Capitol Update: The Long Bill begins to make its way through the legislature

Written by: Riley Kitts
Date Posted: March 31, 2023

Less than 40 days remain in the 2023 legislative session, and for the past week, our focus has shifted to the state budget. The Joint Budget Committee (JBC) has been meeting for months, hearing from state agencies and other interest groups as it sets the budget for the next fiscal year, which starts on July 1. This work resulted in the annual state budget bill, also known as the Long Bill. Once the Long Bill is introduced, each chamber debates the state budget and offers amendments. The Senate went first this year and had a robust debate earlier this week.  

During this process, the Children’s Campaign advocated for increased funding for Colorado’s Family Planning Program – and we were pleased that the Senate added an amendment to increase funding for the program by $1 million. That additional $1 million would go to clinics throughout the state of Colorado that provide proven and evidence-based family planning services, largely for Coloradans with low incomes. In total, 50 amendments were drafted in the Senate to amend the Long Bill, with 15 passing successfully. The state budget will be debated next week in the House of Representatives, where it is expected to have even more amendments. 

The Children’s Campaign has several priorities still making their way through the legislature. We continue to push for the renewal of the Child Care Contribution Tax Credit, increased access to the judicial system for evictions proceedings, equitable changes to our school finance formula, and expanded coverage for people enrolled in our public health insurance programs. We are eager to accomplish as much as we can for kids and families in Colorado with the time we have remaining! 

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: 

HB23-1112(Bird/Hansen & Kolker): Earned Income and Child Tax Credits  

The Children’s Campaign supports this bill because the EITC and CTC are two of the most effective tools we have to lift children and their families out of poverty. These credits place money back in the hands of families to help pay for necessities. This bill would increase both the amount of the state credits available to families and expand the number of children who are eligible for the state CTC, helping to promote family economic prosperity. 

HB23-1249 (Armagost & Gonzales- Gutierrez/ Simpson): Reduce Justice Involvement for Young Children 

The Children’s Campaign supports this bill because young children are best served outside the juvenile justice system, as childhood arrest is associated with lower rates of graduation, higher rates of future arrest and incarceration, poor health outcomes, and high rates of recidivism. Statistically rigorous evaluations show that collaborative management programs, which counties would be required to participated in as a result of this bill, have high levels of success in increasing safety and preventing future involvement with the juvenile justice system, benefiting both victims and young people who may commit crimes.   

To learn more about these bills and their journeys through the legislature, visit our Capitol Updates page. 

The Children’s Campaign in the news 

Riley Kitts

About Riley Kitts

Riley Kitts serves as the Sr. Director of Policy & Government Affairs for the Colorado Children’s Campaign. Riley has spent several years in Colorado politics, working both inside and out of the State Capitol. Riley spent three legislative sessions with the Colorado Department of Human Services spearheading the agency’s legislative and budgetary agendas. Prior to that, he spent several years with the Colorado House Democrats serving in various roles from Executive Assistant to the Speaker to Field and Outreach Directors. He earned his degree in Political Science from the University of Colorado-Boulder.