Capitol Update: Early childhood school removal bill introduced; equal pay for equal work bill introduced; budget bill writing kicks off
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:
School Removal for Public Preschool through Second Grade (Lontine & Larson/Priola & Fields)
HB19-1194 would ensure that the standards for suspension and expulsion of young children from school are developmentally appropriate, and that young children are removed from school only to address ongoing safety concerns. Read more about the bill and why the Children’s Campaign strongly supports it here.
Equal Pay for Equal Work Act (Danielson & Pettersen/Buckner & Gonzalez-Gutierrez)
SB19-085 would strengthen Colorado’s pay equity law by including measures to prevent pay inequities for substantially similar work on the basis of sex, including banning the use of wage history to determine an employee’s pay, and requiring employers to include proposed wage ranges in job postings. The bill would allow employers to pay different wages when certain factors are present, including when a wage difference is based on seniority, merit, education, training, or experience that is reasonably related to the position. Read more about the bill and why the Children’s Campaign supports it here.
Budget bill underway
The Joint Budget Committee (JBC) is currently considering budget items and requests across state agencies and departments as part of the annual budgeting process. Here are some highlights of budget items that impact Colorado kids:
Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE)
- The JBC this week voted to unanimously approve CDPHE’s requested increase of $1,025,000 for their family planning program, which is one of the most effective programs to reduce unintended pregnancy in Colorado, especially among our teens. However, advocates are concerned that this increase doesn’t go far enough to ensure access to these critical family planning services, especially in rural parts of Colorado. What’s more, advocates fear that recent federal rule changes to the Title X program, which has historically helped to fund these services across the state, will mean fewer providers will be eligible to apply for and accept these federal funds. Under these rules, thousands of women will lose access to family planning services across the state, making it critically important that sufficientstate funds are available to support this successful program.
Department of Human Services (CDHS)
- The JBC voted 5-1 this week to allocate an additional $10.5 million in federal funds to the Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP) from the Child Care Development Fund to continue serving children in CCCAP and ensure providers are compensated based on updated market rate costs of care.
The JBC voted to delay a decision on two CDHS requests from the state TANF reserve fund for pilot programs to provide employment supports to families. One request would fund a pilot program to provide employment support services to parents who are involved with the child welfare system and experiencing poverty, which is estimated to be about 60 percent of Colorado families involved with the child welfare system. The other request would fund a pilot program to provide employment support services to non-custodial parents who owe child support. Child support payments are one of the most effective anti-poverty tools and represent an average of 41 percent of the income of families who receive these payments.