WFCO Pinpoints 2022 Policy Priorities
Three Areas on Our Radar for the 2022 Legislative Session
The 73rd Colorado General Assembly began yesterday. For several months, The Women’s Foundation of Colorado has been planning with our lobbyists and coalitions to identify where The Foundation can make the greatest impact for Colorado women and families. With the pandemic still casting a shadow over Colorado’s economy and many women and families still struggling to get by, WFCO has pinpointed the following legislative areas we will elevate in pursuit of gender, racial, and economic equity:
- Making work work for women
- Increasing women’s access to basic needs
- Ensuring that women statewide have access to the full range of reproductive health information, care, and justice
Support working women
The Women’s Foundation uses our resources to strengthen the early care and education (ECE) workforce. Without accessible and affordable child care, many women remain under-employed or are unable to participate in the workforce. According to Common Sense Institute’s February 2021 report “The Shecession in Colorado,” a little over 20,000 Colorado mothers left the labor force in 2020 and had not yet re-entered. Two yet-to-be-introduced bills that will have WFCO’s support relate to tax credits for the ECE workforce and a property tax exemption for nonprofit child care providers. We also will monitor a bill that will implement the new state department of early childhood education and the universal preschool program passed by Proposition EE in 2020.
While the state hashes out the details to offer paid leave benefits to workers beginning in 2024, The Women’s Foundation will monitor the progress of the law and use our voices to help ensure effective and equitable implementation. Long-time WFCO grantee 9to5 Colorado is leading the effort to ensure all Coloradans have access to this vital support.
Increase access to basic needs
The Women’s Foundation will support a bill that will end state sales tax on menstrual products and diapers. While the bill will not address the high cost of the products themselves, it does eliminate the statewide sales tax that applies when they are purchased. Sen. Faith Winter, D-Westminster, recently said to the Denver Post:
“This is actually one of the bills that’s been most requested by my constituents. Especially young women across my district are seeing this as an equity piece and as a really important way to reduce stigma.”
Additionally, WFCO plans to help increase cash assistance for families who qualify for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) to keep up with the steep rise in cost of living in Colorado.
Reproductive health information, care, and justice
Legislation related to a woman’s access to health information, care, and justice is expected to be introduced and WFCO will support them. Full access to the range of reproductive health resources is linked strongly to economic security.
Led by COLOR and COBALT, the Reproductive Health Equity Act will continue access to abortion and contraceptives in Colorado. According to a Center for Reproductive Rights map, if Roe is overturned by the Supreme Court, abortion will likely remain accessible in Colorado, but without legal protections.
Additionally, The Foundation will support expanding health insurance coverage for pregnant people, including undocumented Coloradans. Research shows Medicaid coverage of pregnant people and children is associated with improved health and wellbeing and offering prenatal care is cost effective.
According to WFCO lobbyist Jennifer Miles, president of Frontline Public Affairs, “The 2022 legislative session promises further work on the COVID pandemic and the state’s economic recovery, with an enhanced focus on economic, gender, and racial equity. WFCO’s strategic focus on equity is aligned with that of many of Colorado’s current legislators, providing ample opportunities for WFCO to lead and be heard in the policy making process. It will also make for a VERY busy legislative session for The Foundation!”
Keep an eye on our 2022 legislative page for an up-to-date list of the bills our public policy committee votes to support during the session.
We Need You
WFCO will work with legislators and Frontline Public Affairs to provide bill sponsors with testimonies, and utilize our other resources, such as our statewide network of advocates, to pass these bills and many more. But we can’t do that without you. We’re seeking women’s stories related to our issue areas and we make it easy for you to become an advocate for women through our “Advocating for Impact” trainings. Sign up for our two interactive virtual sessions that will give you tools and guidance for becoming more engaged in the legislative process and making an impact for Colorado women and families.