What to Know About the 2023 Legislative Session
A Look at the Colorado General Assembly and WFCO’s Policy Priorities
New and Noteworthy Numbers for the 2023 Legislative Session
The 2023 legislative session kicked off on January 9, 2023 and is expected to end on May 8, 2023. Already it is notable for the number of women occupying seats in both branches. Below are several other points that will likely impact the legislative session and its outcomes.
A women-led legislature
The lived experiences of women are critical to creating policies that are rooted in gender, racial, and economic equity. That’s why we celebrate Colorado women holding 50 of the 100 seats in the state legislature. Twelve of the 35 Senate seats and 38 of the 65 House seats are occupied by women, 44 of whom are Democrats and seven of whom are Republicans. Before this milestone, Colorado was one of a handful of states to have majority women in either the state House of Representatives or Senate. Since 2007, Colorado has ranked consistently among the top-five states for representation of women across both chambers.
Additionally, for the first time in history, the top three House leadership positions will be occupied by women, with Julie McCluskie serving as the House speaker, Monica Duran as the majority leader and Jennifer Bacon as the assistant majority leader. Reps. Jennifer Bacon and Monica Duran, along with Rep. Iman Jodeh, the co-whip and the legislature’s first Muslim lawmaker, are all women of color elected to help lead the House’s Democratic supermajority.
A Democrat supermajority
Democrats hold a 46-19 majority in the state House and 23-12 majority in the Senate. According to The Colorado Sun about the House, “the margin is so big Democrats will have a supermajority in the chamber, meaning they can override Gov. Jared Polis’ vetoes, refer constitutional changes to voters and call a special legislative session, all three of which require the support of two-thirds of the chamber.”
- Gov. Jared Polis started his second term amid tensions surrounding affordable housing, rising cost of living, and a limited state budget.
- Of the 100 lawmakers who make up the Colorado General Assembly, 32 have never served in the legislature.
- Colorado will have the largest LGBTQ+ caucus of any legislature in the country, according to the caucus chair Rep. Brianna Titone.
WFCO legislative priorities align with vision of House leadership
According to The Denver Post, House speaker McCluskie stated that three of the party’s priorities for this year — housing, health care and child care — are women’s and family priorities.
This bodes well for The Women’s Foundation to advance our three policy priorities for Colorado women and their families:
- Address root causes of poverty and provide holistic and flexible resources to women and their families
- Reform Colorado’s tax and budget policies to promote equity and allow for sufficient resources to be dedicated to WFCO priorities
- Promote issues and protect rights that promote gender, racial, and economic equity
Though the legislative session began just this week, The Women’s Foundation worked behind the scenes with Frontline Public Affairs for several months to hit the ground running and build upon the success of recent years. Our levels of support for bills, which range from monitoring to lobbying, are determined by availability of resources, alignment with our priorities, and the need for our support.
Priority #1: Address root causes of poverty and provide holistic and flexible resources to women and their families
- WFCO will lobby and actively support a bill to improve upon the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act that passed in 2019 and went into effect in 2021.
Reform Colorado’s tax and budget policies to promote equity and allow for sufficient resources to be dedicated to WFCO priorities
- WFCO will support the Child tax credit (CTC) and Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) interim commission recommendations. The bill expands the state earned income tax credit and child tax credit. It decreases state revenue and increases expenditures beginning in FY 2023-24. Through at least FY 2024-25, the bill decreases the state obligation for TABOR refunds to taxpayers.
- WFCO will support the Colorado Child Care Contribution Tax Credit (CCTC) reauthorization. CCTC incentivizes contributions to strengthen Colorado’s child care providers.
Promote issues and protect rights that promote gender, racial, and economic equity
- WFCO will continue to advocate for systemic changes to promote reproductive health, rights, and justice. We will support efforts by movement leaders to protect and expand access to abortion care, ensure access to family planning services, and improve health outcomes for pregnant and postpartum people and infants.
Make a difference with a click of your mouse
There are two immediate actions you can take to support these policy priorities.
Sign up for our Advocating for Impact series to learn from experts on how you can take action to more these priorities forward. The first training is on January 26 at 12:00 p.m.
Share your experience with Colorado’s Equal Pay for Equal Work Act by completing this survey.