug prices, among others.
But partisan infighting, budget constraints and controversial bills stalled proceedings in the House and Senate. By the last week of the session, several of the crucial bills in Polis’ road map had yet to be passed.
But with days left in the session, lawmakers approved key pieces of the road map and sent them to the governor’s desk.