Capitol Updates: Priorities on eviction prevention, continuous health coverage eligibility, and school finance are on the move
With less than two weeks left in the 2023 Colorado legislative session, things are moving very fast! Priority bills for the Children’s Campaign are all trending in the right direction, with several clearing key votes this week. Our bill to increase remote access for eviction proceedings, HB23-1186, passed its final vote in the legislature with bipartisan support and is headed to the governor’s desk. Mark that priority as complete!
We also saw our priority bill advancing continuous eligibility for Medicaid and Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) pass some important votes – again, with bipartisan support. HB23-1300 is being carried by two amazing sponsors, Reps. Sirota and Bird, and will ensure that every young children remains eligible for Medicaid and CHP+ during those critical early years. Last, but certainly not least, SB23-287, the Public School Finance Act, passed out of the Senate Education Committee. This bill has a lot of moving parts, and it includes more funding for low-property-wealth districts that struggle to raise revenue locally to support their students.
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:
SB23-269 (Buckner & Rich/Lukens) Colorado Preschool Program Provider Bonus Payments
This bill will give participating providers in universal preschool a much-needed financial boost, and the bonus structure in the legislation is targeted to make the most impact possible with a fixed amount of funding. The bonuses provided by this bill will support providers new to participating in state-run pre-k, providers who maintain or expand their infant and toddler slots, and providers in “low-capacity preschool areas,” which cannot currently meet the demand for universal preschool. This bill is a significant first step in ensuring that early childhood providers are supported and better able to do their jobs.
The Children’s Campaign supports this bill because it will directly help the providers participating in the first year of Colorado’s Universal Preschool Program and uplift the early childhood professionals who support Colorado’s young children and families every day.
HB23-1300 (Bird & Sirota/ Zenzinger) Continuous Eligibility Medical Coverage
This bill requires the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) to submit a waiver and complete a study to improve Colorado’s Medicaid program. The initial waiver will extend continuous eligibility in Medicaid and Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) for children from birth to age three, guarantee 12 months of continuous coverage for individuals leaving Department of Corrections prisons after serving their sentence, and allow for seamless redeterminations for individuals with no income.
The Children’s Campaign strongly supports this bill. It will reduce gaps in coverage for young children – the demographic most at risk of losing coverage due to administrative paperwork issues and processes – and Coloradans leaving prison, for whom continuous coverage has been shown to improve health and reduce recidivism. Continuous coverage reduces family stress and increases the use of preventive services. Among adults, continuous coverage reduces hospitalizations for conditions that could have been treated in primary care or outpatient settings. This bill will also increase our Medicaid program’s ability to meet the health-related social needs of Coloradans. Listen to The West Steps for more about why continuous eligibility matters.
To learn more about these bills and their journeys through the legislature, visit our Capitol Updates page.