Capitol Week in Review

Capitol Week in Review brings you news of bills we are tracking around our priorities of advancing educational equity and racial justice in Colorado and making our schools and communities safer and more supportive.  

Legislative Update

HB23-1003, School Mental Health Assessment, which creates the sixth through twelfth grade mental health assessment program will be heard April 6 in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.  

HB23-1024, Relative And Kin Placement Of A Child, which establishes measures to support reunification of a child or youth with their family when the child or youth has been temporarily placed with a relative or kin, will be heard April 5 by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.  

HB23-1089, Special Education Services For Students In Foster Care, which designates students in out-of-home placements as residents of the school district of their school of origin to increase stability and learning success, will be heard April 5 by Senate Education.  

HB23-1169, Limit Arrest For Low-level Offenses, which prohibits a peace officer from arresting a person based solely on the alleged commission of a petty offense, except for high level misdemeanors directly impacting victims (e.g. theft), was rescheduled to be heard by the House Judiciary Committee April 5.  

HB23-1235, Technical Modification To Department Of Early Childhood, makes technical changes HB22-1295, which created Colorado’s universal preschool program. This bill would allow the Department of Early Childhood to enter into contracts for early literacy programming and whole-child services, and ensures policy is aligned to current state and federal standards and is scheduled to be considered by the House April 3.   

HB23-1241, Task Force To Study K-12 Accountability System, which creates a task force to study academic opportunities, inequities, practices in schools, and improvements to the accountability and accreditation system, passed 10-0 by the House Education Committee.  

HB23-1249, Reduce Justice Involvement for Young Children, which changes the minimum age – from 10 to 13 – of children who are subject to prosecution in juvenile court; except in the case of homicide, will be heard April 5 by the House Judiciary Committee.  

SB23-004, Employment Of School Mental Health Professionals, which authorizes a school district to employ health professions, who are not licensed by the Colorado Department of Education but hold a Colorado license for their profession will be heard by the House Education Committee April 6.  

SB23-039, Reduce Child And Incarcerated Parent Separation, which requires the Department of Human Services to prioritize and facilitate communication and family time between children and their parents who are incarcerated, is scheduled to be heard April 5 by the House Public & Behavior Health and Human Services Committee.  

SB23-70, Mandatory School Resource Officer Training, is a bill that would require a law enforcement officer to complete a Safe2Tell training curriculum before working as a school resource officer; it is scheduled to be heard April 6 in the Senate Education Committee.  

SB23-087, Teacher Degree Apprenticeship Program, which creates a teacher degree apprenticeship program as an alternative route to teacher licensure and helps to alleviate the educator shortage, is scheduled to be heard April 3 by the House Education Committee.  

Our Take

Legislators are considering a policy that will help reduce recidivism by keeping families connected while a loved one is incarcerated. HB23-1133, Cost of Phone Calls for Persons in Custody, would make prison communication free across Colorado.  

Every year, Colorado families –who are disproportionately Black, brown, and low-income – pay over $8.8 million to speak to their incarcerated loved ones. Over 50% of families with an incarcerated loved one struggle to meet basic housing and food needs. One out of three families with a loved one behind bars goes into debt just to stay in touch, and women carry 87% of the burden. 

Research has repeatedly shown that when incarcerated people and their families are in regular communication, they do better both while they are behind bars serving their sentence and when they reenter the community, which improves safety for correctional officers and the public. 

Take Action

Ask legislators to reduce recidivism and keep families connected! 

Email your representative and ask them to support HB23-1133.  

What We’re Reading

State budget clears Colorado Senate, school funding TBD 

Chalkbeat’s Education Bill Tracker 

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