CALPHO members and staff can now breathe a sigh of relief as the 2018 Colorado legislative session ended on May 10th with mostly good news for local public health. The session was full of intrigue, with more than 700 bills being introduced, many late in the session. Close majorities, an election year, term limits for key leaders, Colorado’s booming economy and a large budget surplus also added to the hectic session. Overall for Colorado, much needed transportation investments were secured, PERA was safeguarded, and school funding received a boost. CALPHO staff and Frontline Public Affairs kept busy juggling 48 positions on bills and budget items (see the full list here). CALPHO took 33 positions to support various bills and budget items and of those 21 (64%) were passed. Of the seven items CALPHO opposed, four failed, one never became an issue (Air Quality Division budget), and two passed.
Following are some highlights of CALPHO’s achievements this session and the continued fight on two bills we hope to see vetoed.
- CALPHO saw its four biggest wins early in the session as the two bills with Actively Oppose positions were defeated, another was stopped from being introduced, and one of the marijuana club bills was killed:
- SB18-045 would have repealed the successful and environmental friendly Paint Stewardship Act
- SB18-139, from the tobacco industry, would have required some licensure requirements for retailers selling tobacco products but would have taken significant funds from tobacco prevention efforts and preempted local efforts at comprehensive licensing
- A proposed cottage foods bill was stopped from being introduced through a stakeholder process
- SB18-211, Marijuana Consumption Club License, was a good defeat for public health as it would have allowed exemption from the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act for “fully ventilated” facilities”
- Health equity advocates in the state, including CALPHO, had a major win in the defeat of SB18-214, which would have implemented self-sufficiency provisions to Colorado’s Medicaid program.
- CALPHO supported seven bills which passed that expanded safeguards and prevention efforts related to opioid misuse, substance abuse, and behavioral health care: HB18-1003, SB18-022, SB18-024, HB18-1136, SB18-071, HB18-1007, HB18-1357.
- CALPHO along with the organizations in the Colorado Tobacco Free Alliance worked diligently to defeat SB18-179, Extend Credit for Out-of-State Tobacco Sales, and HB18-1258, Marijuana Accessory Consumption Establishments, however the two bills passed and are now sitting on the Governor’s desk. CALPHO and the Alliance have sent letters to the Governor asking that the bills be vetoed, and Amy Winterfeld, with Tri-County Health Department, joined CALPHO staff and other Alliance members on May 14th to request veto on HB18-1258 in a face-to-face meeting with the Governor’s office. Stay tuned in June for the Governor’s decision on those two bills.