Passed: Bills to Protect Public Health Workers and Lessen CMAS Testing Load

DENVER, CO — The House today passed legislation on third reading and final passage to protect public health workers from dangerous doxxing attempts and to reduce the CMAS testing load on Colorado students. 

“As Colorado students continue to grapple with the challenges of an extremely difficult year, I’m proud that we were able to come together to lessen the testing load,” said Rep. Emily Sirota, D-Denver. “It took a lot of work and compromise by stakeholders from every corner of the education community to reach agreement on this proposal, but with this bill, we’ve found a solution that works for Colorado students, parents and teachers while still complying with federal guidance.”

“By crafting this responsible solution, we are allowing our incredible educators, who have been through so much, to focus on teaching their students and getting through the rest of this unprecedented school year,” said House Education Chair Barbara McLachlan, D-Durango. “This bill represents a careful compromise that will put educators, students, and parents first while keeping us in compliance with federal regulations.”

HB21-1161, which passed by a vote of 52-12, requires the administration of the English Language Arts exam in grades three, five, and seven, while students in grades four, six, and eight will take the Math exam. Parents will also have the option to opt their child in to taking whichever exam they did not automatically receive. The legislation also requires the Colorado Department of Education to request a waiver to suspend science exams normally administered in grades 5, 8, and 11. The bill suspends for one year the statutorily required social studies exams for grades 4 and 7. The bill also implements consensus recommendations from a departmental task force last year, including suspending the link between tests, accountability, and educator evaluation. The bill would direct the Colorado Department of Education to seek a waiver from the federal Department of Education to implement these policies as soon as practicable. 

“Our public health officials have helped Colorado navigate through a devastating emergency, but they’ve been subject to relentless harassment and instances of doxxing,” said Rep. Yadira Caraveo, (D-Thornton). “No public servant deserves to have their families and their wellbeing threatened because of the work they do. With this bill, we spoke clearly and declared that our public health officials deserve protection from harassment.”

HB21-1107, sponsored by Representatives Yadira Caraveo, D-Thornton, and Terri Carver, R-Colorado Springs, would create anti-doxxing protections for public health workers. Currently, it is unlawful to post on the internet the personal information of a law enforcement official, if that information poses an imminent and serious threat to the official or the official’s family. HB21-1107, which passed today by a vote of 61-4, would add the same protections for public health workers.

“State employees working to keep our communities and correctional systems safe take risks while serving Colorado,” said Rep. Kerry Tipper, D-Lakewood. “This straightforward bill will ensure that these employees and their families are protected from those who would do them harm by posting their personal information online. State employees deserve to feel safe in their own homes.”

HB21-1015, sponsored by Representatives Kerry Tipper, D-Lakewood, and Terri Carver, R-Colorado Springs, would create anti-doxxing protections for employees at the Department of Corrections. The bill would add dissemination of personal information that poses a serious risk to a Department of Corrections employee or their family to Colorado’s existing anti-doxxing statutes. The bill passed 63-2.