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We have entered a new legislative session in Colorado politics, and local leaders have already gotten to work.

The woman-majority House of Representatives, led by Speaker KC Becker, lined up an ambitious agenda for the year of the new decade.

Last year was a monumental year in Colorado lawmaking, as bills like HB1039, also known as Jude’s Law, made it easier for trans and nonbinary folks to align identity documents to self-attested gender identity, and it even added a third option of ‘X.’ Additionally, Colorado passed a ban on conversion therapy practices on minors in religious institutions as a way shaming and ‘straightening out’ queer youth. 

More than 90 bills have already been introduced in the House and 70 in the Senate for 2020. We are getting a quick indication of what is most important to folks in these coming sessions based on these bills. It appears that education is a big area of focus with bills, as topics like pay raises for educators, human sexuality education in schools, and college credit for work experience are being introduced.

There are also some proposals around arresting practices and an expected narrow view on prison reform. Additionally, a bill has been introduced that will attempt to tackle the opioid epidemic by requiring health insurance plans to offer alternative medicine options to highly addictive pain management medications.

Intersectionality has been a large focus for many Colorado House Representatives and Senators, including Representative Leslie Herod, who has leveraged her experience as a queer, black woman, to be able to maximize her platform as a lawmaker.

Local politicians have long been viewed as a beacon of hope for many folks who reside in states which do not honor the rights and protections for all the intersections of gender, sexuality, and identity. Accessibility comes in many forms, including physical, mental, and social access, and Colorado has exemplary leaders like Representative Brianna Titone who look at all areas of how welcoming, accepting, affirming, and accommodating spaces are.

With the broad spectrum of issues that Coloradans face, it’s the hard work to get through this long list of bills each and every year made by these local lawmakers that ultimately decides the direction we want to see our state go. While it’s easy to get lost in the weeds of legalese and policies, the dedication of those representatives in making sure that our progress moves forward while a large portion of the country is in a confusing backwards swing is worth celebrating.