Showing up. Most know that is the most important ingredient. It means the glass is at least half-full when facing the day.
This year, though, the General Assembly not only showed up, but added some reach to its repertoire with leadership in both Houses focused enough to reach compromises which could not be found in past years.
Senate Bill 267 is one of the most ambitious pieces of legislation seen in many years. $1.8B for roads, money for schools and essential funding for hospitals, especially in the rest of the state.
Construction also gets a fresh start following four years of frustration. Threats of lawsuits for construction defects killed the condo market. Options for both owners and developers are less tangled now; so, hopefully the market will respond favorably moving forward.
Seniors in Colorado also showed up. The Colorado Senior Lobby strongly supported 16 bills this session; 11 of them passing as shown in the CSL Strong Support Scorecard. The Public Guardian Pilot project is a great start; more boots-on-the-ground for our low to moderate income seniors will be a great help; a background-check system that is more robust will soon be a matter of law; and, a greater focus on elder financial abuse should help prevention efforts.
But, again, the greatest achievement this session was witnessing the Showing Up. Weekly Senior Lobby Legislative meetings often had two dozen volunteers at the table and another dozen from across the state on the phone. Membership in Colorado Senior Lobby more than tripled in one year.
The Lobby is announcing its Summer Program will be August 18th at Covenant Village in Westminster from 8:30AM to 12:30PM. It will be held on a Friday this year; so, hopes are members will treat it as the business meeting it truly is.
It is time for seniors to unite. There is a lot to absorb in the days ahead. The Healthcare debate has distilled down to a simmer while the rest of DC is boiling over so many other distractions in government. But, all know a sequel is coming.
Time to show up.
*Strongly Support **Support Monitor ***Oppose ****Strongly Oppose
Extend Home Care Allowance Grant Program. On to the Governor
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. 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. Third Reading Senate Passed, no Amendments
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. Signed by 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. Signed by the Governor
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. Signed by the President of the Senate.
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. Signed by the Speaker of the House
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. Signed by the President of the Senate
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. Repass
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. Signed by the President of the Senate
Collection of Delinquent Taxes on Mobile Homes. Gives County Treasurer flexibility in the management and authority of the rules. Signed by the President of the Senate
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
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
Allow Medicaid Home Health Services. Removes restriction that services be provided in the home alone. Signed by the President of the Senate
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. Signed by the President of the Senate
Access to Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. Concerning access to the electronic prescription drug monitoring program. Signed by the Governor
Prohibit Carrier from Requiring Alternative Drug. Prohibits a carrier from requiring a covered person to undergo step therapy. Signed by the President of the Senate
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). Signed by the Governor
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. On to the Governor
Revise Medicaid Fraud Reporting. Signed by the President of the Senate
High Risk Health Care Coverage Program. Access to coverage for the High-risk candidates. Signed by the Speaker of the House
*Strongly Support **Support Monitor ***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.
Email Steve Grund