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OUR 2019 LEGISLATIVE SUCCESSES
Thanks to the fine work of many people from all corners of the state, the 2019 Legislative Session was a great success. We took steps to keep Colorado beautiful by combating Climate Change, enacted measures to reduce the cost of Healthcare, made important strides on Mental and Behavioral Health, and funded Education and Transportation at high levels. We also passed several bills in support of working families. Below are our most significant successes this session, with the bills I sponsored or co-sponsored in bold.
In the environmental field, we took steps to better regulate oil & gas production (SB19-181), set emissions goals to achieve a healthier public and a healthier environment (HB19-1261), and set energy efficiency standards for appliances so that Coloradans may save energy, water, money while remaining at the forefront of innovation (HB19-1231).
One of the primary goals of Governor Polis was to save people money on healthcare. We took steps to realize this goal by passing Surprise Billing (HB19-1174), Reinsurance (HB19-1168), bills for drug pricing and transparency (HB19-1216, HB19-1131, and HB19-1296), and Hospital Transparency Measures (HB19-1001). My bill supporting Investments in Primary Care (HB19-1233) sets targets to align Primary Care reimbursements with robust Primary Care to deliver better health outcomes and ultimately reduce the cost of premiums.
I was proud to cosponsor a bill on suicide prevention (HB19-1120 Youth Mental Health Education and Suicide Prevention), an important measure to require Mental Health Parity (HB19-1269), and a pilot program in schools to address emotional health (HB19-1017 Kindergarten Through Fifth Grade Social and Emotional Health Act). I was also fortunate enough to be the prime sponsor of a bill on Pediatric Behavioral Health (SB19-195 Child and Youth Behavioral Health System Enhancements) that will coordinate services across the State and address behavioral health earlier so that youth receive treatment.
At the legislature we are implementing a wide variety of measures to help working families, including a study on paid family leave (SB19-188 FAMLI), programs for Prevailing Wage and Apprenticeship (HB19-1293, SB19-196), and several bills on renters’ rights (HB19-1118 Eviction, HB19-1397 Habitability, and HB19-1328 Bed Bugs). We were also able to finally pass Equal Pay for Equal Work (SB19-085)! I was honored to sponsor a bill combatting Wage Theft (HB19-1267), which passed with wide bipartisan support. We also renewed the Human Trafficking Council to continue to do the amazing work of combatting pervasive labor and sex trafficking (SB19-149 Sunset Human Trafficking Council).
The chronic underfunding of our public schools in Colorado is a huge concern and we addressed that through the budget. This year we were able to secure Full Day Kindergarten, $100 million to buy down the Budget Stabilization Factor, and an additional $183 per student. We committed to no tuition increases at Colorado’s public colleges and universities. We referred a measure to the ballot in November that would allow us to take steps to reach previous levels of school funding (HB19-1257 and HB19-1258). Colorado ranks 46th for teacher pay and 42nd in per student funding, all while our economy is booming. That is not right.
There is much more to be done, and there are hundreds more bills we did pass that I am happy to discuss! I hold Nonpartisan Town Halls at least once a month and encourage folks to sign up for my newsletter and/or let me know your thoughts. I do endeavor to return all phone calls as well. I am out in the community knocking on doors and attending events because it is very important to me to put the Represent in our Representative Democracy.