2020 Legislative Report & Scorecard
Mental Health Colorado is your voice for creating healthier minds across the lifespan. For more than 65 years, Mental Health Colorado has led the charge to promote mental wellness, end shame and discrimination, and ensure equitable access to mental health and substance use care.
The challenges of the pandemic in 2020, including the interrupted legislative session and public and private revenue shortfalls, significantly altered the fiscal outcomes of our mental health and substance use policy work. When lawmakers returned to the Capitol, legislative leadership announced that no bills would move forward this session unless they were free, fast, and friendly (meaning no opposition). Mental Health Colorado had to come up with innovative ways to get our bills passed. A great deal of effort went into finding ways to implement the policy contained in a specific bill without any funding attached to it. Though this proved insurmountable with some bills, as you will see in this report, we ultimately ended the session with greater success than the unusual circumstances had led us to anticipate at the onset of the pandemic.
Given our heartfelt understanding that Black Lives Matter, it is important to note that a number of the bills we supported—reflecting our historical commitment to health equity—address or correct for disparities that have been disproportionately harmful to Colorado’s Black communities and other communities of color throughout the state’s history. Across the board, from maternal health to preventable justice-involvement to mortality rates, the consequences of systemic racism are evident in population health data.