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'Making Life Easier, Better, More Affordable': Gov. Jared Polis Touts Historic Colorado Legislative Session, Republicans Call It 'Overreach'

DENVER (CBS4) - Gov. Jared Polis and Democratic leadership at the Colorado State Capitol are celebrating a session that saw more major pieces of legislation passed than any other in recent history. Senate President Leroy Garcia said lawmakers didn't come with a wish list; they came with a to-do list, and they did just about everything they said they would and more.

"We're finally going to fix the damn roads!" Gov. Polis proclaimed at a press conference Thursday.

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In addition to a $5 billion transportation funding bill, Polis touted bills to "save people money on health care" including a government-controlled health insurance plan to lower premiums 15 percent and board to cap prescription drug costs.

"We passed bills to make health care more affordable, and lower the cost of prescription drugs," said House Majority Leader Daneya Esgar.

Lawmakers also passed groundbreaking sexual assault bills, medical marijuana reforms and doled out hundreds of millions of COVID relief dollars.

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"We took on everything from urgent small business relief to housing assistance," said Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg.

They also passed a bill providing $100 million for mental health care. Polis called it one of the most "productive and practical" sessions ever.

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"Meeting everyday Coloradans where they are, making life a little bit better, a little bit easier, a little bit more affordable," Polis said.

Republicans meeting in Jefferson County had a different take on the session.

"Our state leaders are crushing us," said CU Regent Heidi Ganahl, the only Republican left holding statewide office in Colorado and a possible gubernatorial contender in 2022.

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Heidi Ganahl (credit: CBS)

Ganahl agreed that the session was historic.

"I don't think government has ever expanded so quickly," she said, adding that Democrats overreached and will pay for it next year. "You saw in this legislative session that it's all about government spending and control and the government it does better than you do with your, famil, your business, your kids."

Polis is betting Coloradans will see the session much differently, "On issue after issue I think this legislature has heard you, living in Colorado is wonderful."

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