Colorado Spring 2022 Legislative Preview
January 12, 2022
On Monday, Jan. 10, the University of Northern Colorado (UNC) convened a panel of state legislators and local leaders to preview the spring 2022 legislative session that kicks off Wednesday, Jan. 12. The pressing topics of interest this year include the Joint Budget Committees’ consideration of higher education and preschool through grade 12 funding, prepping students for success and generating a safer Colorado.
This is the third annual Colorado legislative session preview, prompted by UNC President Andy Feinstein, as he continues to advocate for higher education funding and support from across Colorado. State Senator John Cooke and House District 50 Representative Mary Young joined the panel alongside community leaders and legislative experts Sandra Hagan Solin, representing the Greeley Area Chamber of Commerce, Anne Barkis representing Greeley Evans School District 6 and Kayla Tibbals representing UNC.
Each panel member discussed the importance of higher education as a top priority at the State Capitol, including legislation surrounding UNC’s exploration in creating an osteopathic medical school, which Sen. Cooke plans to co-sign on. Some concerns that UNC lobbyist Kayla Tibbals said need to be discussed this upcoming session include educator shortages and state-wide financial support for higher education. Tibbals says Colorado higher education funding is at the bottom compared to other states affecting students, and therefore Colorado’s future workforce.
Another topic discussed outside of higher education was crime in Colorado. Both Sen. Cooke and Rep. Young will be supporting legislation aimed at decreasing what they call ‘pandemic induced crime.’ Sen. Cooke is also drafting bills related to restitution for victims, DUI penalties and hiring more minority law enforcement officers.
The legislative preview was the result of conversations between President Feinstein and community leaders about how the university can be more involved in the region.