DENVER (KDVR) — One measure backed by the governor is making major headway at the Capitol.

The bill that would help set up universal pre-K in Colorado passed out of the appropriations committee on Wednesday morning and ended up on the floor by the afternoon.

Lawmakers only have a year and a few months to get everything in place before the program is set to start, so they’re off to the races to get it done quickly.

“We create a new department of early childhood and within that new department, we would have this universal preschool program,” said Rep. Emily Sirota, a Democrat who represents Arapahoe and Denver counties. “And the bill that we are now, debating House Bill 1295, codifies those recommendations about your department that really streamline and unifies all of the early childhood programs across different state departments.”

The bill is designed to ease the burdens of families and educators and is estimated to save parents more than $4,000 every year. While many voters supported using tax revenue from cigarette and vape sales to fund this, some lawmakers are not pleased with how fast it’s moving through the Capitol.

“1295 is 485 pages and we just moved nine amendments in, I don’t know, 20 minutes? I’m not even sure what the timestamp was. Pretty aggressive on such a piece of policy as thick as this,” said House Assistant Minority Leader Tim Geitner, R-El Paso.

Many early childcare providers are on board with the measure, but they said there are some things that need improvement before the start of the 2023 school year.

“One of our concerns as we implement universal pre-K is that we are going to have many, many, many 4-year-olds whose parents want them in a pre-K program,” said Diane Price, president of Early Connections Learning Centers, who said capacity issues will need to be addressed.

The bill does call for more recruiting and retention of early ed teachers, but some educators worry the state has not done enough to attract new people to the field of education.

The proposal would allow parents to enroll in pre-K during the 2023-2024 school year. The bill would establish 10 hours a week of universal pre-K across Colorado.

Lawmakers moved to lay the measure over to continue debate on it Thursday.