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Senate Democrats have released their 2020 year-end legislative report at the end of an unprecedented and historic session. According to the Democrats, they say they have delivered on policies to protect people’s health, support economic recovery, and fight for justice in the historic legislative session. Democrats have the majority in both the Colorado House and Senate.

The Senate Democrat’s annual legislative report highlights a selection of meaningful bills passed this year. “We are exceedingly proud of the way we were able to bring people together and make a real difference in the lives of our community members,”says Senate Leadership led by Senate President Leroy Garcia. “In fact, of the 363 bills passed, 97 percent of them had bipartisan support, making this one of the most unifying sessions to date.”

While Senate Democrats went into the year saying they planned to focus on protecting Colorado’s natural beauty, bringing down the cost of health care, and securing economic opportunity for all, the session changed dramatically.  It began at a rapid pace, with the passage of  97 bills during the first half of the session.

Then the global coronavirus pandemic known as CVOID-19 hit.  Colorado, like there rest of the nation, shut down schools, businesses, recreational activity, and any activity where people might assemble and spread the virus. So did the Colorado General Assembly, halting work at the legislature.

The legislative shutdown became historic for another reason state legislators didn’t necessarily choose. Because Colorado statutes calls for a 120-day session, but were silent on whether those days had to be consecutive or not, the Colorado Supreme Court got involved. They were asked to deliver a ruling on whether it was even legal for legislators to stop mid-session, then return to complete their work, or whether by halting the session, it simply ended for the year.

The Colorado Supreme Court ruled that the 120 days did not need to be held on consecutive days. This meant that following the many-weeks-long pandemic shut down, legislators returned to craft bills to address the ongoing health crisis and to provide economic support for those hit hardest by the shutdown. The pandemic shutdown devastated the Colorado state’s budget, meaning decisions have had to be made to address significant budget shortfalls.

In just three short weeks, Senate Democrats say the Colorado Senate was able to deliver policies that help individuals, families, and small businesses get back on their feet – from renter’s assistance to expanding health care access and paid sick leave. The Senate prioritized solutions that ease financial burdens on Colorado families, and protect people’s health.

Senate Democrats also took the lead on passing what they refer to as “historic police accountability reform measures” after the tragic murder of George Floyd at the hands of law enforcement in the city of  Minneapolis. This legislation represents one of the most comprehensive policy changes in the country – banning the use of deadly force on a fleeing felon, outlawing the use of chokeholds, mandating body cameras, and establishing a ‘duty to intervene’ by other officers.

This bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. Senate leadership says that it will increase integrity and transparency in police departments across the state.