By Legislative Liaison Carolyn Martin
Colorado General Assembly Back in Session
On March 14, 2020, the Colorado Legislature recessed for what they and the entire state thought would be a short two weeks. Never could we have conceived that this shutdown would last for over ten weeks. This past Tuesday, the general assembly reconvened. They are dealing with a vastly different outlook for the state of Colorado than when they began their session in January.
In this first week upon their return, the focus will be on slashing the budget to align with new state income projections. The bills mandating higher taxes and fees like the FAMLI Leave Act and the Public Health Option, will have to wait. It is expected that they will jettison quite a few bills, like those proposing to eliminate the usage of such things as plastic straws and Styrofoam. But it doesn’t mean every bad bill that expands the reach of government will disappear.
Watch Out for the Vaccine Bill
The most egregious bill that I have been working against this session is SB20-163 School Entry Immunization. (You can find more information on the impacts of this bill on homeschoolers and action items here.) The pandemic we are now living through has sparked increased scrutiny of vaccine programs for children and adults around the world. The tsunami of fear this crisis brought with it has left some legislators looking to a vaccine as a solution and to SB20-163 as an essential piece of legislation. Yet, they are fully aware of the backlash this bill continues to heap on them.
We need to stay vigilant and be ready to speak out against SB20-163 if it gets brought to committee!
Other Bills to Watch: Not All Bad
HB20-1006 Early Childhood Mental Health Consultants: Charges the Department of Human Services (DHS) with expanding their programs across the state to support mental health for children from prenatal to eight years old in a variety of settings.
HB20-1008 Health Care Cost-Sharing Consumer Protections: Forces Health Care Sharing Ministries (HCSMs) to be under the watchful eye of the Division of Insurance requiring them to share their financials, their internal practices, and much more with the government.
HB20-1011 Helping Others Manage Early Childhood Act: Directs DHS to contract with an outside company to provide a state-wide public awareness campaign around early childhood education. I was able to get the targeting of homeschooling families out of this bill, but we need to continue to make sure it stays that way!
HB20-1105 Colorado TRAILS System Requirements: Prohibits the Department of Human Services from putting families suspected of abuse or neglect into their tracking system without notice and a hearing.
HB20-1147 Reasonable Independence for Children’s Activities: Protects parents from being charged with neglect when they allow their children reasonable independence.
HB20-1149 16-year-olds Voting in School District Elections: Allows 16-year-olds to vote in certain elections. Opening it up for them to vote in all elections.
SB20-156 Protecting Preventative Health Care Coverage: Expands the list of mandates insurance companies must pay for. Makes it mandatory for insurance companies to pay for abortions under family planning. It allows a minor to consent to preventive measures (Heb B & HPV vaccine) and any medications to treat sexually transmitted infections with no need for parental consent or notification.