Today, Colorado Center on Law and Policy (CCLP) and the National Health Law Program (NHeLP) filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights and the U.S. Department of Justice.
Bethany Pray provided testimony for Senate Bill 24-093, Continuity of Health-Care Coverage Change. CCLP is in support of SB24-093.
CCLP Policy Fellow, Milena Castañeda testified at the Medical Services Board meeting regarding emergency rules for the NEMT.
Chaer Robert provided testimony against House Bill 24-1065, Reduction of State Income Taxes. CCLP is in opposition of HB24-1065.
December Letter from Bethany Pray, Interim Executive Director
We are a nation and a state of great divides. A land of extraordinary beauty, great wealth, a healthy state economy, and diverse, dynamic communities. At the same time, a quarter of Coloradans lack the resources to meet their basic needs. Racial, ethnic, gender, and class divides remain stark, and perpetuate violence – physical and otherwise – toward individuals and communities. Bridging those divides, and working toward healing, are not efforts anyone can tackle alone.
With CCLP’s recent release of the 2022 Self-Sufficiency Standard for Colorado, co-authored with the University of Washington and supported by Mile High United Way, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be self-sufficient. None of us is really self-sufficient, nor should we expect to be. The wealthy depend as much as anyone upon the infrastructure of civil society—roads, regulations, rights. They also depend uniquely upon tax policy written in their favor, and policies on borrowing and investment and inheritance that are government-created.
But self-sufficiency is about more than money. I depend on my family and friends for strength; on my CCLP colleagues to work alongside me in furthering our shared mission; on the individuals, community organizations, foundations and board members to support the work we do; on our advocacy colleagues to do what they do best; on government and legislative partners and thoughtful judges; and on the thousands of Coloradans who — despite having their own jobs and families and struggles to pay rent — meet with their neighbors week after week to identify what’s not working, and call for change.
Last week, CCLP celebrated our annual Communities Against Poverty event, honoring Coloradans who have fought to close those divides, and hearing from two amazing speakers, Dr. Frederick Wherry and Dr. Lois Lupica, who shared their insights on debt, its disproportionate impact on low-income households and on communities of color in particular, and the innovative new work they are doing to understand how those systems might change.
Our honorees included our Legislator of the Year, Representative Monica Duran, prime sponsor of the 2022 bill that reformed Colorado’s TANF program; Governmental Partner of the Year, Katherine Keegan, whose leadership at the Office of the Future of Work is helping to reduce the digital divide that keeps Coloradans from accessing benefits they are eligible for; Community Advocate of the Year Alma Vidauri, whose bravery in tackling an unfair legal system led to passage of a bill that reforms how benefits fraud is prosecuted; and Community Partner of the Year, Expunge Colorado, a small, scrappy organization that has led the way in improving record sealing processes in Colorado.
We at CCLP are fortunate to have access to resources — access to power, in other words. But as fans of Marvel movies know: with great power comes great responsibility. It is our obligation to try to channel our power to alter the structures that divide, and to help create new structures that enfranchise community voice in the future trajectory of our state. We’re privileged to have been able to work with our honorees and further their goals, and we look forward to working with our/the community to design Colorado solutions to the debt burden so many of us carry. The tools we have at our disposal – research, legislative, and legal expertise – are made for this, and to be lent, shared, and given. Sharing power is something we practice and try to get better at every day. That’s what I love about CCLP’s staff — they genuinely, conscientiously, and unceasingly look for ways to do our work better, to learn more from the community and their fellow advocates, and to follow through and make sure the impact is there.
On all fronts, we’re making progress. On all fronts, there is still so much more to do.
(A version of this letter was presented at this year’s Communities Against Poverty event.)