2019 Session Facts

  • Democrat/Republican split in House of Representatives: 41/24
  • Republican/Democrat/Unaffiliated split in the Senate: 19/16
  • Number of bills, resolutions, and memorials introduced during the 2019 Legislative Session: 653
  • Number of bills signed by the Governor as of 5/3/19: 155
  • Number of bills vetoed as of 5/3/19: 0
  • Last day for the Governor to Act: June 2, 2019



The 2019 Legislative Session commenced with a new political landscape. Democrats entered the session with control of the Senate, House, and Governor’s office, and identified as a priority many policies that failed to pass in a divided legislature. Governor Polis quickly showed a more hands on approach than the previous Governor.  Many controversial bills saw lengthy committee hearings where members of the public shared their opinions, and debates during floor work often extended late into the night and in to the following morning. The most controversial bills included an overhaul of the oil and gas regulations, joining other states in the National Popular Vote, creating an Extreme Risk Protection Order, revisitingcomprehensive sexual education requirements, requiring paperwork to be submitted to health departments for school immunizations, allowing local governments to impose rent control, a repeal of thedeath penalty and revisions to the Election Code, just to name a few.  These controversial pieces of legislation often stalled work on other bills as members filibustered on the floor of the House and Senate. Of the controversial bills, SB19-042 National Popular Vote, HB19-1177 Extreme Risk Protection Orders passed and HB19-1032 Comprehensive Sexuality Education passed after it was heavily amended.   SB19-225 Authorize Local Governments to Stabilize Rent ran out of time when it was delayed for debate on the floor.  HB19-1312, School Immunization Requirements also died on the calendar.  SB19-182, Repeal the Death Penalty, was killed when the bill sponsor laid over the bill for consideration until May 4th (the day after the end of session).  There were concerns about the process the bill went through and whether or not it had the votes to pass the Senate was in question. 


In the final weeks of the session, Senate Republicans filibustered for hours on the floor each day.  This delayed movement of controversial and bipartisan bills alike as the chamber often only worked through a handful of bills every day.  The tactic led to several last-minute deals including paring down the paid family and medical leave bill to an implementation study.  The Saturday before the session ended, both chambers of the legislature met to work through the backlog of bills.  On the last Monday of session, the Senate pulled an all-nighter, working past 5:30am on Tuesday morning. During that marathon session, Senate Majority Leader Fenberg invoked a rarely used rule to limit debate. The slowdown in the Senate meant that leadership had to begin to prioritize certain bills over others. Because of the likelihood of many bills dying on the calendar, the threat of a special session loomed as the Legislature wrapped up its final week.   


In the last week of the legislative session, Secretary of State Jena Griswold announced that Colorado’s primary election will be held on March 3rd, 2020.  Holding the primary on Super Tuesday has benefits and downsides.


Governor Polis considered calling a special session to deal with some of the issues that didn’t make it across the finish line, but ultimately ruled it out. Given the long list above, the legislature will be quite busy with interim committees over the summer and fall months. In addition, lawmakers have already signaled their interest in bringing back many of the controversial proposals that failed to pass this session. Governor Polis’s team will now have an opportunity to put together the Governor’s first budget proposal, which starts with the development of agency requests, then proceeds to review by the Office of State Planning and Budgeting and the Governor, and is set to be delivered to the Joint Budget Committee on November 1, 2019. The next session of the Colorado General Assembly will begin on Wednesday January 8, 2020.