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Senate Passes Colorado Comeback Legislation With Near Unanimous Support

Stimulus bills providing tutoring for K-12 students, youth mental health services, support for agricultural events, and small business aid clear the full Senate

DENVER, CO - Today, the Senate approved several stimulus bills that are a part of Colorado’s recovery package on third reading and final passage, all with strong bipartisan support.

HB21-1262, sponsored by Senate President Leroy Garcia and Senator Jerry Sonnenberg, provides $3.5 million to the Colorado Stock Show – a staple to the state’s agricultural economy and Denver’s economy – as well as $3.5 million for the State Fair, and $2 million to agricultural events organizations across the state. The bill advanced out of the Senate Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee with unanimous support.

“Without direct support to the agriculture industry, Colorado won’t truly recover from the effects of the pandemic,” said Senate President Garcia (D-Pueblo). “My bipartisan bill to send millions of dollars to the Colorado State Fair, the National Western Stock Show, and other agriculture events will provide the support the industry needs to weather this storm.”

HB21-1265, sponsored by Senators Pettersen & Woodward, continues the successful sales tax assistance effort passed during the 2020 special session. It allows restaurants, bars, caterers, and food service contractors (such as airline food service contractors and food concession contractors at sporting events) to deduct up to $70,000 in net taxable sales from their monthly state sales tax return and retain the resulting sales tax revenue during the months of June, July, and August 2021. 

“Our local businesses have shouldered tremendous burdens over the past year. Now it’s our job to lift them up, help them recover, and ensure their longevity moving forward,” said Senator Brittany Pettersen (D-Lakewood). “This bill will continue critical relief to local bars and eateries that have been struggling to survive – granting them some necessary breathing room while they get back on their feet.” 

HB21-1288, sponsored by Senator James Coleman, establishes the Colorado Startup Loan Program to provide loans and grants for people seeking capital to start, restart, or restructure a business. This program is intended to support businesses in recovering economic losses incurred over the last year and provide easier-to-access capital for entrepreneurs across the state. The bill allocates $30 million to fund and administer the program. 

“With the rapid increase in vaccination rates and the repeal of capacity restrictions, Colorado small businesses are primed for an economic recovery. However, many are still picking up the pieces after the recession of last year,” said Senator Coleman (D-Denver). “This program will help accelerate Colorado’s Comeback by providing small businesses with access to capital, supporting entrepreneurs, and prioritizing financial assistance to disproportionately impacted communities – ensuring our recovery is equitable and lasting.”

HB21-1258 sponsored by Senators Buckner & Woodward, creates a program in the Office of Behavioral Health to reimburse providers for up to three mental health sessions with a young person. The office will also create a website to serve as a portal for youth and providers to be able to navigate the program. Our state’s youth mental health crisis has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and this bill will ensure that Colorado youth can get the help they need and deserve.

“The pandemic has resulted in increased mental health needs for so many Coloradans, but especially for our young people, whose lives and learning have been severely disrupted over the last year,” said Senator Janet Buckner (D-Aurora). “In order to provide relief for our kids, we need to expand access to mental health support. This bill will help break the stigma around mental health by making it easier for kids to seek out care in Colorado.” 

HB21-1234, sponsored by Senators Moreno and Rankin, allocates $5 million to the newly created Colorado high-impact tutoring program to provide grant funding to local education providers, to create high-impact tutoring programs to address student learning loss and unfinished learning resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the learning disruptions of the last year, Colorado K-12 students are now somewhere between 3-9 months behind, and it’s even worse for our students of color and lower socioeconomic status. This bill will work to fill in those gaps.

“Between school closures, at-home learning, and social isolation, students have faced some of the toughest challenges of this pandemic,” said Senator Moreno (D-Denver). “This bill will invest in our kids’ future by making high-impact tutoring available to address the gaps in student learning – giving them a chance to not only catch up but succeed going forward.”

HB21-1258, HB21-1288, and HB21-1262 now head back to the House for concurrence, and HB21-1234 and HB21-1265 now head to the Governor’s desk. To read the bills and find updates regarding their status, visit