DENVER (KDVR) — The legislative session wrapped up on May 8, and since then, Gov. Jared Polis has been busy signing the bills passed by the General Assembly this year.
However, not all the bills passed will end up becoming law. There were 10 bills vetoed by the governor for various reasons. The vetoed bills cover a wide array of topics from wolf reintroduction to cash tips.
Deceptive event ticket sales amendment
In a letter explaining his veto of Senate Bill 23-060, “Concerning Consumer Protections in Event Ticket Sales,” Polis said the bill, which was originally aimed to bolster consumer protections, had significant problems that could have harmed consumers.
He agreed that the bill had a number of features that he supported, and asked the bill’s sponsors to work with advocacy groups to draft future legislation that is “unambiguously pro-consumer.”
Right of first refusal for affordable housing
House Bill 23-1190, “Affordable Housing Right of First Refusal,” would have allowed local governments to match acceptable offers for the sale of residential or mixed-use multifamily properties with economically substantial identical offers.
Essentially, the bill would have let local governments be the first ones up to bat when these sorts of properties went up for sale, in order to bolster affordable housing options.
Polis said that while he appreciates the sponsors for their aim of providing another tool to preserve long-term affordable housing in the state, it should not be mandatory. He also said it could have larger, unanticipated impacts on the housing market and increase housing costs in the future.
Task force to study the costs of drug crimes
HB 23-1258, “Concerning Creating a Task Force to Study the Costs Associated with Drug Crimes,” would have created a task force to study the state and local costs of enforcing drug laws, punishing gun crimes and rehabilitating those convicted of drug crimes.
Then, recommendations would be made to the General Assembly on how the costs saved by reducing drug crimes or sentencing could help reduce substance use and dependence in the state.
Polis said in a letter explaining the veto that while he supports the goal of reducing substance use and dependence, a study should include research into the potential “costs, risks and ramifications” that might happen if drug crime enforcement and sentencing were reduced.
Open meetings law provisions
HB 23-1259, “Concerning Provisions in the Open Meetings Law for an Executive Session of a Local Public Body,” would have modified things associated with open meetings law violations.
The law requires state or local governmental bodies to discuss public business or take action in meetings open to the public. Currently, citizens can sue for violations and, if they prevail, can be awarded costs and attorneys fees.
The bill would have created a narrow exception when a citizen not represented by an attorney sues, not allowing them to recover costs and attorneys fees. Polis said this would have reduced transparency and accountability.
Allowing casinos to issue $1K-plus credit to some patrons
SB 23-259, “Concerning the Extension of Credit For Participation in Limited Gaming,” would have allowed those licensed by the Colorado Limited Gaming Act to extend a $1,000 credit to patrons that meet certain criteria.
Polis expressed concern that the bill might harm Coloradans who suffer from pathological gambling.
Disallowing action against employees taking cash tips
HB 23-1146, “Employees May Accept Cash Tips,” would have prohibited most employers from taking action against employees that accept cash tips offered by patrons.
There were a number of specific exceptions to the bill, and Polis said there might be unintended consequences as a result of those exceptions. He also said that a one-size-fits-all policy on how employers across the state have to handle tips doesn’t make sense for the state.
Including agricultural land in urban renewal areas
SB 23-273, “Concerning the Inclusion of Agricultural Land in Urban Renewal Areas,” would amend the Urban Renewal Law, passed in 2010, to specify that agricultural land can be included in an urban renewal area if certain criteria are met.
Polis said that it was a legitimate issue and that the bill was intended to fix a perceived loophole created when the bill was enacted. However, he also said the bill was targeted at one specific urban renewal plan that was later approved, and the ramifications of retroactively altering existing statute should be carefully considered.
Wolf reintroduction delays
SB 23-256, “Concerning Prerequisites to the Management of Gray Wolves Prior to the Wolves Being Reintroduced,” would have prevented Colorado Parks and Wildlife from authorizing the reintroduction of wolves until after certain criteria were met.
Polis said, because voters approved a plan to begin reintroducing the wolves by Dec. 31 of this year, this bill — which could have delayed the reintroduction — would go against what the voters explicitly voted for.
Voucher system for driver’s license costs
HB 23-1147, “Concerning Provisions Relating to the Adequate Training of Motor Vehicle Drivers,” would have created a “Driver Education Voucher Program Enterprise” to provide vouchers to eligible people in order to reduce the costs of getting a driver’s license.
The voucher system would be partially paid for by adding a $2 fee to driver’s licenses. Polis said this fee would only cover 15% of costs, and because enterprises aren’t able to be covered by the general fund, would require additional increases in driver’s license fees.
Creation of an ‘executive clemency representative’
HB 23-1214, “Concerning Establishing Procedures Related to Applying for Commutation of a Criminal Sentence,” would create a new governor-appointed position — “executive clemency representative” — who would be responsible for administering certain processes and procedures for commutation applications.
Polis said the bill is unconstitutional, as it interferes with the governor’s exclusive authority to grant clemency in the state.
He said the bill was well-intentioned, but that the constitution “clearly sets out that the legislature” can’t prescribe how commutations are applied for.