Capitol Update: During the second week under the dome, over 200 bills and resolution get introduced
Things are ramping up at the capitol slowly but surely! With MLK Day on Monday, the legislature had a four-day week, and members are starting to get into the swing of things. The first few weeks of the session are mostly focused on annual SMART Act hearings. The Departments of Human Services, Public Health, Transportation, Education, etc. are required every year to present their performance plans, regulatory and legislative agendas, and budget requests. Then, senators and representatives get to ask them questions about how they are faring. Just one of our government’s many checks and balances!
So far, more than 200 bills and resolutions have been introduced, and we should expect bills to start making their way through the committee process soon. One of those bills is a priority for the Children’s Campaign – House Bill 22-1010. This bill would establish a tax credit for early childhood educators to help with workforce recruitment and retention throughout the state. Other states that have established a similar tax credit have seen it encourage improvements in providers’ quality, improve compensation of the childhood educators, and increase access to quality child care. We are very proud to work with Representatives Emily Sirota and Tonya Van Beber on this important bipartisan bill!
Women’s Caucus discusses bill to Cover All Coloradans
This week, the Colorado Democratic Women’s Caucus called a press conference to discuss their 2022 legislative priorities. One of our priority bills was included. When it comes to the health of our children, we want to give them the strongest start possible – which means ensuring that all Coloradans have equitable access to affordable health coverage. Cover All Coloradans is sponsored by Rep. Gonzales-Gutierrez and Rep. McCluskie.
This bill will expand coverage to all pregnant people and all children in Colorado up to Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) income eligibility limit, regardless of immigration status and documentation. In the same way other perinatal Coloradans are covered, Cover All Coloradans extends this coverage for 12 months postpartum all while drawing down a 65% federal match. Additionally, it will provide other perinatal support including improved access to breast pumps, diapers, home-visiting services and evidence-based group care models. Cover All Coloradans also improves perinatal data collection and creates a special enrollment for pregnancy on Connect for Health Colorado.
At the event, Rep. Duran noted, “Pregnant women and children deserve health care regardless of their immigration status. Caring for women and children means caring for ALL women and children.” The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the inequities in our health care system. This cannot continue. It is painfully evident how our own health depends upon the ability of our families, friends, and neighbors to access the care they need. Colorado has worked for decades, often across partisan lines, to improve access to critical health care coverage for parents during pregnancy and for children. We’ve made incremental gains over the years – now is the time to close coverage gaps for all Colorado families. Stay tuned with KidsFlash and Capitol Updates to hear more about this effort in the coming weeks.
Our dedicated policy and advocacy team tracks hundreds of bills that impact Colorado kids and families every legislative session. To view the bills we have been tracking this legislative session, click here.
Here are this week’s Capitol Highlights:
Early Childhood Educator Income Tax Credit (Sirota & Van Beber/Buckner & Kirkmeyer)
This bill creates a refundable income tax credit for an early childhood educator who meets specified income and eligibility requirements for at least 6 months of the taxable year. The bill specifies quality standards for child care programs, with the amount of credit an early childhood educator receives being dependent on their credentialing level. To read more about this bill and its journey through the legislature, click here.
Child Care Center Property Tax Exemption (Roberts & Van Winkle/Donovan & Smallwood)
Currently, under the state constitution, property that is used exclusively for charitable purposes is exempt from property tax. This bill modifies that exemption, and allows property that is leased for child care providers to be exempt from property tax. To read more about this bill and its journey through the legislature, click here.