Yesterday marked the end of the 30-day period for Governor Polis to sign into law the bills that were passed during the 2023 legislative session. We are thrilled to tell you that all of our top priority bills have been signed into law.
Below you will find updates on the policy priorities we shared prior to the legislative session focused on advancing educational equity, youth and racial justice in Colorado, and making our schools and communities safer and more supportive.
We would be remiss if we didn’t, once again, thank the many advocates, partners, and policy makers we worked alongside to bring these policies to fruition.
Parents, educators and community leaders participated in listening sessions to identify needs and policy solutions, engaged with lawmakers, testified before committees and shared their experiences with members of the media. Hundreds of advocates sent thousands of emails to policymakers and 27 shared their lived experiences in testimony before committees nearly 60 times.
These impactful policy changes will mean more and better support for Colorado students and educators. They represent steps toward safer and more supportive schools and communities for all Coloradans.
Stand’s 2023 Top Legislative Priorities
Updates on our 2023 top policy priorities:
Expand funding for the Ninth Grade On-Track Program.
HB23-1231, Math in Pre-Kindergarten Through Twelfth Grade, supports math educators with evidence-based training and interventions to help K- 12th-grade students struggling in math. Importantly, this bill 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. Status: Signed into law!
Remove barriers to support teaching candidates, expanding and diversifying the educator workforce.
HB23-1001, Expanding Assistance For Educator Programs, a continuation of HB22-1220, expands eligibility for financial assistance and offers loan forgiveness to a larger pool of educators who qualify for state programs. Status: Signed into law!
HB23-1064, Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact, creates a compact to make it easier for active-duty military spouses to transfer their teaching licenses without further testing, thereby allowing them to teach in Colorado classrooms faster. Status: Signed into law!
SB23-087, Teacher Degree Apprenticeship Program, creates a teacher degree apprenticeship program as an alternative route to teacher licensure and helps to alleviate the educator shortage. Status: Signed into law!
Ensure equitable school funding.
SB23-099, Special Education Funding, increases Special Education Funding by $40,203, 671. Status: Signed into law!
Eliminate the practice of lying to juveniles during interrogation.
HB23-1042, Admissibility Standards For Juvenile Statements, 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. Status: Signed into law!
Cap the cost of phone calls from prison or jail.
HB23-1133, Cost Of Phone Calls for Persons In Custody, mandates that the Department of Corrections (DOC) provide communications services to persons in DOC custody in a correctional facility or private prison. Status: Signed into law!
OTHER KEY BILLS WE WORKED TO ADVANCE THAT ARE NOW LAW
HB23-1003, School Mental Health Assessment, creates the sixth through twelfth-grade mental health assessment program.
HB23-1168, Legal Representation and Students with Disabilities, 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.
HB23-1223, Task Force to Prioritize Grants Target Population, creates a task force to establish shared goals and guidelines for prioritizing new and existing grant money to reduce youth violence, suicide, and delinquency risk factors.
HB23-1249, Reduce Justice Involvement for Young Children, funds the expansion of existing local Collaborative Management Programs (CMP) statewide to serve 10-12-year-old children that come into contact with law enforcement and child victims with support from the Department of Human Services.
HB23-1263, Translating Individualized Education Programs, 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.
HB23-1290, Proposition 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.
HB23-1291, Procedures For Expulsion Hearing Officers, 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.
SB23-004, Employment Of School Mental Health Professionals, authorizes a school district to employ health professionals, who are not licensed by the Colorado Department of Education but hold a Colorado license for their profession.
SB23-039, Reduce Child And Incarcerated Parent Separation, requires the Department of Human Services to prioritize and facilitate communication and family time between children and their parents who are incarcerated.
SB-23-287, Public School Finance, 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.
HB23-1100, Restrict County Jail Contracts with ICE, prevents the state from contracting with a private company to detain individuals for federal immigration purposes and begins a review process of these contracts over the next two years.