Capitol Update: More priority bills make their way to the finish line with just three weeks left in session

Written by: Children's Campaign
Date Posted: April 22, 2022

There are less than three weeks left in the 2022 legislative session! That means things are moving…and moving fast. 

The monumental Department of Early Childhood and Universal Preschool bill, HB22-1295, received its final vote in the legislature. This bill received bipartisan support in every vote along the way and is now set to be signed by Gov. Polis early next week. Thank you to all of the proponents and stakeholders who have worked so hard over the last two years to make this law a reality! 

We also saw initial approval of two K-12 education priorities. SB22-202 will create a fund for the state to help property-poor school districts throughout the state. Some school districts have the ability and property wealth to raise funds locally through mill levy overrides, while other districts cannot raise adequate funds for their schools – leading to growing inequities and disparities in our public education system. We are proud to see the state finally step in to help correct this problem. SB22-202 passed the Senate Education Committee on a bipartisan 5-2 vote.  

In addition, HB22-1376: Supportive Schools won approval from the House Education Committee on a 6-3 vote. This bill will lay a better foundation for understanding school climate so students can better receive the care and support they need to thrive. It makes much- needed improvements to student experiences related to discipline by limiting the use of restraint unless absolutely necessary, setting standards for the use of seclusion, and encouraging model practices for training of school security staff. We are proud to see both of these education priorities move forward!  

Last but certainly not least, HB22-1289: Cover All Coloradans is now on its way to the Senate after being passed by the full House. Thank you to Reps. Gonzales-Gutierrez and McCluskie for carrying this critical bill to expand public health insurance coverage to pregnant people and kids who lack proper documentation. We anticipate a smooth path in the Senate before sending this bill to the governor’s desk. 

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: 

HB22-1376 (Herod & Young/ Priola & Winter) Supportive Learning Environments for K-12 Students 

 This bill updates Colorado’s policies, practices and data frameworks to better measure and support positive school climates. It requires the Department of Education to gather data and create accessible, annually updated reports with consistent data concerning chronic absenteeism rates, suspensions, expulsions, and the number of students handcuffed or restrained, among other indicators of school climate. It also updates restraint and seclusion policies and limits practices that have been shown to harm students, such as handcuffing. The bill requires the development of a model policy to promote best practices and proper training for school security staff. It appropriates $2 million to continue the expelled and at-risk student services (EARSS) program. To learn more about this bill and its journey through the legislature, click here. 

SB22-202 (Zenzinger & Rankin/ McCluskie) State Match for Mill Levy Override Statute  

This bill recognizes local property tax investments that have been made in low property wealth, low-income communities through approved mill levy overrides, and meets that effort with a state match. The bill specifies which districts will be eligible for matching funds and how the match amount will be determined. In June of each budget year, the Department of Education must calculate and distribute the mill levy match amounts from the Mill Levy Override Match Fund created in the bill. To learn more about this bill and its journey through the legislature, click here. 

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About Children's Campaign

The Colorado Children’s Campaign is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization committed since 1985 to realizing every chance for every child in Colorado. We advocate for the development and implementation of data-driven public policies that improve child wellbeing in health, education and early childhood. We do this by providing Coloradans with trusted data and research on child wellbeing and organizing an extensive state-wide network of dedicated child advocates. For more information, please visit www.coloradokids.org.