Guided by our mission, values and strategic priorities and informed by those in our region who are furthest from opportunity and the organizations that support them, Rose Community Foundation takes positions on bills that either advance or inhibit an equitable and thriving Greater Denver region.
Read on for the list of 2022 state legislation the Foundation has formally endorsed. This page will be updated if the Foundation takes additional positions and as bill statuses evolve.
EQUITABLE ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE
Reproductive Health Equity (HB22-1279) PASSED
- To modernize Colorado statute to protect reproductive rights as fundamental rights. Individuals’ access to the full range of reproductive health care services and options – including whether to get an abortion, in consultation with their health care providers – is essential to ensuring equitable health outcomes. There are no formal protections to abortion in Colorado, and with the U.S. Supreme Court likely to Roe v. Wade this year, it is critical to formalize access to reproductive health care in Colorado.
Cover All Coloradans (HB22-1289)
- To expand 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. Colorado would join seventeen other states that provide full health coverage for undocumented, CHIP-eligible pregnant people, and 10 states that have extended varying levels of insurance coverage to undocumented children. Providing health-care access to all children and pregnant and postpartum people, regardless of immigration status, is fundamental to achieving health equity in Colorado. Health-care access is an important social determinant of health and a building block of family financial stability, and Medicaid and CHIP play vital roles in improving outcomes for children and pregnant women in families with low and moderate incomes. Initial setup costs could be covered by one-time federal American Rescue Plan Act funds, and the prenatal and postpartum coverage expansions would draw a 65 percent federal match, making this expansion inclusive and cost-effective.
ENSURING AN EQUITABLE ECONOMIC RECOVERY
Early Childhood Educator Income Tax Credit (HB22-1010)
- To create a refundable income tax credit for early childhood educators that have an adjusted gross income of less than or equal to $75,000. Many childcare providers in Colorado are struggling to stay afloat or have been forced to close, and a primary contributor is the limited supply of early childhood educators – 80 percent of ECE centers are experiencing a staffing shortage and 78 percent identify low wages as the reason that recruitment and retention remain a challenge. Limited childcare options directly impact workforce participation for parents, especially women and people of color. This tax credit is not a silver bullet that will fix the underpayment of early childhood educators or will immediately improve ECE options for families, but it is an important step in efforts to expand and retain the critical early childhood workforce.
IMG Integrate Health Care Workforce (HB22-1050)
- To improve 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. Communities across Colorado face health-care worker shortages, which have only been exacerbated by the pandemic. Meanwhile, our state is home to a robust population of IMGs whose skills and expertise are underutilized and/or lost to other states due to Colorado’s inequitable and uncommonly high barriers to licensure for IMGs. This bill represents an opportunity to both address Colorado’s physician shortage and reduce inequitable barriers to the workforce for immigrants and refugees.
Establish Fair Housing Unit Department of Law (HB22-1082) PASSED
- To expand 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. Despite a multitude of existing state statutes that aim to defend fair housing practices, there are often barriers to effective and consistent enforcement of those laws due to a lack of private and civil legal aid attorneys who take these cases on. 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.
Modifications To Colorado Works Program (HB22-1259)
- To increase Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) basic cash assistance (BCA), ensure it keeps up with the rising cost of living and create a smoother off-ramp to economic security. Families enrolled in TANF face the greatest barriers to financial security and wellbeing; a parent with two children must make less than $421 per month to qualify for BCA. However, the ratio of people living in poverty to people receiving TANF payments has nearly tripled in Colorado over the past 25 years, and a family of three currently receives less than $6 per person per day in BCA. Expanding TANF is one of the most targeted approaches to help reduce extreme poverty and close gaps in economic opportunity for Colorado families.
Protections for Mobile Home Park Residents (HB22-1287)
- To ensure 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. In some Greater Denver counties, mobile home communities are a key component of the affordable housing ecosystem. However, it is very expensive and difficult for mobile home tenants to move their homes from the land they rent, leaving them especially vulnerable to predatory landlord practices such as systematic high and constant rent increases and changes to community rules, regulations and leases. 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.
Amount of Tax Owed Table for Initiatives (SB22-222)
- To refer 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. Colorado’s ballots currently provide inadequate and unbalanced information for voters entrusted with making tax policy decisions. 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 supports this bill and will support the initiative when it reaches the ballot.
CLOSING GAPS AND CREATING OPPORTUNITIES IN EDUCATION
Department of Early Childhood and Universal Preschool Program (HB22-1295) PASSED
- To bring 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. Early childhood education is critical to shaping a child’s development, education and life experiences, but Colorado’s early childhood system is underfunded, fragmented and difficult to navigate. Creating an accountable and integrated early childhood system that is led by a single state agency will streamline programs and reduce burdens on families, providers and programs. 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.
Postsecondary Student Success Data System (HB22-1349)
- To improve data transparency and data-informed practices at Colorado’s postsecondary institutions, with a focus on identifying and addressing disparities. The new Statewide Student Success Data System would focus on providing higher education leaders and policymakers with easy access to actionable metrics of student success, with both institution-specific interfaces and a public interface. The information would be disaggregated by various student population demographics, such as race, ethnicity, gender, first-generation status and socioeconomic factors, in an effort to improve statewide education and workforce outcomes and uncover equity gaps. Improved data collection and reporting is an important building block toward advancing and sustaining equity-focused approaches across the state’s higher-education institutions.
Innovation School Zones with Alternate Governance (SB22-197)
- To allow innovation school zones to use an alternative governance structure and to establish a resolution process when an innovation zone and a school district have a dispute. The innovation school model has been widely used in Denver Public Schools (DPS) and elsewhere in the state as a vehicle to create agency, ownership and opportunity for educators to serve student, family and community needs. These opt-in, bottom-up innovations show promise and results. A recent DPS board proposal 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
Colorado Nonprofit Security Grant Program (HB22-1077)
- To provide grants 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. The federal government provides grants through a nearly identical federal program, but support for Colorado-based organizations applying for this funding has been limited in recent years; in 2021, only 20 percent of Colorado-based applicants were awarded grants. 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.
Vote Without Fear (HB22-1086) PASSED
- To prohibit 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. Openly carried firearms at drop boxes and polling centers have the potential to intimidate, threaten or coerce voters or poll workers, which is why many other states – including traditionally pro-gun states such as Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia – prohibit guns and other weapons in polling places. All Coloradans should be able to exercise their fundamental right to vote freely, safely and free of intimidation.
Clean Water In Schools And Child Care Centers (HB22-1358)
- To require filter installation – the most effective tool for removing lead – in the school kitchen faucets and drinking fountains of all K-12 schools and early childhood settings in Colorado. Older plumbing fixtures and pipes can contain high amounts of lead, which can leach into drinking water, and a testing program recently found that 40 out of the 67 participating Colorado schools had dangerous amounts of lead in their water. Lead exposure can decrease a child’s cognitive capacity and cause behavior problems and is most common among BIPOC children and children living in communities with high poverty rates. Comprehensive filtering and testing is the most effective and equitable solution to ensuring that the water all Colorado children drink is safe.