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March 15, 2023

Dem Bills Improve Safety and Well-Being of Colorado Kids

DENVER, CO - The House today passed legislation to prevent physical violence in a child care or public school setting and address adolescent substance use disorders.

“Current Colorado law doesn’t protect kids from being physically disciplined by their teachers at school or caretakers at child care,” said Rep. Regina English, D-Colorado Springs, sponsor of HB23-1191. “With this bill, we’re creating a safer environment for Colorado children to learn and grow. Parents should be able to send their kids to child care and school without fearing that they face corporal punishment, which many of us thought was something we left behind long ago.”

HB23-1191 would prohibit an employee or volunteer in a public school, state-licensed child care center, family child care home, or a specialized group facility from using corporal punishment on a child under their care. Under the bill, corporal punishment would include willfully causing physical pain on a child. The bill passed by a vote of 48-16.

“Substance use is an increasing issue for kids all over Colorado, and many of our teens don’t have the tools they need to prevent or stop addictive behavior,” said Rep. Mandy Lindsay, D-Aurora, sponsor of HB23-1009. “We’re bringing students, parents, teachers, school administrators, licensed special service providers, and substance use medical professionals together to figure out how we can best address rising drug use in Colorado teens.”

HB23-1009, which passed by a vote of 45-19, would establish the Secondary School Substance Use Committee in the Department of Education to create, identify, or modify a practice for secondary schools to use to address substance use disorders in students. The practice would identify students who need substance use treatment, offer a brief intervention, and refer the student to substance use treatment resources.

The committee would consist of students, teachers, licensed special service providers, school administrators, adolescent substance use medical professionals, representatives from state departments, and parents or legal guardians of students. To the extent practical, all of the members will represent the racial and ethnic diversity of the state and will have equal rural and non-rural representation.

The Department of Education would be required to put together a report of the Secondary School Substance Use Committee’s findings and distribute it to every secondary school superintendent and chief administrator across the state.

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