- Associated Press
Friday, May 3, 2019

DENVER (AP) - The Latest on the final day of the 2019 Colorado Legislature (all times local):

6:45 p.m.


Colorado lawmakers have adjourned the 2019 legislative session after passing bills on health care, sex education and sports gambling.

Gov. Jared Polis says he is “thrilled” with majority Democrats’ accomplishments during the four-month session that ended Friday. He thanked Republicans for collaborating on two of his priorities: health care and education.

Lawmakers passed a bill to have the state cover health insurers’ highest-cost cases on the individual market created under the Affordable Care Act. The hope is that insurers’ premiums will drop.

They passed an opt-in sex education bill augmenting instruction on sexual orientation, consent, pregnancy outcomes and sexually transmitted diseases.

And they passed a bill to ask voters in November to legalize online and in-person sports gambling in Colorado.

Polis says he’ll sign the bills.

The 2020 Legislature convenes next Jan. 8.

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4 p.m.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis says he “couldn’t be more thrilled that we got so much done” in the 2019 legislative session.

Polis cited a list of education and health care bills passed by the Democrat-led Legislature.

The session’s last day is Friday.

The governor touts full-day kindergarten starting this fall as a top achievement.

He also says he is hopeful that the Donald Trump administration will look favorably at a request to adopt a state reinsurance program. He says that he’s spoken with Florida’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, who plans to submit a similar reinsurance request for that state.

A state reinsurance program is designed to lower health insurance premiums by helping private insurers with high-cost cases.

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11:45 a.m.

Colorado’s Legislature has approved a ballot question asking voters if sports gambling should be legalized.

The Senate voted 27-8 on Friday to send the bipartisan bill to Gov. Jared Polis.

If voters approve, a constrained Colorado sports betting market could be operating by 2020. State tax revenue initially would be an estimated $10 million.

Voters would be asked whether to apply a 10% flat tax on net sports betting proceeds. If approved, businesses can apply for licenses. The question comes in the form of a tax hike request because any Colorado tax increase, by law, must be approved by voters.

Companies operating 33 casinos in Colorado could seek licenses that would include online and sports gambling apps and limited onsite betting.

Tax revenue would go to a state water conservation plan and gambling addiction programs.

Friday is the last day of the 2019 legislative session.

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11:20 a.m.

Colorado’s Senate has passed a bill to protect citizens and news organizations from frivolous lawsuits intended to stifle First Amendment rights to free speech.

The bill creates an expedited process for a defendant to obtain a stay of such a lawsuit by arguing it’s motivated by his or her exercise of free speech or for exercising their right to petition government.

A higher court can dismiss such a case. The bill also allows defendants to collect court costs and attorney’s fees.

Nearly 30 U.S. states have similar laws curbing what are known as strategic lawsuits against public participation.

Democratic Reps. Lisa Cutter and Shannon Bird and Sen. Mike Foote sponsored the Colorado bill.

Friday is the last day of the 2019 legislative session.

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11:05 a.m.

Colorado lawmakers have approved a bill designed to lower health insurance premiums for thousands of residents by helping insurers cover the costs of high-risk customers.

The House voted Friday to send the bill to Gov. Jared Polis for his signature.

The bill seeks to lower health care premiums on the individual market by an average 21% statewide. It would have the state cover medical expenses incurred by insurers’ highest-risk patients.

It could lower insurance rates by up to 30% in rural areas that are some of the nation’s most expensive insurance markets.

The bill directs the state to seek federal approval to implement the program.

Friday is the last day of the 2019 legislative session.

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10:55 a.m.

Colorado’s Democrat-led Senate has passed a bill to update the sex education curriculum for school districts that offer such education.

Senators voted 21-14 to endorse the bill on Friday, the Legislative session’s final day.

The bill adds instruction on sexual orientation, consent, pregnancy outcomes and methods to prevent pregnancy, and sexually transmitted diseases.

It bans excluding discussion of issues pertinent to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.

Parents can excuse a student from sex education.

The bill goes to the House for final consideration.


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