ADL Legislative Update
Date: March 4, 2011
As the 2011 Colorado General Assembly nears the halfway point, bills of interest to ADL have fared well. Several Arizona-style anti-immigration bills that could have lead to racial profiling have been defeated, and bills ADL supports are moving through the process.
ADL Board members and Regional Director Scott Levin have testified at several Committee hearings, and ADL volunteer legislative liaisons have met personally with many legislators expressing ADL’s views on pending legislation. ADL urges you to contact your legislator today about the following bills:
Civil Rights Enforcement, SB 72, would add remedies to Colorado’s existing employment discrimination laws, to bring Colorado’s law in line with the federal employment discrimination law. If this bill passes, Colorado employees not covered by the federal law (including people working for businesses with fewer than 15 employees and employees facing discrimination because of sexual orientation) would be able to seek damages and attorneys fees if they face unlawful discrimination. ADL supports.
In-State Tuition for Undocumented Students, SB 126, would make college affordable for qualified undocumented high school graduates by letting them access colleges and universities in Colorado at in-state tuition rates. If the bill is passed, it would bring more tuition money into the Colorado higher education system. Colorado has put financial obstacles in the way of high- achieving undocumented students who are eager to continue their education. As a result, high dropout rates and low college access rates among certain student populations exist statewide. Many talented students who pursue higher education leave Colorado for one of the five neighboring states (Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Utah) that offer in-state tuition regardless of immigration status. Those states benefit from our K-12 investment in those students. For more information, see www.heaacolorado.org. ADL supports.
Civil Unions, SB 172, would permit same-sex couples in committed relationships access to critical legal protections they need to take care of and be responsible for one another, including access to medical care information and decision making, inheritance rights, access to health care coverage, and more. ADL supports.
Reducing Bullying in Schools, HB 1254, would also encourage public schools to establish protocols to recognize, report, and respond to bullying in schools. ADL has expertise in training students and teachers on how to recognize and respond to bullying – especially when the victim is targeted because of factors such as race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, or disability. ADL supports.
Tax Credits for Private Education, HB 1048, would allow parents to take a tax credit for a portion of the tuition paid for private, religious or home-school education. ADL opposes this bill as a back-door voucher system that would diminish the funds available for public schools and instead encourage Coloradoans to attend religious schools. ADL opposes.
You can read any of these bills at http://www.leg.state.co.us/. To find out the name and contact information for your legislator, check out www.vote-smart.org.