Colorado House Democrats today will introduce their first 10 bills of the Second-session of the Seventy-Second General Assembly.
“These ten bills reflect our priorities — to invest in our state’s future, protect the Colorado way of life, and build an economy that works for all,” said Speaker KC Becker (D-Boulder). “We’re excited to continue working across the aisle on behalf of all Coloradans to reduce teen nicotine use, make higher education more attainable, improve school safety and expand economic opportunity in rural parts of our state.”
The speaker called on members to come to the table to solve problems together in her Opening Day remarks, and the first five bills reflect her and the caucus’s commitment to bringing a diverse array of stakeholders to the table to address the challenges facing Coloradans.
HB20-1001 Nicotine Product Regulation
The bill would raise the minimum age of sale for cigarettes, tobacco and other nicotine products, including electronic smoking devices, to 21 years of age and add enforcement measures. It would require every retailer of nicotine products to be licensed by the Liquor Enforcement Division of the Department of Revenue, increase compliance checks, prohibit new retail locations within 500 feet of schools and create new fines and penalties for failing to obtain a license or for selling products to people under age 21. It also holds retailers accountable for preventing underage sales by removing the criminal penalty for minors who purchase these products.
Sponsors: Reps. Kyle Mullica (D-Northglenn) and Colin Larson (R-Littleton)
HB20-1002 Providing College Credit for Work-Related Experience
HB20-1002, which advanced from the Making Higher Education Attainable Interim Committee, would require the Commission on Higher Education to create a model to award academic credit for work-related experiences. The credits would be acceptable and transferable across all state institutions, improving access and affordability for non-traditional students.
Sponsors: Reps. Barbara McLachlan (D-Durango) and Mark Baisley (R-Roxborough Park)
HB20-1003 Improving and Extending the Rural Jumpstart Program
By eliminating provisions that limit eligibility for the Rural Jump-Start Program, this legislation would enable more businesses to take advantage of the incentives and benefits offered in distressed areas of rural Colorado. HB20-1003 also extends the program for five years and allows economic development organizations to form Rural Jump-Start Zone programs to authorize new businesses to participate.
Sponsors: Rep. Dylan Roberts (D-Avon) and Janice Rich (R-Grand Junction)
HB20-1004 Expanding Access to Wildfire Mitigation Assistance
HB20-1004, which advanced from the Wildfire Matters Review Committee, would establish a grant program to conduct outreach to landowners in high wildfire hazard areas of the resources available for wildfire mitigation. The bill also extends the income tax deduction for wildfire mitigation efforts to 2024 and allows landowners to deduct 100 percent of their costs, up from 50 percent, up to $2,500.
Sponsors: Reps. Lisa Cutter (D-Jefferson County) and Perry Will (R-New Castle)
HB20-1005 Improving the Safe2Tell Program
The bill, which advanced from the School Safety Interim Committee, would improve the Safe2Tell program by ensuring that individuals in crisis can rapidly access crisis counseling. It would also align the process for routing all types of incoming tips and adjust the annual advertising campaign to raise awareness about the program and reduce its misuse. Finally, it would enhance law enforcement’s ability to prevent imminent physical harm to Colorado’s students.
Sponsors: Reps. Dafna Michaelson Jenet (D-Commerce City) and Kevin Van Winkle (R-Highlands Ranch)
HB20-1006 Improving Access to Early Childhood Mental Health
HB20-1006, which advanced from the Early Childhood Readiness Interim Committee, would create a statewide childhood mental health consultation program to support and expand early childhood mental health services across various early childhood settings around the state, particularly education, health and human services-related environments.
Sponsors: Reps. Julie McCluskie (D-Dillon) and Emily Sirota (D-Denver)
HB20-1007 Increasing K-12 Educator Diversity
The legislation would direct the Departments of Education and Higher Education to investigate barriers to the recruitment and retention of a diverse educator workforce. It would also recommend strategies to achieve a more diverse educator workforce.
Sponsor: Rep. James Coleman (D-Denver)
HB20-1008 Protecting Consumers in Health Care Cost-Sharing Arrangements to Lower Costs
This bill would create a definition for health care cost-sharing agreements that are not traditional health insurance to better protect consumers and help cover or defray medical costs. It requires improved reporting to the Commissioner of Insurance and outlines enhanced procedures for paying medical bills under cost-sharing agreements.
Sponsor: Rep. Susan Lontine (D-Denver)
HB20-1009 Suppressing Court Records During Eviction Proceedings
HB20-1009 would create an automatic suppression of court records while eviction proceedings are ongoing so that they do not become public until after the final court order is entered. It would also remove these court records from public view if an eviction filing is dismissed, ensuring Coloradans and their families can access safe, affordable housing.
Sponsors: Rep. Dominique Jackson (D-Denver)
HB20-1010 Ending Prison Gerrymandering in Colorado
The legislation, for purposes of census redistricting counts, would reassign prisoners in correctional facilities to their last known residence in Colorado prior to incarceration. Prisoners are currently assigned to voting districts based on where they are incarcerated instead of where their lives are based, even though they cannot vote.
Sponsors: Rep. Kerry Tipper (D-Lakewood)