Capitol Update: Kids are big winners as the legislature wraps up the 2018 session
Our signature KIDS COUNT-Down Calendar on a legislator’s desk on the last day of the session this week. AP photo/David Zalubowski
The Colorado General Assembly wrapped up its 120-day regular session this week with several big wins for kids passing in the final days. We’ll have a complete summary of wins for Colorado kids and families next week, but in the meantime, we have a few updates below on last-minute action on a few of the major bills benefiting kids. As always, you can search through all the legislation affecting kids and families that we tracked this session in the Capitol Updates section of our website.
Young children are big winners of the 2018 session
Legislators and advocates ensured our youngest Coloradans were a priority and we saw some of the most significant investments in policy action, and investments in the financing, of early childhood learning and development than we’ve seen in years. Every single win had bipartisan sponsorship. See the complete list, which includes many of our legislative priorities this session, in a KidsFlash post by Bill Jaeger, our Vice President of Early Childhood and Policy Initiatives.
SB18-013 (Fields & Gardner/Michaelson Jenet) Improving Access to Affordable School Lunch
This bill eliminates the reduced-price lunch copay and expands access to school lunches at no charge for students who would otherwise be eligible for reduced-price lunch, to include students in sixth through eighth grade. Colorado has already eliminated this copay for students in preschool through fifth grade. Read more about the bill, why the Children’s Campaign strongly supports it, and its final passage this week here.
HB18-1004 (Coleman & Wilson/Tate & Kefalas) Renewing the Child Care Contribution Credit
This bill would continue a credit that allows individuals and businesses to make contributions to promote child care in Colorado and claim a refundable credit for up to 50 percent of the contribution. Read more about the bill and its success in both chambers here.
HB18-1208 (Duran & Winter/Martinez Humenik) Expand Child Care Expenses Credit
This bill expands a credit available to families who pay child care expenses. Currently, Colorado offers a state tax credit for individuals making $60,000 per year or less equal to a percentage of the individual’s federal tax credit for child care expenses. The size of the credit is dependent on income level. This bill, as amended, would allow those currently eligible to claim a credit equal to 50 percent of the amount of the federal credit claimed by the individual. Read more about the bill’s success in both chambers here.
HB18-1309 (Coleman & Wilson/Hill) Programs Addressing Educator Shortages
This bill seeks to address teacher shortages in Colorado by requiring the Colorado Department of Higher Education to create a “grow your own educator” framework and award grants to up to teacher candidates in exchange for a commitment to teach for at least three years in districts experiencing teacher shortages. Read more about the bill and its success here.