Colorado’s 2022 legislative session wrapped up in May, and it included the passage of many new pieces of legislation that will impact individuals with the capacity to become pregnant, children, and families.
We’ve put together a summary of what passed this session that is relevant to substance use and families, including topics across behavioral health, reproductive and perinatal medical care, early childhood, economic security, and more.
Support for families impacted by behavioral health
- House Bill 22-1278 Behavioral Health Administration establishes the behavioral health administration (BHA) in the department of human services in pursuit of creating a coordinated, cohesive, and effective behavioral health system in the state.
- House Bill 22-1214 Behavioral Health Crisis Response System requires crisis system facilities and programs, including crisis walk-in centers and mobile crisis programs, to meet minimum standards to provide mental health and substance use disorder services and clarifies that crisis system facilities and programs shall provide behavioral health services to individuals experiencing a substance use disorder crisis.
- House Bill 22-1302 Health-care Practice Transformation creates the primary care and behavioral health statewide integration grant program in the department of health care policy and financing to provide grants to primary care clinics for implementation of evidence-based clinical integration care models.
- House Bill 22-1303 Increase Residential Behavioral Health Beds requires the department of human services (department) to renovate a building at the mental health institute at Fort Logan to create at least 16 additional inpatient civil beds for persons in need of residential behavioral health treatment. It also directs the department and the department of health care policy and financing to create, develop, or contract to add at least 125 additional beds at mental health residential treatment facilities (mental health facilities) throughout the state for adults in need of ongoing supportive services.
- House Bill 22-1326 Fentanyl Accountability And Prevention establishes many measures focused on addressing synthetic opiates. Some highlights include:
- Enabling hospitals and ERs to dispense take home buprenorphine
- Requiring that individuals arrested for possession receive evaluations for treatment
- Development of a fentanyl prevention and education campaign
- Senate Bill 22-021 Treatment Behavioral Health Disorders Justice System updates provisions of existing statue concerning the treatment of persons with mental health disorders in the criminal and juvenile justice systems.
- Senate Bill 22-021Treatment Behavioral Health Disorders Justice System updates provisions of existing statue concerning the treatment of persons with mental health disorders in the criminal and juvenile justice systems.
- House Bill 22-1295 Department Early Childhood And Universal Preschool Program, which establishes duties of the new Department of Early Childhood, creates Colorado’s universal preschool program and provides continued investment in Illuminating Child Care—a program that provides an innovative approach to increasing access to child care for parents and caregivers navigating complex life situations– through 2028.
- House Bill 22-1369 Children’s Mental Health Programs directs the department of early childhood to contract with a Colorado-based nonprofit entity to provide children’s mental health programs.
- Senate Bill 22-147 Behavioral Health Care Services for Children provides funding for schools to increase the number of health professionals, allowing more schools and districts to provide behavioral health services for all students.
Access to reproductive and perinatal medical care
- House Bill 22-1289 Health Benefits For Colorado Children and Pregnant Persons provides full health care coverage for people who are pregnant or up to 12 months postpartum and children who would otherwise be eligible for Medicaid and CHP+ if not for their immigration status. It also makes other critical investments in perinatal services across the state, including making breast pumps a covered benefit for all Coloradans who use Medicaid and CHP+ and creating a Special Enrollment Period for pregnancy, which will allow people to sign up for individual market insurance coverage as soon as they find out they are pregnant.
- House Bill 22-1279 Reproductive Health Equity Act declares that every individual has a fundamental right to use or refuse contraception; every pregnant individual has a fundamental right to continue the pregnancy and give birth or to have an abortion; and a fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus does not have independent or derivative rights under the laws of the state.
- House Bill 22-1329 2022-23 Long Bill (the FY 2022-23 state budget) includes protection for the quality prenatal and postpartum care in Colorado’s Medicaid program and provides funding for stakeholder engagement, including through the Maternity Advisory Council.
Family financial security
- House Bill 22-1259 Modifications To Colorado Works Program makes critical improvements to the Colorado Works program (our state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program), including increasing the amount of Basic Cash Assistance (BCA) provided to families, establishing a cost of living adjustment to the BCA, and improving the way the program works for families.
- House Bill 22-1055 Sales Tax Exemption Essential Hygiene Products creates a state sales tax exemption commencing January 1, 2023, for all sales, storage, use, and consumption of menstrual products, diapers, and incontinence products.
Paid family and medical leave policies
- House Bill 22-1133 Family and Medical Leave Insurance Fund is one of the next steps in the implementation of Colorado’s paid family leave program. It helps to establish funding mechanisms for state employee coverage that the state is required to pay under the new program.
- House Bill 22-1305 Paid Family Medical Leave Premium Reduction reduces the premium paid by employers for the state’s paid family and medical leave program, starting January 1, 2023, through June 30, 2023, from nine-tenths of 1% of wages per employee to eighty-one hundredths of 1% of wages per employee, and requires the state treasurer to transfer $57.5 million from the general fund to the family and medical leave insurance fund.
- House Bill 22-1240 Mandatory Reporters establishes a Mandatory Reporter Task Force charged with analyzing best practices and recommending changes to training requirements and reporting procedures and analyzing the effectiveness of mandatory reporting and its relationship with systemic issues, including the disproportionate impact of mandatory reporting on under-resourced communities, communities of color, and persons with disabilities.
Looking ahead and to the federal level
While this year’s state legislative session is over, we will need to continue to pay attention to the following related to reproductive health, substance use, and families:
- Stakeholder opportunities as part of implementation of bills that passed this session, especially:
- The stakeholder process required by House Bill 22-1289 Health Benefits For Colorado Children and Pregnant Persons to determine priorities for drawing down federal funds to improve perinatal and postpartum support
- The Mandatory Reporting Task Force established by House Bill 22-1240 Mandatory Reporters to analyzing best practices and recommending changes to training requirements and reporting procedures and analyzing the effectiveness of mandatory reporting and its relationship with systemic issues
- Progress of the FASD Respect Act, legislation that has been proposed at the federal level that would reauthorize funding for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) research, prevention, and services.
- Continued efforts to support family economic security–especially access to housing, food, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), tax credits, and family-friendly work policies
Have questions about any of this recently passed legislation or want to get involved in advocating for the FASD Respect Act or other next steps?
Reach out to Illuminate Colorado’s strategic initiatives manager, Cassie Davis, at email@example.com.