Legislature To Return from Recess Due to Pandemic
Policies Related to the Pandemic Will Be Priorities
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown just how critical WFCO’s public policy and advocacy work is to the economic security of women and their families across Colorado. Even as the Colorado General Assembly remains in an extended recess due to the pandemic, WFCO continues our work remotely to advance on our top public policy priorities: early child care & education (ECE) and paid family and medical leave.
Alongside the Colorado Children’s Campaign and the Office of the Governor, we are making the case for federal investment in ECE and prioritizing ECE in Colorado’s plans for stimulus dollars. We are also monitoring the state’s budget context. Falling state revenues and a balanced budget requirement will likely lead to significant budget cuts for the current fiscal year and limit opportunities for new investments, including in WFCO priorities, for next year. A revised state revenue forecast presented to the Joint Budget Committee on May 12 projects a $3.3 billion shortfall that will require drastic budget cuts. Policy progress for women and families made over the past decade is all at risk.
Paid Family and Medical Leave Bill Will Not Be Introduced
The legislature is expected to reconvene for three weeks, beginning on May 26, to address budget requirements and will only consider new policies that are related to the pandemic and meet the three F’s: Free, Fast, and Friendly. This means that many of the bills, including many that WFCO supported, introduced earlier in the 2020 legislative session may not proceed. We also learned last week that a paid family and medical leave bill will not be introduced in the remaining weeks of the legislative session, but signature gathering efforts will soon begin for potential statewide ballot measures to seek voter approval for establishing a paid leave system in Colorado.
Stay Tuned for Ballot Guide Updates to The Womanifesto
In the coming months, WFCO will share more information about these and other ballot measures that could impact women’s economic security. Stay tuned for 2020 ballot guide updates to The Womanifesto and more on how we continue to advocate for policy changes that improve opportunities for women and families in our state through legislation, the statewide ballot, administrative changes, or efforts to support implementation of previously passed policies like the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, to the fullest extent possible in our new budget reality.
While the COVID-19 crisis altered what policy improvements may be possible in the short-term due to budget constraints, WFCO’s commitment to systems changes that advance equity and improve economic outcomes for women and families of every background and identity remains firm. The pandemic and its economic fallout have highlighted the necessity and urgency of this work.