Colorado’s Legislative Updates in ECE
The annual state budget was introduced in the House of Representatives and the Senate by members of the Joint Budget Committee in March. Though our legislators had some tough decisions to make in a difficult budget year with limited funding, early childhood programming and supports saw some modest increases in the Long Bill this year. Specifically, the Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP) saw increases to cover recent reforms to the program and federal funds were redistributed to support quality initiatives in early childhood and mental health services for young children. The final version of the budget, as vote don by the House of Representatives and Senate, was signed by Governor Hickenlooper in early May.
Two bills aimed at improving CCCAP also advanced in the legislature this past month. House Bill 1183 aligns Colorado law with new federal requirements that protect continuous 12 month eligibility for our CCCAP families. House Bill 1227 eliminates a current barrier that requires teen parents and domestic violence victims to establish child support as a prerequisite to receiving CCCAP benefits. Both have moved further along in the bill process.
House Bill 1183 passed out of both the House and Senate only to be stalled in the conference committee, where consensus on a final version could not be reached. An alternative bill, Senate Bill 212, was introduced in early May with a more streamlined approach to protecting continuous 12 month eligibility. The bill has passed out of the Senate and is now waiting to be heard by the House of Representatives.
House Bill 1227 passed out of both the House and Senate and has been sent to the governor to be signed into law this month.
To learn more about these or other issues impacting early childhood education, contact Clayton Early Learning Policy Specialist, Lauren Heintz.