CO Legislative Update
Frontline Public Affairs Update – October 6, 2020
Here’s the latest from Frontline Public Affairs including updates and resources on the work of the Behavioral Health Task Force to reform the state’s behavioral health system, ballot measures, the state budget, voting resources, substance use disorder recent grants and upcoming trainings, need to know info on the Colorado Health Foundation’s upcoming grant deadline, and more!
Blueprint to Reform State’s Behavioral Health System Released & Virtual Town Hall Oct. 7
Blueprint: On September 23, Governor Polis, Lt. Governor Dianne Primavera and the Colorado Behavioral Health Task Force (BHTF) released Behavioral Health in Colorado: Putting People First, a blueprint to reform the state’s behavioral health system. The BHTF, initiated by the Governor and led by the Colorado Department of Human Services, met for more than a year, engaging with communities across the state, to create a blueprint to make substance use and mental health services more accessible and affordable across the state. The BHTF recommended establishing a statewide behavioral health administration, a new state agency or entity within an agency that will consolidate all non insurance based behavioral health funding and oversee behavioral health services to ensure that services respond to and meet Coloradans’ needs. The BHTF also recommended increasing tele-behavioral health services and implementing regional care coordination to assist consumers with navigating behavioral health services. To read the full press release, go here.
Virtual Town Hall: On Wednesday, October 7 from 12 – 2 p.m. the BHTF Executive Committee is hosting a virtual town hall. They want to hear your questions about the Blueprint and suggestions as they move forward. You are welcome to submit your questions in advance using this form or online during the event. Register for the event here.
September Revenue Projection: After the September 18 state revenue projection Frontline Public Affairs provided you with a full summary of the forecast, plus a report. This newsletter we wanted to share the Colorado Fiscal Institute’s top takeaways from the state economists projection that CFI calls their Forecast Five.
State Furlough Days: On September 23 the Governor announced that the state would be implementing furlough days due to the budget shortfall. Additional details are available here, and in this related article: Colorado governor will require furloughs for 23,600 state workers — including himself (Denver Post).
As we shared previously the Colorado state ballot has been finalized with a total of eleven approved ballot measures, the majority of which—seven—are on the ballot because each received at least 124,632 signatures on initiative petitions. Of the remaining four, the General Assembly referred three of them to the ballot and the people referred one to the ballot by petition. These measures include tobacco/vape tax, national popular vote, reintroduction of gray wolves, ban on abortions at 22 weeks, Gallagher Amendment repeal, state income tax rate reduction, citizenship qualification of electors, bingo raffle rule changes, a voter approval requirement for creation of fee-based enterprises, paid family and medical leave, and local control of gaming limits.
The 2020 Blue Book (officially the “Ballot Information Booklet”) has been published and is available here in English and Spanish.
2020 Local Ballot Measure Tracker from The Colorado Health Foundation
The Colorado Health Foundation (TCHF) is launching the 2020 Local Ballot Measure Tracker, a one-stop-shop compilation of municipal and county ballot initiatives from across the state of Colorado for the Nov. 3 general election. In partnership with CRL Associates and PowerMap Ltd., TCHF has created this tracker to create greater visibility into critical policy decisions being made by voters at the local level this fall. You can view TCHF 2020 Local Ballot Measure Tracker on their website. It will automatically be updated as new measures are proposed. This tracker is open to all and may be shared widely. This website link also includes a short, 4 minute video explaining “Road Map to Passing Ballot Measures in Colorado”. Questions? Contact Jin Alexander Tsuchiya, TCHF public policy officer.
The Gallagher Amendment & Amendment B
Colorado’s Gallagher Amendment, which voters will repeal this year if they approve Amendment B, has a reputation for being complex and confusing. The Colorado Fiscal Institute (CFI) decided to take up the challenge of explaining it so you can make an informed decision when you cast your ballot in this video called Gallagher in 5 Minutes.
Paid Family Leave
Should Colorado Offer Paid Family Leave? A State Lawmaker And A Businessman Weigh In (Colorado Public Radio)
After Years Of Statehouse Debate, Colorado Voters Face Historic Decision On Paid Family Leave (Colorado Public Radio)
National Popular Vote
State Income Tax
Proposition 116 explained: Colorado must decide whether an income tax cut is worth a hit to state budget (Colorado Sun) Prop. 116: Colorado voters will decide whether to lower the state income tax, but it's complicated (The Denver Channel)
State Legislator Elections
See attached for our full list of candidates for running for the state legislature. If you have any questions please reach out to us.
Voting Resources – Worth Repeating, Again!
This section is filled with a bunch of resources and articles we think are worth repeating. Since our last newsletter the Colorado Sun also published this article of interest: Questions about Colorado candidates, ballot measures or how to vote? We’re here to help.
Election day is November 3rd, but ballots will be sent to voters starting October 9th. Now is the time to make sure your information is accurate and encourage your friends to do the same. Go to the Colorado Secretary of State’s website - GoVoteColorado.com. Here you can register to vote, update your address, or sign-up to be an election judge.
Once you receive your ballot in the mail, return it as early as you can so you don't have to worry about mail delays. Better yet, vote by drop box! Did you know that drop boxes are fireproof and under 24/7 video surveillance? Colorado added 100 new drop boxes ahead of the 2020 General election.
If you still plan to vote in person, wear a mask and go early. It's a common misconception that voting locations are only open on the day of the election. Actually, some polling centers open as early as October 19th.
Register to vote.
Update your information.
Find the closest drop box or in-person voting location.
Concerned about election safety? Check out this virtual tour of ballot processing to see how secure voting in Colorado really is.
Get all your FAQs answered by Just Vote Colorado.
After voting, track your ballot here.
Related articles (shared in our last newsletter too):
Frequently-asked questions on voting to the Colorado Secretary of State (Colorado Politics)
How mail ballots work in Colorado (Colorado Newsline)
Colorado Now Offers Automatic Ballot Tracking For Every Voter (Colorado Public Radio)
$4.3 Million Awarded in Colorado Grants to Prevent Substance Use Disorder
On September 28 the Colorado Department of Human Services, Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) awarded nearly $4.3 million in grants to fund 26 prevention programs that serve Colorado youth and families. OBH funds prevention programs that aim to lower rates of substance misuse by promoting the wellbeing of children and families. The five-year awards range from $100,000 to $200,000 per year and support programs in three categories: priority population (one or more historically marginalized groups); evidenced-based programs; and under-resourced high-needs (URHN) programs. In all, grantees include 14 county agencies and 12 organizations across the state.
In February 2018 OBH released a statewide needs assessment conducted by the Colorado Health Institute that identified counties with the highest risk factors for substance use disorder and gaps in prevention funding (available here). The findings informed the selection of URHN program counties, which are receiving OBH funds for the first time through noncompetitive intergovernmental agreements. See details on grantees here.
Residential SUD Provider HCPF Training - October 22 and 29 The Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing (HCPF) will host two training sessions focusing on the upcoming residential and inpatient SUD service benefit. Two sessions, both covering the same content, will be offered on Thursday, October 22, 2020, 1:00-5:00 and Thursday, October 29, 2020, 9:00-1:00. The training will cover topics including: an overview of the SUD benefit expansion, enrollment with Health First Colorado as a residential/inpatient SUD treatment provider, billing procedures for the new services, ASAM Criteria documentation of medical necessity, utilization management, provider licensure requirements, and content provided by RAEs and MSOs for treatment providers. Click here to register for the training, and visit the Department’s SUD webpage, Ensuring a Full Continuum of SUD Benefits, for additional information.
Need to Know Info from The Colorado Health Foundation (TCHF) on their Oct. 15 Grant Deadline
TCHF has posted information on what you need to know to apply for their October 15 grant deadline here.
What We Are Reading
The Coronavirus Exposed Colorado’s Racial Inequities in Health Care. Community Health Centers Are Trying to Help (Colorado Public Radio)
Colorado expands, extends crisis counseling program (Colorado Politics)
From Your Frontline Public Affairs Team
Katie Pachan Jacobson
Katie Pachan Jacobson, MSW
Government Affairs Associate
Frontline Public Affairs
1410 Grant St., Suite B104
Denver, CO 80203