by Hanna Nichols (8, Denver Metro)
A famous Bueller once said, “life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.” The same sentiment goes for Colorado’s annual Legislative Session, which takes place from January through May. In the few weeks our local elected officials have been convening at the State Capitol in Denver, several bills impacting young children and their families have been introduced and are already at various stages in the legislative process. Things move so fast, in fact, that any update provided to you through a blog post like this would likely be out-of-date by the end of the next sentence.
So, in the interest of making sure Buell Leaders can access the most up-to-date information, including ways you can be active in the legislative process, I thought I’d put together a list of my favorite groups to engage with during the Legislative Session. The great thing about following our local advocacy organizations is that you not only get information on where things are moving, but you can also choose to be notified of action alerts, often with template language and information about your legislators to make it extremely easy to be an active citizen in your community.
As an avid consumer of policy updates and news connected to kids and families, I’ve catalogued some of my favorite local organizations to follow to get the scoop on the local happenings in the Colorado Legislature. And a bonus: many of these organizations also track things happening at the federal level and during elections as well.
Keep in mind, the recommendations below come from me individually and these organizations and/or policies aren’t official endorsements from BECLN.
- KidsFlash: a year-round, weekly email round-up of stories about policy and other issues impacting children.
- West Steps Podcast: this is a must-listen if you want to stay updated on everything going on at the Legislature connected to kids!
- The Children’s Campaign is very active on social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. They are always sharing live updates from critical hearings, activities at the Capitol, etc. during the Legislative Session.
- Bonus: if you haven’t yet had the chance to attend Speak Up for Kids Day at the Capitol, it’s a really great way to connect with your legislators, explore the Capitol, and be supported through the entire process by advocacy coaches and fellow advocates. This year it falls on March 12, so save the date!
- A coalition supported by Colorado Children’s Campaign and Clayton Early Learning supporting advocacy with families on issues like maternal health, paid leave, child care access, and equitable approaches to child and family wellbeing.
- Very active on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram
- Advocating on issues like child care access and fair pay, the Women’s Foundation is a great group to follow to dive deeper into multi-generation focused policy and advocacy efforts. I also really love their nonpartisan “Womanifesto” and civic engagement guide!
Honorable mention: The following organizations aren’t specifically working in child advocacy, but are working heavily on issues that still directly impact children and families. If you are interested in diving deeper into multi-generational issues, including health, economic security, and equitable approaches to issues disproportionately impacting groups like rural Coloradans and immigrant families, check out Bell Policy Center, Colorado Fiscal Institute, and Center for Health Progress.