Capitol Updates: One more week, 300 more bills to vote on
We are entering into the last full week of the 2023 legislative session. That’s right, nearly 120 days have flown by! While we anticipate a handful of bills have yet to be introduced, more than 600 pieces of legislation have already come before the legislature. Of those, there are still more than 300 bills that need to be voted on. Get ready for a mad dash to the finish line!
While there is still work to be done in these waning days of session, several Children’s Campaign priorities are wrapping up or already completed. Some of our priority bills around reproductive health, family planning, and access to eviction proceedings have already been sent to the governor’s desk to be signed into law. Other priorities dealing with child care and preschool funding, public school finance, and Medicaid eligibility have only a couple more votes to clear before they are done, and we are confident they will pass with flying colors. Thank you to our amazing staff, community partners, and legislative champions for making this session so productive for Colorado kids and families!
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:
SB23-287 (Zenzinger/Lundeen & McClachlan) Public School Finance
This year’s School Finance Act (SFA) will boost K-12 funding to more than $9.1 billion next school year, including an additional $1,018 per student over last year (11%). The budget stabilization factor, the state’s annual funding cut to education, will be at its lowest level since its inception, and it is written into the law that the legislature will fully buy it down to zero next year. The SFA also creates a new task force with a charge to develop recommendations for updates to the formula by January 2024.
The Children’s Campaign supports this bill, as it establishes a vehicle to propose concrete changes for next session. We are most excited to see full funding for the Mill Levy Override Match Fund created by SB22-202. This targeted state investment in our state’s lowest-wealth school districts will be a game changer for eligible districts, many of which are small and rural. We are also encouraged to see a work group established to fix the parts of the funding formula that are most broken.
SB23-288 (Fields & Buckner/English) Coverage for Doula Services
This bill requires the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing to engage in a robust stakeholder engagement process to inform the development of a Medicaid benefit allowing for the reimbursement of doula services; work with the Maternity Advisory Committee to create a report of findings and recommendations from this process; seek federal authorization to implement this benefit; and create and implement a doula scholarship program to provide financial assistance to community birth workers seeking to become certified doulas and provide care to Medicaid enrollees. The bill also requires the Division of Insurance to contract with a third-party vendor to conduct a study on the cost savings and health benefits of doula care.
The Children’s Campaign supports this bill because there is a wealth of evidence supporting the effectiveness of doula care in promoting positive health outcomes for birthing women and people, especially Black and Indigenous people. Providing financial assistance to community-based birth workers to obtain the needed certification to provide doula care through Medicaid can lead to higher enrollment, resulting in more Medicaid enrollees receiving doula care.
To learn more about these bills and their journeys through the legislature, visit our Capitol Updates page.