Colorado’s Citizen Legislature – Feb. 2018

~ By Doris Beaver ~

The year since readers last heard from the this writer, one would have to agree, has been like none other in American politics. It is sad indeed that the national fall out on sexual harassment finally reached our local legislature, and is taking up time that should be devoted to Colorado’s most vulnerable – the elderly, the homeless and put simply, us ordinary citizens.

House Bill 18-1091: As mental health issues are finally being recognized for their widespread impact, HB 1091 as introduced amends the Colorado Revised Statutes on dementia diseases and related diseases.

The significant points addressed by the bill:

  • updates references to Alzheimers and other dementia diseases;reflects that dementia diseases have related disabilities impacting memory and other cognitive abilities;
  • the missing senior citizen and missing person with developmental disabilities alert program is updated to include persons with a dementia disease and related disability;
  • the research center at the University of Colorado is renamed the Dementia Diseases and Related Disabilities Treatment and Research Center.

HB 1091 includes this definition of Dementia Diseases and Related Disabilities:

“A condition where mental ability declines and is severe enough to interfere with an individual’s ability to perform everyday tasks. Dementia Diseases and related disabilities includes Alzheimer’s disease, mixed dementia, Lewy Bodies Dementia, vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia and other types of dementia.”

Sponsors of House Bill 18-1091: Representatives Susan Beckman (R-Arapahoe) 866-2953, and Joann Ginal (R-Larimer) 866-4569. No sponsor as yet in the Senate.

House Bill 18-1065: As introduced, HB 1065 applies to the numerous facilities operated by the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) wherein the state provides “direct care to vulnerable people, including veterans and their families, youth in rehabilitation programs, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and people with mental health diagnoses.”

CDHS has encountered difficulty with suspension or dismissal of an employee after being charged with specified criminal offenses when the employee was involved in an egregious incident of mistreatment of a vulnerable person but was not convicted of a criminal offense.

HB 1065 adds language to Colorado Revised Statutes, 27-90-111, which clarifies the manner in which personnel matters are handled, such as giving predominant weight to the safety of vulnerable persons over the interests of any other person, when a disciplinary action includes a written finding by the appointing authority and when or if the employee petitions for a hearing before the state personnel board.

That such a piece of legislation became necessary is probably telling of the potential for this one to be complicated, with its first committee yet to be scheduled.

Sponsors of House Bill 18-1065: Representatives Susan Beckman (R-Arapahoe) 866-2953, and Janet P. Buckner (RD-Arapahoe) 866-2944.

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.