Colorado’s Citizen Legislature – June 2018

By Doris Beaver ~

Each year, a recap is provided to readers of Prime Time for Seniors of just what happened to the bills written about during the regular legislative session of the Colorado General Assembly.

House Bill 18-1091:
Signed by the Governor on May 29th, HB 1091 provides for significant amendments to the Colorado Revised Statutes to include the term “dementia diseases and related disabilities.” The term “dementia diseases and related disabilities” is added to various sections of the statutes. Among those amended are adult dental benefit, long-term care placements, comprehensive and uniform client assessment instrument, nursing facility provider reimbursement, nursing facilities (provider fees, federal waiver fund created), return to home (“age-in-place”) and missing persons alert program.
Also significant is that a long-term care policy may not exclude coverage for dementia diseases and related disabilities. The legislative declaration in Section 23-21-701 is also amended to remove “Alzheimer’s and related diseases” and replace that term with “dementia diseases and related disabilities.”

House Bill 18-1065:
With the Governor’s signature on April 23rd, disciplinary action against a state employer inflicting mistreatment, abuse, neglect or exploitation against vulnerable persons is clarified. In disciplinary matters, HB 1065 provides that “the appointing authority shall give weight to the safety of vulnerable persons over the interests of any other person.” Additional provision is made for such disciplinary action as deemed appropriate up to and including termination, “taking into consideration the harm, or risk of harm to vulnerable persons created by the employer’s actions.” Constitutional or statutory due process rights afforded to any employee who is certified to a class or position in the state personnel system are not affected by provisions of HB 1065.

House Bill 18-1196:
Signed by the Governor on March 29th HB 1196 provides for “authorization to verify the disability of an applicant to the aid to the needy disabled program.” A licensed psychologist or any other licensed health care personnel the state department deems appropriate is added to the list of professionals (physicians, physician assistants licensed in the state, an advanced practice nurse, a registered nurse licensed in this state who is functioning within the scope of the nurse’s license and training).

Senate Bill 18-152:
Senate Bill 152 was postponed indefinitely (killed) on February 15th, and would have made price gouging a deceptive trade practice on certain prescription drugs under the Colorado Consumer Protection Act (essential off-patent or generic drugs). SB 152 also would have given the Attorney General additional subpoena powers to request cost and pricing information from drug manufacturers.

House Bill 1-1192:
Postponed indefinitely (killed) on March 22th, HB 1192 would have given interim help to those applying for federal disability benefits. Research for the legislation revealed that many applicants are denied benefits due to various incomplete items, and assistance in applying improves the approval rate. Nationally, in federal fiscal year 2016, over ten thousand people died waiting to be approved for federal disability benefits, a number that is inhumane in this writer’s opinion.

House Bill 1380:
Postponed indefinitely (killed) on May 3rd, HB 1380 would have expanded the annual property tax and rent assistance grant program made available to low-income seniors or individuals with a disability by eliminating the requirement that rent must be paid to a landlord that pays property tax.

House Bill 18-1285:
HB 1285 was passed by the legislature, and awaits the Governor’s action which is expected to take place by the end of May.

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.