The closer we move to the end of session, the faster the legislative process goes. My greenhouse gas impact bill (HB19-1188) passed the House on Third Reading, as did Full Day Kindergarten (HB19-1262), and climate change legislation (HB19-1261). The Health Care Cost Savings Act of 2019 (HB19-1176) also moved on from Appropriations and will be heard on the House floor Monday.
Read on to learn more about this week at the Capitol.
Legislative Process Tip of the Week:
My first bill on Climate Change passed the House on Third Reading.
IMPORTANT ACTION NEEDED: please call your Senators to ask for support on HB19-1176 and HB19-1188, the Health Care Cost Act of 2019 and Greenhouse Gas Impact in Fiscal Notes. With the legislative clock winding down, these two bills on universal health care and climate change will need all hands on deck to pass!
Greenhouse Gas Impact in Fiscal Notes - My first bill addressing climate change,HB19-1188, passed the House on Third Readings on Tuesday and Joint Legislative Council on Thursday. The next step is Senate Appropriations. This important bill would include an evaluation of greenhouse gas impact in the fiscal note attached to every bill which moves through the legislature, centering climate change as a primary consideration for lawmakers, and giving your Representatives and Senators more tools and resources to independently evaluate the climate impact of a given bill.
Full Day Kindergarten - The House also passed a HUGE program for Colorado families: full day universal kindergarten (HB19-1262) sponsored by Representatives McLachlan and Wilson. This bipartisan legislation, which incurs no additional costs for families, saw zero opposition in committee. Fully funding full day kindergarten will lift up children all over the state, removing financial burdens for parents and ensuring that kids from rural, urban, and suburban districts all get the chance at a strong first start. The bill also passed the Senate Education Committee and should be on the Senate floor next week.
Climate Change - A major climate change bill sponsored by Speaker Becker and Representative Jackson, HB19-1261, also passed the House and moves to the Senate. The legislation sets new goals for greenhouse gas reductions in Colorado, requiring the Air Quality Control Commission to create new rules to directly tackle climate change by reducing carbon pollution by at least 26 percent by 2025, 50 percent by 2030 and 90 percent by 2050 compared to 2005 levels.
Healthcare - Severalhealthcare-related bills were in the spotlight this week at the Capitol. Importantly, the Health Care Cost Savings Act of 2019 (HB19-1176) has moved past appropriations and is now proceeding to the House floor for Second Reading on Monday.In other health-related updates, health insurance for breast imaging (HB19-1301), expands coverage and increases safety for breast cancer screening, passed in House this week and is headed to the Senate. Another measure, School Immunization Requirements (HB19-1312) was heard in committee after a lengthy public testimony lasting over fourteen hours. With the resurgence of measles and other preventable diseases on the rise, and Colorado ranking last for child vaccination rates, protecting the safety of school children must be a top priority. Finally, Representative Robert's bill (HB19-1216) to reduce insulin prices in Colorado passed the House and proceeds to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.
Sunset License Regulate Psychiatric Technicians - Another bill I am sponsoring, SB19-154, is scheduled for second reading in the House on Monday. This bill continues licensure of psychiatric technicians, who are a vital component of Colorado’s workforce for mental health patients and patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Nina Turner and me at NARAL's event on Saturday
In the Community:
NARAL - On Saturday, I attended NARAL Annual Gala to hear special guest Nina Turner, President of Our Revolution, speak on progressive causes such as labor, reproductive rights, voting rights, and income inequality. Thank you to Nina for your powerful and inspirational words, and thank you to NARAL for putting together this amazing event!
University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work - DU’s GSSW policy class visited the Capitol this week. It was wonderful to meet so many MSW students looking at the impacts of public policy on the populations they serve. I look forward to welcoming you into the profession, as we need more people bringing the values of social justice into public policy, community organizations and human services agencies.
School Closures on Wednesday - School districts across the front range closed on Wednesday after the FBI put out a emergency alert about a potential threat to schools. While the day began with the fear that yet another shooting was imminent, the day ended with reports that the suspect killed herself with the gun she had purchased. This sad story is a tale of collective failure: the failure to prevent access to guns from those who are a threat to themselves or others and the failure to provide mental health services to individuals in crisis. Lawmakers can and must do more to ensure that accessing a gun is harder than accessing mental health services. It is hard in these circumstances to explain to your children, as I did Wednesday morning, why their schools were closed --- if you or someone you know is looking for additional resources on how to talk to your kids, the National Association of School Psychologists can provide some guidance.
In the News: To read more about what's going on at the Capitol, check out these news articles.