Onlookers watch as Governor Jared Polis signs a bill

2022 State Legislative Session Roundup

All the Foundation’s priority bills have been signed into law or await action by the governor. 

Rose Community Foundation endorsed 14 pieces of legislation during the 2022 state legislative session, and we are pleased to share that each bill passed through the legislature and is on its way to becoming law, pending the governor’s signature. The bills help advance an equitable and thriving Greater Denver region by unlocking resources and closing systemic gaps in access and opportunity.

The bills each respond to needs and leverage opportunities presented by this unique moment in time to develop more equitable, inclusive and impactful systems. Some utilize one-time, federal American Rescue Plan Act dollars to invest in innovative solutions to emerging or longstanding issues; others involve time-sensitive policy implementation efforts or address recent local or national developments. Many remove restrictive barriers to financial, social, political or cultural capital for Coloradans, and a handful of bills create new state programs or departments that will protect and strengthen our community. 

The endorsements, and our subsequent advocacy in support of the 14 bills, were informed by those in our region who are furthest from opportunity and the organizations that support them. The Foundation was privileged to learn from and align efforts with dozens of our policy and advocacy grantee partners and other community-informed organizations and individuals, who helped develop the solutions and build the coalitions that led to passage of these important policies.

Below is the legislative slate we supported during the 2022 session, grouped thematically by objectives that reflect the bills’ alignment with the Foundation’s policy priorities. Learn more about the Foundation’s policy and advocacy work.

Protecting and Expanding Access to Health Care 

HB22-1279 (Reproductive Health Equity Act) modernizes Colorado statute to protect reproductive rights as fundamental rights. With the U.S. Supreme Court appearing likely to overturn Roe v. Wade this year, it is critical to formalize access to abortion care in Colorado. Learn more about Rose Community Foundation’s commitment to supporting reproductive health care and how donors can help protect reproductive rights and safe and legal access to abortion.

HB22-1289 (Cover All Coloradans) expands health coverage to all pregnant people and children who meet Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) income-eligibility requirements, regardless of immigration status and documentation. Providing health-care access to all children and pregnant and postpartum people is fundamental to achieving health equity in Colorado.

Ensuring an Equitable Economic Recovery 

HB22-1010 (Early Childhood Educator Income Tax Credit) creates a refundable income tax credit for early childhood educators that have an adjusted gross income of less than or equal to $75,000. This tax credit is not a silver bullet that will fix the underpayment of early childhood educators nor will it immediately improve ECE options for families, but it is an important first step in efforts to expand and retain the critical early childhood workforce. 

HB22-1050 (IMG Integrate Health Care Workforce) improves licensure pathways for International Medical Graduates (IMGs) – new Americans who completed their medical training outside of the U.S. – by creating programs to support IMGs and removing inequitable barriers for IMGs that do not exist for U.S. medical graduates. The bill helps address Colorado’s physician shortage and reduces inequitable barriers to the workforce for immigrants and refugees. 

HB22-1082 (Establish Fair Housing Unit Department of Law) expands the list of state consumer protection laws for which the attorney general may bring civil and criminal enforcement actions to include housing laws that delineate various important tenants’ rights. With the pandemic disproportionately affecting economically insecure individuals and reports that many renters are being wrongfully evicted, it is important for the attorney general to monitor and have the ability to enforce already-existing tenant-protection laws. 

HB22-1259 (Modifications to Colorado Works Program) increases Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) basic cash assistance (BCA), ensures BCA keeps up with the rising cost of living and creates a smoother off-ramp from the program to economic security. Expanding TANF is one of the most targeted approaches to help reduce extreme poverty and close gaps in economic opportunity for Colorado families. 

HB22-1287 (Protections for Mobile Home Park Residents) ensures stable and affordable manufactured (mobile) home communities by expanding a wide swath of protections for manufactured home park residents and creating more viable processes for resident ownership opportunities. It is critical to protect and empower manufactured homeowners at a time when housing costs are soaring and the system’s lack of regulations is contributing to tenant exploitation. 

SB22-222 (Amount of Tax Owed Table for Initiatives) refers a statutory measure to the November 2022 ballot to require future ballot measures that impact statewide income or sales tax revenue to list the anticipated effect on state services and taxpayers. Direct democracy requires complete information so voters can make informed decisions; Coloradans deserve to know what the taxes they are voting on pay for and how a change will impact their wallets and our communities. The Foundation will be advocating for passage of the ballot measure in this fall’s election. 

Closing Gaps and Creating Opportunities in Education 

HB22-1295 (Department of Early Childhood and Universal Preschool Program) brings the various early childhood authorities, programs and funding streams into a single Department of Early Childhood designed to give every child and their family access to high-quality early learning experiences. The bill also stands up a new Universal Preschool Program for all kids the year before kindergarten, with more hours and access to programming at younger ages for families who most benefit from high-quality preschool.

HB22-1349 (Postsecondary Student Success Data System) strengthens data transparency and data-informed practices at Colorado’s postsecondary institutions, with a focus on identifying and addressing disparities. Improved data collection and reporting is an important building block toward advancing and sustaining equity-focused approaches across the state’s higher-education institutions.

SB22-197 (Innovation School Zones with Alternate Governance) allows innovation school zones to use an alternative governance structure and establishes a resolution process when an innovation zone and a school district have a dispute. A recent Denver Public Schools policy change to undercut significant elements of its innovation school model has highlighted the importance of ensuring recourse when an approved innovation plan is violated.

Cultivating Safe and Inclusive Communities 

HB22-1077 (Colorado Nonprofit Security Grant Program) creates a state grant program to enhance the physical security of Colorado’s faith-based and nonprofit organizations that are deemed at high risk of violent extremist threats due to their ideology, beliefs or mission. Rose Community Foundation cofounded and helps fund the Regional Safety and Security Initiative, an effort that ensures the safety and security of the Colorado Jewish community, and is committed to advancing the safety of all our local communities that are vulnerable to hate and discrimination. 

HB22-1086 (Vote Without Fear) prohibits people from openly carrying a firearm at or within 100 feet of voting locations, with exemptions made for police officers or people who own private property within the 100-foot buffer zone. All Coloradans should be able to exercise their fundamental right to vote freely, safely and free of intimidation.

HB22-1358 (Clean Water in Schools and Child Care Centers) requires K-5 schools and early childhood settings to test for the presence of lead in school drinking water and remediate any water sources with dangerous amounts of lead present. This is an important first step toward removing all lead from school drinking water through comprehensive filter installation.

Photo: Governor Polis signs into a law a new free universal preschool program. Courtesy: Chalkbeat.

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