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Politics and Government

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis cheered the legislative session. But his scorecard is less certain.

The Democratic first-year governor identified more than 40 policy proposals for the legislative term. He completed major ones but also lost key battles

Gov. Jared Polis leads a rally May 6, 2019, for Colorado Democrats celebrating the party's work during the 2019 lawmaking term. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)
  • Credibility:

Gov. Jared Polis’ assessment of this year’s legislative session is unequivocal.

“From my perspective, the legislative session was a huge success,” he told The Colorado Sun in an interview last week. “I think they made real progress on issues that are important to real Colorado families.”

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The first-year governor and Democratic lawmakers who control both legislative chambers celebrated after the term ended with a rally inside the state Capitol under a large banner that read: “Delivering real results for Colorado families.”

Polis set a high bar at the start of the session. His State of the State address outlined more than 40 different policy proposals he wanted the legislature to tackle in the 120-day term. Many built on the hundreds of promises he made in the 2018 campaign.

MORE: Jared Polis Promise Tracker: A look at the progress on his 2018 campaign pledges

For the most part, the governor achieved three of the four top priorities — which dovetailed with what Democratic lawmakers wanted to accomplish. The only top priority he lost was an effort to eliminate business tax breaks and use the money to lower the state’s income tax.

But a broader view of the session suggests it’s far from conclusive for Polis. He achieved most of his policy proposals, but a roughly equal number remain undetermined because the impact of the legislation is uncertain. And in at least 10 areas, he didn’t make progress. He also failed to deliver a last-minute ballot question to raise tobacco and nicotine taxes.

MORE: A look at how policies passed during Colorado’s 2019 legislative session will impact you

Here’s a look at Polis’ scorecard from the 2019 legislative session, compiled from interviews with dozens of state officials, lawmakers and advocacy organizations.

(Note: The chart below assumes Polis doesn’t veto any of the major legislation sent to him in the final days, and the governor has indicated he is unlikely to do so.)


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