We are halfway through the legislative session; but, the problem is the rest of the way is all uphill. While we were all taught to ‘save the best for last,’ our General Assembly has pretty much saved everything for last.
Before we get to what needs to be done or even what’s going to be done, we first need to get our arms around where we are right now….and, we really don’t know. For example, revenue. At the end of this week, we’ll get a view of the updated revenue projections. And, then, there are the expenses. At issue is a $500M spending gap for the upcoming budget year. Plus, we are still looking at an estimated $110M shortfall for this year; which, by law, we have to balance, before we get into next year.
Our leaders will be dealing with that while also anticipating the new ($28B) budget process, which starts in two weeks. And then, finally, to the difficult issues that tend to get saved for last:
- will an annual $300M transportation infrastructure tax increase get in front of the voters in November
- will senior homeowners lose their property tax break through a revamping of the Homestead Act?
- will a Hospital Provider Fee be used to ease the budget crisis?
- will there ever be a Construction Defects bill that addresses concerns both sides can tolerate?
- will Healthcare changes hold so many other wish-lists hostage with billions of Medicaid dollars in the balance?
So, if you are hoping that you can get moment with your legislators between now and the end of the session, the best way to tackle that challenge is to join us this Wednesday, March 15th, for Senior Day at the Capitol. Doors open at 8am – LEARN MORE
New Bills we are watching
New Transportation Infrastructure Funding Revenue. This bill requires a ballot question to be submitted to voters in November 2017. The voters will be asked to approve a temporary sales and use tax rate increase with the money going solely to fund transportation infrastructure issues. Nothing scheduled
Task Force Recommendations for Heart Attack Care. A task force was created out of SB13-225 to improve quality of care to STEM1 heart attack patients. This bill implements or modifies the recommendations of that panel. Health, Insurance & Environment, Mar 21st, Room 0107
Protect Seniors from Financial Abuse. If specified, if licensed securities professionals (qualified individuals), while acting within the scope of their employment, reasonably suspect that an elderly or at-risk person is the subject of financial exploitation, the bill requires the broker-dealer or investment adviser to report to the commissioner of securities (commissioner). Nothing scheduled
Bills we are watching
*Strongly Support **Support ***Oppose ****Strongly Oppose
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. Appropriations, nothing scheduled.
Update National Standards Citations Accessible Housing. Off to the Governor
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, Mar 14th, Upon Adjournment, 0107
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. Clarification of services that should be covered whether via telehealth or in person. Signed by the Governor
Continue Low-income Household Energy Assistance. This bill continues energy-related assistance to low-income households. In Senate, Ag, Natural Resources & Energy, nothing scheduled
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. Finance, Mar 13th, 1:30p, Room LSB-A
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. Senate Health and Human Services, nothing scheduled
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. Senate, passed third reading, no amendments, off to the Governor
Remedies for Forcible Entry and Detainer. The bill adds to the current descriptions of forcible detainer the act of a person preventing an owner from access to or possession of property by locking or changing the lock on the property. The bill creates a procedure for the plaintiff to seek a temporary, mandatory injunction giving the plaintiff possession of the property if a complaint for forcible entry or detainer is filed. The procedure requires the plaintiff to store any personal property found on the property but allows the plaintiff to recover the costs of the storage. The bill establishes as new crimes related to forcible entry and detainer the crimes of unlawful occupancy and unlawful reentry. Judiciary + Appropriations, nothing scheduled
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. 15th, Upon Adjournment, Room LSB-A
Change Excess State Revenues Cap Growth Factor. Change formula used under TABOR to set spending cap for budget every year. The original formula, a combination of CPI, inflation, %, plus percentage growth I population. This bill says TABOR allows voters to make changes, but a better formula might be growth in personal income, a more effective indicator of economic growth. This bill asks voters to change TABOR to a five year rolling average of income growth as the formula for the cap. Veterans & Military Affairs, nothing scheduled
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. Refer Amended to House Committee of the Whole, Mar 14th General Orders, Second Reading
Demographic Notes for Certain Legislative Bills. The bill requires the staff of the legislative council to prepare demographic notes on legislative bills in each regular session of the general assembly. The speaker of the house of representatives, the minority leader of the house of representatives, the president of the senate, and the minority leader of the senate are authorized to request 5 demographic notes each, or more at the discretion of the director of research of the legislative council. Finance, Mar 13th, 1:30p, Room LSB-A
Transfers of Automobile Titles upon Death. Clarifies liability of current law. Transportation & Energy, Mar 16th, Upon Adjournment, Room 0112
Create Family Caregiver Support Fund Tax check-off. Caregiving costs in Colorado and across the nation are through the roof with no end in sight. Finance, Mar 20th, 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. April 13th, Upon Adjournment
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. Senate Considered House Amendments-Result was to Concur-Repass. Off to the Governor
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 16th, 1:30p, 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, Mar 22nd, 1:30p, Room 0112
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, Insurance and Environment, In House, Mar 16th, 1:30p, Room 0107
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. Third Reading Passed, No Amendments
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. Veteran & Military Affairs, Mar 15th, 1:30p, Room LSB-A
Prohibit Carrier from Requiring Alternative Drug. Prohibits a carrier from requiring a covered person to undergo step therapy. Business, Labor & Technology, Mar 15th, 2:00p, SCR 354
Out of Network Providers Payments Patient Notice. The bill outlines the method for a health insurer to use in determining the amount it must pay an out-of-network provider that rendered covered services to a covered person at an in-network facility and requires the health insurer to pay the out-of-network provider directly. The bill also establishes an independent dispute resolution process by which an out-of-network provider may obtain review of a payment from a health insurer. Business, Labor & Technology, Nothing scheduled
Strengthen Colorado Behavioral Health Crisis System. The bill clarifies the intent of the general assembly for establishing a coordinated behavioral health crisis response system (crisis system). Judiciary. Mar 22nd 1:30p, SCR 352
*Strongly Support **Support ***Oppose ****Strongly Oppose
View Colorado Senior Lobby’s Current Bill Sheet – CLICK HERE
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.