Gov. Jared Polis vetoed these 10 bills this year

Gov. Jared Polis vetoed 10 bills this year, more than year of his governorship. They covered a wide range of policy topics, from gambling to driver’s licenses.

Some were contentious. Others were relative minnows that passed the legislature with little acknowledgement. None will become law.

Here are those 10 bills and why Polis rejected them.


Brought by a group of Western Slope legislators, SB23-256 would’ve delayed the reintroduction of gray wolves until the state receives a specific federal authorization. That process is already underway, and critics worried that the bill, if signed into law, would further delay it.

Polis agreed and said the bill risked undermining the will of the voters, who approved wolf reintroduction in 2020.


The sponsors of HB23-1214 hoped to standardize the process for inmates who apply for executive clemency. The bill would’ve put specific processes into statute and required more transparency to those awaiting updates on their case.

But Polis argued that the legislation touched upon his constitutional authority to extend and oversee clemency, and he vetoed the bill on May 16.


SB23-259 became contentious late in the session. The measure would’ve let casinos extend credit to gamblers, and it was intended for out-of-state high-rollers. But it became something of a zombie bill: It died narrowly on its last vote, only for a House Republican who opposed it to ask for a re-vote. It then passed, drawing criticism from several House Democrats.

The sponsors, like El Paso County Democrat Rep. Marc Snyder, said the bill was aimed at out-of-state visitors and wouldn’t give easy access to credit for compulsive gamblers. But Polis, in a letter to lawmakers, worried it would still do just that.

Concert tickets

Depending on whom you ask, SB23-060 was a giveaway to industry groups or an attempt to protect consumers from the bot-fueled chaos of concert ticket sales. It sought to crack down on those bots, improve price transparency and cut down on fake tickets. But critics said it risked disrupting the third-party market and gave too much power to venues.

Polis tilted toward the critics. Given the importance of concert venues in Colorado, he said he had a “high bar” for changing the law around them and that consumer advocacy groups had asked for his veto.

Drug war

In a session that became increasingly marked by tension between the House and Senate, HB23-1258 was a quiet but instructive front. The bill would’ve launched a study of the costs of the War on Drugs. The measure was later amended in the Senate to also look at the benefits of that effort. The change also limited what could’ve been studied and what the study could’ve produced for the legislature.

The House sponsors —  Democratic Reps. Lorena Garcia and Said Sharbini — rejected those changes and said they’d rather let the bill die. That wasn’t necessary — they had the votes to pass the bill how they wanted — but Polis stepped in. In his veto letter, he said he felt the study needed to be more balanced and that he wanted it to examine the risks of loosening enforcement.


Polis’ most contentious veto of the year was HB23-1190, which would’ve given local governments a right of first refusal to buy certain apartment buildings and turn them into affordable housing. The bill was championed as a market-based strategy to stand up more public housing, but opponents — like the Colorado Apartment Association — said it would undermine property rights and the housing market.

Still, the four Democrats carrying the bill managed to pass it and, they said, had assurances from Polis’ office that he wouldn’t veto it. But on Tuesday, he did just that, expressing concerns about its impact on housing and the market. That’s prompted howls from those legislators who accused him and the groups that lobbied him to kill it of breaking their trust and circumventing the legislative process.

Driver’s ed

HB23-1147 would’ve required prospective drivers under the age of 18 to receive 30 hours of training, plus several hours more in hands-on driving with an instructor or a parent. That education would’ve cost money, but the bill also would’ve stood up a voucher program for lower-income Coloradans.

But Polis vetoed the bill, saying he was concerned about an increase to the cost of obtaining a driver’s license and said the new program would cost more money than the bill sponsors allowed for.


HB23-1146 would’ve prohibited employers — with a number of exceptions — from reprimanding workers who took tips. The House sponsor, Rep. Alex Valdez of Denver, said it was a way to put money in more people’s pockets, and a Republican colleague said it was “objectionable” that some service workers couldn’t accept gratuity.

Industry groups were largely neutral on the bill, after a minor tweak to clarify restaurants’ position. But Polis, in his letter rejecting the bill, wrote that he didn’t think tipping was an appropriate focus of state regulation and that he didn’t want to interfere with business practices.


Governmental bodies in Colorado are governed by the state’s open-meetings law, which sets parameters for how they must conduct public business. When they run afoul of those provisions, they can get sued. One attorney in Pagosa Springs has done so — more than 30 times.

HB23-1259 sought to limit attorneys’ fees paid to people who successfully sue via the open-meeting law and represent themselves. But Polis wrote that he worried the bill would be an impediment to open-meeting challenges.

Ag land

Like the open-meetings bill, SB23-273 seemed trained at one specific actor. In this case, that was a real estate development in Loveland. The bill would’ve closed what sponsors say is a “loophole” in state law surrounding urban renewal land and — they say — prevent sprawl and protect agricultural land.

But supporters of the development told Colorado Public Radio that the bill would’ve put their work in “limbo,” and Polis said he was concerned about the “ramifications that retroactively altering existing statute” may have.

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