Polis met with cheers and protests during Colorado Springs town hall

Published: May. 5, 2019 at 7:56 AM MDT
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Tensions erupted inside the governor's town hall Saturday evening, escalating to an alleged scuffle between security guards and middle-aged protester.

The security guards grabbed the woman by the arm and pushed her to the ground while trying to escort her out, some bystanders told 11 News partner The Gazette. She was later assessed by paramedics and could be seen limping out of the auditorium a short time later, The Gazette reported. The security guards would not comment on the incident.

The alleged confrontation happened at the end of Gov. Jared Polis' Colorado Springs town hall, held at Sierra High School. Polis took questions from a rowdy audience full of both supporters and detractors of the Democratic governor.

Topics discussed included free full-day kindergarten, health care legislation, a new sex education bill, and the state's role in revitalizing southeast Colorado Springs. Predictably, each topic was greeted with a mixture of cheers and boos from the crowd.

Protesters told 11 News after the session that their main points of contention with Polis are four pieces of legislation, two signed into law and two pending:

- HB19-1032: The aforementioned sex education bill, which teaches consent and addresses LGBT issues, and makes it more difficult for charter schools to opt out. The bill is still in committee.

- HB19-1177: A controversial gun control bill signed into law earlier in the year, which allows a judge to temporarily seize a firearm from a person believed to be a danger to themselves or others at the request of a family member, roommate or law enforcement.

- SB19-042: Nation Popular Vote bill, which in future presidential elections will see the state give electoral college votes to the winner of the national popular vote. This was signed into law.

- HB19-1257: Allows the state to spend revenue in excess of the constitutional limit for schools and roads. Was still in committee.

Supporters cheered on Polis when he brought up free full-day kindergarten, which was signed into law last week and goes into effect in August.

Polis himself touted the cooperation between Democrats and Republicans during the 2019 legislative session.

"It really was an honor to work with Republicans and Democrats to bring together a strong, bipartisan coalition around free full-day kindergarten. I think the final bill passed 53-11 down in the state legislature,” he said Saturday.

He said health care was another area with bipartisan cooperation.

"We’re going to implement re-insurance and set it up. We’re gonna set up the co-op, for public option to provide you more choices for who you’re going to choose to insure with. We’re gonna set up the system for a bad out-of-network billing that we’ve now been authorized to do."

The hope is that insurers' premiums will drop for Coloradans.

His final words, a vow to build a "Colorado for all," was a hit with most of the audience.

Protesters at Saturday's town hall, meanwhile, have vowed to recall Polis.

Polis was elected last November with 53.4 percent of the vote.

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