We are seeing terrific participation in the legislative agenda for Colorado Senior Lobby this session. More people and more robust conversation have been the norm. Our Monday morning legislative meetings are averaging 30 volunteers (including our rural friends across the state who are calling in.)

Former Representative Dianne Primavera, a great friend to seniors, was CSL’s guest coach this week. Her wisdom only illustrates for us how much we miss her:

Tips for Lobbying your Colorado Legislator
(What Works and What Doesn’t)

  1. Tell the truth, don’t provide any “alternative facts”. Remember, each legislator comes to serve with a limited background. There is no way they know all the issues or facts for each aspect of Colorado law. They are relying on you to educate them.
  2. State clearly what problem you are trying to solve. If they can’t understand the problem, they won’t know if the proposed bill will help fix it or hurt it.
  3. Tell your story when you testify – personal stories about how this bill will impact your life.
  4. Understand both sides of the issue; what will the other side say? Is there a compromise?
  5. Legislators receive lots of emails. If you are going to send one, keep it short and concise, focusing on the issue. If the email is long, and the legislator gets many of them, it loses its impact. They will just scroll to the bottom to see if the writer is one of their constituents. If you are not in their district, your message may get deleted. Worst thing is form letters – once you read the first one, you skip the rest of them, even if it may contain a little bit different info or personal story.
  6. Make sure to lobby your legislator from your house and senate district. They want and need to hear from you. If you don’t get a response, try a different way to contact them, i.e. no response from email, try snail mail, no response from snail mail, try a phone call, no response from a phone call, try a post card, if still no response, go to their town hall meeting or a location where you know they will be.
  7. Tell your legislator how the issue will impact their district. They are there to be your representative, voice and to help everyone within their district.
  8. Be prepared to educate your legislator on the issue. Remember they come from all different backgrounds; odds are that they are not familiar with senior issues and needs.
  9. When the session first starts, it is easier to get in touch with your legislator, but once things get moving, in March and April, it is harder to be able to reach your legislator. They will be busy in committees, meeting with stakeholders, working on compromises and amendments to bills. The summer is the best time to talk with your legislator.
  10. Food is good! Legislators are always hungry. Providing a lunch is a good thing.
  11. If you send any correspondence to your legislator, make it short, concise, succinct and to the point. Making it eye catching is a benefit.
  12. When you testify in committee, keep it short and succinct. If someone has already said it, don’t repeat it.
  13. Each legislator is allowed to originate five bills only each session; but, is allowed to co-sponsor other bills originating from other legislators.
  14. Remember, this is a citizen process; you have the right to be there and to make your voice heard. We all own the problems and the solutions.

Do you have your Legislative Directory? Click http://leg.colorado.gov/legislators and find your representatives here.

Remember this one thing: your legislator is too overworked to manage comments from outside his/her district. But, most do want to hear from you. Send them an email and write in the subject line “I am a constituent” and you can become a priority.

Bills being heard today

Access to Providers for Medicaid Recipients. Concerning access by Medicaid recipients to non-enrolled medical providers. Health & Human Services Committee, Refer Unamended to Senate Committee of the Whole. Feb. 28th, Second Reading of Bills

Access to Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. Concerning access to the electronic prescription drug monitoring program. Health & Human Services, Feb 28th, Third Reading, Final Passage

Bills we are watching

Reverse Mortgage Repayment when Home Uninhabitable. Concerning the suspension of a borrower’s obligation to repay a reverse mortgage when a force majeure renders the subject property uninhabitable as a principal residence. Local Government Committee, Mar 15th, 1:30p, Room 0107

Extend Home Care Allowance Grant Program. The bill modifies the repeal date of the home care allowance grant program (program). Public Health Care & Human Services Committee, refer unamended to Appropriations, nothing scheduled

Update National Standards Citations Accessible Housing. The bill amends references to an out-of-date version of a standard, promulgated by the American national standards institute that governs construction of accessible housing. Passed

Requirement Durable Medical Equipment Suppliers. Individuals in the state, closer to other state borders, can only find suppliers across the border. This is primarily an access bill. Current law says the supplier must be from Colorado. Health, Insurance & Environment Committee, Mar 2nd, 2:30p, Room 271

Office of Public Guardianship Pilot Prevention Program. The bill creates the office of public guardianship (office) within the judicial department to provide legal guardianship services to indigent and incapacitated adults. Judiciary Committee, Refer Amended to Appropriations

Telehealth Coverage under Health Benefit Plans. Concerning modifications to the requirements for health benefit plans to cover health care services delivered via telehealth. Health Insurance & Environment, Refer Unamended to Senate Committee of the Whole

Treasure’s authority to access PERA information. The bill authorizes the state treasurer, in his or her capacity as a member of the board of trustees and in furtherance of his or her fiduciary duties and obligations to the members and benefit recipients of PERA, to review all records or information within the custody and control of PERA. Veterans & Military Affairs, Mar 1st, Room LSB-A

Continue Low-income Household Energy Assistance. This bill continues energy-related assistance to low-income households. Refer Amended to Appropriations

Patient Safety Act. The bill requires applicants for initial licensure or certification, as well as current licensees and certificate holders, to submit to a fingerprint-based criminal history record check. Includes: Podiatrists, Dentists and dental hygienists, Medical doctors, physician assistants, and anesthesiologists; Nurses, Certified nurse aides, Optometrists and Veterinarians. Health, Insurance & Environment, Mar 2nd, 1:30p, Room 271

Medicaid Appeal Review Legal Notice Requirements. The bill requires the administrative law judge hearing Medicaid appeals to review the legal sufficiency of the notice of action from which the recipient is appealing at the commencement of the appeal hearing if the notice of action concerns the termination or reduction of an existing benefit. If the notice is legally insufficient, the judge shall advise the appellant that he or she may waive the defense of insufficient notice and proceed to a hearing on the merits or may ask the judge to decide the appeal based on the judge’s finding of insufficiency. The judge shall advise the appellant that a legally sufficient notice may be issued in the future and that the state may recoup benefits from the appellant. Health Care and Human Services. Passed House

Medicaid Provider Compliance Billing Safety Rules. The bill subjects a provider of Medicaid services to a civil monetary penalty if the provider improperly bills or seeks collection from a Medicaid recipient or the estate of a Medicaid recipient. Public Health Care & Human Services, Nothing Scheduled

Audits of Medicaid Client Correspondence. The bill directs the office of the state auditor (OSA) to conduct or cause to be conducted an audit of client communications, including letters and notices, sent to clients or potential clients in Medicaid programs. The audits will be conducted in 2020 and 2023 and thereafter at the discretion of the state auditor. Public Health Care & Human Services, Mar 1st, Upon Adjournment, SCR 354

Construction Defect Litigation Builder’s Right to Repair. Construction professional has the right to receive notices from a prospective claimant concerning an alleged construction defect; to inspect the property; and then to elect to either repair the defect or tender an offer of settlement before the claimant can file a lawsuit seeking damages. Veteran’s & Military Affairs Committee, March 1st, 1:30p, Room LSB-A

PERA Public Employees’ Retirement Association Retirees Employed By Rural School Districts. Concerning an extension of the employment after retirement limitations for retirees of the public employees’ retirement association employed by a rural school district after retirement. Finance, Mar. 8th, Upon Adjournment, Room LSB-A

Change Excess State Revenues Cap Growth Factor.

Harassment Sexual Orientation or Disability. The bill adds physical or mental disability and sexual orientation to the categories described in the harassment statute to make the statute consistent with Colorado’s law concerning bias-motivated crimes. Nothing Scheduled

Demographic Notes for Certain Legislative Bills. Finance, Mar 13th, 1:30p, Room LSB-A

Update Public Benefit Corporation Requirements. Business Affairs and Labor, Mar 9th, 1:30p, Room LSB-A

Repeal Colorado Health Benefit Exchange. Repeals the Colorado Health Benefit Exchange Act of 2010 and gives that entity one year to ‘wind up its affairs’ by January 1st, 2018. Finance Committee, Refer Unamended to Appropriations.

Access to Providers for Medicaid Recipients. Concerning access by Medicaid recipients to non-enrolled medical providers. Health & Human Services Committee, Refer Unamended to Senate Committee of the Whole. Feb. 28th, Second Reading of Bills

Study Transportation Access for People with Disabilities. How can advanced technologies improve and increase access for people with disabilities? This would be a pilot project throughout the year. Introduced in House to Transportation & Energy, Mar. 1st, 1:30p, Room 0112

Transportation Network Company Drivers Medical Certificate Not Required. The bill eliminates the requirement for a medical certificate for persons who drive for transportation network companies. Transportation & Energy, Mar 15th, 1:30p, Room 0112

Construction Defect Claim Allocation of Defense Costs. Concerning a requirement for equitable allocation of the costs of defending a construction defect claim. This is just one bill expected on the construction defects issue. Business, Labor & Technology Committee, Refer Amended to Appropriations

Colorado Healthcare Affordability & Sustainability Enterprise. This is the Hospital Provider Fee bill. Concerning the creation of an enterprise that is exempt from the requirements of section 20 of article X of the state constitution and related statutory provisions to administer a fee-based healthcare affordability and sustainability program for hospitals. Finance Committee, nothing scheduled

Transparency in Direct Pay Health Care Prices. Concerning a requirement that health care providers disclose the charges they impose for common health care services when payment is made directly rather than by a third party. Health & Human Services Committee, Mar 7th, Room 0107

Income Tax Deduction for Military Retirement Benefits. Concerning a state income tax deduction for military retirement benefits. Finance Committee. Refer Unamended to Appropriations.

Allow Medicaid Home Health Services. Removes restriction that services be provided in the home alone. Health & Human Services Committee, Refer Unamended to Appropriations.

Consumer Right to Know Electric Utility Charges. Concerning consumers’ right to know their electric utility charges by requiring investor-owned electric utilities to provide their customers with a comprehensive breakdown of cost on their monthly bills. Transportation & Energy, Nothing scheduled

Cap Employer Contribution Rates for PERA (Public Employees’ Retirement Association.) Finance, Mar 1st, 1:30p, LSB Hearing Room A.

Improve Medicaid Client Correspondence. Ensure due process is being followed. Health & Human Services, Refer Amended to Appropriations

Insurance Commissioner Investigation of Provider Complaints. Requires the commissioner to investigate provider complaints and notify the provider of the results of the investigation. Business Labor & Technology, Nothing scheduled

Access to Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. Concerning access to the electronic prescription drug monitoring program. Health & Human Services, Feb 28th, Third Reading, Final Passage

Statutory Definition of Construction Defect. Concerning the statutory definition of a construction defect for purposes of the ‘Construction Defect Action Reform Act. Business, Labor & Technology, Nothing scheduled

Homeowners’ Association Construction Defect Lawsuit Approval Timelines. The bill states that when the governing documents of a common interest community require mediation or arbitration of a construction defect claim and the requirement is later amended or removed, mediation or arbitration is still required for a construction defect claim. Business, Labor, & Technology, Nothing scheduled

Construction Defect Actions Notice Vote Approval. The bill requires that, before the executive board of a unit owners’ association (HOA) in a common interest community brings suit against a developer or builder on behalf of unit owners, the board must notify all unit owners; and except when the HOA contracted with the developer or builder for the work complained of or the amount in controversy is less than $100,000, obtain the approval of a majority of the unit owners after giving them detailed disclosures about the lawsuit and its potential costs and benefits. The bill also limits the amount and type of contact that a developer or builder that is potentially subject to a lawsuit may have with individual unit owners while the HOA is seeking their approval for the lawsuit. Business Labor & Technology, Nothing scheduled

Modify Composition Of PERA Public Employees’ Retirement Association Board Of Trustees. Concerning modifications to the composition of the board of trustees of the public employees’ retirement association. Finance Committee, Feb. 28th, Second Reading.

View Colorado Senior Lobby’s Current Bill Sheet – CLICK HERE
– Steve

Steve Grund serves as Policy Chair for the Colorado Aging Commission and as a legislative liaison for the Colorado Senior Lobby. The Senior Space, however, is a reflection of his views only.
Email Steve