Senator Steve Fenberg | My Priorities
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My Priorities

My Priorities

I’m proud to represent Senate District 18 and the community of Boulder as a bold, progressive voice at the Capitol. Over the past 3 years, I’ve focused most of my work around combating climate change, increasing access to our elections, ensuring equal rights for all Coloradans, and making higher education more affordable.

 

CLIMATE & ENERGY

The economic, moral, and environmental ramifications of climate change are not just something we read about anymore–they’re now something we experience on an all-too-regular basis in Boulder County and throughout our state. Whether it’s a 100-year flood that leaves utter destruction in its wake, forest fires which threaten habitats and residents’ homes, the Pine Beetle epidemic, or a shortage of snowpack, climate change is a problem that requires aggressive intervention by our government to solve.

 

As your Senator I have:

    • Sponsored & passed the largest overhaul of oil and gas regulations in over 60 years. We ensure that regulators are considering the health and safety of Coloradans first, and gave local governments much more control over what is happening in their backyards.
    • Sponsored & passed legislation to expand the use of renewable energy and to account for the social cost of carbon in utility planning.
    • Supported & passed the most aggressive carbon emission reduction goals in the country.
    • Sponsored legislation to expand individual customers’ ability to store energy on their property.

 

K-12 EDUCATION

I believe the fundamental building block of a strong economy and a vibrant democracy is our public education system. However, Colorado ranks right near the bottom in terms of level of investment in k-12 and higher education, and this must change.

 

As your Senator I have:

    • Supported & passed fully funded full day Kindergarten for every child in Colorado.
    • Supported & passed improvements to the READ Act, which will help schools improve teaching methods and increase the number of students reading at grade level.
    • Supported & passed an increase to the number of stipends available to teachers who choose to teach in rural school districts, where there is a teacher shortage.

 

HIGHER EDUCATION

Higher education needs to not only be taken off the chopping block for budget cuts, but we need to double-down on the amount of public dollars available for further investment. If we continue to rely on only private dollars and repeated tuition increases, we’re only going to make higher education further and further out of reach from the average Coloradan. Runaway student loans with double-digit interest rates are not the answer and we need to make college more attainable for everyone.

 

As your Senator I have:

    • Sponsored & passed legislation to increase awareness of, and enrollment in, public student loan forgiveness programs.
    • Sponsored & passed legislation to automatically create a college savings account with $100 for every child born or adopted in Colorado.
    • Sponsored & passed legislation to put an end to the predatory practices of student loan servicers and create an ombudsman to help assist Coloradans with questions and issues regarding their loans.

 

HEALTHCARE

Access to quality healthcare is a fundamental human right. While 93.5% of Coloradans have health insurance, the problem is that coverage is simply too expensive for most families. We must address the existing coverage gaps across the state and examine methods to reduce costs.

 

As your Senator I have:

    • Sponsored & passed legislation to help create the Office of Saving People Money on Healthcare.
    • Supported & passed legislation to create a reinsurance program which will assist health insurers in paying high-cost insurance claims. By reducing system-wide costs and paying for a portion of high-cost claims, we can reduce premiums for all Coloradans.
    • Supported & passed measures to increase the transparency of medical billing to protect consumers from things like surprise bills from out of network providers.
    • Supported & passed legislation to increase access to programs and services for those in need of treatment for opioid and substance use disorders.

 

EQUALITY, JUSTICE & DEMOCRACY

We’ve made huge strides in the past several years when it comes ensuring that every Coloradan is treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, race, or economic circumstance. However, discrimination is very much still a reality for many LGBTQ Coloradans and we need to be steadfast in supporting policies that create a more fair, just, and equal state for everyone.

 

As your Senator I have:

    • Sponsored & passed legislation to restore voting rights for tens of thousands of parolees in Colorado.
    • After 3 years of sponsoring the bill, I finally banned gay conversion therapy for minors in 2019.
    • Sponsored & passed legislation to reduce youth suicide rates in Colorado by expanding access to mental health services for minors.
    • Sponsored & passed legislation to expand automatic voter registration and increased access to our elections.
    • Supported & passed legislation to prevent institutions from asking about criminal history on college and job applications.
    • Supported & passed legislation to make it easier for transgender Coloradans to get a new birth certificate.
    • Supported & passed legislation to reduce the penalties for possession of drugs from a felony to a misdemeanor.

 

ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY

Although Colorado’s economy has been and continues to be performing better than most states across the country, it’s clear that it’s still not working for all of us. We need an economy that benefits not just the wealthy, but everyone.

 

As your Senator I have:

    • Supported & passed legislation to allow municipalities to increase their local minimum wage.
    • Supported & passed an implementation plan to create paid family leave in Colorado.
    • Supported & passed legislation to strengthen the penalties for employers who engage in wage garnishing.
    • Supported & passed sponsored legislation to increase access to child care services and make it easier for preschool teachers to get licenses.

 

TRANSPORTATION

With our state’s population slated to double in the next 50 years, we need to be making forward looking investments in infrastructure and public transit.

 

As your Senator I have:

    • Helped pass a budget that included $330 million for transportation projects across Colorado.
    • Sponsored & passed legislation to curb the predatory behavior of booting companies (get it?).
    • Supported & passed legislation to make it easier to purchase an electric vehicle and dedicated more funding to expand EV infrastructure across the state.
    • Supported & created a study to examine solutions to improve transportation access for people with disabilities.

 

REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS & WOMEN’S HEALTH

One would think we wouldn’t still be having the conversation about a woman’s access to birth control and the right to make decisions about what’s best for her health and family. But, we are. And with near abortion bans passing in states across the country, it is more critical than ever to have strong voices in the legislature ready to stop conservative politicians from getting in between decisions best left to a woman and her doctor. Further, we shouldn’t only be standing our ground, but also moving forward and expanding access to comprehensive birth control.

 

As your Senator I have:

    • Supported & passed legislation to expand sexual education in Colorado, and ensure that curriculums are comprehensive and include consent.
    • Supported & passed legislation to ensure that women in the criminal justice system have access to feminine hygiene products.
    • As a member of the State Affairs committee in 2018, I helped defend a woman’s right to choose by voting against a number bills involving personhood, heartbeat restrictions, and required dissemination of misinformation by healthcare providers to women considering abortion.

 

MARIJUANA & HEMP

Colorado has long been at the forefront of legalized and well regulated marijuana and hemp production. As your Senator, I am proud to have led the charge to ensure these important products remain a strong part of economy in a safe and healthy manner.

 

As your Senator I have:

    • Sponsored & passed the Marijuana Sunset bill to streamline and modernize our marijuana regulations.
    • Sponsored & passed legislation that allows people with autism to qualify for medical marijuana cards.
    • Sponsored & passed legislation to require the CO Department of Agriculture to develop a Statewide Hemp Plan to address regulatory questions and foster development of the commodity.
    • Sponsored & passed legislation to increase funding to the CO Department of Health and Public Safety’s hemp regulation programming.

 

GUN SAFETY

In the wake of a seemingly endless number of mass shootings, particularly in our schools, we must take meaningful steps to keep our communities safe. We cannot continue forcing our students to be brave and protect themselves, rather we, as legislators, must pass common sense gun safety measures. I support safe storage laws to keep firearms out of the hands of children and unauthorized users. I also support implementing a 72-hour waiting period between when a gun is purchased and when it is received.

 

As your Senator I have:

    • Cosponsored & passed the creation of an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) as a mechanism for a court judge to remove firearms from an individual deemed to be at risk to themselves or others.
    • Repeatedly voted against Republican efforts to roll back Colorado’s universal background check laws

 

IMMIGRATION

There is no question that Colorado’s communities are better off because of contributions from immigrants. We must celebrate and embrace our diversity by standing strong to ensure everyone in Colorado feels safe and welcome here.

 

As your Senator I have:

    • Sponsored & passed legislation to allow refugees access to in-state tuition at Colorado universities.
    • Supported and passed measures to protect undocumented citizens against deportation from ICE.
    • Supported the creation of a grant program to fund targeted outreach to hard to count populations for the 2020 US Census.

 

AFFORDABLE HOUSING

With all the growth our state is seeing, especially along the Front Range, it is imperative that we are making investments in affordable housing so that long time residents can afford to live in the communities they call home. We must also strengthen the protections of renters in the face of predatory housing practices.

 

As your Senator I have:

    • Sponsored & passed legislation to create an enforcement mechanism for the Mobile Home Park Act and strengthen the rights of mobile home owners.
    • Supported and passed several bills to shift funding toward affordable housing initiatives and provide incentives for developers to invest in affordable housing options.
    • In 2017 and 2018, I sponsored legislation to increase the transparency of rental application fees.
    • Sponsored legislation in support of inclusionary housing programs to make it easier for municipalities to diversify their housing plans.