May 3, 2019

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Our Lucky 13: Thanks for a GREAT session!

by | May 3, 2019

The 2019 Colorado legislative session was a banner year for legislation that advances economic justice. Colorado Center on Law and Policy led or helped develop 13 bills throughout the session and we’re happy to say that all of them were approved by legislators with bipartisan support.

Here’s the complete list of legislation that we led or helped develop that has been passed and sent to Gov. Jared Polis to be signed into law:

House Bill 1004 will 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 high-cost areas of the state. Thanks to Rep. Dylan Roberts and Rep. Marc Catlin for sponsoring HB 1104 in the House and to Sen. Kerry Donovan for shepherding it through the Senate.

HB 1013 will extend Colorado’s child care tax credit for households earning less than $25,000 to 2028. The tax credit is essential in defraying the cost of child care, which is consistently one of the highest-ticket basic needs for working families, according to CCLP’s Self-Sufficiency Standard report. Child care is essential to employment, which in turn is essential to reducing poverty. Thanks to Rep. Tony Exum and Sen. Brittany Pettersen for sponsoring this important bill.

HB 1025 prohibits most employers from asking about criminal history on an initial employment application – giving more Coloradans a chance to secure a job, earn an income and get on with their lives. When HB 1025 is signed by the Governor, Colorado will join 11 other states with a “ban the box” law on the books for the private sector. Thanks to Reps. Leslie Herod and Jovan Melton and Sens. Mike Foote and Robert Rodriguez for sponsoring this bill and getting it to the Governor’s desk! Learn more about CCLP’s role in developing the legislation in this blog posting.

HB 1107 appropriates $750,000 to establish a three-year pilot program to provide funds to community-based organizations that work with people trying to get into the workforce or improve their skills to get a better-paying job. This bill will help low-income workers with small-dollar emergencies that prevent them from continuing or starting work. Thank you to Rep. James Coleman for his incredible work in the House, and Sen. Rhonda Fields and Sen. Kevin Priola for their Senate leadership. Kudos are also due to the dozens of organizations and individuals who helped develop and support this innovative legislation.

HB 1118 will give families the chance to avoid eviction or find other housing by extending the eviction notification period from three to 10 days. Thanks to Reps. Dominique Jackson and Rochelle Galindo for their work in sponsoring the bill in the House for Sen. Angela Williams for guiding it through the Senate. A special thank you is owed to our partners at Colorado Coalition for the Homeless for their tireless work in support of this legislation.

HB 1189 will reform the state’s wage-garnishment laws by requiring clearer and more-timely notice of garnishment. The bill also will reduce the amount subject to garnishment to help people meet household needs while paying their debts. Furthermore, HB 1189 creates a general hardship exemption that allows garnishment to be further reduced – or eliminated altogether – in certain circumstances. Getting a bill like this passed through fierce opposition was a heroic feat, and we owe a debt of gratitude to Bob Connelly, a volunteer and retired attorney, for making it happen. Thanks are also due to Reps. Matt Gary and Alex Valdez as well as Sens. Jeff Bridges and Rhonda Fields.

HB 1223 will help Coloradans with disabilities apply for financial assistance from the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) programs. Thanks Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet, Rep. Colin Larsen and Sen. Faith Winter for sponsoring. Learn more about the bill in this op-ed from CCLP’s Allison Neswood.

HB 1239 creates a grant program within the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, which will be awarded to local governments and nonprofits throughout the state to increase outreach efforts for the U.S. Census – ensuring that every Coloradan counts and that the state receives adequate federal funding. CCLP worked with a coalition of partners on this legislation, which was sponsored by Rep. Kerry Tipper, Rep. Yidera Caraveo, Sen. Kevin Priola and Sen. Faith Winter.

HB 1275 will make records for nonviolent convictions eligible for sealing and unavailable to the public —  removing a barrier for many Coloradans seeking employment and housing. Thanks Rep. Mike Weissman Rep. Matt Soper and Sen. Pete Lee for sponsoring HB 1275.

HB 1309 will revise Colorado’s Mobile Home Park Act and make progress towards leveling the playing field for homeowners residing on rented lots. Thank you Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, Sen. Pete Lee, Rep. Edie Hooton, and Rep. Julie McCluskie for sponsoring this bill.

HB 1320 is designed to increase the transparency of community benefit investments by nonprofit hospitals so the communities they serve can ensure they invest in activities that improve health outcomes in their communities. Thanks Rep. Chris Kennedy, Rep. Susan Lontine and Sen. Faith Winter for sponsoring HB 1320.

HB 1322 will increase the supply of affordable housing by investing $30 million a year for three years into the Housing Development Grant Fund without using taxpayer dollars. CCLP’s Claire Levy worked hard on the legislation over several years and authored this commentary to Colorado Politics regarding the bill. CCLP received significant help from Counties and Commissioners Acting Together (CCAT). Thanks Rep. Dylan Roberts, Rep. Perry Will, Sen. Dominick Moreno and Sen. Don Coram for sponsoring.

Finally, Senate Bill 180 will establish a $750,000 legal defense fund to help Coloradans facing eviction. This historic legislation will help prevent homelessness before it occurs. But SB 180 also represents a big step in repairing the many disparities individuals with low wages encounter under our legal system. CCLP is especially thankful to its partners and sponsors Sen. Faith Winter and Rep. Julie McCluskie in supporting this legislation.

CCLP thanks all of the legislators and partners who helped advance our vision of forging pathways from poverty. Together, these bills will make a significant difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of Coloradans

We look forward to ensuring these bills are implemented effectively and to developing more legislation that will improve the health and well-being of the people in this great state.

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...