The JLD Public Policy Council is the liaison to our membership, the community, and elected officials. The group researches issues affecting the JLD, keeps the League informed on areas of interest, and advises when action is appropriate.
The JLD has a proud history of public policy and advocacy. In 1987, it was the first League in the United States to hire a government affairs specialist Since then the Public Policy Council has worked closely with its government affairs specialist, Aponte & Busam, to monitor, advocate, and support various important pieces of legislation at the State Capitol.
The council focuses efforts on Early Childhood Education issues to support the League-wide focus on literacy, and in recent years supported a variety of legislation addressing: literacy/childhood education, children and women’s health, women’s self-sufficiency and affordable childcare.
The League historically focused on supporting issues affecting women and children at the State Capitol. Such issues include access to education and healthcare, as well as workforce development and strategies to move towards self-sufficiency. In 2017, the Public Policy Council added affordable childcare to its wheelhouse. As a result, the council has made bold steps to engage community partners to learn more about the issues surrounding affordable childcare and has joined forces with like-minded organizations to promote policies that aim to tackle the problem.
2021 Legislative Agenda
As such, the JLD Public Policy Council will focus efforts for the 2021 Legislative Session on emerging issues in this space, while allowing for flexibility to determine other priorities related to the focus of advancing literacy and early childhood education. In the past, JLD has also supported broader efforts to advance the health and wellness of Colorado’s children and families, including human trafficking reform, and family and medical leave issues, among others.
This session the JLD Public Policy Council is supporting:
SB21-194 Maternal Health Providers
- This bill aims to address racial disparities in perinatal care. Black and indigenous women are three times more likely to die from pregnancy and childbirth complications than white women in the United States, according to the CDC. The bill was introduced after President Joe Biden proclaimed April 11 through April 17 as Black Maternal Health Week, placing a spotlight back on a longstanding issue. The bill Colorado legislators are considering would extend Medicaid coverage for postpartum care from 60 days to 12 months. It also directs the Colorado Maternal Mortality Review Committee to collect data on how race and ethnicity impacts birth outcomes, and to make recommendations.
- 4/14/2021: Senate Committee on Health & Human Services Refer Amended to Appropriations on a vote of 4-3
SB21-027 Emergency Supplies For Colorado Babies And Families
- The bill requires the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to select nonprofit organizations to oversee distribution of diapering essentials to eligible families. This legislation creates 12 grant programs totaling $2 million, eight of which must be rural, for nonprofit organizations to distribute infant essentials statewide.
- 3/03/2021: Senate Committee on Health & Human Services Refer Amended to Appropriations
SB21-115 Annual Funding For Talking Book Library Services
- Under current law, the General Assembly authorizes and appropriates money annually from the Colorado Telephone Users with Disabilities Fund to support Talking Book Library services for individuals who are blind or physically disabled. The bill requires an annual appropriation from the fund for the Talking Book Library services and appropriates $250,000 for that purpose. Utilization of this service has increased during the pandemic.
- 3/30/21: House Committee on Public & Behavioral Health & Human Services Refer Unamended to Appropriations; passed with a vote of 12-0
SB21-009 Reproductive Health Care Program
- The bill creates a state-run reproductive health care program that provides contraceptive methods and counseling services to undocumented women. The state’s Medicaid department estimates the bill would expand healthcare to 27,000 people who are otherwise ineligible for benefits.
- 3/22/21: Senate Committee on Health & Human Services Refer Unamended to Appropriations
HB21-1200 Revise Student Financial Literacy Standards
- This bill’s goal is to improve financial literacy among high school students by directing Colorado’s State Board of Education to review its recommended financial literacy curriculum. Colorado school districts are not required to include financial literacy in their curriculum, but the districts that do are encouraged to use the state’s resource bank. This bill would expand the resources available to participating districts. This bill fortifies those resources, and recommends expanding financial literacy to include subjects and lessons on college loan costs and information, FAFSA, Colorado Aid, credit cards, homeownership and mortgages, and other financial topics.
- 4/23/21: House Committee on Appropriations Refer Amended to House Committee of the Whole. House second Reading Special Order – Passed with Amendments – Committee.
Full-Day Kindergarten Update
According to the Colorado Department of Education, a total of 61,989 kindergartners enrolled in full-day classes in Colorado’s public schools this fall. It amounts to 11,913 more than the previous year, an increase that can be attributed to legislation that went into effect for the 2019-2020 school year.
House Bill 19-1262 passed in 2019, providing 100% funding for full-day kindergarten. In previous years, the state only paid 58% funding for full-day kindergarten.
Overall, the total increase in preschool through 12th-grade enrollment for Colorado’s public schools grew by only 0.2% from the previous year with 913,223 students being counted this fall, 1,687 more than in 2018-2019. Colorado’s student population has continued to grow over the past 30 years. The last time the state saw a decrease in pupil enrollment was the fall of 1988.
We will continue to keep you up-to-date on full-day kindergarten implementation in Colorado.
We welcome input from the community and all League members. Together we can make an impact on important legislative issues that help improve our Denver metro community.
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