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

HB23-1003School Mental Health Assessment, which creates the sixth through twelfth grade mental health assessment program was passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee 6-3 and was laid over until May 1.

HB23-1042, Admissibility Standards For Juvenile Statements, which increases funding for interrogation training for law enforcement, as well as improves the general reliability of confessions by requiring all juvenile interrogations to be recorded is headed to the Governor for signature.   

HB23-1133Cost Of Phone Calls for Persons In Custody, which mandates that the Department of Corrections (DOC) provide communications services to persons in DOC custody in a correctional facility or private prison, was passed by the House. It is expected to be heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee May 1.  

HB23-1168Legal Representation and Students with Disabilities, which requires CDE to create and maintain a list of attorneys qualified to represent a parent in a due process complaint and creates a fund to pay attorneys defending parents against due process complaints filed by an education provider, is headed to the Governor for signature. 

HB23-1231Math in Pre-Kindergarten Through Twelfth Grade, was passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee 7-0 and will be considered by the full Senate next. This bill will support math educators with evidence-based training and interventions to help K- 12th-grade students struggling in math. The bill also includes $1.6 million for the Ninth Grade Success Grant program to help ensure that more Colorado students finish their 9th-grade year on track and graduate high school prepared for post-secondary success.   

HB23-1223, Task Force to Prioritize Grants Target Population, which creates a task force to establish shared goals and guidelines for entities to utilize in prioritizing new and existing grant money to reduce youth violence, suicide, and delinquency risk factors is scheduled to be heard May 3 by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.  

HB23-1249Reduce 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, was passed 4-3 by the Senate Appropriations Committee and will be considered by the full Senate next.   

HB23-1263, Translating Individualized Education Programs, which permits the multidisciplinary team that creates an individualized education program (IEP) for a child, who may be eligible for special education services, to translate the IEP draft documents into the dominant language spoken in the home of the child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian, passed by the Senate Education Committee on a vote of 5 – 2 . 

HB23-1290Proposition EE Funding Retention Rate Reduction, refers a ballot issue to the voters at the November 7, 2023, statewide election to allow the state to retain and spend state revenues that would otherwise need to be refunded. If voters approve the ballot measure: the money set aside will be transferred to the preschool programs cash fund and the general fund and the nicotine tax will stay at the rates required by proposition EE. The bill was passed by the House and will be considered by the Senate Finance Committee on May 2.  

HB23-1291, Procedures For Expulsion Hearing Officers, was passed by House Appropriations Committee 10-1 and will be considered by the full House next. This bill addresses due process rights for students by mandating the sharing of evidence during an expulsion hearing, prohibiting conflicts of interest for the hearing officer, as well as requiring annual training regarding student development, restorative justice, and special education and the law. 

SB23-039Reduce 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 headed to the Governor for signature.   

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 headed to the Governor for signature.  

SB23-099, Special Education Funding, which increases special education funding by an additional $40,203, 671, unanimously passed the House and is headed to the Governor for signature.  

SB-23-287Public School Finance, which sets school funding levels, passed the House Appropriations Committee 10 – 1 and was referred to the Committee of the Whole of the House. The bill increases the statewide base per pupil funding for the 2023-24 budget year by $598.25 (to account for inflation) and creates a public-school finance task force.    

Stand Day at the Capitol

We want to take a moment to thank the twelve parents, educators and community leaders who joined our team for a day at the Capitol this week. These advocates were briefed on the latest on key policy moving through the Capitol, listened to Senate floor debate (and were even invited to sit on the Senate floor), got a tour of the Capitol, and shared their policy priorities. We deeply believe that policy making is most effective when the voices of those impacted are at the center of decision making and are thrilled to have so many advocates join us at the Capitol.  

Read reflections from some of the participants on our blog.  

Our Take

This week the House and the Senate voted on final passage for HB 23- 1042, Admissibility Standards For Juvenile Statements and now it is off to the Governor for signature. We are thrilled that this important bill is one step closer to becoming a reality. It will help ensure that law enforcement officers receive training for interrogation of youth and prioritize securing confessions that are voluntary and reliable. You can read what I shared during the Senate Judiciary hearing on our blog.  

Take Action

HB23-1249, Reduce Justice-involvement For Young Children, will end the prosecution of children 12 years and younger and empower alternative child-serving systems, including mental health, education, and child welfare agencies, to address the behavior, deliver treatment and family supports instead of prosecution.  Ask your Senator to support HB23-1249 today! 

What We’re Reading

Parents who don’t speak English would have more access to translated documents under Colorado bill 

How a new law will help incarcerated Coloradans reduce their sentence through a college education 

Colorado special education gets long-awaited funding boost 

Expulsion hearing officers would get more training under Colorado bill 

Chalkbeat’s Education Bill Tracker 

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