June 30, 2022

DEMOCRATS MOVE COLORADO FORWARD, DESPITE EGREGIOUS END TO SUPREME COURT TERM

On reproductive health, climate, civil rights, and gun violence prevention, Democrats moved Colorado Forward and protected the Colorado Way of Life from an activist conservative Court intent on setting us back


DENVER, CO – Democratic lawmakers in the Colorado House today released the following statements upon the conclusion of the Supreme Court’s latest term in which they issued egregious decisions overturning Roe v. Wade, blocking critical environmental protections, curtailing civil rights protections and limiting common-sense gun violence prevention measures.


In Colorado, Democrats have passed legislation to codify abortion access, bolster civil rights protections, prevent gun violence to save lives, and achieve ambitious climate goals.


“Colorado is leading the way. We’ve passed common sense gun violence prevention measures that save lives; enacted ambitious goals to protect our climate, public health, and our air and water; and we codified the right to an abortion in state law,” said Speaker Alec Garnett, D-Denver. “Coloradans are rightfully upset that this Court continues to threaten the fundamental rights of all Americans, and I couldn’t be more proud of all the Democratic lawmakers who have fought to protect them.”


“Abortion will remain safe and legal in Colorado,” said Majority Leader Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo. “Coloradans rights are still protected in state law despite unprecedented overreach from unaccountable Republican-appointed justices on the Supreme Court. I’m proud of the steps Democrats have taken to protect our Colorado way of life from a Court dead set on stripping away our rights.”


“Republican-appointed justices have now eliminated the Constitutional right to an abortion, blocked the EPA from protecting the air we breathe, curtailed safeguards from civil rights violations, reversed life saving gun violence prevention measures, and are now poised to rip even more rights away,” said House Judiciary Committee Chair Rep. Mike Weissman, D-Aurora. “I’m proud of the work we’ve done in Colorado to protect our communities from the egregious Court decisions handed down in recent days. In Colorado, we’ve passed common-sense gun violence prevention measures, safeguards for civil rights, ambitious climate goals and strong protections for our air and water, and we won’t let our guard down.”


Colorado Democrats protected abortion rights in state law:


Sponsored by Representative Meg Froelich, D-Englewood and House Majority Leader Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo, the Reproductive Health Equity Act codified Colorado’s laws to protect reproductive rights and establish a fundamental right to choose to continue a pregnancy and give birth, or to have an abortion.


Colorado Democrats set ambitious emissions reduction goals, ensuring Colorado leads the way in the battle to fight climate change and improve our air quality


HB19-1261: Climate Change Action Plan, by former Speaker and current EPA Region 8 Administrator KC Becker and former Rep. Dominique Jackson


This law set statewide goals to reduce carbon pollution within an established timeline and required the Air Quality Control Commission to promulgate rules to do so. This legislation made Colorado a national leader in fighting climate change and is a bold step in mitigating the catastrophic risks of this threat.


HB21-1266: Environmental Justice for Disproportionately Impacted Communities, by Representatives Jackson & Weissman and Senators Winter & Buckner


This law helped ensure Colorado will meet our emissions reduction goals while providing a voice to communities that are disproportionately impacted by climate change. In enacting this law, Colorado Democrats directed more resources to communities in transition away from fossil fuels, eliminated the “polluter pay loophole” that exempted greenhouse gas emissions from pollution fees, and empowered Colorado’s air regulators with enforcement mechanisms to ensure emissions reductions in the energy and oil and gas sectors by 2030.


Critical PUC Reforms to Reach Our Climate Goals


The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) plays a critical role in transitioning our state to a renewable energy future and meeting our greenhouse gas reduction goals. These laws refocused the commission on addressing climate change and advancing environmental justice. They advance solar energy; transition Colorado to a regionally connected transmission system to increase reliability and decrease costs for consumers; establish energy saving targets for natural gas; encourage energy efficiency programs; ensure a pathway for utilities to reduce their emission by 2030; and support effective energy consumption management by utilities.


  • SB21-261: Measures to Encourage Renewable Energy

  • SB21-272: Measures To Modernize The Public Utilities Commission

  • SB21-072: Measures to Modernize Electric Transmission Infrastructure

  • HB21-1238: Measures to Modernize Gas Utility Standards


Colorado Democrats passed common-sense gun violence prevention measures:

HB19-1177: Extreme Risk Protection Orders, by Speaker Garnett & Representative Sullivan and Senator Pettersen


The law gave family members and law enforcement a tool to petition a judge to temporarily remove firearms from someone who is a significant risk to themselves or others. ERPOs save lives by creating a way to act before warning signs escalate into tragedies. With the federal gun safety legislation signed into law this week encouraging states to adopt ERPO legislation, many states will be looking to Colorado for its model legislation.


SB21-078: Lost Or Stolen Firearms, by Senators Jaquez Lewis & Danielson and Representatives Sullivan & Herod


Lost and stolen guns are contributing to increasing numbers of crimes, both within Colorado and nationwide, and the lack of reporting data makes it difficult to prevent weapons from getting into the hands of people who are otherwise prohibited from owning them. SB21-078 helped rectify this situation by enacting a reporting requirement for lost or stolen guns.


HB21-1106: Safe Storage Of Firearms, by Representatives Duran & Mullica and Senators Bridges & Hansen


The vast majority of Colorado gun owners are responsible with their firearms. This law promotes responsible gun ownership by requiring that firearms be safely stored when there is the potential for children or unauthorized users to access the weapons, and created an educational campaign around how and why to properly store firearms.


HB21-1255: Protection Order Issued Against Domestic Abuser, by Representatives Duran & Gray and Senators Jaquez Lewis & Pettersen


This law strengthened procedures for the relinquishment of firearms by someone who has a domestic violence-related protection order issued against them, in order to better protect the safety of domestic violence victims.


HB21-1298: Expand Firearm Transfer Background Check Requirements, by Representatives Amabile & Woodrow and Senators Gonzales & Pettersen


This law prohibits a person who has been convicted of certain violent misdemeanor offenses from purchasing a firearm for five years. The law also closes the “Charleston loophole” to ensure that everyone who purchases a firearm has first passed a background check.


HB21-1299: Office Of Gun Violence Prevention, by Representatives Sullivan & Bacon and Senators Fields & Hansen


This law established the Office of Gun Violence Prevention to educate the public about gun violence prevention through public awareness campaigns including how to file an Extreme Risk Protection Order, how to access mental health resources, and how to store firearms securely. The Office funds proven community-based violence intervention programs that are focused on interrupting cycles of gun violence and facilitate gun violence prevention research in Colorado.