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.
2019 Legislative Agenda
As such, the JLD Public Policy Council will focus efforts for the 2019 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:
Full Day Kindergarten Proposal: Funding for full-day kindergarten is core to the Junior League’s focus on improving literacy rates and access to quality early childhood education. Many children in Colorado don’t have access to full-day kindergarten leaving them at a disadvantage at an early age in terms of literacy, math, social skills, and overall academic growth. Full-day kindergarten also supports earlier identification and support for kids with special needs. While this bill is expensive, this is an investment that the state should prioritize in order to set up our children for success. Funding full-day kindergarten also supports our workforce and allows families to save money.
HB 19-1013: Child Care Expenses Tax Credit Low-income Families (Rep T. Exum Sr. and Sen. B. Pettersen. This bill makes the existing tax credit for child care expenses made by low-income taxpayers permanent. Under current law, the credit is set to expire after the tax year 2020. The bill decreases state revenue beginning in FY 2020-21.
HB 19-1051: Colorado Department of Public Safety Human Trafficking-related Training (Reps T. Carver & B. McLachlan and Sens. J. Ginal and R. Gardner) This bill requires the Department of Public Safety to provide human trafficking training. This bill increases state expenditures and potentially increases state revenue and local government workload by a minimal amount. These impacts continue in future years.
HB 19-1122: Colorado Department Of Public Health And Environment Maternal Mortality Review Committee (Reps J. Buckner & L. Landgraf and Sens. R. Fields and R. Gardner) This bill creates the Colorado Maternal Mortality Review Committee in the Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). The committee must review maternal deaths that occur in the state, identify the causes of maternal mortality and develop recommendations to address preventable maternal deaths.
HB 19-1137: Expand Teacher Cadet Program Include Early Childhood Education (Reps J. Wilson & D. Valdez and Sen. K. Priola) Under current law, the Department of Higher Education administers a teacher cadet program in rural schools and school districts to encourage and support high school students who are interested in pursuing teaching careers in rural Colorado. This bill clarifies that the program also supports students interested in careers in early childhood education.
HB 19-1171: Expand Child Nutrition School Lunch Protection Act (Rep D. Michaelson Jenet and Sens. K. Priola & R. Fields) This bill expands the program to include lunches served to students in grades nine through twelve. The current program provides free lunches to students in preschool through eighth grade who would otherwise pay for reduced-cost lunch. State law requires that the General Assembly annually appropriate funding for the program, within a specified range.
SB 19-063: Infant And Family Child Care Action Plan (Reps B. Buentello & A. Valdez and Sens. K. Priola and T. Story) Colorado is facing a shortage of licensed, safe, and affordable childcare options. Every single county in Colorado experienced a drop in the number of licensed family child care homes from 2010 to 2018 or already had zero, to begin with. SB19-063 requires the department of human services, in consultation with the early childhood leadership commission, to draft a strategic action plan addressing the declining availability of child care options in Colorado and submit it by December 1, 2019.
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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