Women Thriving. Colorado Rising.

2020 Legislative Priorities

During the 2020 General Assembly, The Women's Foundation will prioritize strengthening the early care and education (ECE) workforce and improving access to paid family and medical leave for all Coloradans. Through a nonpartisan and gender-focused approach to public policy, we will use the following criteria to identify the specific bills we will support to advance Colorado women and their families. 

  • Does it address root causes of poverty and promote economic security?
  • Does it improve Colorado's tax and budget policies to allow for sufficient resources to be dedicated to WFCO priorities?
  • Does it promote and protect issues and rights aligned with the core values of WFCO?

 

Early child care worker looking over young child paintingEarly Child Care Education 

Accessible, high-quality child care is imperative for parents of young children to enter, succeed, and remain in the workforce and meet their families’ needs. And yet Colorado’s early care and education sector is experiencing a shortage of qualified workers. Think it’s just a problem for working parents? There’s a ripple effect to the health of our economy. Everyone relies on someone who relies on child care and it’s an essential ingredient for the growth of businesses. To get more people into child care careers, it’s going to take multiple strategies. With input from our cohort of direct service and public policy grantees and over 50 expert stakeholders in ECE, workforce development, and public sectors across the state, WFCO will continue to prioritize legislation which will advance the early care and education sector. 

 

 

 new mom and her newborn babyPaid Family & Medical Leave

Thousands of Coloradans need time off to care for family members each year – whether that’s bonding with a newborn or adopted child, caring for an aging parent, or addressing a major medical issue. Without paid family and medical leave, families can face financial hardship or devastation. Some employers currently offer paid family leave, but many Colorado employees are left behind. In fact, only 17% of the Colorado workforce have access to paid family and medical leave and only 8% of workers with incomes in the bottom quartile have paid family and medical leave. No Coloradan should have to choose between caring for a loved one and providing for them. Access to paid family and medical leave means more women can remain in the workforce, more families can stay afloat, employers can retain talent and reduce costs, and economic activity increases.

Our state is considering many aspects of how to make paid family and medical leave a reality for all Coloradans. Analysis of research and thoughtful, insightful input from diverse members of our community has led WFCO to the following priorities. We believe that a policy that addresses these priorities will ensure that paid family and medical leave will work for women, especially women who earn low wages, their families, and their employers. We believe in an inclusive and equitable policy that includes:

  • Wage replacement rates and job protections that make it feasible for those earning the lowest wages to utilize paid leave and maintain financial stability
  • Covered purposes for leave that address a range of family caregiving needs and the worker’s own health and safety needs
  • Leave periods that realize the health and economic benefits associated with sufficient paid leave
  • Equitable premiums that are affordable to workers and employers across all sectors and industries, while maintaining adequate resources for a sustainable system
  • The broadest participation possible, across all sectors and industries, with employers of all sizes

WFCO will continue to advocate for an approach to paid family and medical leave that addresses these priorities. We believe the inclusion of these key elements will ensure paid leave will work for Coloradans who need it most – workers who earn low wages and their families. We are confident that a paid family and medical leave system that works for women, their families, and their employers will work for everyone in our state..

 

 

Status Key:
Bill is activeActive Bill failedFailed Bill passedPassed signed iconSigned Bill vetoed Vetoed

 

 

Active: Introduced, in process
Failed: Will not move forward this session
Passed: By Colorado State House of Representatives and Senate
Signed: By Colorado Governor
Vetoed: By Colorado Governor

 

Here 's What We're Supporting in 2020:

 Bill #
Title 
What It Does
Why We Support It
Status
HB20-1053 Supports For Early Childhood Educator Workforce

Streamlines pathways to the classroom for aspiring educators, establishes ECE recruitment and retention scholarships and grants, creates apprenticeships

Accessible, high-quality child care is imperative for parents of young children to enter, succeed, and remain in the workforce and be able to meet their families’ needs

Bill is active
HB20-1043 Income Tax Credit For Early Childhood Education Fix

Encourages improvements in providers' quality, improves compensation of the ECE workforce, increases access to child care providers for families facing the greatest barriers

This bill will make a technical fix to one of WFCO's priorities from 2019. It bolsters the stability and growth of the ECE workforce Bill is active
HB20-1006

Early Childhood Mental Health Consultants 

Ensure sustainable funding and establish a structured, statewide program to support early childhood mental health consultation A key barrier of success of early care and education professionals is access to mental health services for themselves and their students. Bill is active
SB20-009

Expand Adult Education Grant Program

Expand the reach of adult education to more learners, bridging literacy attainment and workforce goals Comprehensive adult education initiatives improve the economy and enhance workforce participation and productivity Bill is active
SB20-029

Cost of Living Adjustment for Colorado Works Program

Increase Basic Cash Assistance to make up for the lack of adjustment for inflation and implement an annual cost of living adjustment (COLA) Families significantly below the poverty access Basic Cash Assistance to decrease the stress of making ends meet Bill is active
TBD

Paid Family and Medical Leave

TBD TBD Not Yet Introduced

 

Join Us

WFCO invites you to join us in leading systemic change on behalf of women and their families. Through a unified voice we can influence positive community outcomes. Stay tuned for updates before, during, and after the session, and in the meantime, here's how you can help support our advocacy efforts!

  • The Womanifesto. Download and share our nonpartisan voter handbook.
  • Help inform the conversation. Share WFCO’s recent research that is informing our advocacy work.
  • Vote and advocate. Read our civic engagement guide to learn how you can make a difference, from voting to how to contact your legislators.
  • Join us to learn more. Attend an upcoming community education event and sign up for our eNewsletter to receive information and updates.
  • Follow and share. Follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Instagram for policy updates throughout the year and participate in Facebook Live discussions with our programs team.
  • Share your ideas with us. Let us know when you see a challenge in your community that could be improved by a policy change, email us at wfco@wfco.org.

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