The Colorado Legislature really came together last week with Senate Bill 267; the soup-to-nuts law
with something in it for everyone. Suffice to say, in legislative circles, this bill is a must-read. Thank goodness for our frontier friends, who now won’t require Space X for a hospital visit.
We are two days away from ending the session with this big bill still nipping at the heels of the state budget which was passed last week…four weeks late. If there are surprises still to come, they will be bombshells. None are in the forecast. As of this writing, a final vote is needed in the Senate, then two votes in the House and then on to the Governor. Should happen.
Construction Defects made progress as well. After four years of trying, House Bill 1279 changes the process for lawsuits; hopefully decreasing the number of them and inspiring more condos and creating more affordable housing.
Senior property owners dodged the revamping of the Homestead Act and will continue to save on their property tax bills. Proponents of reorganizing that benefit have got to be kicking themselves since our Colorado counties have issued new property value assessments that are through the roof. It was a tough exercise this year; but, seniors may find their voice in the gubernatorial year of 2018 and make things a tad tougher.
One more note about rural Colorado moving forward. While it does appear our ‘other’ state of Colorado has dodged a bullet and prevented hospitals from shutting down, let’s be clear that this is hardly a victory. The hospital closures were more of a death threat to an already struggling patient.
Another element of Senate Bill 267 is securing funding of $9.5M to bring broadband services
to more homes in rural Colorado. Fine for now at this stage of the game, but a drop in the bucket when compared to the success the whole state would enjoy if we simply made the decision to connect the whole state and enjoy the economic ride. Rural Colorado needs the rest of Colorado to strategize, nurture and invest to help make this state whole.
Next Week: A Colorado Senior Lobby Legislative Review!
New Bills we are watching
SB-303 State Highway System Funding and Financing. This bill creates the mechanism to begin the process that funds transportation. This bill is similar to House Bill 1242 which could not cross the finish line. Like 1242, the voters decide. Senate, Second Reading, May 9th
Bills we are watching
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Extend Home Care Allowance Grant Program. Concur-Repass
Update National Standards Citations Accessible Housing. Signed by the Governor
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. Repass, on to the Governor
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. Signed by the Governor
Continue Low-income Household Energy Assistance. This bill continues energy-related assistance to low-income households. Refer Unamended to Senate Committee of the Whole
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. Third Reading Senate Passed, no Amendments
Audits of Medicaid Client Correspondence. Signed by the Governor
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. Repass
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. On to the Governor
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. Sent to the Governor
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. Repass
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. Repass
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. Senate Second Reading, May 8th later today
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. Senate Third Reading Passed, no Amendments
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 (CAPS) data systems. Senate, Second Reading
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. Senate, Second Reading, May 8th, Consent Calendar
Collection of Delinquent Taxes on Mobile Homes. Gives County Treasurer flexibility in the management and authority of the rules. Senate, Second Reading, May 8th, Consent Calendar
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. Senate Second Reading, May 8th
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
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. Refer to Appropriations, Nothing scheduled
Allow Medicaid Home Health Services. Removes restriction that services be provided in the home alone. Third Reading Passed, no Amendments
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. Signed by Speaker of the House
Improve Medicaid Client Correspondence. Ensure due process is being followed. Third Reading Passed, no Amendments
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. Refer Unamended to Senate Committee of the Whole, Second Reading, May 9th
Prohibit Carrier from Requiring Alternative Drug. Prohibits a carrier from requiring a covered person to undergo step therapy. Result to Recede, 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). House, Third Reading, Final Passage, May 8th
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. Signed by Speaker of the House
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. Signed by Speaker of the House
The Budget Bill passed.
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. Senate Third Reading, Final Passage, May 8th
Revise Medicaid Fraud Reporting. Third Reading, Final Passage, May 8th
High Risk Health Care Coverage Program. Access to coverage for the High-risk candidates. Senate, Third Reading, Final Passage, May 8th
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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.
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