Aerial view of the Colorado capitol building dome with clouds at sunset.

Gun control, crime and taxes among 2023 legislative session’s key debates

© iStock - nick1803 

Derek Draplin

(The Center Square) – The Colorado General Assembly legislative session concluded Monday, as lawmakers spent the session considering bills on topics ranging from gun control and auto theft to housing affordability and the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.

Despite Democrats having a supermajority during the session, the caucus wasn’t able to pass some big-ticket items, and minority Republicans frequently cried foul over the majority’s management.

Senate Majority Leader Dominick Moreno, D-Commerce City, said Democrats “delivered real results” this session in a statement Tuesday.

“We remained laser-focused on the issues that matter most to Colorado families: making Colorado a more affordable place to live, building safer, healthier communities, and setting students, teachers, and our workforce up for success,” he said in a statement.

Republicans, on the other hand, finished off the session in frustration, walking off the House floor on Monday over Democratic leaders limiting debate, a move they used throughout the session. Republicans also called for a special session to deal with expected high property taxes.

“Mr. governor, I ask that you call a special session so that we may directly and conclusively provide property tax relief to the people of Colorado without requiring them to give up the refunds due them under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights,” Senate Minority Leader Paul Lundeen, R-Monument, asked on the Senate floor Monday.

Here’s a look at some key issues lawmakers grappled with throughout the session:


Democrats were able to pass several gun restriction bills this session, but even a supermajority could not muster enough support to push through a so-called assault weapons ban. Among the firearm bills passed was legislation to create a three-day waiting period for purchases, raise the purchase age to 21 years old, repeal liability limits for manufacturers, and expansion of the state’s extreme risk protection order law. Lawsuits were filed against the waiting period bill and the legal purchase age bill immediately after they were signed into law. The bill to ban assault weapons failed to make it out of a House committee after hundreds testified against the proposal.


Colorado lawmakers from both parties said public safety and crime would be a priority this session, with a focus on curbing auto thefts that have significantly increased since 2014. To that end, the General Assembly passed Senate Bill 23-097, which if signed into law would eliminate penalties based on a stolen vehicle’s value. Over 46,000 vehicles were reported stolen last year in Colorado.


Colorado’s Democratic supermajority pushed through major proposals to overhaul property taxes and the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. Senate Bill 23-303 refers Proposition HH to the ballot in November. The measure asks voters whether residential property tax assessment rates should be reduced from 7.15 percent to 6.7 percent. It would cover lost local property tax revenue with TABOR funds. On Monday, Democrats also passed House Bill 23-1311, contingent on Prop HH passing, which would establish a flat TABOR refund rather than the current tiered refund mechanism. 

While Democrats were able to pass the former two bills, they failed to coalesce on removing the state’s ban on rent control measures, as well as a proposal to overhaul land-use rules.