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April 25, 2024

House Passes Bills to Create New, Strong Pathways for Students and Physician Assistants

DENVER, CO –  The House today passed two bills aimed at building strong career pathways for students and Colorado’s health care workforce. 

HB24-1364, sponsored by Speaker Julie McCluskie and Assistant Majority Leader Jennifer Bacon, would streamline career pathways for high school graduates. SB24-018 sponsored by Representative Judy Amabile would make it easier for licensed physician assistants to begin practicing in Colorado.

“With this bill, we’re one step closer to strengthening career pathways that will make it easier for Coloradans to secure good-paying jobs in communities they love,” said Speaker Julie McCluskie, D-Dillon. “We’re improving access to existing programs that offer college credits, industry credentials, or quality work-based learning experiences. Together, we’re investing in our workforce, boosting local economies, and making it easier for our learners to find and succeed in a career that will help them not just get by, but thrive in a well-paying job.”

“To meet Colorado’s workforce and education demands, we need to make it easier for our learners to plan and succeed for their next career steps,” said Assistant Majority Leader Jennifer Bacon, D-Denver. “This bill makes a data system that will make it easier for Colorado learners, school districts and higher education to connect to college credit, apprenticeship and other work-based learning programs.Our bill invests in learners by connecting them to careers that have significant growth and earning potential.”

HB24-1364 passed the House by a vote of 51 to 11 and would implement recommendations from the 1215 Task Force to help meet workforce demands and foster career pathways for Coloradans. HB24-1364 would create a detailed study to uncover the cost benefits of streamlining the administration and financing of postsecondary workforce readiness programs to state and local education providers.

This bill would also lay the foundation of a data system to measure the impact and outcomes of education and workforce programs. The data collected by this program would be more accessible to learners, families, and other decision-makers when it comes to choosing a career pathway.

“This bill brings us one step closer to recruiting more health care professionals to contribute to a safer, healthier state for everyone,” said Rep. Judy Amabile, D-Boulder. “This legislation creates an interstate compact to make it easier for licensed physician assistants to practice in Colorado. By easing the state-to-state licensure process, physician assistants’ practicing in other  states within the compact can begin providing critical health care to Coloradans sooner.”

SB24-018, also sponsored by Assistant Minority Leader Ty Winter, R-Trinidad, passed the House by a vote of 60 to 2. This bill creates the "Physician Assistant Licensure Compact", which creates an agreement between Colorado and six other states where licensed physician assistants in member states can obtain and easily transfer a license from another member state.

This legislation aims to reduce barriers for physician assistants by easing the state-to-state licensure process and increasing health care access in Colorado, particularly for active military and military spouses who often relocate from state-to-state.

Colorado lawmakers have championed nine mobility compact laws over the years, not including this year’s mobility compact legislation highlighted in HB24-1002, HB24-1096, HB24-1111, SB24-010 and SB24-125.

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