Gov. Jared Polis on Friday issued his second and third vetoes of bills from the 2021 legislative session, killing proposals on titling procedures and sales tax requirements for off-highway vehicle transfers, and updating a technical error from a 2019 bill on transportation infrastructure projects funding.
Polis also signed into law 19 bills ranging from a bipartisan proposal to create a kidney disease prevention and education task force (House Bill 1171) to a measure stripping homeowner’s associations from blocking residents from displaying political signs and flags based on their content. House Bill 1310 from Democratic Rep. Lisa Cutter of Littleton and Sen. Robert Rodriguez of Denver updates state law, which previously allowed political signs in HOAs 45 days before an election and seven days after.
The governor also signed into law House Bill 1266, a piece of legislation from Reps. Dominique Jackson, D-Aurora, and Mike Weissman, D-Aurora, and Sens. Faith Winter, D-Westminster, and Janet Buckner, D-Aurora, that morphed into the session's signature climate bill.
The measure was originally aimed at environmental justice via the creation of an ombudsperson and an advisory committee, and those elements remained. But end-of-session maneuvering saw elements of Senate Bill 200 added at the last moment. The bill was once seen as the session’s landmark emissions bill before Polis threatened to veto it, forcing the sponsors to move forward under a different bill title with some elements of the original legislation scaled back.
While Polis administratively signed those measures, his office announced he also rejected House Bill 1024. The legislation from Reps. Mark Snyder, D-Colorado Springs, and Kevin Van Winkle, R-Highlands Ranch, and Sens. Faith Winter, D-Westminster, and Kevin Priola, R-Henderson, sought to require broader titling of off-highway vehicles and exempt private sales of those vehicles from state and local sales tax through July 2023.
The governor wrote in his veto letter that while he supported the consumer protection titling a vehicle can provide, he had concerns over the breadth of the measure.
“For example, if a Colorado owns a used dirt bike of low-dollar value, that they never intend to sell, why should they have to title that vehicle?” Polis asked in the letter. “Putting very expensive OHVs (which most certainly should be titled) in the same category as those that are inexpensive is a challenge, and could put a new burden and cost on owners that are truly unnecessary.”
Polis also vetoed House Bill 1196. The proposal from Reps. Andy Pico, R-Colorado Springs, and Don Valdez, D-La Jara, and Sen. Rachel Zenzinger, D-Arvada, sought to update the effective date of prior legislation that would have created a ballot measure asking voters for permission to issue so-called Transportation Revenue Anticipation Notes to fund transportation infrastructure projects.
Subsequent legislative efforts kicked the can down the road on the date that measure was supposed to appear on the ballot and eventually led to conflicting dates, which HB 1196 attempted to clean up.
But Polis rejected the measure, noting the session’s landmark transportation bill (Senate Bill 260) repealed the requirement for a ballot measure on TRANs as part of a 2021 statewide election.
“As such, if signed HB21-1196 might serve to only confuse Coloradans,” Polis wrote in his veto letter.
Friday’s vetoes bring the total number of bills rejected by Polis this session to three.
Earlier in the session, the governor vetoed House Bill 1092 from Rep. Dave Williams, R-Colorado Springs, and Senate Minority Leader Chris Holbert, R-Douglas County. The bill would have allowed a lieutenant governor candidate to simultaneously run for another elected office and passed both the House and Senate with strong bipartisan support.
But Polis had several objections to the bill, as cited in his veto letter on May 7.
“The people of Colorado deserve no less than Candidates who run for the office in which they intend to serve, not some office that only serves as a backup to them,” Polis wrote. “HB 21-1092 diminishes these principles, instead applying the ‘fishing with dynamite’ method to elections — whatever lands on shore will work.”
An effort on the last day of session to override that veto went down in flames. The bill needed 44 votes to overturn the veto in the House and got just 30, after initially clearing the House with 44 “Aye” votes.
This article has been updated to correct Rep. Jackson's hometown.