Capitol Update: Massive week for kids as bills on school removals, immunizations, child care—and more—move ahead
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. The bill does not affect statute governing in-school suspensions or classroom removals. The bill would limit the amount of time for out-of-school suspensions in order to resolve safety threats. Read more about why Bill Jaeger, our VP of Early Childhood & Policy Initiatives, testified in support of the bill and its passage out of Senate Education.
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 and its passage out of the House Education and Appropriations Committees here.
School Immunization Requirements (Mullica & Gonzalez/Priola)
HB19-1312 would enhance Colorado’s process and procedures around immunization exemption for school and child care enrollment across the state. It will require the Department of Public Health and Environment to develop a standardized form and submission process for individuals to claim a medical, religious, or personal belief exemption to an immunization. In order to claim a personal or religious belief exemption for their child, this bill would require parents to submit the standardized form to the Department of Public Health and Environment or the appropriate county health agency. Read more about the bill and its first committee hearing here.
Infant and Family Child Care Action Plan (Priola & Story/Buentello & Valdez)
SB19-063 requires the Colorado Department of Human Services, in partnership with the Early Childhood Leadership Commission and other stakeholders, to create a strategic action plan by December 2019 to address the declining availability of infant care and family child care homes in Colorado. Read more about the bill’s passage out of the legislature here.