Jan 11, 2023

Recent articles

CCLP testifies in support of TANF grant rule change

CCLP's Emeritus Advisor, Chaer Robert, provided written testimony in support of the CDHS rule on the COLA increase for TANF recipients. If the rule is adopted, the cost of living increase would go into effect on July 1, 2024.

CCLP’s legislative watch for April 5, 2024

For the 2024 legislative session, CCLP is keeping its eye on bills focused on expanding access to justice, removing administrative burden, preserving affordable communities, advocating for progressive tax and wage policies, and reducing health care costs.

2023 Legislative Preview Event Recap

by | Jan 11, 2023

Colorado’s Legislative Session came early this year, and CCLP was ready for it! Right on the heels of the holidays CCLP hosted our 2023 Legislative Preview on January 4th. CCLP staff presented some of our legislative priorities for the antipoverty movement.  

Interim Executive Director, Bethany Pray, opened the event remarking on the wins from last year’s session, where we not only led on legislation, but were also staunch supporters of many bills. 

Chaer Robert kicked off the legislative conversation by discussing three types of bills that helped families across Colorado from last year’s legislative session: bills about services and programs, bills about tax policy changes, and bills around rights and the balance of power.  

Regarding the bills about service and programs, Ms. Robert discussed the recently established programs for critical needs, such as legal help for evictions, rental assistance, post-partum Medicaid coverage, healthcare affordability, and Healthy School Meals for All (the last of these being sent to voters by the legislature as a ballot proposal, which then passed in the November 2022 election.) Many of these programs were modified or expanded with the help of ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funding from the government. 

 As for bills about tax policy changes, Ms. Robert posed a few questions to the audience:  

  • Who should get tax breaks? 
  • What should people’s share of taxes be? 
  • What are the values we express through our tax policies? 

At CCLP, we hope to see a permanent change to our state’s rebates in the event of a TABOR surplus, which would give all Coloradans a flat rate amount, as we saw last year. This would make the rebates equal across Colorado, rather than reverting back to the old law which gives more money to those in higher tax brackets. Unfortunately, we also saw our state’s income tax rate drop to 4.4%. While some may see this as savings on their taxes, the state will lose out on $600 million in tax revenue, taking funding from vital programs that help Coloradans.  

Finally, Ms. Robert talked us through the previous bills around rights and balance of power. This included legislation for paid sick days, salary transparency in posted jobs, Clean Slate, protection of mobile park home residents, towing bill of rights, as well as hospital billing/collection requirements. We saw many of the elected officials new to the legislature this year run for office to put these values and protections into law. 


SNAP Employment and Training 

Moving on to this year’s legislative priorities, Program Consultant, Laura Ware, discussed the SNAP Employment & Training (SNAP E&T) bill. This bill expands training and support services for SNAP eligible individuals, expands funding for new and existing third-party partners, and renews funding for enhanced training, employment, and support services for two years. It will also focus on priority populations for individuals experiencing homelessness, single parents, justice-involved individuals, students, and long-term unemployment. 


Adult Education 

Ms. Robert went on to explain the need for the Adult Education bill, which was introduced in the Senate on the first day of session. Currently, around 3,000 Coloradans lack high school credentials or digital skills, which is adding to the difficulty of employers finding skilled workers. Without these necessary skills and education, many workers face lower job opportunities and lower wages. Ms. Robert shared that this bill would make changes to adult education to better serve adults with less than a 9th grade education, it would add digital literacy as a core function of adult education, and would allow community colleges to grant high school diplomas to their own students. This bill would provide the necessary skills and education the pandemic so clearly showed us what Coloradans need. 


Medical Debt 

Policy Fellows, Julia Char Gilbert and Charlie Kestler, presented our Medical Debt bill. They shared that healthcare is too unaffordable for far too many people and medical debt is the largest source of debt in the country – Coloradans hold $1.3 billion in medical debt in total. This burden is also not shared equally, they explained, as people of color, people with lower incomes, birthing people, young people, people with disabilities, and the LGBTQ+ community are disproportionately impacted by medical debt. Medical debt shows up on your credit report and can lower your credit score, which has far-reaching consequences and barriers with access to housing, employment, or economic opportunities. This bill will explore how to take on consumer reporting of medical debt and set up stronger consumer protections in this area. 


Tax credits for struggling families 

Finally, Ms. Robert ended with the EITC Expansion bill, which would increase the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the state child tax credit. With the bill already written, we are patiently awaiting its introduction into the legislature. 



Our staff concluded the event by answering questions from the audience regarding our bills, including our approaches to these topics. But these four areas are certainly not the only ones that have piqued our interest this year. 2023 promises an exciting general session with many more opportunities to help Coloradans struggling with poverty.  Stay tuned for more information throughout the next few weeks and months on bills we’re working on, supporting/opposing, and the like.  

With that, bring on the 2023 Legislative Session! 


Didn’t get a chance to attend the event? Watch it on YouTube, here!

Check out CCLP’s legislative priorities for the 2023 legislative session, here!

Recent articles

CCLP testifies in support of TANF grant rule change

CCLP's Emeritus Advisor, Chaer Robert, provided written testimony in support of the CDHS rule on the COLA increase for TANF recipients. If the rule is adopted, the cost of living increase would go into effect on July 1, 2024.

CCLP’s legislative watch for April 5, 2024

For the 2024 legislative session, CCLP is keeping its eye on bills focused on expanding access to justice, removing administrative burden, preserving affordable communities, advocating for progressive tax and wage policies, and reducing health care costs.


To maintain health and well-being, people of all ages need access to quality health care that improves outcomes and reduces costs for the community. Health First Colorado, the state's Medicaid program, is public health insurance for low-income Coloradans who qualify. The program is funded jointly by a federal-state partnership and is administered by the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing.

Benefits of the program include behavioral health, dental services, emergency care, family planning services, hospitalization, laboratory services, maternity care, newborn care, outpatient care, prescription drugs, preventive and wellness services, primary care and rehabilitative services.

In tandem with the Affordable Care Act, Colorado expanded Medicaid eligibility in 2013 - providing hundreds of thousands of adults with incomes less than 133% FPL with health insurance for the first time increasing the health and economic well-being of these Coloradans. Most of the money for newly eligible Medicaid clients has been covered by the federal government, which will gradually decrease its contribution to 90% by 2020.

Other populations eligible for Medicaid include children, who qualify with income up to 142% FPL, pregnant women with household income under 195% FPL, and adults with dependent children with household income under 68% FPL.

Some analyses indicate that Colorado's investment in Medicaid will pay off in the long run by reducing spending on programs for the uninsured.


Hunger, though often invisible, affects everyone. It impacts people's physical, mental and emotional health and can be a culprit of obesity, depression, acute and chronic illnesses and other preventable medical conditions. Hunger also hinders education and productivity, not only stunting a child's overall well-being and academic achievement, but consuming an adult's ability to be a focused, industrious member of society. Even those who have never worried about having enough food experience the ripple effects of hunger, which seeps into our communities and erodes our state's economy.

Community resources like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps, exist to ensure that families and individuals can purchase groceries, with the average benefit being about $1.40 per meal, per person.

Funding for SNAP comes from the USDA, but the administrative costs are split between local, state, and federal governments. Yet, the lack of investment in a strong, effective SNAP program impedes Colorado's progress in becoming the healthiest state in the nation and providing a better, brighter future for all. Indeed, Colorado ranks 44th in the nation for access to SNAP and lost out on more than $261 million in grocery sales due to a large access gap in SNAP enrollment.

See the Food Assistance (SNAP) Benefit Calculator to get an estimate of your eligibility for food benefits.


Every child deserves the nutritional resources needed to get a healthy start on life both inside and outside the mother's womb. In particular, good nutrition and health care is critical for establishing a strong foundation that could affect a child's future physical and mental health, academic achievement and economic productivity. Likewise, the inability to access good nutrition and health care endangers the very integrity of that foundation.

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) provides federal grants to states for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition information for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding postpartum women and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk.

Research has shown that WIC has played an important role in improving birth outcomes and containing health care costs, resulting in longer pregnancies, fewer infant deaths, a greater likelihood of receiving prenatal care, improved infant-feeding practices, and immunization rates

Financial Security:
Colorado Works

In building a foundation for self-sufficiency, some Colorado families need some extra tools to ensure they can weather challenging financial circumstances and obtain basic resources to help them and their communities reach their potential.

Colorado Works is Colorado's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and provides public assistance to families in need. The Colorado Works program is designed to assist participants in becoming self-sufficient by strengthening the economic and social stability of families. The program provides monthly cash assistance and support services to eligible Colorado families.

The program is primarily funded by a federal block grant to the state. Counties also contribute about 20% of the cost.


Child care is a must for working families. Along with ensuring that parents can work or obtain job skills training to improve their families' economic security, studies show that quality child care improves children's academic performance, career development and health outcomes.

Yet despite these proven benefits, low-income families often struggle with the cost of child care. Colorado ranks among the top 10 most expensive states in the country for center-based child care. For families with an infant, full-time enrollment at a child care center cost an average of $15,140 a year-or about three-quarters of the total income of a family of three living at the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).

The Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP) provides child care assistance to parents who are working, searching for employment or participating in training, and parents who are enrolled in the Colorado Works Program and need child care services to support their efforts toward self-sufficiency. Most of the money for CCCAP comes from the federal Child Care and Development Fund. Each county can set their own income eligibility limit as long as it is at or above 165% of the federal poverty level and does not exceed 85% of area median income.

Unfortunately, while the need is growing, only an estimated one-quarter of all eligible children in the state are served by CCCAP. Low reimbursement rates have also resulted in fewer providers willing to accept CCCAP subsidies.