Colorado’s Citizen Legislature – June 2019
By Doris Beaver ~
The column for June presents readers with what happened to the legislation written about in Colorado’s Citizen Legislature during the 2019 legislative session.
Senate Bill 19-072:
SB 072 was postponed on February 14th. SB 072 would have established a bill of rights for persons protected through guardianship and defined a “protected person” as a person for whom a guardian has been appointed. Had SB 072 passed, it would have applied to all citizens of Colorado, not just Seniors.
Senate Bill 19-005:
SB 005 was signed by Governor Polis on April 12th. SB 005 creates a new Article 51 in Title 25 of the Colorado Revised Status, to be known as the “Colorado Wholesale Importation of Prescription Drugs Act” for the exclusive benefit of Colorado residents. The pharmaceutical industry and the U. S. Food and Drug Administration have long joined forces to fight importation of drugs from foreign countries citing quality, safety and health issues. SB 005 addressed those issues by referring to the “Drug Supply Chain Security Act” as having significantly improved drug security and safety through a system of pharmaceutical product tract-and-trace procedures.
The process to implement the provisions in SB 005 will be lengthy. If federal approval for the program is received, the importation of prescription pharmaceuticals will begin July 2, 2021.
Senate Bill 073:
SB 073 was signed by the Governor on May 16th. The bill requires the Department of Public Health and Environment to create and administer a statewide electronic system that allows qualified individuals to upload and access advance medical directives – a legal document in which a person specifies what actions should be taken for their health if they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves because of illness or incapacity. Provisions in the SB 073 are complicated and anyone considering an advance medical directive should seek appropriate legal representation.
Senate Bill 19-172:
SB 172 was passed by the House on May 17th. As of press time, SB 172 still awaits action by the Governor.
SB 172 is titled “Crimes Related to An At-Risk Person, and In Connection Therewith, Creating the Crimes of Unlawful Abandonment and Unlawful Confinement.” The legislative declaration states that “abuse and neglect of senior citizens, people with disabilities, and other at-risk adults is a problem that impacts communities all across Colorado.”
The need for SB 172 is that “abandonment and unlawful confinement have risen as two forms of abuse and neglect that prove difficult to prosecute, as they are currently undefined in the Colorado Revised Statutes.”
The purpose of SB 172 is to “provide law enforcement the tools they need to prosecute individuals who commit these crimes, further protecting at-risk adults from abuse and neglect.”
Senate Bill 19-132:
SB 132 was postponed on April 30th. SB 132 would have preserved the Senior Property Tax Exemption of a Senior Who Changes Primary Residence Due to Medical Necessity.
House Bill 19-1141:
HB 1141, a subject-similar bill to SB 132, was introduced over in the House with the additional inclusion of the disabled veteran property tax exemption in it. HB 1141 suffered the same fate as SB 132, being postponed earlier on April 18th.
House Bill 19-1317:
HB 1317 was postponed on May 18th. HB 1317 involved the creation of a refundable income tax credit for qualifying seniors that would replace the Senior Property Tax Exemption, and in connection therewith, enacting the “Senior Housing Security Act of 2019.”
Had it passed, HB 1317 would have reduced the value of the current law senior property tax exemption to zero and created a refundable means-tested income tax credit available between 2020 and 2029. Note: Means-tested income tax credit is defined as a “benefit only certain people will be eligible for.” The government agency (this bill specified the local assessor) that administers the benefit will have to determine the means cutoff and figure out a way to verify recipients’ means which often requires an applicant to provide tax returns.
House Bill 19-1085:
HB 1085 was signed by the Governor on May 20th, and expands the property tax and rent assistance grant program by repealing the requirement that rent must be paid to a landlord that pays property tax. (Current law provides that if rent is paid to a landlord exempt from paying property tax, an applicant does not qualify for PTC rebates – PTC rebates include the rent portion of the property tax and rent assistance rebate grant and a heat and fuel expenses rebate grant).
Senate Bill 19-202:
SB 202 was signed by the Governor on May 29th. SB 202 requires the Secretary of State to “establish procedures to enable voters with disabilities to independently mark a paper ballot using non-visual access or low vision access to technology, whether the voter is voting in a mail ballot election or at a polling location.”
House Bill 19-1307:
HB 1307 is a clarification of legislation (HB 19-1063) passed earlier in the session that did not specify the restriction that only the person who is the subject of the report could assess it.
HB 1307 provides that only at-risk adults who are the subject of a report of mistreatment or self-neglect, or his or her guardian ad litem if incapacitated, may have access to the report. HB 1307was signed by the Governor on May 29th.
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.