Capitol Week in Review

Welcome to this week’s edition of Capitol Week in Review, a weekly update on education policy at the Capitol!  

Legislative Update

HB22-1010 Early Childhood Educator Income Tax Credit, which gives educators a tax break for dollars they spend in their classrooms, passed out of the Senate Finance Committee and was referred to the Committee on Appropriations.   

HB22-1052 Promoting Crisis Services To Students, which will earmark funds to promote awareness about public mental health resources, was passed by the Senate Education Committee and referred to the Appropriations Committee.       

HB22-1131 Reduce Justice-Involvement for Young Children was passed by the House and now will be heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill will create a taskforce to study the prosecution of children ages 10 – 12.  

HB22-1220 Removing Barriers to Educator Preparation, which will remove barriers in educator preparation to support educator candidates entering the workforce, passed out of the Senate Education Committee as amended, and was referred to the Appropriations Committee.  

HB22-1260 Access To Medically Necessary Services For Students, which ensures that physically, cognitively, or emotionally impaired students will be able to access services in their schools with local providers, was passed by the House and now will be heard in the Senate.  

HB22-1295 Department Early Childhood And Universal Preschool Program, which establishes the Department of Early Childhood to elevate early childhood education and ensures that early childhood care is easy to navigate for all Colorado families, was signed into law by the Governor.   

HB22-1376 Supportive Learning Environments for K-12 Students passed out of the House Appropriations Committee and passed the House second reading. This bill updates Colorado’s policies and practices to improve school climate for students. 

SB22-099 Sealing Criminal Records passed out of the House Judiciary Committee unanimously and now will be heard by the Appropriations Committee. This bill will automatically seal the criminal records of individuals who are convicted of a non-violent offense if the person has completed their sentence, completed a waiting period of several years, and has not committed another criminal offense. 

SB22-127 Special Education Funding, which would increase funds for each child who receives special education funding to $1,750 (rather than the current $1250) and require the amount to increase by the rate of inflation each budget year beginning with the 2024-25 school year, was passed by the House and is headed to the Governor. 

SB22-147 Behavioral Health-care Services For Children passed the House and is headed to the Governor’s desk. This bill creates in the University of Colorado the Colorado Pediatric Psychiatry Consultation and Access Program (CoPPCAP) to support primary care providers in identifying and treating mild to moderate behavioral health conditions in children in primary care practices or school-based health centers.  

SB22-197 Innovation School Zones With Alternative Governance, passed out of the Senate and is now will be heard by the House Education Committee. This bill allows innovation schools to set up their own form of governance, provided they also provide student success data to the state and sets up a dispute resolution process. 

SB22-202 – State Match for Mill Levy Override Revenue passed out of the Senate. This bill will allocate more money to school districts with a much leaner municipal tax base.  

Our Take

We are thrilled that SB 22-1220, Removing Barriers to Educator Preparation, was passed by the Senate Education Committee.  This legislation is one of our top priority bills this year because it provides a pathway to increasing teacher diversity in Colorado and addressing the teacher shortage. Removing financial barriers and increasing pathways to licensure will ensure a more diverse educator workforce, which is critical for all of Colorado’s students to experience just and supportive schools.  

Parent, community leader, and Stand Advocacy Fellow, Pamela, testified in favor of SB-1220 saying,  “What this bill does is address the barriers that people pursuing a career as a teacher face. Barriers that impact people of color as well as those in poverty most….As we continue to correct the inequities that exist in our education system, we should acknowledge that nothing can replace a person’s lived experience. It shouldn’t be assumed that everyone is starting at the same point on the same starting line. That everyone has the privilege to obtain their credentials without amassing a crippling amount of debt, or is able to work full time hours without being monetarily compensated for their time and skill.” 

Take Action

Ask Policy Makers to Support Innovation in Our Schools with SB-197! 

14 years ago, legislation was passed to create innovation zones and schools. Senate Bill 22-197 updates that policy and codifies lessons learned over the last 14 years in innovation schools and establishes fair processes to resolve issues if they arise between Innovation Zones and their local districts.

Email House Education Committee Members and ask them to support SB 22-197 with one click!  

For More Information

These four states already have universal preschool. What can Colorado learn from them?, Chalkbeat 

Lawmakers propose matching fund to help property-poor Colorado school districts, Chalkbeat 

Colorado Education Bill Tracker 2022, Chalkbeat 

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