Legislative Wins for Colorado Kids and Families

Yesterday was sine die, the last day of the 2024 legislative session! After a busy four months, we are thrilled to update you on our policy successes for the year. Before we get started, we want to underscore the deep and lasting impact the policies we passed in partnership with parents, educators, and community leaders will have on Colorado students and our communities.

Together with advocates across the state, we sent nearly 6,000 emails to policymakers, 20 advocates shared their lived experience in testimony before Committee hearings, and 30 leaders attended Capitol Day of Action. Others spoke to the media, engaged with their community and supported advocacy on social media. We are grateful for these critical partnerships.

Now, on to the wins for Colorado students and communities!

Equitable funding & supportive schools

HB24-1448, New Public School Finance Formula, will update our 30-year-old school finance formula and dramatically increase the amount school districts get for: each student from a low-income household, each English Language Learner, and each student with a disability.

Status: awaiting signature from the Governor.

HB24-1290, Student Educator Stipend Program, appropriates $3.6 million in funding for stipends for student teachers. This bill is part of a multi-year effort to remove barriers in educator preparation to increase educator diversity and address Colorado’s teacher shortage.

Status: awaiting signature by the Governor.

SB24-001, will continue the “I Matter” youth mental health services program, which provides up to six free therapy sessions and reimburses participating licensed therapists. Almost 11,000 children and teens have used the program already.

Status: awaiting signature from the Governor.

High school success

HB24-1282, Ninth-Grade Success Grant & Performance Reporting, expands the 9th grade success grant program, allowing more Colorado schools to implement the 9th grade success approach changing the trajectory for high school students across Colorado.

Status: awaiting signature from the Governor.

Justice Reform

HB 24-1445, Probation & Parole Reporting & Fee Conditions, increases opportunities for remote reporting via online platform or phone for individuals on parole or probation. The bill also requires the reporting of certain fees assessed by the state for probation and parole.

Status: awaiting signature from the Governor.

HB24-1430, 2024-25 Long Appropriations Bill, funds state agencies for the upcoming year. Importantly, it includes the funding needed to implement HB23-1133, legislation we championed last year making prison communication free across Colorado in state and private facilities by 2025.

Status: Signed by the Governor.

HB24-1133, Criminal Record Sealing & Expungement Changes, addresses issues raised through the implementation of Colorado’s “Clean Slate” policy, which seals the criminal records of individuals who are convicted of a non-violent offense once certain conditions have been met.

Status: awaiting signature from the Governor.

HB24-1311, Family Affordability Tax Credit, creates a family affordability tax credit and will distribute a portion of the state’s $1.8 billion TABOR surplus to families, to help cover the rising costs of housing, food, and childcare.

Status: awaiting signature by the Governor.

HB24-1368, Language Access Advisory Board, creates a language access advisory board to develop recommendations for improving access to the legislative process for populations with limited English proficiency.

Status: awaiting signature by the Governor.

HB24-1432, Repeal CBI Criminal Justice Record Sealing Fee, repeals the requirement for a defendant to pay the Colorado Bureau of Investigation any costs related to sealing the defendant’s criminal justice records in the bureau’s custody.

Status: awaiting signature by the Governor.

HB24-1462, Third-Party Audit Department of Corrections, requires the state auditor to engage a third party to evaluate the Department of Corrections’ budget practices.

Status: awaiting signature by the Governor.

SB24-188, Public School Finance, raises the base level of per-pupil funding by nearly $420 to $8,496 per-pupil and completely buys down the Budget Stabilization Factor.

Status: awaiting signature from the Governor.

We’re thrilled that these policies pivotal to Colorado’s collective future have passed and are on their way to becoming law.

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