Legislation We Engaged in 2022

 

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For a summary of our work this year, see our 2022 Legislative Action Summary here: 2022 Summary.

 

The 2022 session of the Colorado General Assembly adjourned on May 11, 2022. Below are some of the bills we worked on this year!

 


 

HB 22-1083 (Reps. Tipper & Rich) - Colorado Homeless Contribution Income Tax Credit

Link to bill text: https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/hb22-1083

Status: Passed!

Homeless service providers are on the front lines of homelessness prevention and resolution. This work is more important than ever as Colorado faces a statewide housing crisis and lingering economic uncertainty related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This bill upgrades and enhances the current enterprise zone contribution tax credit that is used to support organizations that serve people experiencing homelessness.

Benefits of this improvement include:
• Making the credit available to providers statewide;
• Expanding the types of homeless services that are eligible to include street outreach, homelessness prevention, and emergency shelter programs;
• Incentivizing donations to providers in rural and distressed areas;
• And simplifying the administration of the credit.

The bill has a small fiscal note.

Bill summary courtesy of Colorado Coalition for the Homeless.

 


 

HB 22-1050 (Rep. Ricks) - International Medical Graduate Integrate Healthcare Workforce

Link to bill text: https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/hb22-1050

Status: Passed!

Communities across Colorado face healthcare worker shortages—often to the detriment of residents who lack access to essential preventative and ongoing care. This pain is acutely felt in rural and underserved regions. In fact, the U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration currently designates 123 Primary Care Health Professional Shortage Areas and 48 Medically Underserved Areas in Colorado.

Meanwhile, Colorado is home to a robust community of new Americans— known as International Medical Graduates (IMGs)—who completed their medical training outside of the U.S. or Canada and whose skills are currently underutilized. Too often, their expertise is wasted or lost to other states. The bill addresses Colorado's physician shortage with improved licensure pathways for these graduates by:

  • Creating programs to assist IMGs in navigating the re-licensure process.
  • Establishing hands-on clinical readiness programs.
  • Equalizing IMG residency licensing requirements to be the same as those for U.S. medical graduates.
  • Earmarking residency slots for IMGs in Colorado.
  • Extending physician re-entry licenses for exceptionally qualified IMGs.

The bill requires a General Fund expenditure of $1.1 million in the first year. View the fiscal note here.

Bill summary courtesy of Spring Institute/International Rescue Committee.

 


 

HB 22-1259 (Reps. Duran/Jodeh) - Modifications to Colorado Works Program (TANF)

Link to bill text: https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/hb22-1259

Status: Passed!

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), known here as Colorado Works, provides financial support to  families far below the federal poverty level. A parent with two children must make less than $421 a month to  qualify for TANF basic cash assistance. Even before the pandemic, families enrolled in TANF were facing the greatest  barriers to financial security and well-being. For a family of three, living in extreme poverty means getting by on only $10 per person per day.

The bill will Increase cash assistance and ensure that it keeps up with the rising cost of living. It will also reduce punitive sanctions to minimize barriers for families seeking economic security, update work requirements to be more responsive to the needs of families, reduce the “cliff effect” and allow a smoother off-ramp to economic security, and improve engagement and outreach with families.

View the fiscal note for this bill here.

Bill summary courtesy of Colorado Children's Campaign.

 


 

HB 22-1269 (Reps. Duran & Jodeh) - Health Care Sharing Plan Reporting Requirements

Link to bill text: https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/hb22-1269

Status: Passed!

Health Care Sharing Arrangements (HCSAs) are programs where individual members, who typically share values or religious beliefs, pay monthly into a pool designed to help cover other members’ medical expenses. However, these programs are not regulated like insurance and there is no guarantee they will actually pay for anyone’s medical expenses.

Right now, some Coloradans who pay into these programs have reported that they believed they were buying insurance, only to discover after a major medical expense that the program does not have to pay for it. Most people end up having to pay for the entire bill out-of-pocket.

Everyone should be aware of what they’re paying for, how their contributions are used, and what protections they may or may not have when using these programs. The bill will require these programs to submit basic operational information to the Division of Insurance so that DOI can determine their market impact, financial viability, and truth-in-advertising. The bill is a reporting bill, not a regulatory bill.

The bill does not carry a fiscal note.

Bill summary courtesy of the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative.

 


 

SB 22-019 (Sen. Winter) - Access to Suppressed Court Eviction Records

Link to bill text: https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/sb22-019

Status: Passed House & Senate; signed by the Governor on March 15!

In 2020, the Colorado General Assembly passed HB20-1009 to limit public access to eviction filing records, so that an eviction filing would not create a barrier to future housing. The intended goal was to prevent third-party tenant screening companies from accessing and disclosing an eviction filing record as part of a background check. Lutheran Advocacy supported this bill in 2020.

While this policy has proven helpful for many Coloradans, one unintended consequence is that it has prohibited attorneys, including legal aid providers, pro bono attorneys deciding whether to represent a client, and attorneys who work on behalf of landlords, from being able to access prospective clients’ court files unless they formally enter an appearance on behalf of the party. This has prevented attorneys from being able to offer legal assistance, and it has made it difficult to evaluate whether to take on a client in an eviction case. Although parties to a case can still pay for access to their records, many people do not have access to copiers, scanners, and printers, and thus, legal services providers have been constrained in assessing the merits of cases and helping prospective clients.

This bill offers technical clarification to ensure that legal services providers can appropriately counsel prospective clients without undermining the policy goals of HB20-1009.

 

The bill does not have a fiscal note.

 

 

SB 22-087 (Sens. Pettersen & Fields) - Healthy Meals for All Public School Students

Link to bill text: https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/sb22-087

Status: Passed!

Children need nutritious food to focus in school, stay healthy and support their well-being. Currently, all schools are temporarily able to provide school meals to any child who needs them as part of COVID-19 federal aid. Colorado should make this temporary option permanent and help thousands of children access the food they need learn, grow and thrive every day at school. Investing in healthy school meals for all is an investment in strengthening communities, reducing administrative costs, eliminating lunch debt, removing shame and stigma from the lunchroom, freeing up resources for schools and staff and supporting student well-being.

There is no fiscal note available for this bill.

Bill summary courtesy of Hunger Free Colorado.

 


 

SB 22-099 (Sens. Hisey & Rodriguez) - Sealing Criminal Records

Link to bill text: https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/sb22-099

Status: Passed!

This bill, also known as "Clean Slate," addresses sealing criminal records and protecting people's information for the sake of removing barriers to housing, employment, and more. Many types of non-violent criminal records are eligible for sealing under Colorado law, yet the process leaves people behind. For many households, the stigma of a record needlessly creates ongoing obstacles to long-term employment, education, affordable housing, and family well-being.

While records are eligible to be sealed, the current process imposes many barriers including filing a court petition, paying fees, attending hearings, and securing legal representation. All of these prevent people from sealing their eligible records which can follow them as they try to find work and put a roof over their heads. Up to 2 million Coloradans are listed as having a crime eligible to be sealed, yet only 5% of those eligible successfully get their records sealed.

Clean Slate will accomplish three things:
1. Automatically seals records that are currently eligible, applying the process to eligible records such as all non-convictions, many misdemeanors, and lower-level felonies;

2. Protects Coloradans’ information from misuse by third-party vendors; and

3. Clarifies and streamlines Colorado’s record sealing provisions.

Bill summary courtesy Clean Slate Coalition.