content courtesy of The Women’s Foundation of Colorado
Through generous funding and support from WomenGive, The Women’s Foundation of Colorado helped to pass several bills during the 2023 legislative session that increase access to basic needs for women and families in Northern Colorado. We thank WomenGive members for their advocacy during the session, which helped advance the following measures:
Colorado Department of Human Services Diaper Distribution Program
What the bill does: The act will put diapers in the hands of families who need them. It does this by continuing funding of the diaper distribution program that was passed in 2021.
Why it matters: According to a recent PBS news story, the high cost of diapers is an often invisible part of poverty in America. Although 5 million babies and toddlers in the U.S. live in poverty, most government programs do not provide diapers or funding to purchase them. And just like most basic needs, the cost of diapers keep rising and will increase again in 2023.
HB 23-1091: Continuation of Child Care Contribution Tax Credit
What the bill does: The credit incentivizes philanthropic contributions to child care and youth-serving nonprofits. It has been extended for three years.
Why it matters: Philanthropic contributions strengthen access and affordability of our early care and education workforce, which enables women to be able to enter, remain, and succeed in their careers.
HB 23-1290: Proposition EE Funding Retention Rate Reduction
What the bill does: This bill refers a measure to the 2023 election that will allow for the state to keep the revenue that was approved by voters to fund universal pre-school by taxing nicotine and tobacco products.
Why it matters: Accessible, affordable, and high-quality early care and education allows for young children and families to thrive.
HB 23-1112: Earned Income and Child Tax Credits
What the bill does: This bill will expand the state’s earned income tax credit percentage of the federal for the tax year 2024 and permanently remove the income and phase-in requirement for the state child tax credit. Families with no or low income, those filing between $0 and $25,000, will receive $1,200 per qualifying child starting in the tax year 2024. Under HB 23-1112, the estimated average EITC for all eligible claimants is $834, and the estimated average tax credit for all eligible claimants is estimated to be $840.
Why it matters: Child tax credits cut the rate of child poverty – period. The 2021 expansion of the federal child tax credit led to a historic reduction in poverty in the U.S., with child poverty falling to its lowest level on record at 5.2%. Black child poverty rates fell by 17% between 2009 and 2021, while child poverty rates fell from 30% to 8% among Hispanic children over the same period.
SB 23-105: Ensure Equal Pay for Equal Work
What the bill does: The bill for which WFCO led a working coalition of organizations and individuals to help pass, strengthens the trailblazing Equal Pay for Equal Work Act passed in Colorado in 2019 that sparked a national movement toward pay transparency. Now, 1 in 4 workers in the country are covered by a pay transparency law.
Why it matters: If a woman believes she has not received equal pay but cannot afford legal support, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment will be able to investigate and enforce equal pay requirements as well as offer mediation services to resolve claims. Next, if it is found that she received unequal pay, it will extend the back pay period up to six years from three years, so that a woman can recover the difference between what she was paid and what she should have been paid for as long as she was underpaid – up to six years. Lastly, it updates and clarifies pay transparency requirements for employers, making it easier for them to comply and improving workers’ access to information about advancement pathways and job opportunities.
Progress Was Made, but Opportunities Remain
In the fall, voters will be faced with more ballot questions related to how our state can invest in people. The Women’s Foundation of Colorado will offer events and a ballot guide to help you understand how voters play a role in driving a more fair tax code to better meet the needs of the women who need access to opportunity. In the meantime, let’s celebrate the progress we’ve made together this year.