Virus Outbreak Colorado

Gov. Jared Polis makes a point during a news conference in Denver to update the state’s efforts to stem the rise of the new coronavirus on May 8, 2020.

Gov. Jared Polis announced two vetoes Saturday — one on new license plates and one on regulating private eyes. The Democratic governor spoke to the weight of government in both cases, according to his veto letters.

Senate Bill 51 basically sends back a proposal to requires a new license plate every time someone buys or sells a motor vehicle, effectively eliminating transferred plates. The change would have taken effect in January.

The governor acknowledged that reissuing plates would help public safety, reduce fraud and help ensure vehicles are registered, which he called "laudable policy goals." The bill, he thought, needed fine-tuning.

The state would be on the hook for $371,918 to manufacture more license plates, but an amendment on the last day of the session disconnected the cost of making the plates from fees collected from those registering the vehicles.

"We encourage the sponsors and the General Assembly to bring this bill again next session in a manner that considers the ways to effectively fund this program so that it can meet its valid policy goals," Polis wrote in his veto. "However, no bill should become law without the necessary resources to implement it."

The bill was sponsored by Sen. Kevin Priola, a Republican from Henderson, and Rep. Alex Valdez, a Democrat from Denver.

The bill gained final passage in the House by a 40-22 vote on June. 15, with Republicans aligned against it. The bill passed the Senate 27-7 on June 5 with bipartisan support and opposition.

His second veto, House Bill 1207, would have renewed regulations on private investigators that are set to expire Sept. 1.

Polis made official what studies and experts have said for years: The requirement serves little or no purpose. His three-page veto letter notes that state-licensed private eyes have kept watch over Colorado since 1887 at the risk a misdemeanor criminal offense if they're unlicensed. Past reviews, including one last year, indicated the law had outlived its usefulness, the governor said.

He also saw a larger point to make about unnecessary occupational licensing.

"In this kind of situation, it’s important to ask ourselves whether the medicine of additional paperwork, fees and red tape is worse than the disease," Polis said. "Last year, I noted that occupational licensing is often not superior to other forms of consumer protection. Too often it is used to protect existing professionals within an occupation against competition from newcomers entering that occupation."

He said over-licensing occupations hurts "traditionally economically disadvantaged people," with the cost of registration, licensing and courses needed for certification.

"Eliminating unnecessary credentialing broadens diversity and allows more to offer and access various services." Polis wrote.

He said in many cases it doesn't protect the public but insulates those who already have licenses from competition and more reasonable prices.

"We appreciate the sponsors and General Assembly’s efforts to protect Coloradans." the letter states. "However, we oppose continuing to regulate an occupation through licensure when the Department’s sunset report recommended otherwise."

This, too, was a bipartisan bill, sponsored in the House by Republican Rep. Jim Wilson of Salida and Democratic Rep. Jovan Melton of Denver, with Sen. Mike Foote of Boulder, a prosecutor, and Sen. John Cooke of Greeley, the former Weld County Sheriff.

The bill passed both chambers easily.

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