While Clayton supported several bills this past 2023 legislative session, we wish to highlight 5 bills we feel are innovative, compassionate, and could serve as model legislation for other states. The bills are: HB23-1006, HB23-1246, HB23-1133, SB23-027, and SB23-105. Here is a brief synopsis of why we supported each of these bills.
HB23-1006 requires Colorado employers to notify their employees once a year of the availability of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit, the state Earned Income Tax Credit, the federal Child Tax Credit, and the state Child Tax Credit. Eligible Colorado families have been under-filing and leaving money on the table. This bill will provide employees with better ability to identify their eligibility potential.
HB23-1246 will provide a no-cost credential option for people entering the field of early childhood education. This creates a strong incentive for new teachers to explore opportunities.
HB23-1133 removes the cost of phone calls from both people incarcerated in Colorado Department of Corrections and Colorado Department of Youth Corrections.. The cost of calls has been significant and within our cohort of Clayton’s Community Ambassadors we have had several people testify they had indeed spent thousands of dollars each year communicating with incarcerated family members. This bill will help families stay connected, help parents maintain a relationship with children during separation, improve mental health, and decrease the recidivism rates for formerly incarcerated persons by increasing their ability to maintain and return to a support system upon re-entry. To learn more about our Community Ambassadors’ involvement, please see this article featured in the Denver Post as well as one covered with Denver 7 News.
SB23-017 expands on Colorado’s paid sick leave law to explicitly added the closure of a school and place of care to the list of allowable reasons for an employee to use paid sick leave. Notably, this bill does not require the family member attending a school or place of care to be a minor child so it will cover adults in adult care settings as well. We supported this bill because it helps parents stay employed and does not force them into uncomfortable or unsafe care situations for their family members.
SB23-105 builds upon Colorado’s landmark Equal Pay for Equal Work law by creating a path for government supported enforcement of credible findings so that a worker is not solely reliant on finding and paying for their own legal representation. The bill also extends the statute of limitations for a claim. As the early childhood field is widely staffed by women, it is vitally important to support employment laws that offer protection against exploitation.
Clayton engages with bills identified by both our policy team and our Community Ambassadors that strengthen family economic mobility, increase access to health and safety for all people, and support the early childhood education field. Ambassadors both regularly testify on bills and participate in the necessary implementation work of the legislation throughout the year. For more information on Clayton’s policy and advocacy impact please contact Lydia Waligorski (firstname.lastname@example.org) with questions.