May 29, 2020

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Legislative Update: May 2020

by | May 29, 2020

It seems the word “unprecedented” is used so often in the COVID-19 era that it’s become the new precedent in all walks of life — and this year’s Colorado General Assembly is certainly no exception. Lawmakers returned to the Capitol on May 26, divided by plexiglass and with some donning face masks.

The session is expected to last only three more weeks (though a recent court ruling would let them meet for longer if necessary). That’s a lot of work to complete within a short time-frame, but here’s where things stand in terms of bills Colorado Center on Law and Policy (CCLP) is leading or co-leading:

Senate Bill 29 would increase Basic Cash Assistance by 5 percent and set a 1.5 percent cost-of-living adjustment each year moving forward. Right before the session was delayed, the bill was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee and was heading to the Senate floor. Though the status of SB 29 is currently unclear, we hope that legislators will view it as a way to provide financial assistance to families that are struggling most.

House Bill 1009 was approved by both chambers and signed into law on March 20 and will become effective on Dec. 1 of this year. The bill will keep eviction records from public view so that tenants will not have to face a barrier to housing because of a filing that’s been dismissed or still pending. Thanks to all partner organizations and legislators (particularly Rep. Dominique Jackson and Sen. Faith Winter) who supported this important tenants’ rights legislation.

HB 1196 and HB 1201 would amend the Mobile Home Park Act to provide more stability for these neighborhoods. Both passed through the House. HB 1196 passed through the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this week and heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee. Meanwhile, HB 1201 was approved by the Senate on a second reading Thursday.

Despite passing through the House Finance Committee earlier this session, HB 1203, will be postponed indefinitely by the House Appropriations Committee. The bill would have expanded the state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and commence the payment of the Child Tax Credit by changing tax deductions for corporations.

Instead, HB 1203 sponsors Rep. Emily Sirota and Rep. Matt Gray will introduce a new bill which sweeps all proceeds from closing corporate tax loopholes into the general fund to reduce the budget gap. If passed, that bill is expected to double the state EITC in the 2022 tax year and make taxpaying immigrants eligible for the state tax credit for the first time. Immigrants have notably been excluded from federal relief and stimulus related to COVID-19 and currently don’t qualify for the federal EITC and other benefits.

Finally, HB 1236 passed through the Senate Finance Committee earlier this week and was approved on the second reading on the Senate floor on Thursday. The bill would use the regular tax-filing process to inform Coloradans of their eligibility for Medicaid, CHP+ and tax credits. Thanks to our partners for supporting this commonsense measure to ensure that more Coloradans get the health coverage they need more than ever.

-By Bob Mook

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Five takeaways for work after COVID-19

Supported by a generous grant from the ECMC Foundation, Colorado Center on Law and Policy set out to track how the experiences of unemployed Coloradans have changed since February 2020. By analyzing economic and labor force data, as well as conducting interviews with...