April 12, 2022

HOUSE PASSES BILLS TO SAVE COLORADANS MONEY ON TUITION AND BEHAVIORAL HEALTH

DENVER, CO – The House today passed two bills that will save Coloradans money on higher education tuition and behavioral health services.


HB22-1155 passed by a vote of 41-19 and is sponsored by Representatives Perry Will and Julie McCluskie. The bill would expand in-state tuition to more Colorado students and families. Under current law, students must reside in Colorado for at least three years before they are eligible for in-state tuition. This bill changes the requirement to allow any student who graduates from a Colorado high school and has resided in the state for one year to receive in-state tuition.

“The bill we passed today will save families and students money as they pursue their higher education degrees,” Rep. Julie McCluskie, D-Dillon, sponsor of HB22-1155. “Every Coloradan should have access to higher education opportunities that will set them up to thrive, and our workforce needs in the high country and across Colorado are significant. By reducing the cost of higher education, we’ll prepare more students for success and open the door for more high school graduates to access the education they need to secure better paying jobs and address our workforce shortage.”

HB22-1278 passed by a vote of 46-14 and is sponsored by Representatives Mary Young and Rod Pelton. The bill will improve Coloradans’ access to behavioral health services and save Coloradans money. This bipartisan bill is designed to streamline behavioral health care access for Coloradans through the Behavioral Health Administration (BHA).

“This legislation takes the next step to stand up Colorado’s new Behavioral Health Administration, which will work to make mental health care and substance use disorder treatment less expensive and easier to access,” said Rep. Mary Young, D-Greeley, sponsor of HB22-1278. “The pandemic has only exacerbated the long standing challenges Coloradans have faced when trying to access the behavioral health care they need to thrive. This bill will boost access to the care Coloradans need and cut the red tape that prevents too many people from getting the help they need.”

The bill would establish a comprehensive, accountable behavioral health safety net system available in every region of Colorado. This includes 15 different critical behavioral health services including substance use, crisis services, criminal justice diversion, trauma informed care, youth services and more.

The BHA will reduce bureaucracy by consolidating fragmented behavioral health networks into one behavioral health administrative services organization (BHASO) per region. The push for this legislation stems from patient frustration surrounding disjointed behavioral health care services. With this bill, patients would be able to more easily access behavioral health services in their community.