Capitol Updates: January 24, 2024
Two weeks into the legislative session, housing policy, youth mental health, and early childhood are in the spotlight. More than 90 bills were introduced on the first day of session alone, and our team is supporting efforts to advance our policy priorities and analyzing the many ideas that have already surfaced.
Bills to watch:
- Understanding the impact of eviction: National research shows that families with children are more likely to experience an eviction, although data within Colorado is inconsistent and hard to access. We are working with Enterprise Community Partners to advance a bill that would improve our state’s eviction data collection – which will allow us to develop the right policy solutions to help families stay in their homes. Learn more about SB24-064.
- Supporting youth mental health: Legislators have already introduced several bills focused on supporting youth mental health. SB24-001, which would extend the I Matter program, is receiving its first hearing today in the Senate Health & Human Services Committee. I Matter provides free therapy sessions to young people in Colorado. Senior Policy Analyst Hunter Nelson and Director of Youth Success Madi Ashour submitted written testimony encouraging legislators to renew this impactful program, which the Colorado Children’s Campaign supported when it was introduced in 2021:
“As of May 2023, I Matter has scheduled nearly 36,000 appointments and served nearly 8,000 youth across the state, highlighting the growing popularity and need for this program. Making the I Matter Program permanent would allow more Colorado youth for years to come to access the mental health and substance use services they want or need, without the added burden of cost or lack of easy access to a clinic.”
Other bills on the move:
- Racial Equity Study – SB24-053 – This bill would require History Colorado to produce a study to determine any historical and ongoing effects of slavery and subsequent systemic racism on Black Coloradans. We see the impacts of systemic racism in health, education, and financial prosperity, and a study could help us acknowledge these impacts and take steps to create a more equitable state.
- Bilingual Child Care Licensing Resources – HB24-1009: This bill would help Coloradans who speak languages other than English access child care licensing resources – a step toward helping more kids have access to care in the language they speak at home in the earliest years of their lives. Senior Policy Analyst Lauren Corboy will testify in support of the bill in its first committee hearing in House Education on Feb. 8 at 1:30pm.