Capitol Update: Nearly 490 bills in 52 days and counting
It was a short week at the Capitol as the legislature was closed Friday for the Easter holiday. We are officially 52 days in and nearly 490 bills have been introduced. The Joint Budget Committee completed their work on 2021-22 budget (Long Bill). The budget bill is set to be introduced in the Senate on Monday. Several Children’s Campaign priorities continue to move favorably through the process. All in all, things are looking good at the Capitol for kids and families!
This was a big week for early childhood, as our priority bill to support Family Child Care Homes had overwhelming support in its first committee hearing. Several partners including Clayton Early Learning, Executives Partnering to Invest in Children (EPIC), and MyVillage testified in support of HB1222 before the House Public & Behavioral Health & Human Services Committee. This bill will address burdensome local regulations that limit the number of children that can be served at family child care homes. Numerous advocates and providers turned out virtually to share their personal stories about the hurdles providers have had to go through to serve their communities. The committee had to be moved because the bill was passed unanimously! Several members spoke positively of the bill with one even saying that it was “one of the most important and impactful bills I have seen in weeks.”
With the Long Bill being introduced next week, we can expect to see bills that require funding to start moving quickly through the process. We will be sure to keep you all updated on bills that are benefitting Colorado kids!
Watch Riley’s Weekly wrap up here.
Click here to read all the bills we are tracking this session
Remove Barriers to Certain Public Opportunities (Jaquez-Lewis & Winter/Esgar & Gonzales-Gutierrez)
This bill would eliminate the administratively costly and inefficient requirement that state and local governments verify legal presence when determining eligibility for public benefits–including professional and commercial licenses–and the awarding of grants, loans, and contracts. This bill would not mandate the provision of any new or existing public benefits, nor does it create an entitlement to any benefit. To read more about this bill and its journey through the legislature, click here.
Supporting Educator Workforce in Colorado (Zenzinger & Rankin/McLachlan & McCluskie)
The bill would create the Teacher Recruitment Education and Preparation Program to increase the number of students entering the teaching profession and create a more diverse teacher workforce to reflect the ethnic diversity of the state. If passed, it would help reduce teacher shortages in Colorado, empower local leaders in recruiting subject matter experts into the educator workforce, develop a workforce that more closely reflects the diversity of Colorado’s students, elevate the teaching profession, expand pathways into the profession, and raise the profile of all pathways into the education workforce. To read more about this bill and its journey through the legislature, click here.
Regulation of Family Child Care Homes (Valdez & Van Winkle/Smallwood & Winter)
This bill would reduce burdensome regulations family child care homes (FCCHs) face by simply requiring local regulatory entities to treat family child care homes as residences for regulatory purposes such as zoning, fire, life safety, and building codes. Given that state licensing regulations already require FCCHs to meet health and safety standards to ensure the wellbeing of all children in care, this change would prevent additional or conflicting regulations from being placed on FCCH providers above state licensing requirements. To read more about this bill and its journey through the legislature, click here.
Colorado expands COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to general public ages 16 and up
Earlier this week, Governor Polis announced that beginning Friday, April 2, all Coloradans ages 16 and up will be eligible to receive any of the available COVID-19 vaccines. Information about the locations of community providers administering vaccines and mass vaccination sites can be found on the state’s COVID-19 website. Vaccine supply in Colorado remains limited, so while eligibility has expanded to the general public, the ability to access the vaccine by appointment will likely take weeks for many. Providers have been encouraged by the Governor to continue to prioritize individuals who are in higher priority groups but have not yet been vaccinated (those in phases 1A, 1B.1, 1B.2, 1B.3 and 1B.4).
Vaccine access for all, especially communities that have been historically underserved, is essential to achieving health equity. You can learn more about the vaccines currently available in multiple languages from the state website, as well as from the Colorado Vaccine Equity Taskforce and from our partners at Immunize Colorado.