The convening began with an execution of items required by the State Constitution, including the swearing in of new members.

The Senate and House passed a few COVID-19-related bills that were deemed urgent, including extending a limit on debt collections for individuals experiencing financial hardship, allowing wills to be notarized electronically, renewing pandemic-related business tax credits, and expanding the scope of a program to support minority-owned small-businesses.

In addition, the first round of bills were introduced. Of relevance to education, a bipartisan bill is under consideration that would provide funding for broadband and other technology for students and educators. With many Colorado students learning remotely during school closures, this bill would provide support to those who do not have access to internet at home.

Rep. Barbara McLachlan (D-Durango) remains the chair of the House Education Committee, with Sen. Rachel Zenzinger (D-Arvada) chairing the Senate Education Committee.

For those familiar with Colorado education policy, you will remember that both Rep. McLachlan and Sen. Zenzinger were sponsors and advocates for the successful College Credit for Work Experience (CCWE) bill supported by Colorado Succeeds and partners in 2020. CCWE allows students and members of the current workforce more opportunities to earn postsecondary credit for demonstrating competencies gained through work-related experience, such as work-based learning in high school through apprenticeships.

Colorado Succeeds is excited to work with both Rep. McLachlan and Sen. Zenzinger in their leadership roles as we continue to work together to ensure all students have expanded opportunities for career-connected learning opportunities and stronger pathways to postsecondary and career success.

Looking ahead, there are five key education policy priorities that Colorado Succeeds will be keeping an eye on this year.

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Kelly Caufield