Mar 15, 2019

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Legislative Update: March 15, 2019

by | Mar 15, 2019

Bill to Watch: HB 1210

The cost of living varies substantially across Colorado – making it even more challenging for many Coloradans to make ends meet. Though Colorado voters in 2016 approved an incremental increase in the state’s minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020, we know that it still will not be enough for people to live on in many communities.

Fortunately, state legislators are considering HB 1210, which would let local communities raise the minimum wage to better meet the needs of residents. The measure would repeal a bill enacted in 1999 that prohibits Colorado cities and towns from establishing a higher minimum wage than the state minimum wage.

Research indicates that restoring power to local governments to set a local minimum wage above the statewide minimum wage can have positive results for the economic security of workers, the bottom line of businesses and the health of local economies.

CCLP supports HB 1210, which passed out of the House earlier this week and has been assigned to the Senate Business, Labor & Technology Committee. The bill is sponsored by Reps. Jovan Melton and Rochelle Galindo and by Sens. Jessie Danielson and Dominick Moreno.

Bill to Watch: HB 1164

Costs are growing faster than incomes almost everywhere in Colorado – but especially to parents of young children. Indeed, findings from CCLP’s Self-Sufficiency Standard show that 50 percent of households with children under 6 years old have inadequate incomes.

In 2013, the General Assembly passed Senate Bill 1, which created a refundable child tax credit of between 5 percent and 30 percent of the federal credit for families with children age 5 and under. The credit is targeted to families with young children because that is the time that child care and other expenses are at their highest, and small investments have the greatest return. However, the Colorado CTC was only slated to go into effect if Congress passed the Marketplace Fairness Act allowing the collection of sales tax on all internet purchases.

Sponsored by Rep. Jonathan Singer and Sens. Rachel Zenzinger and Kevin Priola, House Bill 1164 would utilize sales tax revenue from online purchases that may now be collected pursuant to a United States Supreme Court decision to fund the Child Tax Credit in Colorado.As CCLP’s Chaer Robert pointed out during her testimony in support of HB 1164, most people reach their earning peak during their 40s and 50s, while having children in their 20s and 30s. The Colorado Child Tax Credit would provide targeted support to those families at their time of greatest need — as they are developing both their families and their careers.

HB 1164  is one of several tax credit bills being considered by legislators this session, including HB 1013, a CCLP-led bill that would extend Colorado’s child care tax credit for households earning less than $25,000 beyond 2020, when the credit is due to expire. Approved by the House Finance Committee in late January, HB 1013 is awaiting consideration by the House Appropriations Committee.

On the Radar:

We’re pleased to report that HB 1004 was approved by the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services on Wednesday and is heading to the Senate Appropriations Committee. If approved, the legislation would task Colorado’s department of Health Care Policy and Finance and the Division of Insurance with developing an insurance plan that would leverage state infrastructure to provide affordable, quality health care and increase competition in the individual market — particularly helping those who live in the high-cost areas of the state. CCLP supports this bill and is encouraged that the latest iteration requires consideration of how the public option would affect Coloradans who are currently eligible for financial assistance when they purchase plans through the state’s exchange, Connect for Health Colorado.

Another CCLP-led bill, HB 1118, is awaiting final approval in the House. If passed, the measure would extend the notice required before a landlord can file an eviction petition for a non-substantial lease violation – including unpaid rent – from three to 10 days. This extension ensures that Colorado tenants would have more time to find the funds to pay rent or address a landlord’s complaint before they would lose their homes. Contact Jack Regenbogen at [email protected] to support this legislation.

On Wednesday, the Senate Business, Technology & Labor Committee approved SB 188, which would establish a public insurance program to provide partial wage benefits for Coloradans who take family medical leave to care for a new child or family member with serious health issues or other life-changing circumstances. CCLP supports this effort to help hardworking Coloradans avoid bankruptcy if a family or medical emergency occurs. The bill will be heard by the House Finance Committee next.

After passing through the House with bipartisan support, HB 1025 is scheduled to be heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday, March 18. The bill prohibits employers from asking about criminal history on job applications. Similar legislation was developed by CCLP’s Jack Regenbogen in 2016 and again in 2017. CCLP strongly supports this legislation, which will help many Coloradans who face barriers to employment re-enter the workforce.

Recent articles

Remarks on Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization

The following remarks are provided by CCLP's executive director Tiffani Lennon. An attack on access to reproductive health is an attack on access to healthcare. Today’s attack on healthcare affects everyone, but particularly those experiencing poverty, with a...