Polis Ends Signing Tour with Bills Expanding Health Care for Immigrant Children and Business Investments | Legislature

Gov. Jared Polis wrapped up his bill-signing tour on Thursday, signing into law dozens of measures throughout the week, including proposals to expand health care for immigrant children, invest in businesses and more .

The deadline to sign or veto bills is Friday – 30 days after the adjournment of the 2022 legislative session. Any bills that Polis did not sign or veto on Friday would automatically go into effect without its signature. This year, Polis acted on all bills before the deadline, according to the governor’s office.

“We’re really responding to the needs of the moment and building a Colorado for everyone,” Polis said. “I’m proud to sign these bills into law today that address the most pressing issues for Coloradans, whether it’s saving money, reducing costs for businesses, improving public safety, support Colorado children and drive innovation.”

Several bills signed into law this week aim to help the behavioral health and health care sectors, such as Bill 1052 to promote behavioral health crisis services to school-aged children; Senate Bill 81 to create a public information campaign on health care coverage; and, Senate Bill 203 to regulate standards of all-inclusive care for the elderly.

One of the most significant measures, Senate Bill 181, invests $72 million in strengthening and stabilizing the state’s behavioral health workforce. The money will be used in part to recruit various providers, fund internships and job shadowing, repay student loans, train and develop peer support and development programs.

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“If we’re going to achieve our goal of transforming Colorado’s behavioral health system, we need a strong workforce to help us do it,” said Sen. Jeff Bridges, D-Greenwood Village, who sponsored SB-181. “This new law is an important investment that will expand our behavioral health workforce and allow us to address our workforce shortage, better meet patient needs, and improve patient outcomes.”

House Bill 1289 expands eligibility for Medicaid and the Basic Children’s Health Plan, opening the policies to low-income pregnant women and children who are ineligible due to their immigration status. This change comes into effect in 2025, while others, such as providing free breast pumps and eliminating bonuses, begin this year.

“Expanding health care coverage to the most affected and vulnerable communities before, during, and long after the COVID-19 health crisis is critical,” said Rep. Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez, D-Denver, who sponsored the bill. “Expanding health care coverage to all children, pregnant, and postpartum women, regardless of immigration status, is fundamental to addressing the root causes of health inequities in Colorado.”

In the corporate sector, Senate Bill 234 will use COVID-19 relief funds to invest $600 million in the state’s unemployment insurance trust fund. The bill’s sponsors said it would protect the fund against possible future economic downturns and save companies money on premiums.

New law also increases benefit amount for part-time workers from 25% to 50% of weekly benefit amount, eliminates one-week waiting period for benefits, clarifies overpayment guidelines and requires employers to notify workers of their eligibility for unemployment benefits upon separation. .

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“When the pandemic hit and thousands of Coloradans lost their jobs, the state unemployment insurance program was there to help families pay rent and keep food on the table,” said Sen. Chris Hansen, D-Denver, who sponsored the bill. “We are doubling down to protect this essential safety net.”

More trade bills included House Bill 1029, which deposits $380 million in the Public Employees’ Retirement Association; Senate Bill 161, which expands investigative powers in wage theft cases; and, House Bill 1077, which creates a $500,000 grant program to increase security for nonprofits and charities.

Other notable bills signed into law this week were House Bill 1383, which helps formerly convicted minors get jobs; Senate Bill 179, which authorizes civil penalties for thefts of catalytic converters; House Bill 1323, which improves the Colorado State Forest Service tree nursery; and Senate Bill 217, which brings updates to the Colorado Disability Funding Committee.

Polis also signed the following invoices this week:

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