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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

On Session Opening Day, Colorado Lawmakers Pledge to Address Crime, Housing Costs, O’Micron and More

Colorado’s 2022 legislative session began on Wednesday in the shadow of a grim pandemic, and party leaders began debating how to divide the historically flush state budget, and how to make the state safer and more affordable. Spent months for

Parties identify many of the same problems, but offer largely opposing views to address them. However, for the fourth straight year, Democrats control both the state House and Senate, as well as the office of the governor, so they can always claim the final if they so desire.

It is clear once again that the COVID-19 pandemic is a subject area that has little in common. The politicization of this pandemic was clear as Democrats in both houses wore masks and all but some Republicans did not. Health care workers conducted rapid virus tests outside the Capitol, and guests – unlike lawmakers – were required to wear masks indoors. However, the division between the desks of MPs who were removed at the end of last year’s session did not return.

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“Health care and public health will continue to guide many of the decisions we make in this building,” said House Speaker Alex Garnett of Denver. “Despite our exhaustion and fatigue, COVID has not yet subsided.”

Aaron Ontirose, The Denver Post

Chris Martinez keeps the figures dazzling in the Colorado State Capitol building on Wednesday, January 12, 2022.

This is the final year for several term-limited staples of Colorado state politics, including Garnett, Senate President Leroy Garcia of Pueblo, Senate Minority Leader Chris Holbert of Douglas County and House Majority Leader Denya Esgar of Pueblo.

In their opening speeches, both Holbert and House Minority Leader Hugh McCain, Loveland argued that Colorado has become less affordable and safer, with students lagging behind in their education.

Holbert promised that his caucus would bring a bill to “struggling Coloradans” to deduct rent from their income tax and allow food to be exempt from state sales taxes. He said the caucus would bring a bill to hire more police officers and to fully pay off the state’s debt to the public K-12 system long ago.

On Session Opening Day, Colorado Lawmakers Pledge to Address Crime, Housing Costs, O'Micron and More

Aaron Ontirose, The Denver Post

Minority Leader Hugh McCain delivers a speech in the House of Representatives at the Colorado State Capitol Building on Wednesday, January 12, 2022.

McCain promised to fight for Colorado’s cost of living by “eliminating excessive taxes and fees” and to return to the “broken window doctrine that underpins all our laws,” which increased costs for police. focused on training and reporting. ,

García, in his speech, was more comprehensive and included fewer policy specifics than Holbert. He pointed to the fact that the legislature’s work would be largely defined by the historic inflow of nearly $4 billion in federal stimulus money, which gave lawmakers nearly 10% of their discretionary spending power this year compared to previous years. gives a fold.

“It has become a tradition for the Senate Speaker to declare on the opening day that this upcoming session will be the most consequential in history,” García said. “That announcement has never been more appropriate, … with a once-in-a-lifetime gift that has the wind at our back as we choose how to shape Colorado’s future.”

On Session Opening Day, Colorado Lawmakers Pledge to Address Crime, Housing Costs, O'Micron and More

Aaron Ontirose, The Denver Post

Colors are presented in the House of Representatives at the Colorado State Capitol Building on Wednesday, January 12, 2022.

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