By Jennifer McRae

DENVER (CBS4)– Colorado lawmakers returned to the state Capitol for the 73rd General Assembly on Wednesday. House Speaker Alec Garnett called the chamber into order.

“This year as high costs of living continue to tighten their grip on the budgets of families in Alamosa, Denver and Larimer County alike. It won’t be enough to just cooperate on some of these solutions. So a more perfect time to come together than that. Cons need everyone in this chamber. coming together to move Colorado forward,” said Garnett.

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Colorado Senate President Pro Tempore Kerry Donovan released this opening day statement, “Today we celebrate the first day of the 2022 legislative session. It is my pledge to work with my fellow Democratic and Republican colleagues to put Coloradans first. Together we will save people money, help keep residents safe and healthy, and set our students up for success. I am eager to get to work on these issues and protect our Colorado way of life.”

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After two legislative sessions largely devoted to the coronavirus pandemic emergency, Gov. Jared Polis and Senate and House leaders Monday say they also will focus on continuing efforts to limit health care costs, lay the groundwork for universal preschool education, invest in mental health services and tackle fire mitigation in the aftermath of the devastating Boulder County wildfire.

Republican lawmakers also talked about the goals for this year’s session. They’re focused on bills addressing rising crime, the state’s education system and the high cost of living.

“Colorado is less affordable today then it was three years ago when Democrats took total control of our state government. Inflation is at a 30-year high,” said Senate Minority Leader Chris Holbert.

Colorado, like much of the nation, also has seen escalating crime. In 2020 and 2021, lawmakers enacted a host of police accountability measures after the killing of George Floyd. This year, Democrats said, legislators will seek to invest in grants to local police departments, police recruitment and preventive measures designed to cut criminal recidivism rates and in behavioral health.

Polis will deliver the State of the State Address at 11 a.m. Thursday. Watch live coverage on CBSN Denver.

Jennifer McRae