EFAA’s Legislative priorities for the 2022 Colorado Legislative Session

Did you know that in addition to providing food, financial assistance, housing, and family support, EFAA is involved in public policy and legislative issues that would positively benefit our participants’ lives? At EFAA we call this work “Strategic Education”, and it includes taking stances on local issues, endorsing legislative initiatives, facilitating voter engagement, and speaking to community groups about the issues and barriers that our participants face.

EFAA’s Strategic Education Committee has been hard at work to bring EFAA’s voice and participants’ priorities to the Colorado Legislative Session. This year the Colorado legislative session runs from January 12 to May 11, 2022, and there are a number of pieces of legislation that EFAA supports because they align with EFAA’s mission and vision and would positively influence our participants’ ability to provide for themselves and their families.  Protecting mobile home park residents from excessive rent increases, continuing to provide free school meals to public school students, supporting job seekers, and increasing resources for food banks and food pantries to help those struggling to afford nutritious food are just some of the issues that these Colorado laws address.

EFAA believes that these initiatives will have a positive impact on our participants’ lives, and we want to invite you to join us and add your voice to make these policies a reality.  If you support one of EFAA’s legislative priorities, we encourage you to contact your legislators and tell them why you want them to vote “YES”.

For contact information of your Colorado Legislators, go to “find your legislator” and search your home address. Legislators’ aides track incoming calls and sentiment. Your voice makes a difference!

If you have lived experience related to any of the issues addressed by these legislative initiatives and are interested in sharing your story with legislators, contact ana@efaa.org to learn more.

Whether you decide to contact your legislator, share your story, or simply click on one of the links below to learn more about a particular piece of legislation, EFAA wants to encourage you to stay informed and involved in our democratic process and to help elevate the voices and issues that affect those experiencing hardship and lack of opportunity in our community.

EFAA’s support for specific legislation:

  1. HB22-1287 Protections For Mobile Home Park Residents. Proposed protections for Mobile Home parks include: cap annual lot rent increases​, improving opportunity for residents to purchase parks that go up for sale​ and creates greater accountability​. Coalition Fact Sheet (pdf English) (pdf Spanish)
  2. HB22-1259 Modifications To Colorado Works Program. This legislation is aimed at updating the Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) program by: increasing basic cash assistance (BCA) to 50% of the federal poverty level and include a cost-of-living adjustment, improving how TANF serves and works with families, reducing “compliance” burdens and smoothing out the “cliff effect”. TANF Coalition Fact Sheet (pdf)
  3. SB22-087 Healthy School Meals for All Public School Students. Currently, all schools are temporarily able to provide school meals to any child who needs them as part of COVID-19 federal aid. This legislation would make this temporary option permanent. Investing in healthy school meals for all is an investment in strengthening communities, reducing administrative costs, eliminating lunch debt, removing shame and stigma from the lunchroom, freeing up resources for schools and staff and supporting student well-being. Coalition Fact Sheet (pdf English) (pdf Spanish)
  4. HB22-1230 Employment Support and Job Retention Services. The Employment Support and Job Retention Services Program (or Supportive Services Program) was developed through HB19-1107 as a three-year pilot program within the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE). The program created an emergency supportive services fund for community-based organizations (CBOs) and public agencies (PAs) to draw from to serve their participants with barriers to obtaining and maintaining employment. This legislation would improve and make permanent the Supportive Services Program.
  5. HB22-1224 Public Benefits Theft. This legislation seeks to ensure nobody is held criminally liable for benefits for which they are eligible, it requires proof that an applicant misrepresented information for the purpose of unlawfully gaining services, and ensure that criminal liability does not increase due to bureaucratic delays. CCLP’s Fact Sheet (pdf)
  6. HB22-1055 Sales Tax Exemption Essential Hygiene Products. This is usually referred to the “tampon tax” and it argues that feminine products and diapers are basic needs not luxury items and therefore should be tax exempt (like food and other basic necessities).
  7. HB22-1315: Colorado 2-1-1 Collaborative Funding. This bill secures funding for the operation and management of the  2-1-1 confidential and multilingual service that connects people throughout the state to vital resources in their communities, like food, housing, rent/utility support, emergency shelter, clothing, transportation assistance, substance abuse treatment, childcare, senior services, medical and dental care, immigration information, prescriptions, mental health providers, home repair, and many other services It also allocates one-time funds for needed technological system upgrades. Learn more and add your name here.
  8. HB22-1364 Food Pantry Assistance Grant Program. EFAA’s Board joined the Food Pantry Assistance Grant Legislation coalition by signing on to a letter to extend funding for the Food Pantry Assistance Grant for five years. Read the letter and the bill fact sheet

EFAA’s support for state budget legislative initiatives:

  1. Advocacy letter to allocate ARPA funds to 5 regional food banks. EFAA’s board signed on to a letter from Feeding Colorado to the Colorado General Assembly requesting support for Representative Young’s proposal to allocate $25,000,000 of American Rescue Act Plan (ARPA) funds to Colorado’s five Feeding America food banks, which serve a statewide network of more than 1,300 partner agencies and food pantries. The proposal requests $10,000,000 to purchase Colorado-sourced food, and $15,000,000 for infrastructure/capacity investments in the charitable food network.
  2. Advocacy letter to sustainably fund the SNAP Outreach Program in the state budget. EFAA’s Board signed on to a coalition letter to the Joint Budget Committee requesting funding for SNAP outreach in the state budget at $1.5 million to continue the important support the program provides as COVID-19 continues to disproportionately impact low-income families and communities of color. This increase of $500,000 will maintain current funding levels since the program has experienced a recent loss of private dollars. Read the letter.