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

HB23-1001, Expanding Assistance For Educator Programs, which supports student teachers toward the goal of diversifying the teacher workforce passed the House and will be heard by the Senate Education Committee next. 

HB23-1003, School Mental Health Assessment, which creates the sixth through twelfth grade mental health assessment program passed in the House Public and Behavior Health and Human Services Committee on a 7-4 vote and was referred to the Committee on Appropriations.  

HB23-1064, Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact, which makes it easier for active-duty military spouses to transfer their teaching licenses without further testing, thereby allowing them to teach in Colorado classrooms faster, passed 46 – 16 in the House.  

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, is scheduled to be heard in the House Education Committee on February 16.  

HB23-1100, Restrict Government Involvement in Immigration Detention passed in the House Judiciary Committee on a vote of 7 – 6. For years, Colorado taxpayers have been picking up the bill of the federal government by allowing the state to contract a private company to house or detain individuals for federal civil immigration purposes. This bill would prevent any such further contracts and begins a review process of these contracts over the next two years. 

HB 23-1112, Earned Income and Child Tax Credits, which will give more money to more working-class families by expanding eligibility of the Earned Income Tax Credit, is scheduled to be heard in the House Finance Committee on February 13.  

HB23-1145, Hearing Timelines Juveniles In Adult Facilities, passed unanimously in Committee and was referred to the Committee of the Whole. The bill aligns the timelines for hearings in Colorado law for a juvenile already ordered to be held in an adult facility while awaiting trial with the timelines in the federal “Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act”. 

HB23-1187, Alternatives In Criminal Justice System And Pregnant Persons, which requires the court to consider alternatives, such as probation, to pregnant or postpartum defendants if the risk of incarceration outweighs risk to the public, was introduced in the House. 

SB23-004, Employment Of School Mental Health Professionals, which authorizes a school district to employ health professions, such as psychologists, who are not licensed by the Colorado Department of Education but hold a Colorado license for their profession, passed unanimously in the Senate Committee of Health and Human Services. 

SB23-039, Reduce Child and Incarcerated Parent Separation, which requires the Department of Human Services to prioritize the facilitate communication and family time between children and their parents who are incarcerated will be heard February 13.

SB23-070, Mandatory School Resource Officer Training, which requires a law enforcement officer to complete a school resource officer training curriculum before working as a school resource officer, will be heard in the Senate Education Committee on February 13.  

SB23-071, Education Accountability Act, which allows a school district to seek judicial review or file a civil action for declaratory relief against rules, regulations, or final orders of the Colorado state board of education, will be heard in the Senate Education Committee on February 13.  

SB23-075, Deletion Of Child’s Name From Criminal Justice Records, which concerns children’s data privacy by ensuring that children’s names are not included in public criminal justice records, most notably by requiring the notation “child witness” on a criminal record involving a child witness, will be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 13.  

SB23-082, Colorado Fostering Success Voucher Program, which establishes a program to provide housing vouchers and case management services to eligible foster youth, passed unanimously in the Senate Committee of Health and Human Services.  

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, passed unanimously in the Senate Education Committee. 

SB23-099, Special Education Funding, which increases special education funding by an additional $40M passed unanimously out of the Senate Education Committee.   

SB23-115, Department of Education Supplemental, which moves state dollars towards the dept. of education for programs administered by the state, passed unanimously in the Senate. SB23-136, Adjustments To School Funding Fiscal Year 2022-23, which concerns the adjustment of state dollars to local school districts, was introduced in the Senate.   

Our Take

Two of our teammates weighed in on policies designed to make schools and communities safer and more supportive.  

Stand organizer, Natalie Perez, testified in support of HB23-1003, School Mental Health Assessment, saying, “I believe our schools should be a safe place for our kids, and having a program where every child is assessed would go a long way. Having a qualified provider at every school in these times where our children are going through pain and large amounts of stress would not only create safer communities, but it would also help students understand what they are feeling.” 

Stand organizer, Vallerie Bustamante, testified in support of HB23-1100, Restrict Government Involvement in Immigration Detention, saying, “Growing up with the fear that my parents or any extended family member would end up detained and sent off to a facility where living conditions are evidently inhumane, was probably the first thought that crossed my mind as I woke up, as I overachieved in school, as I was thinking of what college to attend, as I applied to my first job at 15 to help with bills because my mom was laid off due to a warning about ICE coming to her factory, as I watched the news with anticipation whenever the highlight said ‘immigration reform’. Although an end all be all immigration reform has not been passed, legislation like the one presented today is certainly a step forward towards that direction.” 

What We’re Reading

Bill restricting government involvement in immigrant detention advances  

Proposal advances to add $40 million to Colorado’s special education funding  

Teacher apprenticeships among solutions lawmakers consider for educator shortages  

Incarcerated Coloradans could get released early by going to college  

Chalkbeat’s Education Bill Tracker 

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