Joey Bunch, Author at Colorado Politics
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Joey BunchJoey BunchFebruary 24, 201812min140


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Joey BunchJoey BunchFebruary 24, 20183min440

The Colorado Department of Human Services is reminding those getting a tax refund this year to consider helping domestic abuse victims.

The Colorado Domestic Abuse Fund is one of the causes listed among the check-offs on tax returns. It helps fund 47 local domestic violence programs that answered 63,671 crisis calls and served 18,124 adults and 4,501 children in 2017.

“As adults, we want to protect children in our community and ensure their safety. That’s why it is so heartbreaking to know that problems like domestic and dating violence, which we tend to consider ‘grown-up issues,’ affect so many of our young people every day. Last year, of the thousands of Coloradans who sought help from the Colorado Domestic Abuse Fund, 31 percent were 24 years old and younger, and 21 percent were under the age of 17,” Reggie Bicha, DHS’s executive director, tells Colorado Politics.

“The Colorado Domestic Abuse Fund provides crucial services for those kids, teens and adults who need our help immediately, but emergency services are only one part of the equation. We know domestic violence can be an early indicator for larger, underlying issues. Through our awareness and prevention efforts, we can work to make Colorado a safer place for all our kids and families.”

The tax return check-off generated more than $167,000 from Coloradans who donated on their 2016 tax returns.

DHS offered some examples of the programs the donations support.

  • 24-hour crisis line
  • Emergency housing
  • Support groups, counseling and advocacy
  • Safety planning and information and referrals for victims and their families
  • Community education and prevention
  • Children’s programming and advocacy

DHS said 54 percent of its domestic violence service providers are in rural areas.

“Making a one-time contribution on your state income tax form is one of the simplest ways to make a difference in the life of a survivor of domestic violence,” Brooke Ely-Milen, DHS’s Domestic Violence Program, said in a statement. “Domestic violence survivors are the women, men and children who live just down the street. Providing help, hope and a pathway to safety through your generous contributions helps build stronger communities together.”

The Colorado Domestic Abuse Fund has been listed on state returns since 1983, when Colorado became the first state to allow taxpayers to chip in a share of their return to help the domestic violence programs.


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Joey BunchJoey BunchFebruary 24, 20183min1440

One Colorado, the state’s largest LGBTQ organization, will be joined by hundreds of allies at the state Capitol in Denver Monday.

It’s an annual event that starts at 8:30 a.m. with a gathering nearby at the Central Presbyterian Church at 1660 Sherman St.

Again this year, the LGBTQ lobby is pushing for a bill to make it easier for transgender people to amend a birth certificate to reflect their gender identity.

House Bill 1046 is scheduled to be debated on the House floor Monday, where the Democratic majority is almost certain to send it to the Republican-led Senate. Colorado Politics reported on the bill’s initial committee hearing two weeks ago.

The legislation is sponsored by Rep. Daneya Esgar of Pueblo and Sen. Dominick Moreno of Commerce City, both Democratic members of the legislative LGBTQ caucus.

The caucus also includes Reps. Paul Rosenthal of Denver, Joann Ginal of Fort Collins, Leslie Herod of Denver and Senate Democratic Leader Lucia Guzman of Denver.

Lobby Day is an annual event, but One Colorado executive director Daniel Ramos predicted this year’s

“LGBTQ Lobby Day is an opportunity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Coloradans and allies to learn more about the issues that impact them, a chance for them to tell their stories directly to their elected officials and make their voices heard,” he said.

One Colorado also is lobbying again this year for a bill to ban on conversion therapy for minors, House Bill 1245, which will be heard by the House Public Health Care and Human Services at 1:30 p.m. on March 13.

The mental health practice, outlawed in some states, is therapy for teens and children who might be experiencing same-sex attractions. One Colorado and other critics say it’s discredited science that harms young people’s self-esteem and could contribute to suicides.

Rosenthal has carried a similar bill in each of the last three sessions, but he hasn’t been able to get it past the Republican majority in the Senate.

“As long as there is one child who may be subject to this form of torture, we need to continue doing this bill with the goal of calling attention to this malpractice and hopefully we will be able to pass it someday,” Rosenthal tells Colorado Politics.

He’s joined on the bill by three other Democrats,Guzman, Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet and Sen. Stephen Fenberg of Boulder.

 

 

 

 


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Joey BunchJoey BunchFebruary 23, 20187min60
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Joey BunchJoey BunchFebruary 22, 20185min54
A working group of legislators met with prison officials about suspicious budget estimates Wednesday, and it was deemed adequate “good faith” in the Colorado House Thursday. A few weeks ago Republican and Democratic legislators hoed up a $1.4 million request for private prison beds in the current year’s budget. As a result, Gov. John Hickenlooper […]

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Joey BunchJoey BunchFebruary 22, 20184min203
(Editor’s note: The Center for Responsible Lending and the Bell Policy Center are part of the Financial Equity Coalition, which is pushing the ballot initiative. The original post is below.) ************ A ballot question in November would ask voters in November to cap rates charged by payday lenders at 36 percent. But to get on […]

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Joey BunchJoey BunchFebruary 22, 201810min1406

In the wake of a Columbine-style school shooting in Florida last week, Colorado lawmakers again weighed a trio of bills aimed at loosening up the state's gun laws. All three failed on a partisan vote, as they do each year, including one that would have allowed school staff to carry firearms with an existing concealed carry permit.