Capitol Update: New bills include behavioral health, aligning early childhood systems, and nicotine regulation

Written by: Children's Campaign
Date Posted: February 23, 2018

10 trends in child well-being picture at the state capitol

Each week during sessions 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. Three highlights of action this week are below, and see our website for more analysis, testimony, fact sheets, vote totals, and other information to help you stay informed. Here are a few highlights from this week:

SB18-024 (Jahn & Tate/Singer) Expand Access to Behavioral Health Care Providers

The bill updates the Colorado Health Service Corps Program in order to increase access to behavioral health care providers across the state. The bill allows behavioral health care providers to participate in the loan repayment program if they commit to providing services in shortage areas for a defined period of time and establishes a scholarship program for individuals pursuing or increasing their level of certification as an addiction counselor. The bill also directs the State Board of Health to develop methodologies to identify areas in the state where there is a shortage of health care professionals. Learn more about the bill and why the Children’s Campaign supports it here.

SB18-099 (Merrifield & Priola/Pettersen & Wilson) Align Early Childhood Quality Improvement Programs

This bill aligns child care quality improvement initiatives so that these initiatives are more efficient and follow best practices by revising the School Readiness Quality Improvement (SRQIP) and Infant-Toddler Quality and Availability (ITQA) grant programs to align with recent quality improvement initiatives. Learn more about the bill, our support, and its bipartisan passage in the Senate here.

SB18-139 (Cooke/Singer) Statewide Regulation of Products with Nicotine

This bill extends a financial penalty on local communities that want to license the sale of any tobacco products. The bill also prohibits local government from using state tobacco education, prevention and cessation funds to advocate for a licensure requirement or a tax or fee on retailers who sell tobacco products. In addition, the bill takes additional funds from the tobacco prevention, education and cessation fund to manage the licensing of tobacco retailers, rather than paying for licensing administration and enforcement with retailer license fees. Read more about the bill and why the Children’s Campaign opposes it here.

HB18-1003 (Pettersen/Priola & Jahn) Opioid Misuse Prevention

This bill allows school-based health care centers to provide treatment for opioid and other substance use disorders and to apply for grants to provide these services. The bill also establishes the Opioid and Other Substance Use Disorders Study Committee in statute until 2020. Read more about the bill and why the Children’s Campaign supports it 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