Colorado State of the State: Gov. Jared Polis to address lawmakers

Gov. Jared Polis began his first State of the State address of his second term Tuesday morning as Colorado legislators begin to tackle a battery of issues.

The governor, who was re-elected in dominant fashion in November, spoke to a joint session of the state House and Senate beginning at 11 a.m. He was greeted with a record majority of Democrat state lawmakers, who together with Polis as their standard-bearer bucked mixed midterm election predictions and returned to the statehouse last week stronger.

He spoke of Colorado’s unique identity and unity, though he joked about the growing Democratic dominance of state govenrment.

“We’ve seen the consequences of divisiveness and what happens when we retreat into silos and stop having productive conversations, and that’s just not who we are,” he said. “With extreme partisanship grinding progress to a halt in Washington, it is more important than ever to lead the Colorado way.”

In recent weeks, Polis and legislative leaders have highlighted affordability — a familiar refrain from the governor — as top priorities this year. Housing, in particular, is of chief concern, given an escalating cost of living and the ongoing shortage of affordable housing stock. The governor has already previewed a push to better centralize land-use policy in an effort to more uniformly address what is a statewide problem.

The specifics of that effort have yet to be revealed, but they are likely to spark a fight, as local governments look to fend off what they will see as encroachments on their authority. Legislators and housing officials expect the tension of local control versus state intervention on housing policy will play a dominant role this session, with the land-use debate likely to be at its center.

With escalating overdose rates and concerns about crime rates, Polis has promised to make Colorado one of the top 10 safest states in the country. Legislative leaders have said other priorities include gun control and water, and they are also set to take steps to further protect abortion rights, nearly a year after they passed the Reproductive Health Equity Act.

But legislative priorities and an energized Democratic majority will run up against a tighter budget, which will lack the truckloads of federal stimulus money that lawmakers dolled out in the wake of the pandemic’s onset. Polis has already previewed additional tax relief to address property valuations.

Stay up-to-date with Colorado Politics by signing up for our weekly newsletter, The Spot.

Source: Read Full Article