Legislative Update: Unveiling Key Developments in Week Three of the Session

Dear Legislative Update followers,

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The week before last, Governor Polis presented his annual State of the State address to the legislature, articulating his priorities for this cycle. A notable highlight was his focus on fully funding CSI schools, illustrating the impact of the legislation we played a part in passing last year! The bipartisan applause that ensued – for both that and his proposed complete buydown of the Budget Stabilization Factor, which would translate into the 6.6% increase in PPR next year that we’ve been reporting on – indicates well for these key priorities that the League is intent on seeing across the finish line this session. 

SMART Act Presentations Begin

Each year the legislature engages with executive branch agencies in adherence to the State Measurement for Accountable, Responsive, and Transparent Government Act (SMART Act). During the first two weeks of the legislative session, committees of reference are mandated to hold hearings with each state department. These hearings result in comprehensive presentations covering the department's performance plan, regulatory agenda, budget requests, and associated legislative agenda for the upcoming session. This last week brought hearings from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Colorado Energy Office, Department of Local Affairs, Department of Early Childhood, Department of Higher Education, Department of Health Care and Public Financing, and Department of Education as they engaged with legislators and fulfilled their required presentations.

Simultaneously, the Joint Budget Committee has been hard at work, deliberating on supplemental requests, and ensuring a thorough examination of financial considerations. Looking ahead, committees are diving into their regular programming this week, with a focus on bill hearings that will begin shaping legislative outcomes. Stay tuned for in-depth coverage of the discussions and decisions shaping our legislative agenda, particularly tracking education committees in both the Senate and House Chambers.

More and More Bills Introduced

A steady stream of new bills continues to be introduced, with expectations of even more in the upcoming week. Acknowledging the substantial workload faced by the drafting office, both the House and Senate have jointly passed a resolution to extend bill deadlines. To ensure you stay informed, we will consistently update our Bill Tracker as new bills are introduced. Additionally, committee chairs are initiating the scheduling of bills, emphasizing the importance of monitoring the tracker for both timely updates and to stay engaged with legislative developments shaping our agenda.

League’s Legislative Bill Tracker

While it’s still too early to know what all is destined for passage this session, what is certain is the presence of hundreds of bills on the docket—among them, a proposed piece of legislation aimed directly at the charter sector seeking to undermine the appeals process and remove charters’ ability to get waivers from educator effectiveness. The League remains committed to safeguarding against policies that seek to undermine the core autonomies at the heart of Colorado charter schools. Please stay tuned for further details and how you can engage to help push back against this damaging proposal.

Explore our 2024 Legislative Agenda

Early Legislation We’ve Got Our Eye On 

Feel free to contact us should you have questions or thoughts related to any of the following:

  • HB24-1003 Opiate Antagonists and Detection Products in Schools
    The bill expands existing laws related to opiate antagonists and synthetic opiate detection tests in schools. It allows school districts, the state charter school institute, and governing boards of nonpublic schools to adopt policies for maintaining opiate antagonists on school buses. Additionally, it permits the adoption of policies for non-laboratory additive detection tests. The legislation requires schools to permit students to possess and administer opiate antagonists.
  • HB24-1087 Professional Endorsement Special Education Teaching
    Currently, individuals seeking a teaching endorsement in special education or early childhood special education must fulfill requirements such as completing an approved program, a student teaching practicum, and passing content-based exams. The proposed bill introduces an alternative pathway for educators to obtain this endorsement. To qualify, educators need a valid teaching license (other than an initial license), must pass designated content-based exams determined by the Department of Education, and complete a specialized induction program meeting standards established by the state board of education. Upon successful completion of these components, the department will grant the educator a professional endorsement for instruction in special education or early childhood special education.
  • SB24-049 Content of Material in Libraries
    The bill creates a process allowing students, parents, or community members to object to a library resource (library books) in school or public libraries. A committee for school libraries would evaluate resources based on established standards. The committee for school libraries, appointed by the district superintendent, would cover reconsideration requests district-wide. Any individual from the committee may refuse to remove a resource if he/she believes it conflicts with the law. The state board of education cannot waive the bill's requirements for public schools, district charter schools, and institute charter schools. 
    We have engaged in active communication with the sponsors and supporters of this bill, articulating our concerns regarding the waiver provisions, the lack of adequate understanding and appropriate inclusion of charters, and the proposed committee standards and structure. In its current form, the bill falls far short of effectively achieving the intended goals of its sponsors.
  • HB24-1039 Non-Legal Name Changes
    The bill deems a school’s refusal to use a student’s preferred name (as opposed to a legally changed name) as a form of discrimination and establishes a task force in the Colorado Department of Education to provide guidance for school districts. While the bill does not specify remedies for the discriminatory action of not referring to a student by their preferred name, legal costs for school districts and schools may increase if this provision results in lawsuits or other legal actions.

Advocacy Resources 
State and Federal Policy Updates (Members Only) 

Exclusively for members, we offer weekly State and Federal Policy Update calls every Friday from 12:00-12:30 PM during the legislative session. If you desire real-time updates and discussions, these calls are an excellent opportunity to stay informed and engaged! Updates started on January 12th and will run through the end of the session in early May. Register now.

Bill Tracker (Members Only)

During the Colorado legislative session, we keep an updated summary of bills currently in the legislature that affect charter schools. In addition to a bill number, title, and description, we include each bill’s last dated action and a link to its fiscal note. Color codes offer easy identification of those bills that have been sent to the governor, signed into law, or postponed indefinitely. Log in to view the latest bill tracker.

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ACT Network: Act for Charters Today

The League's Act for Charters Today (ACT) Advocacy Network is the group and process through which we activate and engage our public charter school families, parents, students, and staff for the common good. This action-oriented network strives to build knowledge, skills, and power to strengthen and support charter schools throughout the state.

Our advocacy efforts are focused on state policies and district initiatives that ensure all Colorado children deserve access to high-quality public school options, including charter schools. Build your charter school knowledge and advocacy skills while taking part in a powerful and influential community statewide that intercedes on behalf of our schools and, more importantly, our students. We’ll give you everything you need to make taking action for charters quick and easy!

Sign Up for ACT Today!



Angelina Sierra-Sandoval, MPA
Director of Government Affairs, Colorado League of Charter Schools 

[email protected]