LEGISLATIVE IMPACTS 2018

Written by: Children's Campaign
Date Posted: May 18, 2018

The 2018 session of the Colorado General Assembly resulted in several wins for Colorado kids and families. The Colorado Children’s Campaign team and our partners were instrumental in advancing legislation with bipartisan support this year in many areas impacting children’s lives. Here are bills we took an active role in advancing, or stopping in order to protect kids:

NEW PROGRESS FOR KIDS

Child Care Availability: HB 18-1004 (Coleman & Wilson/Tate & Kefalas) continues the Child Care Contribution Tax Credit for five years. This vital incentive results in more than $50 million in investment in child care availability and supports youth-serving organizations.

Child Care Affordability: HB 18-1208 (Duran & Winter/Martinez Humenik) and HB 18-1335 (Young/Lundberg) address the issue of child care affordability by expanding the state’s refundable Child Care Expenses Tax Credit and improving access to quality child care via the state’s Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP).

Preschool & Full-day Kindergarten: HB 18-1379 (Pettersen & Wilson/Hill) expands access to the Colorado Preschool Program (CPP) and full-day kindergarten for CPP-eligible children by investing $4.2 million in 1,000 more slots.

Substitute Child Care Teachers: SB 18-162 (Martinez Humenik/Buckner & Wilson) helps early care and education providers better access substitute child care teachers so that changes in teacher schedules don’t disrupt family child care arrangements.

Targeting Access to Early Learning: HB 18-1134 (Pettersen & Wilson/Merrifield & Martinez Humenik) ensures that Colorado Preschool Program (CPP) eligibility standards apply to kindergarten children who are funded through the Early Childhood At-Risk Enhancement (ECARE) program.

Alignment of Early Childhood Quality Initiatives: SB 18-099 (Merrifield & Priola/Pettersen & Wilson) will streamline our state’s quality improvement initiatives for early care and education settings, ensuring we efficiently invest in strategies that promote early development.

Access to School Lunches: SB18-013 (Fields & Gardner/Michaelson Jenet) eliminates the reduced-price lunch copay for students in sixth through eighth grade, removing barriers to school lunches for thousands of students and their families.

School and District Accountability: HB18-1355 (Pettersen & Sias/Gardner & Moreno) clarifies parts of the education accountability system and provides communities with the opportunity to be more involved in understanding the improvement-planning process.

Addressing Educator Shortages: HB18-1309 (Coleman & Wilson/Hill) creates the Partnership for Rural Education and a “grow-your-own-educator” framework to award grants to prospective teachers in exchange for a three-year teaching commitment. Several additional strategies for addressing teacher shortages were included in other successful legislation: HB-1002, HB-1412, HB-1332, HB-1189, SB-085 and SB-229.

Bullying Prevention: SB18-151 (Fields & Priola/Buckner & Wilson) directs the Department of Education to develop model policies for bullying prevention and education based on best practices in other states.

Advanced Coursework for High School Students: HB18-1193 (Wilson & McLachlan/Scott & Zenzinger) extends the Advanced Placement Incentives Pilot Program for three years to increase access to rigorous coursework for rural students. HB-1396 (Buckner/Moreno & Priola) also passed; it will provide funds to reduce the AP exam fee for students in low-income families.

Increased Access to Substance Abuse Treatment for Students: HB18-1002 (Petterson/Priola & Jahn) allows school-based health centers to apply for funding to offer substance use disorder treatment for students. It also continues the Opioid and Other Substance Use Disorders Interim Study Committee through 2019.

Budget Wins:

  • An increase of $21 million for the Office of Early Childhood to increase access to the Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP).
  • A new investment of $500,000 for the Office of Early Childhood to support the training, education, and certification of our early care and education workforce.
  • A $2 million increase for the Department of Education to expand the Expelled and At-Risk Student Services (EARSS) grant program to mitigate the use and impact of suspensions and expulsions in preschool through 12th
  • A $600,000 investment for the Office of Early Childhood to expand access to the Incredible Years, an evidence-based parenting and teacher training program that improves early childhood social and emotional development and behavioral health.
  • A $1 million increase for Colorado’s system of Early Childhood Councils to support their local work coordinating early childhood services.
  • An increase of $460.9 million in K-12 financing, which includes the largest reduction in the “budget stabilization factor” ($150 million) since 2010. Per pupil spending increases by an average of $475 per student. HB18-1379 also provides $30 million of one-time funding for rural schools.
  • An infusion of $5.5 million into the Mill Levy Equalization Fund, to improve funding equality for the state’s Charter School Institute (CSI) schools that do not receive mill levy override revenue from their local school districts.
  • The formation of a legislative interim committee to study the impact of, and alternatives to, the Gallagher Amendment, a constitutional trigger that has led to automatic property tax cuts that have limited the revenue available for priorities such as K-12 education.
  • A $500,000 increase in funding for proven oral health disease prevention programs for kids at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, such as Cavity Free at Three, School Sealants, and Smart Mouths Smart Kids.
  • An investment of $1.8 million to improve access to contraceptives in the Colorado Medicaid program so that women can plan their families and futures in the way that works best them.

PROTECTING PROGRESS

Maintaining License Requirements for Religiously Connected Child Care Programs: SB 18-201 (Priola/Covarrubias), if not defeated, would have eliminated all child care safety standards for any provider with a connection to a religious organization.

Maintaining Innovations in Education: HB18-1014 (Buck), if not defeated, would have eliminated social studies assessment in high school, and SB18-008 (Merrifield) would have increased inequities between schools and districts by providing accountability bonuses to those with robust arts education programs.

Maintaining Access to Medicaid for Colorado Families: SB18-214 (Crowder/Beckman), if not defeated, would have created a work requirement for adults, including parents, to be eligible for Medicaid, and included a 5-year lifetime limit on coverage.

MISSED OPPORTUNITIES

Local support for early childhood: HB 18-1420 (Hamner & Rankin/Scott) would have added early childhood development services to the list of reasons that local communities may collaborate to create special districts.

Equity in Colorado’s School Finance Formula: If passed, and contingent on a ballot measure, HB18-1232 (Young/Kerr & Coram) would have created a modernized, student-centric allocation formula to replace the existing inequitable school funding formula.

Addressing Educator Shortages: SB18-147 (Zenzinger & Coram/McLachlan & Rankin) would have expanded a loan forgiveness program for teachers in hard-to-fill positions, and HB18-1367 (McLachlan & Wilson/Priola) would have created a school leadership pilot program to provide school culture training to principals.

Taxpayer Equality: For the second year, legislators didn’t advance a Joint Budget Committee proposal to fix Colorado’s uneven property tax system and improve the adequacy of K-12 funding.

Individual Health Insurance Market Stabilization Act: HB 1392 (Kennedy & Rankin/Coram & Donovan) would have established a state reinsurance pool to assist health insurers with paying for high-cost insurance claims and reduce risk and premiums in the individual health insurance market.

Youth Suicide Prevention: HB18-1177 (Michaelson Jenet/Fenberg & Coram) would have increased access to training programs to prevent youth suicide and raised public awareness.

We tracked many more proposed bills each week in our Capitol Updates. Use our search button on that page to find them.  Click here to download Legislative Imapct 2018

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About Children's Campaign

The Colorado Children’s Campaign is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization committed since 1985 to realizing every chance for every child in Colorado. We advocate for the development and implementation of data-driven public policies that improve child wellbeing in health, education and early childhood. We do this by providing Coloradans with trusted data and research on child wellbeing and organizing an extensive state-wide network of dedicated child advocates. For more information, please visit www.coloradokids.org.