Voces Unidas Action Fund releases 2021 legislative scorecard
Voces Unidas Action Fund released its first legislative scorecard, tracking the votes of five local state lawmakers representing Garfield, Eagle and Pitkin counties against our legislative priorities during the 2021 legislative session.
In 2021, Voces Unidas supported 14 pieces of legislation, of which 13 passed and were signed into law. One bill was postponed for next year’s legislative session.
Thanks to the hard work of community and brave lawmakers, undocumented women now get access to contraceptives through a state program. Racist language passed in 2006 has finally been repealed. Undocumented entrepreneurs now qualify for state business licenses. Colorado becomes the first state to protect the privacy of state data, blocking ICE from using it to target our community. A new legal defense fund is now a reality for people trapped in immigration proceedings. Agriculture workers in Colorado now have basic labor rights.
Three out of the five local lawmakers – Representatives Julie McCluskie and Dylan Roberts and Senator Kerry Donovan – received a 100% rating, meaning they voted in support of 100% of Voces Unidas’ 2021 legislative priorities. These lawmakers receive the 2021 Local Legislative Champion designation.
Senator Bob Rankin earned a 30% rating on our scorecard. Representative Perry Will earned the lowest score out of the five lawmakers – a 23% rating out of 100%.
Here is our scorecard for the 13 bills that we tracked in 2021 and how our local state lawmakers voted (final vote).
Below is a description of each of the 13 bills that passed and were signed into law:
SB 77: Remove Lawful Presence Verification
Eliminates the requirement to verify legal status by the Dept. of Education and Dept. of Regulatory Agencies before issuing professional, occupational and business licenses. This includes licenses for barbers, cosmetologists, medical professionals and plumbers.
HB 1054: Housing Public Benefit Verification Requirement
Eliminates the requirements that people prove legal residency to qualify for state housing programs, including those offering vouchers, down payment assistance and home rehabilitation.
HB 1060: U-Visa Certification
Creates a timeframe for obtaining a U-Visa by creating a deadline to the process of obtaining a U-Visa to avoid undue delay and facilitate a timely response to avoid deportation for applicants. U-Visa is a type of visa that is granted to immigrants who are victims of a crime, having suffered either physical or mental abuse but are cooperating with law enforcement in investigation and prosecution of said crime.
HB 1075: Replace Term Illegal Alien
Removes the term “illegal alien” from state contracts for services and replaces it with the term “worker without authorization.” The term “illegal” is derogatory and dehumanizing.
SB 199: Remove Barriers to Certain Public Benefits
Removes a broad state prohibition on providing state and local public benefits to undocumented people, including housing assistance, welfare and food assistance. It also gets rid of the requirement to prove legal status in order to obtain a professional, occupational or business license.
SB 9: Reproductive Health Care Program
Created new state program, funded by state general fund dollars, to pay for birth control and related counseling for low-income immigrants who would otherwise be eligible for coverage if not for their lack of citizenship or legal residency. Services would include a 12 month supply of any contraceptive drug, device, or product approved by the FDA, services for inserting or removing birth control devices and administering or managing birth control and its side effects, and counseling related to birth control and reproductive care.
SB 131: Data Privacy Bill
Prohibits state agencies and their employees from sharing a broad range of private personal information for the purposes of cooperating or assisting ICE agents. This bill would also prevent state agencies from collecting information such as birth date, immigration status, except for an agency's official duties including to see if eligible to qualify for benefits. Private personal information would include: birth date, social security, tax ID number, photographs, medical or financial information, home or work address, family or contact information, license plate number or car registration information. Third parties requesting data would be required to promise not to use the information provided to aid immigration agents.
HB 1150: Office of New Americas
Creates an Office of New Americans within the Dept. of Labor and Employment. The office's purpose would be to serve as a center for immigrant-focused programs, policies and services statewide and tasked with formulating a statewide strategy as well as recommendations for supporting immigrants and their families. The office would work in partnership with nonprofits and community organizations to reduce barriers to employment and help provide assistance and resettlement support to refugees.
HB 1057: Extortion of Immigrants
Prohibits a person from threatening to report an immigrant’s citizenship status for purposes of extortion to authorities.
HB 1318: Create Outdoor Equity Grant Program
Creates an outdoor equity program that addresses historic systemic, economic and demographic disparities of equitable access to Colorado’s outdoor recreation. It promotes access for racially and ethnically diverse youth and their families.
SB 87: Agricultural Workers’ Rights
Creates a Farmworkers bill of rights, affording farmworkers with overtime pay, meal and rest breaks.
HB 1194: Immigration Legal Defense Fund
Creates an Immigration Legal Defense Fund to award grants to groups providing legal representation to people who are facing deportation but unable to afford an attorney. Groups helping clients facing deportation would receive 70% of the grant money.
HB 1266: Environmental Justice Disproportionate Impacted Community
Identifies impacted communities and requires outreach by creating an environmental justice action task force.