We’ve reached the end of the 2020 Colorado legislative session and while we never could have predicted the unprecedented challenges this session would bring, we still achieved a lot.
We’re proud of the progress that Colorado made this year on health care, higher education, jobs, and more. Some highlights include a new law that will expand access to telemedicine and one that will make health insurance more affordable for low-income Coloradans. The legislature also passed a new program to expand access to retirement savings, which will be a major new benefit for young Coloradans.
Additionally, the Colorado legislature also seized on our national moment of reckoning to pass important reforms to policing in Colorado.
After the state and world were changed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Colorado was left with a $3.3 billion budget hole that the legislature had to fill in a very short period of time. In spite of the circumstances, they passed a balanced budget and managed to make cuts to every department while also preserving many important programs to Colorado.
While we have many wins to celebrate, progress never stops and we know we have plenty more to do. We are currently working with our young adults and partner organizations to develop our 2021 policy agenda. We’re looking forward to bringing back several bills that did not pass this year, like the public option for expanding health coverage and the Emergency Grant Bill to help college students who face unexpected challenges.
Read more about this year’s victories for Young Coloradans below:
SB20-212 Reimbursement Telehealth Services: This bill requires reimbursement for health care delivery via telehealth for Coloradans that are already covered by insurance.
SB20-215 Health Insurance Affordability Enterprise: This bill extends and funds the reinsurance program for five years resulting in reduced premiums. It also expands coverage to include undocumented Coloradans.
HB20-1411 Covid-19 Funds Allocation for Behavioral Health: This bill distributes CARES Act funds to behavioral health programs.
HB20-1002 College Credit for Work Experience: This bill requires CDHE to study awarding academic credit for appropriate work experience at all CO institutions of higher education.
HB20-1407 College Admission Use of National Test Score: This bill temporarily waives the requirement for 2021 high school graduates to take the ACT or SAT in order to be admitted to an institution of higher education in Colorado.
HB20-1366 Higher Education Funding Allocation Model: This bill developed a new higher education funding allocation model. It shifts funding toward institutions that serve pell-eligible students, minority students, and first generation students, among other metrics.
SB20-081 School Information For Apprenticeship Directory: This bill connects students with the apprenticeship resource directory.
SB20-200 Implementation of Colorado Secure Savings Program: This bill develops an auto-enroll IRA program for Colorado employees without access to retirement savings benefits.
SB20-205 Sick Leave for Employees: This bill creates the “Healthy Families and Workplaces Act”, requiring employers to provide paid sick leave (one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to a max. of 48 hours) to employees.
HB20-1153 Colorado Partnership for Quality Jobs and Services Act: This bill expands collective bargaining for public sector employees.
SB20-217, Enhance Law Enforcement Integrity: This bill limits use of force, requires law enforcement to use body-worn cameras and release recordings to the public, and to conduct data reporting about incidents and contacts with the public. It removes some forms of immunity for police officers and requires officers to report excessive use of force.
SB20-100 Repeal the Death Penalty: This bill repealed the death penalty in Colorado.
HB20-1048 The CROWN Act: This bill includes hair type, texture and style as protected against discrimination in housing, employment, and education.
Additionally, Governor Polis issued more than 90 executive orders aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19, and invested millions of CARES Act dollars into k-12 and higher education, to shore up some of the cuts that had to be made.