Colorado’s Citizen Legislature – July 2021
By Doris Beaver ~
The Colorado General Assembly managed to complete its legislative business and adjourned on June 8th, four days ahead of its originally scheduled adjournment date of June 12th.
Today’s column reviews the remaining legislation from February, March, April, May, and June, not previously acted on by the Governor. Legislation was signed in many instances when it reached the Governor’s desk as the legislative session progressed. July 8th is the last day for the Governor to act on legislation passed in the 2021 session, and it becomes law at 12:01 a. m. July 8th if the Governor has not vetoed it. On September 7th, legislation passed with a “Act Subject to Petition” clause becomes effective at12:01 a. m., if no referendum petition against it is filed. (Constitution Colorado, art V, (3).
Senate Bill 21-002:
SB 002 concerned revamping of certain debt collection actions enacted by Senate Bill 20-211. The Governor signed SB 002 on January 21st. The extraordinary debt collection actions originally imposed by SB 20-211 – November 22, 2020, February 1, 2021 if necessary, and October 24, 2020 were extended to June 1, 2021.
House Bill 21-1113:
HB 1113 was postponed indefiitely on March 18th, and would have created an income tax deduction for military retirement benefits. Note: HB 18-1060 created a state income tax deduction for military retirement income for tax years 2019 through 2023.
House Bill 21-1004:
HB 1004 was signed by the Governor on January 21st, and reflects the digital technology sweeping the country today. The Colorado Uniform Electronic Wills Act permits and regulates the use of electronic wills, outlines the processes for executing an electronic will, revoking an electronic will, simultaneously attesting to an electric [nic] will and making it self-proving and creating a certified paper copy of an electronic will.
HB 1004 includes an amendment to Colorado Revised Statutes, 24-21-514.5, (2)(b)(II) that:’“A notary public shall not use a remote notarization system to notarize: (II) Except as provided in the ‘Colorado Uniform Electronic Wills Act,’ Part 15 of Article 12 of Title 15, a will, codicil, document purporting to be a will or codicil, or any acknowledgment required under section 15-11-502 or 15-11-504.”
House Bill 21-1048:
HB 1048 concerns the addition of language relevant to Colorado statutes “related to persons with disabilities to strengthen the protections against discrimination on the basis of disability,” and was signed by the Governor on May 10, 2021. Additions to the current Colorado Revised Statutes include:
- Prohibiting a person with a disability from being excluded from participating in or being denied the benefits of services, programs, or activities of a public entity;
- Not complying with web content accessibility guidelines established by an international consortium; and
- Not promulgating a rule that provides less protection than that provided by the “Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.”
House Bill 21-1172:
HB 1172 was postponed indefinitely on April 22, 2021. The short title of HB 1117 was “No patient or Resident Left Alone Act,” and sought to remove or eliminate many of the stumbling blocks visitors faced during the pandemic. The bill was Deemed Lost. Refer to HB 1281 later in this column which relates to the same subject matter.
House Bill 21-1119:
HB 1119 was signed by the Governor on April 22nd, and concerns lowering the suicide rate by enhancing care for persons affected by suicide and broadening Colorado’s focus to include suicide prevention, intervention and postvention. The staggering statistics:
- People who have known someone who died by suicide in the last year are 1.6 times likely to have suicidal thoughts;
- More peace officers die of suicide than in the line of duty;
- An estimated three hundred to four hundred doctors die of suicide annually;
- Suicide is a leading cause of death for school-aged children in Colorado;
- Children are at risk by just knowing about a friend’s or schoolmate’s attempt; and
- Suicide risk is at its highest in the first week after discharge from an in-patient setting.
House Bill 1281:
HB 1281would create the Community Behavioral Health Preparedness and Response Program in the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environmental (CDPHE). The program is “intended to enhance, support, and formalize behavioral health organizations.” HB 1281 passed both houses and awaits further action by the Governor. The vast number of elder citizens (and their relatives) dependent on others for their safety and care are no doubt watching this piece of legislation. As of press time, the Governor had not acted on House Bill 1281 and it has an “Act Subject to Petition” clause.
House Bill 21-1014:
HB 1014 involves a disability symbol identification symbol, and the ability of a person to voluntarily disclose disability information to the Department of Revenue. HB 1014 allows individuals to request that a disability identifier symbol be added to their drivers license and to voluntarily disclose a disability status on a vehicle registration.
One of the significant points in the General Assembly’s declaration as necessitating the legislation: “Law enforcement officers [and first responders] may not have adequate training or experience identifying or interacting with people living with disabilities such as neurodiversity or a mental health disorder.” HB 1114 passed third reading in the Senate without amendment, and awaits the Governor’s action.
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, and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.. Visit her website www.dorisbeaver.com, or e-mail her at email@example.com.