Policy Focus and Senate Filings

There is a plaque on Aspen Mountain that reads:

In memory of
Ann Owens Amabile 
Aug. 31, 1928 – Jan. 17, 1987
You only have one mother and the
only bad thing she’ll ever do
is die and leave you.
Dedicated by her children
Thirty-six years ago today, my mother died in a ski accident. She was an extraordinary person. A pro-choice woman’s libber, civil rights radical, war protester, humanist, and lefty — long before progressive politics were cool. My work carries on her work, albeit in a more official way. I’ll continue to seek opportunities to do some good here, and I’ve just filed for the 2024 Colorado Senate race (see below). I think my mom would be proud. — Judy

Assembly Underway

It’s great to be back at the State Capitol and underway for the 2023 legislative session. Colorado House Democrats have dialed in plans to build on the progress of the last session. Some of the top policy priorities include:

  • Build a Colorado everyone can afford
  • Improve public safety & reduce gun violence
  • Invest in our schools
  • Meet our climate goals
  • Protect democracy & our freedoms

I am honored to serve as Chair of the House Business Affairs & Labor Committee, as well as the Public and Behavioral Health & Human Services Committee, and Appropriations Committee.

During the first two weeks of the session, committee time is spent hearing presentations by various state agencies and departments. These SMART Act (State Measurement for Accountable, Responsive, and Transparent Government) hearings are essentially performance reviews for state agencies & departments. 

The public is welcome to watch and listen to us work, and this is a great way to learn about the legislative process or follow policy discussions you care about. In the House, we get underway with “floor work” Mondays at 10 a.m., with Tuesday – Friday sessions at 9 a.m. You can view the proceedings live on the the Colorado Channel.

After that, House Committees of Reference meet during morning and afternoon sessions. Committee start and end times change daily, based on how long the floor proceedings go. The Colorado General Assembly’s excellent website provides tentative daily schedules, and you can find live audio coverage here.

Policy Focus in 2023

Laws begin as ideas. I’ll be bringing a number of ideas forward this year as a primary bill sponsor, including:

Homeowners Insurance and Wildfire Resiliency
In the last decade, thousands of Coloradans have lost their homes to wildfires. Last session I sponsored a bill to significantly improve the insurance claims process for people who experience a total loss in a declared fire disaster. This year, I am bringing forward two new measures. The first addresses underinsurance in homeowner’s policies, which has caused extreme financial distress for so many survivors. The second addresses last-resort coverage options for people who live in places insurers won’t cover. Colorado 7 broadcast this report on our efforts last night. 

Protecting Workers Impacted by Climate Change and Automation

As the future of work continues to evolve, we need to understand the transitions workers and employers face so we can identify appropriate interventions and strategies to mitigate the impact. My bill enables Colorado’s Office of Future of Work to partner with research institutions, employers, and other stakeholders to study transitions in two areas of Colorado’s economy: oil and gas industries and industry disruption due to automation.

Gun Violence Prevention

I will co-sponsor a number of ambitious gun violence prevention bills, and sponsor a bill on a waiting period for gun purchases. Suicide by gun is a leading cause of death in Colorado, especially in rural communities. Because suicide is often impulsive, waiting periods can help save lives. Waiting periods are supported by the overwhelming majority of Americans. 

Increasing Access to Mental Health Treatment

While we made significant progress with the Federal dollars we had in the last session, there are many more issues to address to increase Coloradans’ access to quality mental health care treatments. One of the measure I’m bringing forward is a bill to grant prescriptive authority to licensed psychologists with advanced degrees and training in prescribing psychotropic medications. The goal is to increase access to appropriate mental health treatment.

Public Safety and Reducing Recidivism

As I shared with you last month, I believe we can best address public safety by focusing on the social determinants of crime and working to reduce recidivism. I’ll be bringing measures to reform our criminal competency procedures, regulate the use of restrictive restraints, make prison communications more accessible, provide alternative sentencing for pregnant and postpartum people, and reduce the separation of children from their incarcerated parents. 

I’ll sponsor other measures too, like one to help prevent young people exiting foster care from becoming homeless. My colleagues will sponsor many other bills. I’ll keep you updated. 

United Policyholder Virtual Workshops

United Policyholders is providing two forums for wildfire survivors this month: 

Survivor to Survivor Forum
Connect with trained UP volunteers who navigated recovery after previous wildfires.
Tuesday, January 17, 2023, 7:00 p.m. PT / 8:00 p.m. MT
Register: www.uphelp.org/jan17

Contents Pricing Party for Wildfire Survivors
A hands-on workshop to help price your contents and get monies owed to you.
Saturday, January 21, 2023, 10:00 a.m. PT / 11:00 a.m. MT
Register: www.uphelp.org/jan21

2023 Water Plan and Conservation Actions

Speaker McCluskie has made water a major focus of the House this year. The next, updated version of the Colorado Water Plan is set for final release soon. The 2023 Water Plan vision will focus on four major action areas: Vibrant Communities, Robust Agriculture, Thriving Watersheds, and Resilient Planning. All Coloradans can commit to action with a pledge to water conservation.

Ahead: Running for Colorado Senate District 18 in 2024 

I’ve just filed paperwork to run for the Colorado Senate in 2024. I’ll be seeking the seat currently held by Steve Fenberg in District 18. This race is not for two years, and my focus right now is on my work in the House. I’m running because I think this seat would give me even greater opportunities to work on issues important to all Coloradans.