“I’m on that second cup of coffee, and I still can’t face the day.”
Gordon Lightfoot

We are in the final four weeks of the four month session; but, the quality and quantity of the work that needs to come in under the wire will require some extraordinary leadership.

It is understandable to save the big ticket items for last. There are a handful. After four years of various efforts to shore up the condominium shortage, hope remains for progress on construction defects legislation. Then, there’s the hospital provider fee issue that worries so many citizens. Our frontier neighbors in the state have fingers crossed in hopes their community hospital will remain open for business. It would also be welcome news to keep our broadband investment intact for rural Colorado.

The Long Bill spent a week in the Senate, then last week in the House; and, now it’s back to the Joint Budget Committee to wade through the compromise stages in Conference Committees with both Houses. So many fates will be decided soon.

A lack of time and a mountain of stress does not make for superior coalition building. We’ll see if the Transportation Infrastructure bill, for example, can make it to the voters. Infrastructure is another must-have on the wish-list.

Colorado Senior Lobby has a wish-list too. CSL’s position is identified with each bill below. Here are three we’d like to see cross the finish line:

Protect Seniors from Financial Abuse. 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). The financial adviser/planner is protected from civil action too. Senate Finance, Apr 13th, Upon Adjournment, SCR 357

PACE Ombudsman Program Add Local Ombudsmen. There is urgent need to get more boots on the ground, especially for our rural citizens. Ombudsmen are our eyes and ears for those who have no voice. Referred Unamended to Appropriations, nothing scheduled

Data System Check for Employees Serving At-risk Adults. This bill establishes a state level program within the department of human services for a check of the department’s Colorado adult protective services data systems. CDHS serves our most vulnerable population. They need tools to improve their supervision of staff caring for this population. Health, Insurance & Environment. Apr 13th, 1:30p, Room 0107

New Bills we are watching

Colorado Right to Rest Act. Establishing basic rights for to use and move freely in public places. Local Government, Apr 19th, 1:30p, Room 271

Division of Insurance Annual Report Pharmaceutical Costs Data. This bill peels back the layers of what it really costs for drugs, as well as other hard-to-get facts from the companies that produce and distribute them. It asks that these companies provide this data to the Insurance Division annually. Health, Insurance & Environment, Apr 13th, 1:30p, Room 0107

Domestic Violence Reports by Medical Professionals. This bill modifies current law that requires medical professionals to report all injuries to authorities. It provides more discretion for the medical professionals. Judiciary, Apr 20th, 1:30p, Room 0112

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, Apr 12th, 1:30p, Room 0107

Extend Home Care Allowance Grant Program. Senate Health & Human Services, Apr 12th, Upon Adjournment SCR 354

Update National Standards Citations Accessible Housing. Signed by 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. Refer Amended to Appropriations

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. House, Third Reading Passed, No Amendments

Telehealth Coverage under Health Benefit Plans. Clarification of services that should be covered whether via telehealth or in person. Signed by the Governor

Direct Primary Health Care Services. Parameters under which a direct primary care agreement may be implemented. Consideration of Senate Amendments to House, Apr 10th, Laid over Daily

Continue Low-income Household Energy Assistance. This bill continues energy-related assistance to low-income households. In Senate, Ag, Natural Resources & Energy, Refer Unamended 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. Finance, Refer Unamended to Appropriations

Medicaid Appeal Review Legal Notice Requirements. Signed by the Governor

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, Apr 11th, 1:30p Room 0107

Audits of Medicaid Client Correspondence. Signed by 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, Apr 27th, 1:30p, Room 0112

Domestic Violence Awareness Barbers Cosmetologists. A training bill to improve awareness. Senate State & Military Affairs, Apr 12th, 1:30p, SCR 357

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. Senate, Education, Apr 19th, Upon Adjournment SCR 352

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. Senate Committee of the Whole Unamended, Apr 10th, 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, Refer Unamended to Appropriations

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. Senate Finance, Apr 11th, 2:00p, Room 271

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. Senate, Transportation, 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. Senate, Health & Human Services, Apr 19th, Upon Adjournment, SCR 354

Protect Seniors from Financial Abuse. 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). The financial adviser/planner is protected from civil action too. Senate Finance, Apr 13th, Upon Adjournment, SCR 357

PACE Ombudsman Program Add Local Ombudsmen. There is urgent need to get more boots on the ground, especially for our rural citizens. Ombudsmen are our eyes and ears for those who have no voice. Refer Unamended to Appropriations

Construction Defect Actions Notice Vote Approval. Require majority approval by homeowners to initiate a legal action against a builder rather than leaving that decision to a homeowner association board. State & Military Affairs, Apr 12th, 1:30p, Room LSB-A

Data System Check for Employees Serving At-risk Adults. This bill establishes a state level program within the department of human services for a check of the department’s Colorado adult protective services data systems. Health, Insurance & Environment. Apr 13th, 1:30p, Room 0107

Colorado Secure Savings Plan. A retirement savings plan for private-sector employees in the form of an automatic enrollment payroll deduction individual retirement account. Business Affairs & Labor, Apr 13th, 1:30p, Room LSB-A

Local Government Officials on Nonprofit Boards. This bill specifies it is neither a conflict of interest nor a breach of fiduciary duty or the public trust for a local government official to serve on the board of directors of a nonprofit entity. Local Government, Apr 12th, 1:30p, Room 0107

Chance to Compete Act. Prisoners who’ve done their time must ‘wear’ their record when set free. That, in itself, condemns them again. What’s the fairest way? Judiciary. Apr 13th, 1:30p, Room 0112

Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program Wage Replacement. Partial wage-replacement benefits for eligible individuals. Business Affairs & Labor, Apr 11th, 1:30p, Room LSB-A

Documentary fee to Fund Affordable Housing. Increases the documentary fee for real estate property transactions by one cent per $100 valuation, and is estimated to generate $9 million- $10 million per year. On a $300,000 home, this would total a $30 fee increase and would yield significant benefits across the state. Local Government, Apr 26th, 1:30p, Room 0107

Application Fees for Renters. Keeps application fees to the price of what is actually necessary to screen residents—such as credit reports, reference checks or tenant screening reports—and ensures the fee is refunded if the applicant is never screened. Finance. Apr 17th, 1:30p, Room LSB-A

Receipts for Renters. Gives renters the right to have a copy of their lease and to receive receipts for cash payment of rent. Without a receipt, tenants facing eviction cannot prove they have paid what the landlord says they owe. Local Government. Apr 26th, 1:30p, Room 0107

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. Second Reading, Apr 10th

Access to Providers for Medicaid Recipients. Concerning access by Medicaid recipients to non-enrolled medical providers. State & Military Affairs, April 13th, Upon Adjournment, Room LSB-A

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. Signed by 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, Apr 19th, 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

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. Signed by the Governor

Income Tax Deduction for Military Retirement Benefits. Concerning a state income tax deduction for military retirement benefits. Second Reading, Refer Amended to Senate Committee of the Whole, Apr 10th

Allow Medicaid Home Health Services. Removes restriction that services be provided in the home alone. Third Reading, Final Passage, Apr 10th

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, Apr 12th, 1:30p, Room 0112

Improve Medicaid Client Correspondence. Ensure due process is being followed. Second Reading, Apr 11th

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. Signed by the Governor

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. Veterans & Military Affairs, Apr 19th, 1:30p, Room LSB-A

Prohibit Carrier from Requiring Alternative Drug. Prohibits a carrier from requiring a covered person to undergo step therapy. In House, Health & Environment, Apr 11th, Upon Adjournment, Room 0107

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, Apr 10th, 2:00p, SCR 354

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. Refer Amended to Appropriations

Automated Driving Motor Vehicles. The bill declares that the regulation of automated driving systems is a matter of statewide concern, and, therefore, local authorities are prohibited from regulating these systems. The use of automated driving systems is authorized if the system is capable of conforming to every state and federal law applying to driving. If not, a person testing a system is required to coordinate with the Colorado state patrol and the Colorado department of transportation. Senate Considered House Amendments – Not Concur. Conference Committees to Report, May 1st

Expand ‘Notice to Quit’ ‘Notice of Rent Increase’ from 7 days to 21 days. Allowing more time for the transition prevents a host of additional problems down the road. Local Government, Apr 12th, 1:30p, Room 0107

The Long Bill. It is budget time. House Second Reading passed with Amendments. CSL monitors this process throughout and does not support or oppose an overall state ‘budget.’ The budget talks continue this week

Sustainability of Rural Colorado. Reclassify the state’s hospital provider fee as an enterprise fund. An examination of rural Colorado’s fiscal status across the board. This is one of those bills that’s served best by reading the whole thing. Deep inside, for example, proposed statewide budget cutting. Finance, Apr 11th, 2:00pm, Room 0271

*Strongly Support      **Support      ***Oppose      ****Strongly Oppose

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 Grund