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. At the end of our newly renewed three-year contract with Aponté & Busam, we will have worked with them for almost 30 years.
The Public Policy Council started the 2022-2023 League year off strong by creating several partnerships with community partners and Colorado Junior Leagues that align on our focus to break the cycle of systemic poverty for women and families. The JLD Public Policy Council will lead the statewide advocacy partnership that was recently formed with the Junior Leagues of Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, and Pueblo. The Council also discussed legislative agendas and created partnerships with the Women’s Foundation of Colorado, the Colorado Children’s Campaign, Hunger Free Colorado, Make Colorado Affordable, the Colorado Fiscal Institute, the Colorado Center on Law & Policy, and Executives Partnering to Invest in Children. The Council will meet with these partners at least once a month to partner on initiatives and ensure that our legislative agendas are aligned.
The Public Policy Council’s focus this fall was to prepare the Junior League of Denver’s membership for the 2022 Colorado General Election. In September 2022, The Public Policy Council and the JLD Board of Directors voted to support Proposition FF Healthy School Meals for All ballot measure at a level 1 (League-wide engagement). In October 2022, the Council educated members on the ballot measure by highlighting it in the Wine & Ballots training that was available to the public, communicating information via social media and League-wide emails, and having the Coalition Lead give a Training in a Moment at the October General Meeting. The Healthy School Meals for All ballot measure passed during the November 2022 election!
The Public Policy Council is currently preparing for the 2023 legislative session to kick off on January 9, 2023. The Council will be joining the Colorado Children’s Campaign at the Speak Up for Kids advocacy day on January 19, 2023. The event will include an overview of the policy related to alleviating poverty for children. They will also participate in trainings at this event boost advocacy skills and help speak up for kids during the 2023 legislative session and beyond.
Aponté & Busam will prepare a ballot tracker with all the bills proposed in the 2023 legislative session that aligns to the JLD mission and focus. The JLD Public Policy Council will review and vote to support or oppose the bills during the Public Policy Council meetings. As a reminder, there are three levels of engagement the council considers when reviewing bills to support or oppose:
- Level 1: League Engagement – This is the highest level of engagement, with League-wide participation.
- Level 2: Council Engagement – JLD’s name can be used as a supporter or opposer of the bill, but participation is limited to Public Policy Council members.
- Level 3: Actively Monitor – JLD takes no action in support or opposition to legislation. Remains on a list of bills the Public Policy Council is tracking.
In addition to creating a ballot tracker, Aponté & Busam provides the following support as part of our contract:
- Overview of political landscape and general education on legislative and budget processes
- General updates on budget forecasts, post-election analysis and general legislative issues
- Weekly updates via bill tracking service on legislation of interest
- Timely written updates to JLD Public Policy Council on action and next steps with JLD priority legislation
- Advising to the ad-hoc planning committee as related to the JLD focus for community and policy activities.
- Assistance with event planning, in conjunction with JLD leadership, for three legislative and training activities (ex. Legislative Breakfast, General Meeting and Advocacy 101)
- Engagement in up to four priority bills during the 2022-23 session, including limited lobbying, which would include AB consultant engagement with bill sponsors and stakeholders upon introduction of a bill, and limited involvement in vote counts and committee hearing processes
- End of session wrap-up including detailed report of legislation of interest to JLD
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