Gov also signs bill to refer tobacco tax increase and nicotine products tax to November’s ballot

Denver, CO — Today, at Plum Preschool in Denver, Governor Jared Polis signed three bills into law to improve early childhood education and expand child care options. He also signed a measure that refers a tobacco tax increase and new nicotine tax to November’s ballot that, if approved by voters, will discourage Colorado youth from starting to vape or smoke and fund K-12 schools, early childhood programs and affordable housing. 

Sponsored by Representatives Dylan Roberts and Kevin Van Winkle, SB20-126 prevents homeowner associations’ ability to prohibit the operation of a licensed family child care facility so long as the facility complies with other HOA regulations applicable to all residents. 

“Access to childcare is one of the top issues I hear about from my constituents, especially as we start to reopen and get back to work, said Representative Dylan Roberts, D-Avon. “This bipartisan law will increase access to safe child care options for parents and provides more opportunities to open a childcare business throughout the state of Colorado, which we desperately need.” 

HB20-1347, sponsored by Representatives Mary Young and Sonya Jaquez-Lewis, makes it easier to operate a family care home by extending licensure exemptions, while also making educational resources available to family child care providers who would like to become licensed. 

“It’s especially important during this pandemic to make it easier for families to find safe child care options,” said Representative Mary Young, D-Greeley. “As Coloradans get back to work and navigate this tough economy, this law creates more flexible child care options for Colorado families.”

HB20-1053, sponsored by Representatives Emiliy Sirota and Jim Wilson, expands the early childhood educator workforce and improves access to early childhood education and early childhood mental health consultations. It allows aspiring early childhood educators to earn credit towards their credentials through work experience and streamlines the licensure requirements. It also creates a statewide early childhood mental health consultation program to improve behavioral, social and emotional health outcomes.

“Providing every Colorado child high-quality, early childhood education is one of the most important things that we can do to ensure all children in our state have a fair shot to succeed,” said Rep. Emily Sirota, D-Denver. “By growing our early educator workforce and increasing the number of early childhood mental health professionals in Colorado, this new law will expand access to early childhood programs and help more of our youngest students access the behavioral health support they need. 

Sponsored by Representatives Yadira Caraveo and Julie McCluskie, HB20-1427 refers a ballot issue to voters for the November 2020 election to gradually increase cigarette taxes and create a new nicotine products tax on electronic cigarette devices and other tobacco products. Initially, the tax would provide much needed funding for K-12 education, and starting in 2023, the measure will raise nearly $190 million for early childhood education and nicotine products cessation programs. A portion of revenues generated by these taxes would also be directed to expand affordable housing, including in rural areas, and to Colorado’s old age pension fund.

“As a pediatrician, I know how important it is to the long-term health of our state’s youth to reduce vaping rates in our state, and research shows policies like a nicotine tax greatly reduce youth use of these harmful products,” said Rep. Yadira Caraveo, D-Thornton. “If it passes, this initiative will invest critical funding in our students and teachers and expand access to early childhood education programs that we know lead to improved student outcomes.”

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