Mar 29, 2019

Recent articles

CCLP’s 2024 legislative wrap-up, part 2

CCLP's 2024 legislative wrap-up focused on expanding access to justice, removing administrative burden, supporting progressive tax and wage policies, preserving affordable communities, and reducing health care costs. Part 2/2.

CCLP’s 2024 legislative wrap-up, part 1

CCLP's 2024 legislative wrap-up focused on expanding access to justice, removing administrative burden, supporting progressive tax and wage policies, preserving affordable communities, and reducing health care costs.

CCLP testifies in support of Clean Slate updates

Bethany Pray, CCLP’s Chief Legal and Policy Officer, provided testimony in support of House Bill 24-1133, Criminal Record Sealing & Expungement Changes. CCLP is in support of HB24-1133, as it is one of our priority bills.

Legislative Update: March 29, 2019

by | Mar 29, 2019

Bill levels the playing field for mobile-home owners
Manufactured or mobile homes are an affordable – if scarce – alternative for Coloradans living on the lower end of the pay scale. Approximately 100,000 Coloradans reside in manufactured housing communities. Unfortunately, people who live in these communities are too often subjected to whims of landowners who overbill for water and other utilities, increase fees to homeowners without explanations and fail to maintain the property.

Under current state law, a mobile-home owner only has two days’ notice to remove or sell a mobile home from a property following an eviction. While manufactured homes are inexpensive compared to conventional housing, removing a unit can cost thousands of dollars — not to mention that it’s a difficult ordeal to resolve in just two days.

In a 2018 review of manufactured housing communities, Colorado’s Department of Regulatory Affairs (DORA) stated that residents of these communities are being harmed by “lack of enforcement of existing laws, bad actors exploiting a relatively loose regulatory structure and the inevitable tension that arises when the house belongs to one person but the land beneath it belongs to someone else.” DORA recommended increasing enforcement options to induce compliance with the Mobile Home Park Act.

To ensure that residents of these communities can live in safe, stable environments and get fair treatment and adequate notice from landowners, CCLP is helping to develop legislation that will revise Colorado’s Mobile Home Park Act. Expected to be introduced soon, the bill would give the Department of Local Affairs’ Division of Housing the authority to administer a dispute resolution and enforcement program funded by a small lot fee on mobile-home park owners. The legislation would also extend the length of time a homeowner has to sell or move their home following eviction from 48 hours to 60 days.

To support the bill, contact Jack Regenbogen at jregenbogen@copolicy.org.

Bill to Watch: HB 1275
More than 1.8 million people are listed on the state’s criminal-record database. Unfortunately, even one non-violent misdemeanor or felony conviction from years ago could hamper Coloradans’ employment prospects and earning potential. For many Coloradans, a brush with the law could essentially lead to an “extended sentence” of unemployment, housing insecurity and an increase risk of recidivism.

Developed with help from CCLP, House Bill 1275 would make records for most non-violent convictions eligible for sealing and unavailable to the public. The bill would reduce the timeframe that a person must wait before their record is eligible for sealing. The bill would also help automate the sealing of arrests that are dismissed. If passed, the legislation would remove a barrier for many Coloradans seeking employment and housing and let them get on with their lives.

Introduced on Tuesday, the bill is sponsored by Rep. Mike Weissman, Rep. Matt Soper and Sen. Pete Lee. It was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee. Contact CCLP’s Jack Regenbogen at jregenbogen@copolicy.org to support HB 1275.

On the Radar
As many Coloradans struggle to keep up with the rising cost of housing, any financial relief would be welcome. HB 1245 would increase funding for affordable housing by imposing a $1,000 cap on the amount of sales tax revenue Colorado’s very largest retailers can keep as their “fee” for collecting the tax.

The additional sales tax revenue would be transferred to the housing development grant fund within the Department of Local Affairs, which would be used to improve, preserve, or expand the supply of affordable housing in Colorado. The change in how the sales tax vendor fee is administered would result in roughly $23 million being invested in housing across Colorado in the first year and $45 million to $50 million per year thereafter.

CCLP is also developing a bill that would invest $40 million a year into affordable housing by drawing from Colorado’s unclaimed property trust fund. The bill would support grants and loans for a range of housing needs including down-payment assistance and other home ownership opportunities, home modification and rehabilitation, and mobile-home repair and replacement. It would also provide rental assistance for homeless families with school-age children, Medicaid clients who are currently in nursing homes, homeless veterans, and survivors of domestic violence. HB 1245 and CCLP’s bill would finally bring some much-needed and long-overdue resources to Colorado’s affordable housing crisis, at no cost to taxpayers. Both measures deserve consideration and support from legislators.

ALSO ON THE RADAR: CCLP strongly supports HB 1106, which passed through the Senate last Friday, March 22. The bill, which now goes to the governor for final approval, would help enable housing opportunities by limiting rental application fees and consideration of a renter’s criminal history. Be sure to ask your state Senator today to support HB 1118, which extends eviction notice from three days to 10 days. The bill will be heard in the Senate Business, Labor, & Technology committee on Monday, April 1. Another CCLP-developed bill, HB 1189, also will be heard on Monday. The legislation would reform Colorado’s wage-garnishment laws to keep people with consumer debt from sinking into bankruptcy or homelessness. Learn more about the legislation in this Colorado Politics’ op-ed from Bob Connelly, a retired attorney and friend of CCLP.

Legislative Wrap-Up

On May 10, join the staff of CCLP for an overview of the session and what it means for family economic security and health care. The event is free and food and beverage will be provided. Seats are limited so RSVP now

Recent articles

CCLP’s 2024 legislative wrap-up, part 2

CCLP's 2024 legislative wrap-up focused on expanding access to justice, removing administrative burden, supporting progressive tax and wage policies, preserving affordable communities, and reducing health care costs. Part 2/2.

CCLP’s 2024 legislative wrap-up, part 1

CCLP's 2024 legislative wrap-up focused on expanding access to justice, removing administrative burden, supporting progressive tax and wage policies, preserving affordable communities, and reducing health care costs.

CCLP testifies in support of Clean Slate updates

Bethany Pray, CCLP’s Chief Legal and Policy Officer, provided testimony in support of House Bill 24-1133, Criminal Record Sealing & Expungement Changes. CCLP is in support of HB24-1133, as it is one of our priority bills.

HEALTH:
HEALTH FIRST COLORADO (MEDICAID)

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.

FOOD SECURITY:
SUPPLEMENTAL NUTRITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (SNAP)

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.

FOOD SECURITY:
SPECIAL SUPPLEMENTAL NUTRITION PROGRAM FOR WOMEN, INFANTS AND CHILDREN (WIC)

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.

EARLY LEARNING:
COLORADO CHILD CARE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (CCCAP)

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.