In 2019, the Colorado General Assembly passed HB19-1184, Demographic Notes For Certain Legislative Bills. This law provides funding for and requires Legislative Council staff to prepare demographic analyses for up to 20 bills each year, starting with the 2020 legislative session. The Legislative Council is the nonpartisan research arm of the General Assembly. Demographic notes use publicly-available quantitative data, and qualitative data submitted by people with lived experience, to outline the potential impact of a bill on preventable disparities—including economic, employment, health, education, or public safety outcomes—for various populations in the state. Populations may be identified by race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, geography, socioeconomic status, or other relevant characteristics for which data are available.
Over the past two legislative sessions, Center for Health Progress has supported the implementation of legislative processes that further equity frameworks and expose potential disparate impacts of legislation. During the 2019 Colorado legislative session, Center for Health Progress piloted the Legislative Equity Program with the goal of improving the equity lens among policymakers as they consider legislation. Through this first-of-its-kind program, Center for Health Progress provided technical assistance to members of the Health and Human Services Committee in the Senate and the Public Health Care and Human Services Committee in the House. We taught select legislators and their staff how to use our health equity impact assessment tool, as well as the framework through which we understand equity, and analyzed nearly every bill assigned to those two committees.
During the 2020 legislative session, Center for Health Progress set out to build the capacity of key stakeholders in Colorado to engage in the demographic note process and use these and other health- and equity-focused policy analysis tools. We believe that the voices, input, and leadership of community members who would be impacted by potential laws should always be included in the stakeholder process for any bills, and were eager for this to be another avenue for engagement in the democratic process. This report outlines lessons and recommendations for advocates, funders, and others who may be interested in amplifying the voices, visibility, and life experiences of people who are directly impacted by policies being passed at the Capitol.Demographic Notes Report