Legislation

Each year, during regular and special legislative sessions, law makers introduce thousands of bills and resolutions at the federal, state and local levels on variety of subject areas, ranging from health and immigration to education and environmental protection. While the majority are orphaned, postponed or reintroduced in a new session, a small number go on to become laws. 

Congress works in two-year legislative sessions, with the current session called the 117th Congress. It began on January 3, 2021 and will end on January 3, 2023. In Colorado, the Second Regular Session of the 73rd General Assembly adjourned on May 11, 2022. The First Regular Session of the 74th General Assembly will convene on January 9, 2023. Denver City Council meets on Mondays on an ongoing basis. 

The legislation highlighted in the four categories below are a selected few that were introduced, discussed or deliberated during the 2021-2022 federal, state and local legislative sessions. The list is by no means exhaustive. For full accounting of the outcomes of the proposals, please visit the official U.S. federal website for federal legislative information, the Colorado General Assembly web page for Colorado legislative proposals, or the Denver City Council web portal for legislation proposed at the municipal level.   

Education

  • Federal

    H.R. 1319| American Rescue Plan Act of 2021: This bill provides additional relief to address the continued impact of COVID-19 (i.e., coronavirus disease 2019) on the economy, public health, state and local governments, individuals, and businesses.

    Specifically, the bill provides funding for agriculture and nutrition programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as the food stamp program); schools and institutions of higher education; child care and programs for older Americans and their families; COVID-19 vaccinations, testing, treatment, and prevention; mental health and substance-use disorder services; emergency rental assistance, homeowner assistance, and other housing programs; payments to state, local, tribal, and territorial governments for economic relief; multiemployer pension plans; small business assistance, including specific programs for restaurants and live venues; programs for health care workers, transportation workers, federal employees, veterans, and other targeted populations; international and humanitarian responses; tribal government services; scientific research and development; state, territorial, and tribal capital projects that enable work, education, and health monitoring in response to COVID-19; and health care providers in rural areas.

    The bill also includes provisions that extend unemployment benefits and related services; make up to $10,200 of 2020 unemployment compensation tax-free; make student loan forgiveness tax-free through 2025; provide a maximum recovery rebate of $1,400 per eligible individual; expand and otherwise modify certain tax credits, including the child tax credit and the earned income tax credit; provide premium assistance for certain health insurance coverage; and require coverage, without cost-sharing, of COVID-19 vaccines and treatment under Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

    H.R. 943| Never Again Education Act: This bill expands U.S. Holocaust Memorial  Museum education programming. The bill requires the museum to develop and nationally disseminate accurate, relevant, and accessible resources to improve awareness and understanding of the Holocaust. It also authorizes various Holocaust education program activities to engage prospective and current teachers and educational leaders.

    S. 1153| Sop Student Debt Relief Scams Act of 2019: This bill establishes criminal penalties for unauthorized access of certain student loan information and expands the requirements for student loan exit counseling. Specifically, the bill makes it a crime to knowingly use an access device (e.g., account number) that was issued to another person or was fraudulently obtained to access Department of Education (ED) information technology systems for commercial advantage or private financial gain. A violator is subject to criminal penalties—a fine, a prison term of up to five years, or both. Further, the bill expands loan exit counseling requirements to require an institution of higher education that participates in federal student-aid programs to provide an explanation to borrowers cautioning them about third-party student debt relief companies. It also requires ED to prevent unauthorized access to the central database for student aid (i.e., the National Student Loan Data System) and warn borrowers of suspicious activity regarding their student loan accounts.

    H.R. 8472| Impact Aid Coronavirus Relief Act: This bill revises the Impact Aid Program application process for FY2022. It also revises FY2021 allocations under the Migrant Education Program. First, the bill requires local educational agencies (LEAs) participating in the Impact Aid Program to use the student count or federal property valuation data from their FY2021 program applications, as applicable, for their FY2022 program applications. The program provides funding to LEAs that have lost property tax revenue due to the presence of tax-exempt federal property or to those that have experienced increased expenditures due to enrollment of federally connected children (e.g., children living on Indian lands or military bases). In addition, the bill directs the Department of Education to use school year 2018-2019 data or school year 2019-2020 data, whichever is greater, for making FY2021 allocations to states under the Migrant Education Program. States use these program funds to identify eligible migratory children and provide them with education and support services.

    S. 461| HBCU PARTNERS Act: This bill addresses the capacity of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to participate in federal programs. Specifically, the bill requires certain agencies to submit annual plans for strengthening the capacity of HBCUs to participate in federal programs. Among other things, the plans must establish how the agencies intend to increase the capacity of HBCUs to compete effectively for grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements. The agencies must provide technical assistance and information to the White House Initiative on HBCUs to enhance communication with HBCUs concerning their program activities and initiatives as well as applications for grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements. In addition, the bill provides statutory authority for the President's Board of Advisors on HBCUs.

    H.R.5363| FUTURE Act (Permanently Extend Mandatory Funding for HBCU Programs): This bill permanently authorizes funding for minority-serving institutions of higher education and increases the authorization of appropriations for Pell Grants. This bill directs the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), upon the written request of the Department of Education (ED), to disclose to any authorized person, tax return information to determine eligibility for recertifications for income-contingent or income-based repayments of student loans, discharges of loans based on total and permanent disability, and the amount of student financial aid under the Higher Education Act of 1965. The IRS must also establish and implement procedures for recertifying income for purposes of this bill and for requesting tax return information. The bill requires ED and the IRS to issue joint reports to Congress on this bill, including an update on the status of implementation of this bill and an evaluation of how such implementation affected the processing of applications for financial aid and discharge of student loans.

    H.R. 133| Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 [Including Coronavirus Stimulus & Relief]: This bill became the vehicle for passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, a major government funding bill, which also included economic stimulus provisions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

  • State

    HB22-1050| International Medical Graduate Integrate Health-Care Workforce: This bill is concerning facilitating the integration of international medical graduates into the Colorado health-care workforce.

    HB22-1349| Postsecondary Student Success Data System:  The bill requires the Colorado commission on higher education (commission) to enact a policy directing the department of higher education to develop student success measures that measure the progression of students through postsecondary education and the impact of postsecondary pathways on a student's career opportunities and success. The student success measures must include postsecondary success measures and workforce success measures.

    HB22-172| Colorado Rural Health-care Workforce Initiative: The bill establishes the Colorado rural health-care workforce initiative to expand the number of health-care professionals practicing in Colorado's rural or frontier counties. As part of the initiative, an institution of higher education is authorized to establish and operate a health-care professionals rural track within any health-care professional education program offered by the institution.

    SB22-008| Higher Education Support for Foster Youth: The bill requires all public higher education institutions in Colorado to provide to Colorado resident students who have been in foster care or, following an adjudication as neglected or dependent, in noncertified kinship care in Colorado at any time on or after reaching the age of 13, financial assistance for the remaining balance of the student's total cost of attendance in excess of the amount of any private, state, or federal financial assistance received by the student. The bill requires the general assembly to appropriate money to cover 50 percent of the remaining balance financial assistance provided by institutions to qualifying students. 

    HB22-1155| Funding for In-state College Tuition: This bill is concerning in-state tuition classification at institutions of higher education for students who complete high school in Colorado.

    HB22-1107| Inclusive Higher Education Opportunities: The bill creates in the department of higher education the inclusive higher education grant program to provide grants to state institutions of higher education for the purpose of establishing, or expanding existing, inclusive higher education programs for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

    SB22-192| Opportunities for Credential Attainment: The bill creates the health-care workforce resilience and retention program using existing initiatives to ensure that Colorado's health-care workforce is adequately supported in order to meet the health-care demands of Coloradans and to support the resilience, well-being, and retention of health-care workers. The program is authorized to seek and expend gifts, grants, and donations to support the program. The program is exempt from the procurement code. The bill appropriates $2 million from the economic recovery and relief cash fund for the program.

    HB22-1350| Regional Talent Development Initiative Grant Program: The bill establishes the regional talent development initiative grant program in the office of economic development to fund talent development initiatives across the state that meet regional labor market needs and specified grant program goals, including initiatives that meet workforce development needs in regions as they recover from the negative economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    HB22-1220| Removing Barriers to Educator Preparation: The bill creates the student educator stipend program. The purpose of the student educator stipend program is to award stipend money to an eligible student to reduce the financial barriers of participating in required clinical practice as a student educator. An eligible student placed as a student educator in a 16-week academic residency may receive a stipend of $11,000, and an eligible student placed as a student educator in a 32-week academic residency may receive a stipend of $22,000. The bill also creates the educator test stipend program. The purpose of the educator test stipend program is to award stipend money to approved programs of preparation to reduce financial barriers for eligible students preparing for the assessment of professional competencies for licensure and each required endorsement area. The approved program of preparation shall distribute the stipend money to an eligible student to pay the fees and costs associated with the assessment of professional competencies, which may include travel and lodging costs.

    SB22-226| Programs to Support Health-care Workforce:  The bill creates the health-care workforce resilience and retention program using existing initiatives to ensure that Colorado's health-care workforce is adequately supported in order to meet the health-care demands of Coloradans and to support the resilience, well-being, and retention of health-care workers. The program is authorized to seek and expend gifts, grants, and donations to support the program. The program is exempt from the procurement code. The bill appropriates $2 million from the economic recovery and relief cash fund for the program.

    HB22-1255| Improve Higher Education for Students with a Disability: The bill requires the department of higher education to submit, as a part of its annual "State Measurement for Accountable, Responsive, and Transparent (SMART) Government Act" hearing, data related to postsecondary outcomes for students with a disability. The department shall gather the data in collaboration with institutions of higher education.

    HB22-1049| Prohibiting Transcript and Diploma Withholding:  The bill authorizes a postsecondary institution to refuse to provide a transcript or diploma to a current or former student, except a foreign student, on the grounds that the student owes a debt for tuition, room and board fees, or financial aid funds, unless the student is requesting and can demonstrate that the transcript or diploma is needed for certain purposes.

    SB22-121| Tuition Revenue Pledged by Institutions of Higher Education:  The bill increases, from 10% to 100%, the amount of tuition revenues that a governing board of an institution of higher education or group of institutions of higher education designated as an enterprise may pledge in a contract for the advancement of money.

    HB22-1192| Displaced Workers Grant Appropriation: The bill codifies the department of higher education's Colorado opportunity scholarship initiative's displaced workers grant and extends the authority for the initiative to use an appropriation received in the 2020-21 state fiscal year for the displaced workers grant to disperse grant awards to grant recipients through the 2023-24 state fiscal year.

    HB22-129|– Implementing Universal Preschool: The bill establishes the powers, functions, and responsibilities of the department of early childhood and the executive director of the department in overseeing and administering early childhood and family support programs and services. The bill relocates most programs from the department of human services and the department of education to the department, effective July 1, 2022; the authority to operate a preschool program transfers July 1, 2023.

    HB22-1390| The School Finance Act: This bill reduces the budget stabilization factor, or negative factor – the amount of money the State owes schools based on a formula but instead is diverted to other priorities – to its lowest amount since 2010.  The bill additionally allocated supplemental funding to the Department of Education and the Department of Higher Education.

    HB22-1414| Funding for Free School Meals for all Colorado Children: The bill creates the healthy school meals for all program in the department of education to reimburse school food authorities that choose to participate in the program for free meals provided to students who are not eligible to receive free or reduced-price meals; provide local food purchasing grants to eligible participating school food authorities; provide funding to participating school food authorities to increase the wages or provide stipends for individuals employed to prepare and serve food; and provide assistance to participating school food authorities through the local school food purchasing technical assistance and education grant program.

    SB22-127| Funding for Special Education: Concerning pre and K-12 students, the current law requires the department of education to distribute to each administrative unit $1,250 for each child with a disability who receives special education services from the administrative unit. The bill increases the amount to $1,750 and requires the amount to increase by the rate of inflation each budget year beginning with the 2024-25 budget year.  The bill increases the required annual appropriation by an additional $26.8 million to fund children who have one or more disabilities and receive special education services from an administrative unit and requires the amount to increase by the rate of inflation each budget year beginning with the 2024-25 budget year.

  • Municipal

    To Be Updated

Immigration

  • Federal

    H.R. 1044| Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2020: This bill increases the per-country cap on family-based immigrant visas from 7% of the total number of such visas available that year to 15%, and eliminates the 7% cap for employment-based immigrant visas. It also removes an offset that reduced the number of visas for individuals from China. The bill also establishes transition rules for employment-based visas from FY2020-FY2022, by reserving a percentage of EB-2 (workers with advanced degrees or exceptional ability), EB-3 (skilled and other workers), and EB-5 (investors) visas for individuals not from the two countries with the largest number of recipients of such visas. Of the unreserved visas, not more than 85% shall be allotted to immigrants from any single country.

  • State

    HB20-1409| CDPHE Inspections of Penal Institutions: Concerning department of public health and environment inspections of penal institutions.

    HB20-108| Landlord Prohibition Tenant Citizenship Status: Concerning a prohibition on a landlord engaging in certain activities related to a tenant's citizenship status.

    HB20-1188| Person Who Illegally Reentered the United States: Concerning persons who have illegally reentered the United States.

    HB20-1294| Replace Illegal Alien with Undocumented Immigrants: Concerning replacing the term illegal alien with unauthorized worker as it relates to public contracts for services.

    HB20-1088| U Visa Certification Requirements: Concerning the certification process for the purpose of application for U non-immigrant status.

  • Municipal

    To Be Updated

Sustainability/Environment

Health Care