Capitol Update: Nearly halfway through session, several health and safety packages are introduced
We are quickly approaching the halfway mark of the 2023 legislative session! Colorado lawmakers have had more than 400 bills, resolutions, and memorials introduced for their consideration. Of note, Democrats at the State Capitol recently introduced several bill packages that aim to keep Coloradans safe and healthy. House and Senate Democrats unveiled a suite of firearm safety bills to address gun violence in our communities. These include bills implementing longer waiting periods and raising the age to buy guns and an update to the state’s Red Flag law. Along with the governor, state Democrats also introduced a package of health care bills aimed at lowering costs for families. This package also includes technical improvements to the 2021 bills on the public option and prescription drug affordability. The Children’s Campaign will do a full analysis of these bills, and we will be sure to keep our networks updated on their progress.
Our dedicated policy and advocacy team tracks hundreds of bills that impact Colorado kids and families every legislative session. To view the bills we are tracking so far in this legislative session, click here.
Here are this week’s Capitol Highlights:
HB23-1197 (Young): Stakeholder Process for Oversight of Host Home Providers
This bill establishes a stakeholder process, housed at the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF), to address concerns and identify viable solutions related to host homes. Host homes are unique Colorado entities that provide 24/7 care to individuals who receive long-term services and support. The bill requires HCPF to report on the stakeholder process and identify any resources needed to address concerns by January 2025.
The Children’s Campaign supports this bill. Host homes often provide care to young adults who desire additional independence outside of their family home, but still require ongoing 24/7 support. It is critical that these homes have sufficient oversight to ensure a safe environment and access to all needed support and services. To learn more about this bill and its journey through the legislature, visit our Capitol Updates page.
SB23-029 (Lindsay / Moreno): Disproportionate Discipline in Public Schools
This bill was drafted by the Colorado Youth Advisory Council Committee, a statewide group of youth that advises the legislature and brings forth policy recommendations. The bill requires local education providers to adopt policies that address disproportionate discipline practices and to develop improvement plans with their communities if data indicate that students of color and other key groups are more likely to face disciplinary actions. It also requires schools to consider certain factors before suspending or expelling a student: age, disciplinary history, disability status, the severity of the violation, whether the incident threatened the safety of others, and whether a lesser intervention is viable.
The Children’s Campaign supports this bill because Black, Indigenous, and students of color in Colorado, as in many states, are more likely to be expelled or suspended and are often punished more harshly than white students for the same infractions. Students who are suspended or expelled are more likely to experience worse educational outcomes and to interact with the criminal legal system. It is essential that we address these disproportionate outcomes, attempt alternative interventions, and involve communities in these efforts. To learn more about this bill and its journey through the legislature, visit our Capitol Updates page.
The Children’s Campaign in the news
- Colorado considers strengthening Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, Colorado Politics, Feb. 28
- Colorado House OKs removing medical debt from credit scores, reports, The Gazette, March 1
- Lawmakers advance bill to ban evictions, lease terminations without ‘just cause,’ The Gazette, March 2
- OPINION: House Committee Votes Down Bill to Provide Fair Workweeks to Colorado Workers, Pagosa Daily Post, March 3