Jared Polis made housing a top priority in the first state of the state address of his second term

said John Southers, Mayor of Colorado Springs, who attended the speech and recognized Polis for his efforts to increase public safety. “They’re putting it under the guise of housing and affordability. But make no mistake about it, they want to control land use from the state capitol and that’s a very scary prospect for most of us in local government.”

Suthers’ biggest concern is that more state power could disenfranchise ordinary Colorado residents, by taking away their power to veto local development decisions.

Republican lawmakers generally echoed concerns about local control, while saying they were pleased to hear Polis talk about housing affordability in general.

“If he wants to work on streamlining how we get homes off the land, that would be great. The municipality I come from in Wellington does fundamentally different things than Arvada or Aurora or Denver,” said House Minority Leader Mike Lynch. And the needs are different for these people, so there is no one size fits all for the rural parts of the state, that’s for sure.”

However, Polis framed his housing policies as empowering private property owners, by giving them more power over what they could build on their land. Senate President Steve Feinberg said the state has a role to play in helping make the state more accessible to everyone.

“It has to be the right kind of housing, in the right places. And that’s where zoning and land use issues can get in the way sometimes,” said Feinberg, a Democrat. This does not mean that they do not want affordable housing. It just means that sometimes a city treats zoning and land use as a city that pushes problems onto other communities and doesn’t think about them in the long term.”

RJ Sangosti/Denver Post Pool Photo
Governor Jared Polis leaves the House chambers after delivering the 2023 state address to a joint session of the legislature at the state capitol on January 17, 2023, in Denver, Colorado.

About Criminal Justice: “More Resources for Domestic Law Enforcement”

In his speech last year, Polis pledged to make Colorado one of the ten safest states in the country, a theme he returned to in his speech this year.

Polis has thrown his support behind tougher penalties for auto theft, expanding Colorado’s so-called red gun law by expanding who can file high risk protection orders and supporting law enforcement.

“I am proposing an additional package that will provide more resources to local law enforcement officers and community organizations working on the ground,” Polis said.

Republican Representative Matt Soper of Delta Police gave a standing ovation during this part of his speech, but warned afterward, “The devil is in the details.”

“The governor has given a lot of broad stroked policy ideas, (but) not much of what’s actually going to happen and what’s actually being pushed for behind the scenes.”

Across the aisle, some Democratic lawmakers were concerned about what Polis didn’t say in that part of his speech; The governor has not highlighted criminal justice reform, which has been a priority for many of his fellow Democrats in the legislature.

“If we want to say the state should be (among) the top 10 safest places or places, we also need to make sure the criminal justice system doesn’t cause casualties,” said Democratic Representative Jennifer Bacon. , Majority Leader in the Auxiliary House.

Its area includes the Montbello neighborhood of Denver.

“And we need to be able to talk about people’s experience of this — especially people in my neighborhood,”

State Republican Gabe Evans of Fort Lupton doesn’t believe any of Polis’ proposals will drop the crime because of the “significant morale crisis” in law enforcement, which he believes Democrats have caused.

“People don’t want to be cops or sheriff’s deputies,” said Evans, who has a military and law enforcement background. “And without people in our communities, on the streets to intercept these crimes and prevent these criminal acts from happening, you can have all the software in the world, but you won’t be able to interrupt the criminal cycle.”

Governor Jared Polis delivers the 2023 state of the art addressRJ Sangosti/Denver Post Pool Photo
Governor Jared Polis poses for a photo with State Rep. Briana Teton, the first transgender state legislator elected in Colorado, before he enters the House of Representatives to deliver the 2023 State of the State Address in a joint session of the legislature in the state capitol on January 17, 2023, in Denver, Colorado.

On the environment: “We simply have to end our dependence on costly fossil fuels”

During his first state of the state address in 2019, Polis set a date for Colorado to have 100 percent renewable energy by 2040. This year, he said his focus on housing will help the state achieve that goal.

“Our work on housing and more sustainable development is a very important part of that progress,” he said.

He said he remains focused on investing in clean transportation and accelerating the use of renewable energy sources, reducing oil and gas emissions, and holding polluters accountable, and pledged to distribute $120 million in clean energy tax credits.

“Through this tax credit and incentive, we can improve our air quality, accelerate innovation, and make faster progress toward our goals, while saving people money on pumps and utility bills, and increasing access to clean, low-cost transportation options.”

He also said he would push to make sure Colorado conserves water, and to move water projects forward.

Senate Minority Leader Paul Lundin said he doesn’t think various green housing policies have helped keep costs down yet. He points to a law from last year creating electric, solar and low-energy model building codes, and says it will raise the cost of new housing.

There is a priority question, which is more important: making housing affordable or pursuing the climate agenda through electricity? And that’s part of the challenge,” Lundin said.

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