Colorado’s Citizen Legislature – April 2017
House Bill 17-1253:
The stories of elderly or at-risk persons being taken advantage of – some lose their life savings – are heart breaking and gut wrenching. HB 1253 creates the “Protection of Vulnerable Adults From Financial Exploitation Act.” The findings of the Colorado General Assembly reveal staggering statistics on this issue:
A) Financial exploitation is the fastest-growing category of elder abuse in many states;
B) According to the 2010 Investor Protection Trust Elder Fraud Survey, one out of every five citizens sixty-five years of age or older has been victimized by a financial fraud; and
C) This act is modeled on legislation proposed by the North American Securities Administrators Association.
The Colorado General Assembly thus made these declarations:
1. The Colorado Commissioner of Securities and the Colorado Division of Securities are committed to protecting retail investors and are well-positioned to intercede on behalf of vulnerable persons;
2. To be successful on combating financial exploitation, the Commissioner and the Division must be made aware of the exploitation at the time that it occurs;
3. Mandatory reporting by persons licensed by the Division of Securities as early as possible, when intervention may be able to prevent harm or limit the damage to victims of financial exploitation; and
4. A mandatory reasonable-belief reporting requirement, coupled with immunity for reporting, provides an appropriate balance of incentives to encourage licensed securities professionals to report potential financial exploitation.
Also acknowledged in the bill is the importance of the reporting requirements and education of licensed securities professionals on the signs of suspected financial exploitation, as well as the Commissioner of Securities developing training programs on financial exploitation.
Sponsors of House Bill 17-1253: Representative Jessie Danielson (D-Jefferson) 866-5522; and Senator Larry Crowder (R-Alamosa, Baca, Bent, Conejos, Crowley, Custer, Huerfano, Kiowa, Las Animas, Mineral, Otero, Prowers, Pueblo, Rio Grande, Saguache) 866-4875.
House Bill 17-1222:
A voluntary contribution designation (income tax checkoff) will benefit the Family Caregiver Support Fund if HB 1222 is passed and enacted. Money in the fund supports the efforts of Easter Seals Colorado, a registered non-profit organization.
The General Assembly determined that various segments of Colorado’s population can benefit by using community programs, services, and supports that reduce or defer health care expenses or out-of-home placement, family caregivers, and family care recipients.
Additional findings by the General Assembly: 1) “The older adult population is growing at a faster rate than the general population;” 2) “By the year 2040, the number of residents aged sixty or older in Colorado is expected to double from one in eight persons to one in four, or an estimated one million three hundred thousand older adults, and the rapid expansion within that demographic may create a strain on the health care sector, long-term services and supports, and the state;” and 3) “Helping Coloradans ‘age in place’ safely and independently is a priority for the state’s long-term sustainability.”
Easter Seal Colorado provides support to individuals and families with programs and services to:
1. Enhance individuals’ quality of life;
2. Create opportunities for individuals living with chronic health care challenges to achieve greater independence; and
3. Empower and support family caregivers as they work to assist family members living with challenges posed by chronic disease, disability, aging and other special needs.
The General Assembly’s intent with HB 1222 is to provide Colorado citizens the opportunity to support the efforts of Easter Seals Colorado and “support services for individuals living with chronic health care needs and family caregivers by allowing citizens to make voluntary contributions on their state income tax return forms for that purpose.”
The General Assembly also recognized the growing need by other segments of Colorado’s population for additional support from Easter Seals Colorado:
a) Approximately one million two hundred thousand Coloradans or nearly one in four, live with a chronic disease or disability;
b) One in six, or an estimated fifteen percent of children ages three to seventeen years have at least one developmental disability; and
c) more than one and one-half million, or three in ten Coloradans require mental health treatment each year.
Sponsors of House Bill 17-1222: Representative Lois Landgraf (R-El Paso) 866-2946; and Senator Bob Gardner (R-El Paso) 866-4880.
Doris Beaver is a free lance journalist who writes from her home high in the Colorado Rocky Mountains on senior issues, politics, ethics and environmental issues. Visit her website www.dorisbeaver.com, or e-mail her at email@example.com.