Policy and advocacy work is one way we know we can make lasting changes in our community. It is our responsibility and priority to lend our voice to issues that matter to our communities.
That is why we are taking 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 our policy framework and feedback from nonprofit organizations, grantees, fundholders, and community members.
We will update this information throughout the year to reflect the status of current and emerging policy proposals that the foundation has taken a position on.
Climate and Environment
We believe that environmental justice begins with targeted policy efforts and investments in under-resourced communities to address the impacts of climate change.
SUPPORT: HB23-1101 Ozone Season Transit Grant Program Flexibility
- What this is about: This bill makes changes to the existing law that established a two-year program to provide transit at no cost to riders in the month of August through a grant program that regional transit authorities were allowed to apply for. If passed, the law would expand the current definition of ozone season to allow transit agencies where the ozone levels are highest to apply for funding during different month periods beyond what the law currently allows.
- Why we care: This bill builds off an existing program that aligns with the foundation’s work to increase access and affordability of transit and improve air quality in Metro Denver. The coalition working on this and the previous bill is working toward a 2024 ballot measure to provide dedicated funding to transit agencies, including RTD. Communities of color and those of lower incomes are disproportionately impacted by traffic fatalities and lack of equitable infrastructure and investment in multimodal transportation. Additionally, poor air quality is concentrated in these communities. Increasing flexibility in how transit agencies can use the resources from this program will help in the immediate implementation in 2023 and will help in building the case for sustained funding for transportation in the future.
- Status: http://leg.colorado.gov/bills/hb23-1101
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.
SUPPORT: House Bill 23-1081 Employee ownership tax credit expansion
- What this is about: This bill expands the current Employee Ownership Tax Credit to allow more flexibility in the ways businesses can qualify. The Employee Ownership Tax Credit is set to expire in 2026. If passed, the new law would expand the tax credit to qualified businesses and make it easier for them to convert to worker-owned cooperatives. These changes will not only incentivize Colorado’s small businesses to consider employee ownership, but they will also ensure that there will be adequate financial support along that journey.
- Why we care: This tax credit will cement Colorado’s status as a national leader in worker cooperatives, employee stock ownership plans (ESOP), employee ownership trusts, and alternative equity structures. It has the potential to create thousands of new employee-owners during the next several years. These alternative equity structures help spread the wealth to the employees in the journey to a more commonly accepted form of ownership.
- Status: http://leg.colorado.gov/bills/hb23-1081
We believe the continuum of housing programs designed to address affordable housing and homelessness should be well-funded and respond to the history of exclusionary housing policies.
SUPPORT: House Bill 23-1095 Prohibited Provisions in Rental Agreements
- What this is about: This bill prohibits written rental agreements from including certain provisions that have historically worked against the renter. For example, if passed, the new law would ensure tenants can participate in class-action lawsuits when their landlords are not meeting the legally required standards of living that should be provided to a tenant, like a warrant of habitability.
- Why we care: Through our work as a funder, we recognize the toll that renters face in not only making their rent when the monthly rate increases or making their rent when the monthly rate increase in excess of the cost of living, but the challenges they face when advocating for themselves. This bill updates current law to establish additional safeguards for renters when signing complex leases so that they are not inadvertently forgoing their right to participate in legal proceedings, their right to good and faith dealing, and additional financial costs associated with renting a property from a landlord.
- Status: http://leg.colorado.gov/bills/hb23-1095
SUPPORT: HB23-1171: Just Cause Requirement Eviction Of Residential Tenant
- What this is about: The bill would establish a set allowable reasons for tenant eviction. Such legal grounds would outline what actions constitute a just reason for eviction and not renewing a tenant’s lease. It would also establish a framework for which a tenant can challenge in court an eviction. Such just causes will include lease violations (not paying rent or destroying the apartment).
- Why we care: Communities of color and low-income communities are disproportionately impacted by the lack of protections for renters regarding evictions. According to data from Policy Link, nearly one in four Black renters lived in a county where Black eviction rate was more than double the white eviction rate. Additionally, women -specifically Black and Latina women- faced high evictions than men in 2020.
- Status: http://leg.colorado.gov//bills/hb23-1171
SUPPORT: HB23-1186: Remote Participation in Residential Evictions
- What this is about: This bill will allow both parties (tenant and landlord) in an eviction proceeding the option to participate in person, virtually, or over the phone.
- Why we care: During the COVID-19 pandemic, many courts provided a virtual option for eviction hearings. Often, there are barriers such as childcare, time off from work, and transportation that can prohibit a person from making their hearing options will help ensure people can participate in the hearing and reduce the likelihood of a “default judgment,” which can lead to an eviction.
- Status: http://leg.colorado.gov//bills/hb23-1186
SUPPORT: HB23-1190: Affordable Housing Right of First Refusal
- What this is about: This bill will establish a process for local governments to make a competitive offer to purchase multi-family properties, such as apartments, when they become available for sale to preserve such housing for long-term affordable housing.
- Why we care: The housing shortage for low-income Coloradans is detrimental to the public health, safety, and general welfare of our communities. The inability to afford safe housing is incredibly disruptive to the lives and livelihoods of individuals and families. This bill will help local governments acquire and preserve much-needed affordable housing across the state.
- Status: http://leg.colorado.gov//bills/hb23-1190
SUPPORT: SB23-184: Protections for Residential Residents
- What this is about: This bill establishes a cap on the amount that a renter will pay for a security deposit, limits the amount of income a renter will have to establish to rent a property, and establishes other guardrails to help renters secure and stay in their homes.
- Why we care: The cost of housing in Colorado has doubled over the last decade – and renters are frequently spending a greater share of their income on housing. For those making low incomes and using a housing subsidy to secure housing, current requirements create additional barriers for renters. This bill is another policy intervention to help the lowest income earners secure and stay in their homes.
- Status: http://leg.colorado.gov//bills/sb23-184