Capitol Update: The last lap–MMRC, Full-Day K, Census, School lunch race to the finish
Each week during the 2019 session of the Colorado General Assembly, we bring you the latest news and analysis of legislation impacting the early development, health, and education of Colorado kids. See our website for complete analysis, testimony, fact sheets, vote totals, and other information to help you stay informed. Here are a few highlights from the Gold Dome this week:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Maternal Mortality Review Committee (Buckner & Landgraf/ Fields & Gardner)
HB19-1122 would codify Colorado’s Maternal and Mortality Review Committee (MMRC) in statute. The MMRC is required to review cases of maternal mortality that occur in Colorado, identify trends and patterns in deaths and develop recommendations to prevent maternal deaths through legislation, policies, rules and best practices. The bill also requires CDPHE to make regular recommendations to the Legislature based on the findings of the MMRC to address clinical and societal causes of death. Read more about the bill and its passage out of the legislature here.
Expand Child Nutrition School Lunch Protection Act (Michaelson Jenet/Fields & Priola)
HB19-1171 would eliminate the reduced-price lunch copay for high school students and expand access to school lunches at no charge for students who would otherwise be eligible for reduced-price lunch. Colorado has already eliminated this copay for students in preschool through eighth grade. Read more about the bill and its passage out of the Senate Appropriations Committee here.
Census Outreach Grant Program (Tipper & Caraveo/Winter & Priola)
HB19-1239 would create the Census Outreach Grant Program to support the accurate count of Colorado’s population in the 2020 Census. Recipients of funds through the grant program may use the funds to conduct 2020 Census outreach, promotion, and education to focus on hard-to-count communities in the state and to increase the self-response rate and accuracy of the 2020 Census in Colorado. Read more about the bill and why Riley Kitts, our Government Affairs Director, testified in support of the bill here.
State Funding for Full-day Kindergarten (Wilson & McLachlan/Bridges)
HB19-1262 would fund full-day kindergarteners as full-day students rather than treating them as half-day students as the state currently does. This will mean parents will no longer face the burden of tuition and districts will free up resources previously spent on full-day kindergarten to address local needs. It would also reallocate more than 5,000 early learning slots currently being used for kindergarten to expand access to high-quality preschool for more children. Read more about the bill’s unanimous support in Senate Education, bipartisan passage out of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and passage out of the Senate here.