This year’s legislative session was one of the most difficult in our state’s history with a catastrophic budget deficit due to the economic impact of the statewide shutdown and continued health crisis. The session was condensed into just a few short weeks. COLOR was there and ready for the fight! We pushed for a deliberative process and that federal funds from Covid19 relief bills be applied before any budget cuts were made. This enabled us to halt many cuts that would’ve had a devastating impact on our families!
- Slashing millions from mental health services, suicide prevention, and substance use disorder services;
- Cutting the Colorado Indigent Care Program, which serves the uninsured and immigrant populations and family planning services for low-income Coloradans;
- Reducing funding to School Based Health Centers, which are often the only source of health care for uninsured kids and the Breast and Cervical Cancer Program, which given the higher rates of cervical cancer in the Latinx community would have been deadly;
- Decreasing the Health Disparities Program Fund, which addresses the very health inequities these proposed cuts would make worse; and
- Eliminating the Child Health Plan Plus, which provides health insurance to more than 75,000 families in Colorado.
NONE OF THESE HAPPENED in large part because advocates made it clear we will not allow the budget to be balanced on the backs of our communities!
But it isn’t just about the damaging cuts that we stopped. It is also about the bills we advanced to make real changes to help our communities. COLOR’s work this year led to many firsts for the undocumented community, including new health care coverage, new worker protections and tax credits!
- COLOR played a key leadership role in advancing Senate Bill 215. This bill continues a new program that reduces the costs of health insurance, makes sure people who get insurance through work can also cover their children, and for the first time ever allows undocumented people to receive government money to enroll in health care coverage. This is groundbreaking, not only in Colorado, but nationwide and it expands coverage to health care to the undocumented population at a time when they need it the most.
- COLOR fought hard for Senate Bill 205, legislation creating a paid sick days program in Colorado. At a time when the coronavirus is forcing many people out of work and facing homelessness and hunger, this program is desperately needed for ALL workers. COLOR used its muscle to get the bill passed and demanded that the program include seasonal and migrant workers, whom are now for the first time are eligible for paid sick leave. This new benefit for undocumented people is also unprecedented in Colorado and nationwide.
- COLOR worked with partners to secure the passage of House Bill 1420. This bill closed a set of state tax loopholes to produce new revenue for the state, avoid devastating budget cuts and make the tax code fairer. It also directs money to the general fund for education and extends the state earned income tax credit for people who were not eligible before, including undocumented people. Again, you’ll be challenged to find any other state that offers this tax cut to undocumented people.
We are truly grateful to the lawmakers who worked hard to create innovative solutions to try to meet the needs of people in our state. We are also so very thankful to each and every person who made phone calls, sent emails, posted on social media, showed up at a rally, or shared their story to make sure that our voices were heard. It made a difference! It is proof of how powerful we are when we come together and leverage our collective strength.
Take a look at COLOR’s full list of 2020 legislative work below:
HB 1075 (personhood) – POSTPONED INDEFINITELYHB 1273 (interfering with transgender athletes in school sports) – POSTPONED INDEFINITELYHB 1098 (banning abortion after 22 weeks) – POSTPONED INDEFINITELYHB 1188 (arrest and deportation of immigrants) – POSTPONED INDEFINITELYHB 1063 (so-called parental rights) – POSTPONED INDEFINITELY HB 1144 (parental rights/denying youth access to info and services) – POSTPONED INDEFINITELYSB 77 (bill interfering with abortion care through myths about provision – called “born alive”) – POSTPONED INDEFINITELYHB 1075 (personhood/banning abortion) – POSTPONED INDEFINITELY
SB 215 (Health Insurance Fee/increased benefits) – PASSED SB 205 (Paid Sick Days) – PASSED HB 1420 (Tax Fairness Act) – PASSEDHB 1415 (protect whistleblowers who expose public safety concerns) – PASSED SB 217 (police accountability) – PASSEDHB 1409 (inspections of immigrant detention centers) – PASSED SB 216 (workers compensation for people with Covid19) – POSTPONED INDEFINITELY HB 1081 (multilingual ballots) – POSTPONED INDEFINITELYSB 83 (no civil arrests in courthouses) – PASSED HB 1010 (redistricting and racial gerrymandering) – PASSED HB 1203 (earned income tax credit) – BILL LAYED OVER (EITC was included in the final version of HB 1420) HB 1294 (replace illegal alien with unauthorized worker in public contracts) – POSTPONED INDEFINITELY