Democrats unveil agenda, Republicans respond ahead of in-person session


DENVER (KDVR) — Amid the high number of COVID cases and hospitalizations in Colorado, lawmakers are getting ready to head back to work. Despite schools and other workplaces across the state going back to remote options, for now, lawmakers believe they can meet in person without having a major outbreak of cases.

“We have full confidence in members of the legislature to be responsible role models to take precautions that were necessary to protect themselves, their constituents and those who work here at the Capitol,” Governor Jared Polis said.

Polis said safety measures will be in place but business will return to normal at the Colorado Capitol this year.

“Through availability of testing, we made over two million masks available to schools across our state, two million masks have been used by teachers and students across our state. We’ll also be making free medical grade masks available to those who visit our state Capitol,” Polis said.

Some lawmakers are being realistic about the fact that Capitol-related cases could rise, saying they will be prepared if they have to readjust.

“We are asking for masks to be worn in the area that where we can regulate that. And again, we just hope people are responsible and we will definitely keep pace on what is happening and make that call shall we have to make that call,” House Majority Leader Daneya Esgar said.

Under the dome, politics are already heating up between Democrats and Republicans. Republicans say this year’s Democratic agenda is made up of ideas they have tried to get passed for years.

“We’re committed to saving Coloradans money and reducing costs. Whether it’s cutting fees, reducing health care costs, saving money on childcare, or education. The focus is on protecting our way of life and making our state more affordable for everyone,” Polis explained at Monday’s press conference unveiling the agenda.

“Republicans have had these answers for a long time,” House Minority Leader Hugh McKean said. “I think a lot of this is: we know what the polls are saying and we want to respond to that. They also know what Republicans said back in August. And you know we say imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. Well, we saw a lot of imitation here today. We have been, as Republicans focused on this, those are our big three: make Colorado more affordable, get tough on crime and make sure parents have the educational choices for their kids.”

Republicans argue measures passed in recent years make policing less safe in Colorado but Democrats said they have been working with Republicans to pass safety measures that make sense for Colorado.

“We should note, especially here in Colorado, a lot of those policies were bipartisan in nature. And the policies that we recognized probably shouldn’t advance, didn’t move forward. So I look forward to working with my colleagues,” Senate President Leroy Garcia said.

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