Colorado’s Citizen Legislature
~ By Doris Beaver ~
For the first time in 10 years, Republicans regained a majority in the Colorado Senate, albeit by only one. Republicans are expected to try and “undo” some of the legislation passed in the 2014 session, especially the emotionally-charged gun legislation.
Sometimes the back and forth resulting from the change in majority reminds this writer of the work of beavers (the four-legged kind). The rascals are notorious for rebuilding dams torn down by humans, even as soon as overnight.
House Bill 15-1018: Colorado’s Adult Protection Services system was enacted in 1991, and was “designed to protect vulnerable or at-risk adults who, because of age or mental, or physical ability, [were] unable to obtain services or otherwise protect their own health, safety and welfare,” and defined an “at-risk adult” as any person over the age of 18 who met this criteria.
During the 2013 legislative session Senate Bill 13-111 was passed, creating a new class of protection for “at-risk elders” who are defined as any person age 70 and older, effective July 1, 2014.
Since that date, the number of reports made to county departments of social services regarding elder abuse has increased by 46 percent: Fiscal Year 2013-14, 985 per month, to 1,443 per month in Fiscal Year 2014-15.
HB 15-1018 amends Section 18-6.5-108 of the Colorado Revised Statutes, and expands the list of professional persons (mandatory reporters) required to report within 24 hours the abuse or exploitation of a person 70 years of age or older to include:
- a caretaker, staff member, employee or consultant for a licensed or certified care facility, agency, home or governing board, including but not limited to home health providers;
- certified public accountants;
- victim advocates associated with law enforcement agencies;
- insurance agencies;
- postal workers; and
- employees or contractors of a bus company who had picked up an individual at home or another specific location other than a designated route (such as Access-a-Ridge).
Sponsors of HB 15-1018: Representative Jessie Danielson (D-Jefferson) 866-5522. No sponsor yet in the Senate.
House Bill 15-1100: Colorado, as well as the United States, is experiencing an ever exploding population in the 50 years of age and older citizens. Maybe, just maybe, Colorado’s legislators are recognizing what this challenge will mean for citizens of the state.
HB 1100 concerns increasing the amount of net revenue from the state sales and use tax that is credited to the older Coloradans Cash Fund by $4 million. Current law provides that “85% of state sales and use taxes are allocated to the Old Age Pension Fund and 15% percent to the General Fund, except that $10 million is diverted to the Older Coloradans Cash Fund,” increasing that by $4 million, for a total of $14 million per year, effective July 1, 2015.
Sponsors of 15-1100: Representatives Steve Lebstock (D-Adams) 866-2931, and Catherine “Kit” Roupe (R-l Paso) 866-3069; Senators Larry Crowder (District 35) 866-4875, and Jessie Ulibarri (D-Adams) 866-4857.
House Bill 15-1033: The fiscal analysis for HB 1033 has not been completed by legislative services as of this writing. As a heads up, the bill concerns long-term strategies to address Colorado’s aging population, and in connection therewith, creating a strategic action planning group to develop a comprehensive, long-term action plan for Colorado’s aging population.
The “Colorado Comprehensive Strategic Action Plan on Aging Act” has as its opening statement of the legislative declaration: “Both the United States and Colorado Face a historic demographic shift over the next fifty years. As unprecedented numbers of workers retire and longevity increases, the percentage of the population fifty years of age and older will increase rapidly and significantly.”
Details of HB 1033 will be forthcoming shortly.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.