One of the best parts of summer for me is getting to spend a bit of time with my family. The late nights spent away from them during the …
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One of the best parts of summer for me is getting to spend a bit
of time with my family. The late nights spent away from them
during the legislative session seem to fade away when we all come
together in the summer.
Sadly, I’ve found that there are families in our community who
don’t get to spend much time enjoying the simple things because
they live in a constant state of worry. People like a concerned
mother wondering, “How am I going to afford to take care of my sick
child?” Or an abused child silently pleading, “Will this ever
Hearing those voices is why I believe it’s a privilege to work
those late nights and weekends at the state Capitol protecting our
most vulnerable. This month, four bills I’ve sponsored to protect
our children and families went into effect, and I thought you might
want to know a bit about them.
SB 11-128: Child-only health insurance plans
Helps keep children insured by ensuring health insurance companies
offer child-only plans so parents can keep their children healthy
even if they can’t afford health insurance for themselves. Despite
people telling me it couldn’t be done, we had a series of delicate
negotiations among the child advocates and businesses and ended up
with everyone winning. It is one of the first of its kind in the
country and is now being used as model legislation for other
SB10-171: Creates a child protection ombudsman
After 35 children died within three years, although being touched
by the child welfare system, we created a place where people can
now go for issues and concerns about the child protection system.
It’s my goal to ensure every child in Colorado is safe from harm.
After two years of negotiations, advisory groups, and requests for
proposals, the office is now up and running!
SB 11-133: Fair discipline in public schools
Some children in Colorado are coming out of school with unnecessary
criminal records. This bill created a task force to ensure schools
are using the most effective approaches to correct student behavior
without criminalizing them yet still fostering a supportive
learning environment. We are seeking to reduce the number of kids
entering the youth justice system, save taxpayer dollars, and save
parent time and money while reducing dropout rates, and increasing
graduation rates. We just started meeting and will have
recommendations by November.
SB 11-120: Protections for youth in foster care
Enables youth in foster care to work toward independence by helping
them to recover from identity theft and participating in more
extracurricular activities. It’s hard to believe, but youth in
foster care are three times more likely to become a victim of
identity theft. Their records are more exposed to more people, and
their own birth parents, families or even foster care parents use
their identity without them knowing it. So, when a foster care
youth gets ready to become self-sufficient and applies for a car
loan, apartment, or even a job, she is literally left out in the
cold, trying to repair credit she’s never used. SB 120 helps the
youth to see (and perhaps, repair) their credit history before
To me, it’s always important to protect our children, but it’s of
crucial importance during tough economic times to make sure that
we’re looking out for each other. As many of you know, I’ve been
through some very tough economic times myself, and I know the
serious toll it can take on a family.
This week, children in Colorado are just a bit safer, and I’m
privileged to fight for them year-round.
Next town hall: “Back to School Tips for Parents,” 9 a.m., Sept. 10
at Blueberry’s on Littleton Boulevard. Or come by my Western
Welcome Week booth for a free root beer float on my birthday, Aug.
State Sen. Linda Newell serves District 26, which includes
Littleton, Englewood, Sheridan, Cherry Hills Village, west
Centennial, BowMar and Columbine Valley. She can be reached at
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