Week 6: Reproductive Rights Triumph
What's the hap at the cap? Legislative updates from February 2 - February 16
By Susan Baughman, Policy and Research Intern
February 16, 2017
It’s been a busy couple of weeks in the Colorado capitol, especially for reproductive health care issues. After a long battle in the House on Thursday, February 9th, three anti-choice bills were rejected. House Bill 1086 “Abortion Pill Reversal Information Act,” House Bill 1108 “Protect Human Life At Conception,” and House Bill 1085 “Women’s Protection Act,” were all rejected in the Democratic-controlled House Committee on Health, Insurance, & Environment. While the rejection of these three bills is a victory, we must remain vigilant; each of these bills lost in a tight 6-5 vote.
Another reproductive health care vote took place recently with House Resolution 1005 “Reproductive Health Care Access.” Representative Joseph Salazar (D- Adams) and Representative Leslie Herod (D-Denver) introduced this resolution on January 31st, and on February 1st the members of the House passed it. While the resolution does not actually impact Colorado law, it is still a strong reassurance that the Democratic-controlled House is dedicated to preserving safe and legal access to abortion and contraception.
A new bill that CYM will be tracking closely was introduced by Paul Rosenthal (D- Arapahoe, Denver) and Senator Stephen Fenberg (D- Boulder) on February 6th: House Bill 1156, “Prohibits Conversion Therapy Mental Health Provider.” This bill, if passed, would prohibit mental health providers from using conversion therapy with anyone under the age of 18. Research shows that not only is conversion therapy completely ineffective in changing a person’s sexual preference and/or gender, but it also is deeply harmful, leading to depression, anxiety, drug use, homelessness, and suicide.
Youth are especially vulnerable to conversion therapy, and with the unease of Mike Pence (a known anti-LGBTQ politician) in the White House, it is crucial that Colorado commits to protecting LGBTQ youth. There are already several states that prohibit the use of conversion therapy, and Colorado should join in leading the movement against this harmful practice. House Bill 1156 will be heard on February 28th at 1:30 by the House Public Health Care & Human Services Committee. Please call or email your representatives and let them know how important this bill is for our youth!
Finally, here are some quick updates on several bills that CYM will continue to track:
- House Bill 1001, “Parental Involvement K-12 Education Act,” passed its third reading on February 10th. This bill would support parents in being more academically involved with their child.
- House Bill 1122, “Gender Identification on Birth Certificates,” which would make legally changing one’s gender a little less burdensome, has been scheduled to be heard by the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, March 9th at 1:30. This bill would be a big step in the right direction for Colorado’s transgender community.
- House Bill 1127, “Exempt Feminine Hygiene Products From Sales Tax,” was introduced in the house on January 26th by Representative Susan Lontine (D- Denver, Jefferson) and Senator Beth Humenik (D- Adams). This past Monday the Finance Committee voted to refer the bill to the House Appropriations Committee. If passed, this bill would make any menstrual products exempt from sales tax, removing a substantial financial burden on people who need menstrual products as a medical necessity.
- House Bill 1064, “Misuse of Electronic Images By A Juvenile,” has no recent updates, but CYM is tracking this bill closely. House Bill 1064 criminalizes all sexting, continuing a culture of punishing victims of non-consensual sexting. Make sure to call your representatives and tell them to vote “no” on 1064.
That’s it for this week’s Hap on the Cap! We’ll be back on March 2nd. If you feel strongly about any of these bills, get involved and call or email your representative today! You can find out who your representative is, as well as their contact information, by clicking here. Keep those committee hearing dates in mind and help make a difference this legislative session!