AARP CO Legislative wrap up for 2016

2016 Advocates in the Cafeteria of the Capitol. L-R: Front Row Seated - Mike Wolford, Kelli Fritts, Steve Chaffee, Rita Fitzpatrick. Standing - Margaret Hughes, Carol Pace, Shirley Leow, Kathleen Flynn, Angela Cortez, Greg Glischinski, AW Schnellbacher, Teresa Reed, Glenn Cooper, Dennis Valentine, Bill Levis and Phil Steckley

2016 Advocates in the Cafeteria of the Capitol. L-R: Front Row Seated – Mike Wolford, Kelli Fritts, Steve Chaffee, Rita Fitzpatrick. Standing – Margaret Hughes, Carol Pace, Shirley Leow, Kathleen Flynn, Angela Cortez, Greg Glischinski, AW Schnellbacher, Teresa Reed, Glenn Cooper, Dennis Valentine, Bill Levis and Phil Steckley

AARP Colorado is pleased to report on our 2016 legislative activities. All bills referenced in this report were signed by Governor John Hickenlooper unless otherwise noted. All bills with an asterisk (*) note a priority vote. Visit our bill list for more information:

Keeping 9-1-1 deregulation at bay and fighting for your financial future topped the AARP legislative agenda. What we did to ensure our 911 system remains regulated by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission

Bill: Senate Bill 16-183
Sponsors: Senators Andy Kerr and Mark Scheffel and Representatives Angela Williams and Polly Lawrence.
Status: Signed by Governor John Hickenlooper
Description: As introduced, SB 183 would’ve removed the ability by the Public Utility Commission (PUC) to regulate calls made to 911 from a Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP i.e. Comcast) or wireless phone, putting public safety at risk. Along with members of the safety community including Colorado Combined Chapter of NENA/APCO (National Emergency Number Association/Association of Public Safety Communications Officials), Emergency Medical Services Association, County Sheriffs, Professional Fire Fighters, Chiefs of Police, as well as labor and consumer organizations opposed the bill. The bill passed the Senate Business Committee, but with such a strong opposition, Gov. Hickenlooper requested the bill be amended to just be a stakeholder conversation and it was amended to do that prior to its passage in the Senate. Once in the House the bill was further amended to be a legislative task force that reports to the House and Senate Transportation and Energy Committees (this was against the will of the sponsors who wanted to keep the issue in the Business Committee.)
AARP’s positon: Strongly opposed as introduced and monitored closely once amended to be a task force.
What’s next: AARP will participate in the task force hearings. We will move the conversation from one that is just about deregulation to one that is about safety and launching the 911 system into the future.

A third full-time and 63 percent part-time workers in the Denver area lack access to a retirement savings plan, according to the Pew Charitable Trust.

Bill: House Bill 16-1403
Sponsors: Representatives Janet Buckner and Brittney Pettersen and Senators Nancy Todd and Kerry Donovan
Status: The bill died in the House Finance Committee at the request of the sponsors after heavy pressure from the financial services industry.
Description: Would’ve created the Colorado Secure Savings Plan, increasing the number of working Coloradans enrolled in retirement plans, giving all employees the ability to create a retirement savings plan though their employer, regardless of whether their employer offers a plan, or not.
AARP’s position: Strongly support
What’s next: Continue to support legislation that would create this option for Colorado employees.

AARP supported legislation that would have helped provide affordable housing options in Colorado

Bills: *House Bill 16- 1466 and Senate Bill 16-059
Sponsors: House Bill 16-1466 by Representatives Max Tyler and KC Beckert and Senator Jessie Ulibarri and Senate Bill 16- 059 by Senator John Kefalas and Representatives Max Tyler and Joann Ginal
Status: House Bill 16-1466 passed the Colorado House but died in the Senate Appropriations Committee. Senate Bill 16-059 was killed on its first hearing in the Senate State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee
Description: HB 16-1466 would have provided affordable housing options to 4,000-5,000 Colorado families (at no cost to the taxpayers) using funds from the unclaimed property fund. Senate Bill 16-059 among other things would have created and administered a dispute resolution program that would have provided landlords and manufactured home owners with a cost-effective and time-efficient process to resolve disputes.
AARP’s position: Strongly supported both HB16-1466 and Senate Bill 16-059
What’s next: We will continue to support options for affordable housing in Colorado.

We fought to give consumers protection via the Office on Consumer Counsel, regarding telecommunications issues

Bill: *House Bill 16-1376
Sponsors: Representatives Daneya Esgar and Faith Winter and Senator Morgan Carroll
Status: The bill passed the Colorado House and died in the Senate Veterans and Military Affairs Committee.
Description: Would have given back the Office of Consumer Council’s (OCC) ability to represent consumers on telecom issues in front of the Public Utilities Commission (PUC).
AARP position: Strongly supported HB16-1376
What’s next: AARP will continue to support the OCC and work to bring telecom back in its purview. Meanwhile, consumers should continue contacting the PUC regarding phone service, and alert legislators, too. The PUC will not be able to resolve complaints, but they will track them as a part of the “claw back” provision.

The loan sharks came out again

Bill: *Senate Bill 16- 185
Sponsors: Senator Ray Scott and Representative Jovan Melton
Status: Passed the Senate, but died in the House, State Veterans and Military Affairs Committee.
Description: SB 16-185 would have significantly increased the cost for a typical loan. It was estimated to cost Coloradans $9.5 million in additional interest.
AARP’s position: Strongly oppose

Colorado needs fiscal flexibility to fund the services that older adults rely on

Bill: House Bill *16-1420
Sponsors: Representative Dicky Lee Hullinghorst and Senator Larry Crowder
Status: Passed the Colorado House, but killed in the Senate Finance Committee.
Description: HB16-1420 was a measure to turn the state’s hospital provider fee program, into a state-run government enterprise and by doing so would free up about $750 million under the revenue caps mandated by the voter-approved Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.
AARP’s position: Strongly Support
What’s next: AARP will join the coalition seeking fiscal flexibility in support of a ballot measure in the 2016 election.

Other bills of note signed into law that AARP supported

HB16- 1027 by Representative Jessie Danielson and Senators Nancy Todd and Jerry Sonnenberg allows the prosecution to request taking a deposition of an at-risk adult victim or witness if the victim or witness may be unavailable at trial.

HB16-1047 by Rep. Perry Buck and Faith Winter and Sens. Linda Newell and Ellen Roberts enacts and authorizes the governor to enter into an interstate compact with other states to recognize and allow physicians licensed in a member state to obtain an expedited license, enabling them to practice medicine in Colorado or another member state.

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