Colorado’s Citizen Legislature – Feb 2017

~ By Doris Beaver ~

The new President has promised and already begun action to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare). Readers are strongly encouraged to stay focused on this issue. The most reliable source of information will be your present insurance company’s benefits department.

Senate Bill 17-011: Most Americans take good health for granted – no aches or pains, robust mobility – at least in their younger years (say under 50 years old). Few recall concern about becoming disabled or the possible consequences, and aging catches far too many off guard. While SB 011 specifically targets those with disabilities, many if not most of the 50 and over must still work and face transportation problems.

The General Assembly’s legislative declaration for SB 011 includes these statistics:

  • 38 percent of people with disabilities aged 16 to 64 were employed compared to 72 percent of people without disabilities aged 16 to 64. (2009 U. S. Census Bureau Statistics);
  • increasingly, jobs are dispersed, with research in 98 of the largest metropolitan areas in the U. S. revealing that 45 percent of all jobs were located more than 10 miles from the urban center of the metropolitan area;
  • people with disabilities are three times more likely to depend on public transit than people without disabilities;
  • existing public transit in the United States does not provide adequate access to geographically dispersed jobs; and
  • 41 percent of rural areas in the United States lack any access to public transit, but even if people have access to public transit, they would, on average only be able to reach forty percent of the job sites in their metropolitan area within ninety minutes;

SB 011 provides for a study to be completed of Transportation Access for People with Disabilities in Colorado and the degree to which those needs are currently being met, existing and potential business and technological solutions that could improve transportation access. The forum may recommend legislation, how those solutions might best be implemented in Colorado and what legal or other barriers, if any, might hinder implementation of such solutions. As always with studies, source of funding will have to be “leveraged” to improve transportation access for people with disabilities.

Lead Sponsors of Senate Bill 17-011: Senator Kent D. Lambert (R-El Paso) 866-4835; and Polly Lawrence (R-Douglas, Teller) 866-2935.

Senate Bill 17-091: Current law in Colorado restricts home health services under the medicaid program to being provided only in the client’s residence. SB 091 removes the location restriction and allows for services to be delivered in the community as well as in the residence.

If passed and enacted, the legislation will bring Colorado into agreement with changes to federal medicaid rules that also allow for providing services in the community as well as the residence.

Lead Sponsors of Senate Bill 17-091: Senator Larry Crowder (R-Alamosa, Baca, Bent, Conejos, Crowley, Custer, Huerfano, Kiowa, Las Animas, Mineral, Otero, Prowers, Pueblo, Rio Grande, Saguache) 866-4875; and Senator Joann Ginal (D-Larimer) 866-4569.

House Bill 17-1116: Low-income households brace each year uncertain about sufficient funds to pay heating bills as winter sets in. Funding for energy related assistance to low-income households (and yes, far too many are Seniors) has been conditional from the severance tax operational fund through the state fiscal year commencing July, 2018.

Passage and enactment of HB 1116 will remove the automatic repeal that loomed over the low-income energy assistance fund, the energy outreach Colorado low-income energy assistance fund and the Colorado energy office low-income energy assistance fund, making the fund eligible for conditional funding indefinitely. Beware, percent of the moneys in the operational fund is subject to decision of the General Assembly.

Lead Sponsors of House Bill 1116: Representative Millie Hamner (D-Delta, Gunnison, Lake, Pitkin, Summit) 866-2952; and Senator Martinez Humenik (R-Adams) 866-4863.

Doris Beaver

Doris Beaver

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 doris@dorisbeaver.com.


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