2022 Policy Positions – Legislative Session Wrap Up


May 11, 2022

(updated May 12, 2022)

Update from Naomi Amaha: It’s been an exciting legislative session. This represents the start of deeper involvement in policy and advocacy from The Denver Foundation. We were grateful to be part of such meaningful conversations about how to improve our communities. It was incredible to see the policies that we supported will be soon be law – Thanks to our partners and to legislative leaders for their work this session. We look forward to continuing this important work for Denver and for Colorado.

If you want to dive deeper into a look-back at the 2022 legislative session, please join us for this special virtual Leading & Learning event on June 9 from noon- 1pm. To RSVP, please register here.


True change happens at the systemic level, which is why advocacy and policy change is so crucial to making our communities better. The Denver Foundation has always led on issues important to our community. We believe we have a responsibility to take bold steps to advance racial equity and drive meaningful systemic change to improve our communities. One way we do that is through policy and advocacy.

The Denver Foundation is pleased to share that we have taken formal positions on the following policy proposals. These positions were informed by the foundation’s assessment of each policy proposal, conversations with stakeholders, and our policy principles, which we developed based on feedback from nonprofit organizations, donors, past grantees, fundholders, and community members.

 

Df Grantpriorityicons Economic OpportunityEconomic Opportunity:

We believe that economic opportunity is achievable when the community has the tools and resources to build wealth, increase assets, and create local and just economies.


PASSED: House Bill 22-1230: Employment Support And Job Retention Services (state policy) The Denver Foundation supported this bill.

  • What this is about: This proposal helps jobseekers cover costs associated with technology, attire, transportation, or other resources needed when seeking new job opportunities. By making this pilot program permanent, expanding the definition of service providers, and providing an ongoing appropriation, there is an opportunity to deepen its impact and help individuals find jobs that achieve their employment goals. 
  • Status: This bill was approved by the legislature and will be sent to the Governor for signature. Information about House Bill 22-1230 is available here.

PASSED: House Bill 22-1359: Colorado Household Financial Recovery Program (state policy)  The Denver Foundation supported this bill.

  • What this is about: This proposal will support the economic stability of those most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic by providing lending opportunities to low-income individuals through a new household financial recovery program within the state treasurer’s office. The goal of the program is to increase access to low-interest loans for individuals or households, which can be used to pay for unexpected expenses. Under this proposal, nonprofit organizations will be invited to partner with the state to promote the program to communities that most need the resources.
  • Status: This bill was approved by the legislature and will be sent to the Governor for signature. Information about House Bill 22-1359 is available here.

 

Df Grantpriorityicons EducationEducation:

We believe that access to a well-funded and racially equitable education system is critical for Metro Denver communities to thrive.


PASSED: House Bill 22-1202: At-risk Student Measure For School Finance (state policy) The Denver Foundation supported this bill.

  • What this is about: This bill aims to address racial disparities in school funding by expanding how “at-risk students” are identified by using existing data points (neighborhood socioeconomic status, census data, and medical assistance programs). This will help us better understand funding needs and direct funding to communities with a higher number of students in need of support so they can access resources to further their educational opportunities. This is a starting point to address inequity in school funding. 
  • Status: This bill was signed into law by Governor on May 3. Information about House Bill 22-1202 is available here.

 

Df Grantpriorityicons Environment ClimateEnvironment and climate:

We believe that environmental justice begins with targeted policy efforts and investments in under-resourced communities to address the impacts of climate change.


PASSED: Air Quality Funding Package (state policy) The Denver Foundation supported these bills.

  • What this is about: This package of bills will improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through investments in transportation, building efficiency, affordable housing, and land use, as well as air quality monitoring, regulation, and incentives. These investments will provide funding for communities to become more sustainable and resilient. The package also provides state agencies with the resources needed to address greenhouse gas emissions statewide.
  • Status:  
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PASSED: House Bill 22-1244: Public Protections From Toxic Air Contaminants (state policy) The Denver Foundation supported this bill.

  • What this is about: This bill empowers the state of Colorado to develop a program to establish targeted health-based air quality standards for air toxins. This bill will help protect those most at risk of serious health impacts as a result of pollutants and poor air quality. Those most impacted include workers, communities of color, and low-income communities, which have disproportionately faced cumulative impacts from living in and near pollution hot spots. (note: edited to reflect amendments)
  • Status: This bill was approved by the legislature and will be sent to the Governor for signature. Information about House Bill 22-1244 is available here.

 

PASSED: House Bill 22-1362: Building Greenhouse Gas Emissions. (state policy) The Denver Foundation monitored this bill.

  • What this is about: This bill will support the state’s efforts to improve climate and the environment statewide. Buildings are a leading source of carbon emissions in Colorado. This bill is intended to establish a minimum standard across the state to ensure new homes and buildings are equipped for solar, electric vehicles, and high-efficiency electric appliances. It will also provide grant funding for training and for clean energy investments. 
  • Status: The bill was approved by the legislature and will be sent to the Governor for signature. Information about House Bill  22-1362 is available here.

 

Df Grantpriorityicons HousingHousing:

We believe that reliable and accessible transportation options are a core function of a thriving community.


PASSED: Aurora’s Unauthorized Camping on Public and Private Property (local policy) The Denver Foundation opposed this policy.

  • What this is about: This proposal outlaws unauthorized camping on public property, establishes a fine of up to $2,650 or jail time, and requires the City of Aurora to provide a shelter option for those experiencing homelessness. Communities of color are disproportionately impacted by homelessness. This policy proposal does not address the structural issues of why one might experience homelessness and furthers the inequities through the criminalization of camping. 
  • Status: The Aurora City Council approved the proposal on March 28. 

 

Support: Denver’s Expanding Housing Affordability Proposal (local policy) The Denver Foundation supports this policy.

  • What this is about: The City and County of Denver is developing a policy to ensure that as new housing is built in Denver, more affordable homes are built, too – both to rent and buy. The proposed policy aims to further economic prosperity and improve access to quality-of-life amenities to create a more equitable Denver. 
  • Status: The Denver City Council will hold a public hearing on the policy proposal on June 6th. The status of Denver’s Expanding Housing Affordability Proposal is available here.

 

PASSED: House Bill 22-1287: Protections for Mobile Home Park Residents (state policy) The Denver Foundation supported this bill.

  • What this is about: The goal of this proposal is to provide rent stabilization for mobile home parks by capping rent hikes each year. The policy aims to stop the displacement of populations living in this form of affordable housing through rent stabilization, tenant protections, and support for purchasing mobile home parks.
  • Status: The bill was approved by the legislature and will be sent to the Governor for signature. Information about House Bill 22-1287 is available here

 

PASSED: House Bill 22-1304: State Grants Investments Local Affordable Housing (state policy) The Denver Foundation supported this bill.

  • What this is about: This bill will establish two grant programs that will develop or preserve existing affordable housing and sustainable land use during affordable housing development using funding from the American Rescue Plan Act. The grant programs will provide one-time funding that will preserve existing and increase the affordable housing supply in Colorado.
  • Status: The bill was approved by the legislature and will be sent to the Governor for signature. Information about House Bill 22-1304 is available here.

 

PASSED: Senate Bill 22-160: Loan Program Resident-owned Communities (state policy) The Denver Foundation supported this bill.

  • What this is about: The bill will establish loan and grant programs to provide assistance and financing to mobile homeowners looking to purchase their mobile home park. The grant programs will provide technical assistance opportunities to nonprofits working with residents looking to organize and purchase their parks. It will also provide funding to support the efforts of mobile homeowners working to keep their resident-owned parks affordable. 
  • Status: The bill was approved by the legislature and will be sent to the Governor for signature. Information about Senate Bill 22-160 is available here.

 

PASSED: House Bill 22-1377:  Grant Program Providing Responses to Homelessness (state policy) The Denver Foundation supported this bill.

  • What this is about: This bill will address the root causes of homelessness by helping local governments and nonprofits with their efforts to provide services, treatment, and housing support for those experiencing homelessness. One-time American Rescue Plan Act funding will support this grant program. The program stems from recommendations from the Affordable Housing Transformational Task Force and will further local efforts to address the root causes of homelessness. 
  • Status: The bill was approved by the legislature and will be sent to the Governor for signature. The status of House Bill 22-1377 is available here

 

PASSED: House Bill 22-1378: Denver-metro Regional Navigation Campus Grant  (state policy) The Denver Foundation supported this bill.

  • What this is about: This bill addresses homelessness by connecting people experiencing homelessness with essential services and support at a navigation campus in Metro Denver. This bill establishes a grant program to create this campus. This concept builds on previous efforts to develop regional campuses and stems from recommendations from the Affordable Housing Transformational Task Force
  • Status: The bill was approved by the legislature and will be sent to the Governor for signature. The status of House Bill 22-1378 is available here

 

Df Grantpriorityicons TransportationTransportation:

We believe that access to reliable and affordable public transportation options is a core function of a thriving community.


Support: Regional Transportation District’s Systems Optimization Plan (regional policy) The Denver Foundation supports this policy.

  • What this is about: Regional Transportation District (RTD) has developed recommendations to be fully implemented by 2027. This plan will advance the redesign of a system to address disparities and connect community members to services, education, and employment opportunities. It aims to change travel patterns, increase ridership, improve transit performance, and ensure the fiscal sustainability of RTD. The proposal reflects the foundation’s vision for a racially equitable Metro Denver in its prosperity and culture as access to reliable transportation via transit access to work, services, and education.
  • Status: RTD collected feedback and is currently reviewing it prior to presenting it to the Board of Directors for final approval. The status of RTD’s Systems Optimization Plan is available here

 

Df Grantpriorityicons PolicyPhilanthropic giving and nonprofit sector:

We believe that philanthropists and nonprofits must work together to co-create change to address community needs. We must elevate the work of the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors to ensure that policies further both sectors’ investments in community change. 


PASSED: House Bill 22-1356: Small Community-based Nonprofit Grant Program (state policy) The Denver Foundation supported this bill.

  • What this is about: This appropriation will help provide funding to support the infrastructure and capacity needs of smaller nonprofits. Funding will prioritize nonprofits that provide culturally appropriate and relevant services and resources to families and communities that are historically underrepresented and under-resourced — immensely helping these organizations that support under-served communities.
  • The Denver Foundation’s role: The Black Resilience in Colorado (BRIC) Fund is a member of the steering committee of the Communities Lead, Communities Thrive Coalition, which led the drafting of this bill. 
  • Status: The bill was approved by the legislature and will be sent to the Governor for signature. Information about House Bill 22-1356 is available here.

We will update this blog as these policy proposals move through the process. 

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Please contact Director of Policy & Government Affairs, Naomi Amaha, namaha@denverfoundation.org with any questions.