Garcia and family

State Sen. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, right, joins his wife, Michelle, back center, and their sons Xan, 11, front center, and Jeremiah, 17, for a photograph as lawmakers convene for the new session in the Senate House chamber in the State Capitol Friday, Jan. 4, 2019, in Denver. Garcia will serve as president of the state senate.

The 2019 legislative session is just minutes away from convening, and Colorado Politics has you covered.

Our reporters — Marianne Goodland, Ernest Luning and Conrad Swanson, as well as photojournalist Dougal Brownlie — are at the Capitol and will bring you the latest from opening day.

Stay with Colorado Politics for live video of proceedings, original reporting and a compilation of tweets from movers and shakers under that famous golden dome.


1:30 p.m.

A parting message from former Senate President Kevin Grantham.


12:45 p.m.

That's a wrap for our live blog, dear readers. Thanks for following along. We'll update shortly when additional coverage posts. 


12:42 p.m.

Speaker KC Becker is calling the House back to order. There's a little more business, she says. Bills will be introduced this afternoon, she announced, and then the House will be adjourned until 10 a.m. Monday. The House now stands in recess.


12:41 p.m.

The joint session has been dissolved, to copious applause.


12:37 p.m.

The joint session is underway.


12:35 p.m.

Pictures from opening day are hitting the Associated Press wire. Here are the first.

Sonnenberg jokes with Foote

Colorado Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling, left, jokes with Sen. Mike Foote, D-Lafayette, as lawmakers convene for the session in the State Capitol on Jan. 4, 2019.

Michelle Garcia greets Moreno

Michelle Garcia, left, wife of Colorado Senate President Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, greets state Sen. Dominick Moreno, D-Commerce City, as lawmakers convene for the new session in the Senate House chamber of the State Capitol, Friday, Jan. 4, 2019, in Denver.

Garcia confers with Holbert

Colorado Senate President Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, left, confers with state Sen. Chris Holbert, R-Castle Rock, as lawmakers convene for the new session in the Senate House chamber in the State Capitol on Jan. 4, 2019.


12:30 p.m.

If you're looking for more concise coverage than this live blog, our Conrad Swanson has posted his House coverage story. Read it here.

Speaker Becker: Economy, climate, guns top 2019 priorities for Colorado House Democrats


12:29 p.m.

The Senate is now adjourned until 10 a.m. Monday. A joint session is ahead.


12:24 p.m.

Fresh reading for you: Peruse Senate President Leory Garcia's opening day speech here.

TEXT: 2019 opening day speech by Colorado Senate President Leroy Garcia


12:20 p.m.

This tweet just in from outgoing House Speaker Crisanta Duran.


12:12 p.m.

Here's a fresh shot of House Speaker KC Becker from our Dougal Brownlie.


12:08 p.m.

A reflective tweet from Sen. Kerry Donovan about Sen. Chris Holbert's speech, which is currently underway.


12:02 p.m.

Speaker KC Becker has ended her address in the House, our Conrad Swanson reports.


11:57 a.m.

Former state Rep. Wilma Webb, D-Denver, attended opening day as a guest of Democratic state Rep. Leslie Herod, who represents the same House District 8 in East Denver that Webb represented from 1980 to 1993. She stepped down after her husband, Wellington Webb, was elected mayor of Denver.

Opening Day Wilma Webb.jpg

Former state Rep. Wilma Webb, D-Denver, visits in House chambers during a brief recess on Opening Day of the 2019 Colorado General Assembly at the State Capitol in Denver on Friday, Feb. 4, 2019. Webb served in the Colorado House of Representatives from 1980 to 1993.


11:43 a.m.

House Speaker KC Becker is giving her first address, our Conrad Swanson reports. A bit of what she has to say this morning:

  • "Members, pack your energy and ideas with you every day, because you are about to have some of the longest days wrapped into the shortest four months you'll ever know."

  • "We made history by electing 33 women to the House, including 25 in the Democratic caucus alone and the first transgender representative in state 'herstory.'"

  • "It's not lost on me that I am the third consecutive woman to serve as speaker and the fourth in our state's rich history. Standing before you today, I know I won't be the last."

  • "I cannot think of a more important challenge for us to take on than climate change. Climate change is real. And unfortunately, Washington has once again chosen to bury its head in the sand while states and the rest of the world work to address the threat of climate change."

  • "Many of our educators are having to work multiple jobs just to pay their own bills, and many students have never had the experience of being in a fully funded school system."

You can read the full text of Becker's speech here.



11:37 a.m. 

It's on to speeches in the Senate. First up: President Leroy Garcia. He started with a shout-out to his folks back home in Pueblo. Now speaking about his military service and asking anyone who has served in the military or law enforcement to stand and be recognized. One of his sons just received a nomination to West Point and the Merchant Marines, he announced.

"Colorado and Coloradans never gave up in the face of challenges ... and neither can we. Colorado is a special place. It is a state filled with people who are innovative and find solutions. And I'm absolutely confident that this body will be able to find many solutions to the problems we face," Garcia tells the Senate.


11:31 a.m.

Here's a fun shot from Conrad Swanson, who's spending the morning in the House.


11:27 a.m.

It's on to HJR 10-01, the certification of votes for statewide offices, in the Senate. Important detail: This is what let's Gov.-elect Jared Polis become inaugurated next week, our Marianne Goodland reports.


11:24 a.m.

Another snapshot from the Senate this morning, courtesy of our Marianne Goodland.


11:21 a.m.

The Senate is back in order, and the House is organized and ready for business (as is the Senate).

"I hope this isn't the last speech I give on the Senate floor this year," said Rep. Jeff Bridges when announcing on the Senate floor that the House was ready to get to work.

Bridges is vying for Daniel Kagan's Senate seat, our Marianne Goodland reports.


11:18 a.m.

The Senate is in recess. If you're killing time, here's a short video tour of opening day from Rep. Leslie Herod.


11:09 a.m.

Final words from outgoing House Speaker Crisanta Duran to incoming Speaker KC Becker: “I want to leave with the words of the Talmud: 'Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly now. Love mercy now. And walk humbly now,'" our Conrad Swanson reports.


11:06 a.m.

The last of the controversy over former Senate secretary Effie Ameen is now over, our Marianne Goodland reports. Cindi Markwell has been sworn in as her replacement. The lone "no" vote on Markwell's appointment came from Sen. Owen Hill, who spoke to the Senate about his concerns regarding the situation surrounding Ameen's departure.

In other news, KC Becker was just unanimously elected as speaker of the House, our Conrad Swanson reports.


11:04 a.m.

If you're watching live, the "one absent" you keep hearing about in the Senate: Randy Baumgardner, who is set to resign on Jan. 21.


11:01 a.m.

"Time to get a Twitter handle," our Marianne Goodland tweeted, jokingly calling out Sen. Lois Court of Denver, who was just elected president pro tem.


10:59 a.m.

Another snapshot from the House, courtesy of Conrad Swanson: this one of Rep Tony Exum of Colorado Springs.


10:56 a.m.

The first roll call of the Senate occurred with one notable absence: Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, "who dashed out for a second to the merriment of all," our Marianne Goodland reports.

In other news, Sen. Leroy Garcia was voted Senate president by acclamation. There were no "no" votes.


10:53 a.m.

Here's a nice shot of the earlier swearing-in in the Senate, courtesy of Sen. Steve Fenberg.


10:41 a.m.

Seventeen Senators elected in November just took the oath of office, including the "Fab Five" group of women: Faith Winter, Tammy Story, Brittany Pettersen, Kerry Donovan and Jessie Danielson, our Marianne Goodland reports.

"If smiles can light up a room, those 17 senators sworn in today are mega-watt!" Goodland added.

Swearing in is about to begin in the House, our Conrad Swanson reports.


10:47 a.m.

More sights and sound bites from the House, courtesy of Conrad Swanson.


10:34 a.m.

Some good background from our Marianne Goodland: "On to reading of abstract of votes in the Senate," she tweeted. "Same will happen in the House, to include all statewide elected offices, not just House. This has to be done before can be sworn in, per constitution and that's why we're here today instead of next Wednesday."

Why the General Assembly is starting early next year (and on a weird day)


10:32 a.m

Something went awry with the video feed of the Senate proceedings shortly after 10 a.m. Secretary of State Wayne Williams (in one of his final duties before leaving office) was reading the official results of November's election on screen with what sounded like a western movie theme playing in the background. Fitting: Cowboy music before he rides off into the sunset ....


10:27 a.m.

It's Pueblo Day in the state Senate, our Marianne Goodland is reporting. The priest who gave the prayer this morning is from Saint Joseph's in Pueblo, and incoming Senate President Leroy Garcia plays the piano there.


Opening Day Hullinghorst.jpg

Former House Speaker Dickey Lee Hulliinghorst, D-Gunbarrel, enters the State Capitol bearing treats on Opening Day of the firt regular session of the 72nd Colorado General Assembly on Jan. 4.

Former House Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, D-Gunbarrel, who led the House during a period when Republicans controlled the Senate, told Colorado Politics she's anxious to see what the Democratic majorities can accomplish this session.

"I’m really happy that we’re moving forward in Colorado with a good majority," Hullinghorst said as she entered the Capitol basement through the public entrance. "I think we’re going to get a lot of good things done, and I’m really proud of all the people that got elected. They’re highly qualified, and it’s going to be a good session."

She said Democrats might have been able to get a few things done with the budget and health care if she'd had a Democratic Senate but felt lawmakers managed to work together and solve problems even with the divided Legislature.

"I think it worked pretty well, even with a Republican Senate," she said. "We got some good things done and had some good cooperation. It's a little bit different than the national scene — always, which I think is great about Colorado.

As for Gov.-elect Jared Polis, a longtime friend and fellow Boulder Democrat, Hullinghorst said Coloradans shouldn't be surprised at his ambitious agenda. 

"He’s a man of action. I think you’re going to see a lot of things happening. He’s rarin’ to go, and he has a really good understanding of policy and issues and the State Legislature. I think he’ll be a great governor."


10:10 a.m.

And they're off! It's a packed House (literally), reports our Conrad Swanson.


9:51 a.m.

No surprise here — more family members at the Capitol for opening day, as is custom. Sen.-elect Mike Foote, of Boulder County, is among those with a spouse and children present.


9:31 a.m.

House District 11 Rep. Jonathan Singer isn't the only one ready for opening day. Apparently his child is too ....


9:28 a.m.

Our photojournalist Dougal Brownlie has been at the Capitol for about an hour. "Already a gathering to raise awareness for a healthy climate and no fracking," he reports.


9:02 a.m.

Our Conrad Swanson is at the Capitol already and tweeted this picture. "Stay tuned for more #copolitics," he tweeted.

Later, he tweeted this.

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