Gov. Jared Polis signed dozens of bills this week that include several measures in Colorado on affordable housing, health care and public safety.
Over the past few days, the governor has been visiting parts of the state on a bill-signing tour aimed at highlighting the work the legislature has recently accomplished.
On Tuesday, Polis traveled to Greeley, Fort Collins and Boulder to sign legislation that he said would expand access to affordable housing, including House Bill 1082to create an equitable housing unit; Senate Bill 160to help mobile home residents buy their parks; and House Bill 1242which invests in the regulation of small dwellings.
“We’re taking action to save Coloradoans money on housing,” Polis said. “Our economy is stronger when hardworking Coloradoans have access to affordable housing close to where they work.”
The most expensive of them, SB-160, created a $35 million loan and grant program to help fund mobile home residents trying to buy their mobile home parks for sale.
“We put mobile homeowners ahead of corporate profits,” said Rep. Andrew Boesenecker, D-Fort Collins’ bill sponsor. “Our law invests critical resources in keeping mobile home parks affordable by empowering mobile homeowners to buy and manage the land on which their homes sit. I’m very proud to see this law pass the finish line because resident-owned Community is the key to affordable, resilient mobile homes.”
The Fair Housing Unit established under HB-1082 will be responsible for enforcing civil and criminal prosecutions of housing laws to protect Coloradoans seeking housing. HB-1242 gives state housing boards the authority to regulate small homes and exempt home sales taxes.
Signed into law on Friday, House Bill 1282 $40 million was also spent building new affordable housing, including innovative housing structures such as modular and 3D-printed homes.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, Polis signed a slew of bills aimed at supporting the healthcare industry and “reducing red tape” for consumers, including spending nearly $200 million on behavioral health services.
House Bill 1281 Created a $90 million grant program for local governments and nonprofits to fill gaps in behavioral health care. House Bill 1283 Invested $54 million in intensive inpatient and outpatient care for adolescents and families. House Bill 1302 $35 million for primary care practices to incorporate behavioral care into their clinical models. Senate Bill 147 $11 million for programs that provide behavioral health care for youth and families.
House Bill 1243The agreement signed Thursday also invests in behavioral health, spending $14 million to improve safety and behavioral health services in public schools.
“Access to behavioral health care in our state can be complex and difficult, making it difficult for Coloradoans to get the care they need to maintain their health and well-being,” said Sen. Faith Winter, D-Westminster, sponsor of HB-1281. “As we continue to work on Building a healthier Colorado for all, this critical investment will address these inequalities.”
In addition to behavioral health, other legislation aims to advance the entire healthcare industry. Senate Bill 226 $61 million to educate, train, recruit and retain healthcare workers; House Bill 1325 Develop alternative payment models for healthcare services; and House Bill 1370 Reduce the cost of prescription drugs by requiring insurers to save on manufacturer rebates.
“I’m proud that we’re making healthcare in Colorado more accessible, affordable and reliable as we take bold steps to reduce the cost of prescription drugs and save money for healthcare workers,” Polis said. “We are making transformational investments in our public health system to ensure medical readiness for any current or future public health needs.”
On Thursday and Friday, Polis signed on to several Colorado crime-fighting efforts, including Senate Bill 145spending $30.5 million to fund prevention and crisis intervention in high-crime areas; recruiting, retaining, tuition, and training of law enforcement officers; and, increasing diversity in law enforcement.
“This legislation recognizes the urgent need for communities to develop crime prevention and intervention strategies that address local needs,” said Debbie Aldernettl, Deputy Director of the Criminal Justice Division. “At the same time, it addresses the need to retain and recruit law enforcement officers, especially those representing the communities they serve.”
Other crime prevention bills signed include Senate Bill 1which created a $10.3 million grant program to upgrade high crime communities; House Bill 1003spent $4 million on youth crime prevention programs; House Bill 1234spent $2 million on programs to prevent identity-based crime; and, House Bill 1120which reauthorizes the School Safety Spending Program to fund safety strategies for local schools.
Larger investments include Senate Bill 183using $48 million to fund and expand crime victim resources, and Senate Bill 196which allocated nearly $62 million for early intervention and diversion efforts to keep people with mental health and substance abuse problems out of the criminal justice system.
“We’re delivering real results and making Colorado communities safer,” Polis said. “Every Colorado has the right to a safe community, and today we are one step closer to my goal of making Colorado one of the ten safest states in America over the next five years.”
The following bills were also signed into law this week:
- Senate Bill 206 Create a new office to tackle climate change
- House Bill 1133 Pay $57 million in prepaid state employer insurance premiums
- House Bill 1292 Allowing Tobacco Funds for Oral Health Programs
- House Bill 1301 Changes to the tax treatment of hydroponic equipment used on farms
- Senate Bill 35 Establishing Workers’ Compensation Insurance Requirements for Commercial Drivers
- House Bill 1091 Free online court opinion
- Senate Bill 106 Mandatory Conflict of Interest Policy for Contract Healthcare Managers
- Senate Bill 18 Expanded court text reminder process
- Senate Bill 188 Create a behavioral health support program for public defenders and prosecutors