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SB23-144 Prescription Drugs for Chronic Pain Fact Sheet –Sponsor: Senator Ginal

A recent study showed that as many as 40% of primary care physician offices will NOT see a new patient if they are using opiate pain medications.

Doctors’ fear of increased scrutiny for prescribing medications for patients with legitimate medical need has had a chilling effect on care.

Overly restrictive policies limiting controlled substances for pain to try to reduce overdose deaths has created another crisis:

Coloradans living with chronic pain are unable to access the treatment they and their doctors feel they need, resulting in increased disability, decreased function, suicides, and an increase in overdoses as pain patients try to treat their own pain.

Tapering a patient down or off opioid medication can actually increase their risk of overdose and suicide.

CDC Data suggest that illicit fentanyl and other illegally obtained controlled substances, tainted substances, or the use of multiple substances in combination drive overdose deaths.


This Bill:

  • Protects access to healthcare by prohibiting a healthcare provider or health system from refusing to treat a patient solely because of the patient’s use of prescribed opioids or opioids at a particular dose.
  • Clarifies that a prescribing healthcare provider treating a patient for chronic pain is not subject to disciplinary action solely for prescribing a controlled substance at a dose above a set or predetermined dose threshold.
  • Prohibits a healthcare provider from forcing a patient to taper their medication below the dose they need, solely because of predetermined dose threshold
    recommendations, not for independent, clinical reasons.
  • Prohibits a pharmacy, health insurance carrier, or pharmacy benefit manager from refusing to fill or approve the coverage for a drug solely on the basis of the dosage requirement of a patient.
  • Improves access to controlled substances for patients with genuine medical need, including those in palliative, hospice, or end-of-life care. Policies around controlled substances for pain have left many patients struggling to access pain control and medications.
  • Respects that treatment decisions should be individualized and made between the doctor and the patient. Ensures that clinical discretion–whether by a pharmacist or physician –will take precedence over one-size-fits-all policies.
  • Helps protect Coloradans who need opioids for chronic pain management by improving access to care and enables them to get medications from a pharmacy of their choice.

This Bill Will NOT:

  • Force doctors to prescribe opiates, other controlled substances, or any other treatments.
  • Prevent people who are illegally diverting medications from being prosecuted.
  • Prohibit providers from referring patients who generally require care outside of their area of expertise.

Click here to download the full PDF version: Cronic Pain – Fact Sheet Final 02/28/2023

Felony Assault Bill Fact Sheet


Colorado healthcare workers have worked hard throughout the pandemic to care for the sick and keep our communities healthy, often risking their own well-being in the process. Without question, these workers are deserving of dignity, respect, and safety on the job. Policies that increase criminal penalties when a healthcare worker is assaulted may be well-intentioned, but fail to prevent violence against healthcare workers and have the unintended consequence of causing further harm to vulnerable populations in need of treatment and care in the process. That includes people with behavioral health issues, people with disabilities, and people with conditions like epilepsy, neurological disorders, traumatic brain injuries, dementia, and other conditions that impact the brain. Increasing criminal penalties for assault has no evidence basis for preventing assault. Instead, it disproportionately impacts people with serious physical and behavioral health conditions, creating a harmful cycle of felonization for vulnerable populations that need care, not cuffs. Not only that, but these policies put healthcare providers who have a duty to first and foremost do no harm in an ethically compromised position.

Healthcare workers deserve solutions that work

  • This policy puts healthcare providers who have a duty to first and foremost do no harm in an ethically compromised position.
  • We need to invest resources in early prevention for behavioral health needs and more accessible physical and behavioral health care options rather than criminalizing those with cognitive decline, brain injuries, or behavioral health issues.
  • Appropriate staffing ratios, staffing training for providers, and higher pay will do more to support our healthcare workers than this felonization policy.

Increasing criminal penalties when a healthcare worker is harmed will not prevent violence

  • A 2017 review of multiple studies found little evidence that enhanced sentencing had a substantial or significant effect on deterring crimes
  • A review of judicial data shows that since 2015, there has been an overall increase in felony assault charges brought that involve an alleged assault on a first responder. These laws are not associated with a “deterrence” impact.
  • In 2015, there were 541 felony charges filed for assaults on first responders and in 2021, a record 783 felony charges were filed.

This policy will cause further harm to vulnerable populations

  • Similar existing crimes are disproportionately charged against people who have specific health conditions and are subsequently found incompetent to proceed (ITP). While the total number of charges has increased 2 fold since 2013 to 2018, those charged with these crimes who were found ITP has increased 25 times
  • People with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) are oftentimes misdiagnosed, if diagnosed at all, with a disability and do not receive the support and accommodations necessary for equal and equitable access throughout the justice system process. Historically, this lack of support has led to the over-incarceration of people with IDD
  • In 2013, a little over 1% of people who had enhanced felony assault charges filed against them were ITP. By 2018, those proportions had increased by 20-fold, with individuals who were ITP representing 14-22% of all the enhanced felony assault charges showing the disproportional impact these laws are having on people with specific health conditions
  • Individuals with a felony on their record face difficulties finding work and housing and are more likely to have applications denied by employers and landlords. Policies that increase criminal penalties would endanger an already vulnerable population and make it more difficult for them to care for themselves and their families
  • When people in need of treatment become fearful that they will be arrested and charged for demonstrating symptoms of their health condition in a hospital, they will be less likely to seek care
  • Some physical and behavioral health conditions are difficult to diagnose and treat. These Coloradans should not be at risk of a felony while they try to identify while they are having cognitive issues

The following organizations oppose increasing criminal penalties for assault:

Colorado Center on Law and Policy LogoColorado Cross-Disability Coalition (CCDC) logoEpilepsy Foundation LogoNational Alliance on Mental Health Illness (NAMI) LogoDisability Law Colorado LogoThe Arc Colorado logoAlzheimer's Association LogoMental Health Colorado Logo

PHE Unwind

You may have heard discussion in the news recently about the end of the Public Health Emergency. In 2020, the US Department of Health and Human Services declared an official public health emergency – or PHE – for the entire country in response to COVID-19. As part of the PHE declaration, anyone enrolled in Colorado Medicaid was guaranteed to keep their health coverage while our country remained officially under the PHE. Because of a legislative package passed by our federal Congress at the end of 2022, we now know that the official PHE will begin to unwind this coming April.


What does this mean for me?


Part of the PHE forbade the State from kicking anyone off Medicaid while the PHE is active. As the PHE is lifted this spring, this means that if you are currently on Medicaid, the State will begin conducting redeterminations for eligibility. Don’t panic, we’ve got the info you need to know and the steps you need to take!


Five Things to Know:


  1. Medicaid (also called Health First Colorado) will conduct redeterminations for everyone currently on Medicaid. Your redetermination will follow your pre-pandemic schedule, which means that if your redetermination normally happens in July, it will happen in July of this year, for example. 


  1. Medicaid was not allowed to move anyone from one category of Medicaid coverage to another during the PHE. This means it is possible that you are currently enrolled in one category of Medicaid, and you may be moved to a different category after your redetermination. For example, during the PHE, many people were put on regular Medicaid, but due to their income, some of these people may actually belong on Medicaid Buy-In and will be moved into that category based on the redetermination process in the coming year.


  1. You may need to undergo a determination specifically for disability as part of your overall redetermination process. If this is the case for you, you need to be sure to fill out the determination paperwork you receive. 


  1. If you receive a notice of ineligibility, you should file an appeal immediately. We have a video to help you through that process! You can find that video here


  1. CCDC is here to help. Our Individual Advocacy Team can assist with complex and difficult cases. You can fill out our Help Form here to have an advocate contact you. Please remember that we are not able to handle emergency situations and that it may take a few days for an advocate to get back to you.


Three Things to Do:

  1. Don’t panic!
  2. OPEN AND KEEP ALL PAPER MAIL FROM MEDICAID AND ALL NOTICES FROM THE COLORADO PEAK WEBSITE! Keep not only all copies of your paper notices, but also the envelopes the notices came in – if you need to file an appeal, you will need proof of mailing postmarks. If you have trouble reading or understanding the notices you’re receiving from Medicaid, ask someone in your life who you trust to help you read and understand the information you’re being sent. 
  3. File an appeal if you get a notice that your benefits are ending. 

Bilingual Advocate and Spanish Facilitator for Regional Medicaid Client Council

Job Title: Bilingual Advocate and Spanish Facilitator for Regional Medicaid Client Council
Reports To: Director of Medicaid Appeals and Eligibility
Hours: 25 hours a week
Location: Western Slope, Colorado

Colorado Cross Disability Coalition (CCDC) is a non-partisan non-profit organization that advocates for social justice for people with all different types of disabilities. We are run by and for people with disabilities. Cross Disability means that people with different types of disabilities have more in common than not and that we work together on areas of common concern. We
work on issues determined to be most important by our members and use a variety of strategies to make systemic change. Strategies include community organizing, changing laws and rules, developing programs, community education and litigation. At the heart of our work is individual advocacy. We assist individuals with day-to-day problems to understand what is and not
working on the ground so our systems changes are informed by real-life experience. Individual advocacy is also a lifeline for our members.

Position Overview:
CCDC is looking for a caring, detail-oriented, and talented individual to join our individual advocacy team. This position will be responsible for providing individual advocacy which includes assisting people with resolving problems related to Medicaid, and providing information and referrals about other services to CCDC’s Spanish-speaking members on Colorado’s Western Slope and will also facilitate the Western Slopes Medicaid Client Council.

Facilitation Duties and Responsibilities:
1) Conduct outreach and find a group of Medicaid clients to join the group.
2) Create an orientation for the group that includes an overview of the Accountable Care Collaborative, an overview of the Medicaid state plan and behavioral health benefits, information about working together as a group, what other advisory groups have done, setting group norms, and agreements.
3) Establish a schedule for meetings, including meeting frequency and location for meetings and whether or not the meetings will be in person or virtual..
4) Plan each meeting, including arranging for food for the meetings, ensuring that the space is accessible and we are providing all requested accommodations (including international sign if requested). Work with CCDC staff to arrange for travel reimbursement.
5) Facilitate group creation of each meeting’s agenda and undertake the planning necessary for securing speakers.
6) Take notes at each meeting
7) Attend quarterly PIAC meetings (either in GJ or virtual)
8) Coordinate with appropriate CCDC staff and funding partners to provide updates, collaboratively problem solve, etc.

Advocacy Duties and Responsibilities:
1) Assist Spanish-speaking clients with the Medicaid approval process, including paperwork, answering questions about the process, and providing referrals when necessary.
2) Assist Spanish-speaking clients with Medicaid eligibility appeals, including paperwork, answering questions about the process, and providing referrals when necessary.
3) Communicate with state and local agencies on behalf of clients when necessary
4) Attend individual advocacy team meetings Mon-Thurs mornings to stay up to date on changes in rules, policies and procedures to ensure accurate information is being relayed to clients and the community.
5) Attend meetings such as case management interviews, service planning meetings, and care
coordination meetings with and for clients with complex needs.
6) Assure all information is loaded into our client case management system (Legal Server)


Necessary Skills and Experience:
● Spoken and written fluency in Spanish and English
● Strong people skills and ability to interact with people from a variety of backgrounds and with different kinds of disabilities
● Desire to connect people with the services they need and help enact systemic change
● Ability to run meetings in a way that allows people to participate at their comfort level
● Strong understanding of group dynamics
● Prior experience with and/or knowledge of Medicaid
● Ability to answer questions and/or to accurately track Medicaid related questions, get answers to questions quickly and get back to people
● Strong organizational skills to manage the details of the meetings, agenda planning, etc.
● Ability to document the activities in meetings and interactions with clients
● Experience in community engagement and outreach. We are looking for someone who knows the community and has the ability to build and maintain trust within the community.
● Ability to take individual stories and explain/demonstrate how they relate to systemic problems and systemic changes that need to be made
● Ability to support members developing pride in the sharing of their lived experience to make the experience better for everyone
● Ability to use the Google Suite and all Office products as well as ability to use a client case management system (training will be provided but must have underlying skills).
● Ability to manage time and prioritize multiple communications.

Salary and Compensation:
This is a temporary part-time position that may require some weekend and evening work. There may be an opportunity for the position to become permanent if funding allows. This position will be based on the Western Slope and will require 25 hours of work per week. Salary is $35,000 annually.

To Apply:
Please send a cover letter and resume to Hillary Jorgensen at No phone calls, please.

CCDC is dedicated to the principles of equal employment opportunity in any term, condition or privilege of employment. CCDC does not discriminate in employment or advancement opportunities on the basis of race, sex, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, age, sexual orientation (including gender identity and gender expression), disability or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local law. Reasonable accommodations during the application process and throughout employment are provided.

Importance of Voting from a Slightly Different Perspective

Importance of Voting from a Slightly Different PerspectiveA Friendly Reminder from Your Civil Rights Legal Program (“CRLP”) Director 

CCDC has always been amazing in its get-out-the-vote efforts. This year, it has assembled a get-out-the-vote team that is bigger and stronger than ever. As the Director of CCDC’s CRLP, I just want to remind you of one of the many reasons why or vote makes a difference.[1] Attorneys who enforce civil rights laws protecting the rights of people with disabilities almost always must bring cases in federal court.

Enforcing your civil rights as a person with a disability or the family member or friend of a person with a disability depends on the judges who get nominated and appointed to federal courts.

If you are a voter (and if you are a CCDC member, we sure hope you are), it is incredibly important when voting to recognize the role that voting for Senators plays in the appointment and confirmation of federal court judges. Federal Judges are appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the Senate. Nearly everyone who votes and follows politics knows this is true for the United States Supreme Court. But the same is true for all federal court judges.

So why are we talking about federal court?

Almost all laws that protect the civil rights of people with disabilities are federal laws. The ADA is just one of many examples. Federal courts have jurisdiction over federal laws.

Here is the Constitutional basis for why you will want to consider the position of the Senators you want to vote for:

Presidents appoint all federal Judges, no matter whether they are federal district court judges, Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals judges or Justices on the Supreme Court. In Colorado, the Tenth Circuit is the court where appeals from the federal district court are decided. You can find this all in Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution. This is known as the Appointments Clause which gives the President of the United States the power to appoint all federal judges with the “advice and consent” of the U.S. Senate (meaning the Senators vote on whether to confirm the appointed judge or not). So almost all cases disability civil rights lawyers bring to enforce your rights as a person with a disability are filed in the federal court. The judge who is assigned to hear the case is a judge who is appointed by the President and is confirmed by the Senate.

There is a state law known as the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (“CADA”) that also provides civil rights protections for people with disabilities. Although CCDC and our state general assembly have done a great job of amending this law to improve it to protect your civil rights. This includes CRLP attorney Andrew Montoya’s work with several bill sponsors to amend the CADA with the passage of HB21-1110. This bill made it clear that government entities and agencies cannot discriminate against people with disabilities. It also makes Colorado the only state that requires that government entities are required to make their websites accessible for people who are blind. But even with the improvements made to the CADA, it does not yet allow for all of the opportunities that most federal laws provide to protect the civil rights of people with disabilities. There are some laws that protect the rights of people with disabilities might be Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (this is just one example) that do not have a similar section in the CADA. For the time being, most disability civil rights cases will remain in federal court.

It is now time to cast your primary ballot. On that ballot, there are United States Senators running. Currently, the incumbent, Michael Bennett, is seeking another six-year term as one of your two Colorado United States Senators. He has two challengers. Of course, after the primary election voting is complete, the current Senator will have only one challenger for the general election.

So if disability civil rights causes are important to you, it is really important to find out what the candidates think and have done with respect to disability civil rights. You can look at their websites and research information about them. CCDC cannot tell you which candidates we believe you should vote for, but lawyers who bring these cases need your help. Does the candidate seek to enforce civil rights for people with disabilities? Is it something they are concerned with? Do they have a history of the subject? Those Senators who want to see the ADA and all of the other federal laws that protect our civil rights as people with disabilities enforced are far more likely to look to confirm judges who want these laws enforced.

If you can’t find information about the candidate’s disability civil rights record, contact their offices and ask. Let them know that you are a constituent who cares about the civil rights of people with disabilities and tell them why it is important to you. Then ask to find out what the candidate’s beliefs are about protecting the rights of people with disabilities. Choosing Senators who believe in the enforcement of our civil rights helps your lawyers help you.

Primary ballots are due June 28. The general election is on November 8. You have time to help your lawyers help you enforce the civil rights of people with disabilities.[2]

[1] For those of you who don’t know, I am a person with a disability.

[2] One other helpful piece of information you should consider when voting for Senators (and the President when the time comes) is what vacancies there are on the United States District Court for the District of Colorado as well as vacancies on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. This means it is helpful to know if there are openings on these courts that need to be filled by the President’s nomination and the Senate’s confirmation. One website for finding this information is the United States Federal Courts Vacancies website available at

RTD’s Light Rail Ramp and High Block Policy Change


Investigation date: March 23, 2021. The CCDC Civil Rights Legal Program wants to hear from you regarding whether you have had problems boarding or getting off of light rail trains because people other than those who use wheelchairs and mobility devices are using the ramp and high block to enter and exit the accessible light rail lead train. RTD has had a policy for a long time that requires that the ramp and high block be used only by people who have in their words “legitimate mobility devices and mobility impairments.” See RTD Light Rail High Block Access policy posted on its website which currently reads:

Light Rail High Block Access

The RTD Light Rail high block is a ramp structured for accessibility. The purpose of the high block is to create access to the train for people with mobility devices – mainly wheelchairs. High block use is also for individuals whose physical mobility impairment(s) make it difficult to use the stairs to access RTD’s light rail trains.

The high block is not required to accommodate devices that are not primarily designed or intended to assist persons with mobility disabilities. Devices such as: bicycles, skateboards, shopping carts, two wheeled scooters, luggage, strollers etc., are not designed nor intended to be used as a mobility devices based on a disability. Therefore, these types of items are not allowed on the RTD Light Rail high blocks. RTD Light Rail riders are also not allowed to use the high block for items they have difficulty getting on the train e.g. luggage, strollers, bikes etc.

In order to maintain our accessibility features (Light Rail high block), and for riders safety,RTD will take steps to ensure unobstructed access to the Light Rail high blocks for people with legitimate mobility devices and mobility impairments.

CCDC has reason to believe that RTD now intends to change this long-standing policy as set forth in a document RTD has circulated to the Advisory Committee for People with Disabilities that signals a great shift from this former policy. See Highblock Usage Whitepaper.

If RTD follows through or already has followed through with this policy change, this could very well mean that people who use bicycles, people with very large objects unrelated to mobility impairments, people with strollers and people with grocery carts and more would be allowed on the ramp and high block. If that is the case, CCDC is concerned that individuals who have legitimate mobility impairments and who use legitimate mobility devices (in RTD’s words) could be blocked from boarding a light rail vehicle. Moreover, it is unclear from the whitepaper where RTD intends for these individuals to place themselves once they board the lead vehicle using the ramp and high block. It seems the only available space would be the designated wheelchair-accessible areas which are required to be maintained as accessible and usable by people who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices.

CCDC and 17 CCDC members who use wheelchairs and mobility devices reached a settlement agreement with RTD in a lawsuit specifically addressing the accessibility of the designated required wheelchair seating areas. The settlement agreement required RTD to increase the size of the wheelchair-accessible areas on all of its existing trains and 129 new vehicles it was in the process of purchasing. See RTD Settlement Agreement and Light Rail Lawsuit. Feedback from CCDC members has been very positive about the changes made to the wheelchair seating areas.



CCDC is confused as to why RTD would suddenly change its long-standing policy that predated the lawsuit and settlement regarding wheelchair accessible seating to allow any person who does not use a wheelchair or other mobility device to block access to the ramp and high block and to sit in the only available seating section designated by the ADA for people who use wheelchairs and mobility devices. See Light Rail Lawsuit and Class Action Settlement. This policy change points light rail operators in an untenable position in trying to moderate who should be using the ramp and high block and sitting in what locations on the light rail vehicles. Light rail operators do not assist with seating in this area as a general matter. As CCDC understands it, light rail vehicle operators generally board passengers who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices by lowering the ramp at the high block, letting the person on, raising the ramp and reentering the operator cabin. RTD used to post signs on its light rail vehicles telling people with bicycles they could bring them on light rail vehicles, but they were specifically prohibited from having them behind the driver cabin or entering the trains using high block and ramp. CCDC would much prefer RTD maintain its long-standing policy barring individuals other than those with the legitimate need from using those areas.

If you have had or have any difficulties boarding a train because you are blocked by people on the ramp and the high block who are using the ramp in high block but do not have a mobility impairment or wheelchair, or if you have been prevented from accessing the required designated wheelchair seating area because people who are not using wheelchairs or mobility devices are occupying those spaces, we want to hear from you. The settlement agreement regarding designated wheelchair seating areas on light rail trains and other accessibility issues is still monitored by the CCDC Civil Rights Legal Program, and we want to hear from you.

If you have experienced either of these problems, please contact CCDC’s Legal Program Assistant at You will want to leave your name, the best contact information in time to reach you and best method. It is also very important that you keep track of the light rail line you are using when the incident happens, the exact time of day, what direction you are headed on that light rail line and whether you have already complained to RTD or anyone else. It is very important that individuals who experience the problem report the problem themselves rather than having someone else report it for them.

Thank you for your assistance as we continue to monitor the required accessibility of light rail vehicles for people who use wheelchairs and mobility devices. Remember, although RTD may use a slogan that states, “the ADA is everyone’s responsibility,” it is actually RTD’s responsibility under the ADA to make sure the designated wheelchair seating area is maintained so that it is accessible to those who need it.

In Celebration of Black Americans with Disabilities

Article by Angela Nevin

We know that month-long celebrations can fizzle and wane as the month goes by. So, we want to take the opportunity to add a fresh voice to celebrating the individuals who make a difference in the lives of Black Americans with disabilities.

Many people in the history of Black Americans have also been people with disabilities. Just a few to note: Continue reading “In Celebration of Black Americans with Disabilities”

TRANSIT NEWS January 2021

Covid Relief

Congress agreed in late December to provide Covid financial relief worth about 900 Billion dollars that includes money for Amtrak and Transit.  According to  Senator Warner’s office, the 45 billion for transportation would include 15 billion for mass transit, 1 billion for Amtrak and 8 billion for the bus/motorcoach industry.  RTD is currently waiting to see what portion will be distributed to it.

This is the news that RTD and our region have been waiting for.  Since the Pandemic started in February of 2020, transit agencies have been eagerly waiting for financial relief.  Most transit agencies depend on sales tax, local government contributions, and fares to maintain transportation in their region.  The first stimulus package enabled RTD to sustain employment and service in the spring.  RTD also used dollars to create a robust bus/train cleaning process that helps eliminate contamination and placed plexiglass in each bus to help protect drivers and passengers.  RTD is currently around 60% of last year’s production while ridership is down to 40%.  In December RTD started implementing cuts in employment and a reduction in salaries to its staff.

I’ve spoken to several RTD Directors and it is a consensus that operations in 2021 will remain the same until the sales tax forecast improves.  Funding from any stimulus package will be used to prop up RTD and may result in re-hiring some employees that have been recently released and may result in the return of some services and frequency of service in 2021.  However, if the stimulus payment is much larger, then RTD will adjust accordingly.

To rebound from 2020, changes in the transit climate will need a positive Sales Tax Forecast and the return of riders.  The success of RTD will primarily rely on the return of riders.  For our transit environment to return to some sense of normalcy riders can help by

  • getting vaccinated
  • taking current precautions by wearing protective gear such as face masks and washing hands frequently
  • working with our fellow riders by continuing to social distance from each other
  • return to normal travel and spending habits

Opportunities for RTD in 2021-

As bleak the year 2020 has been for transit there are some opportunities in 2021 for RTD  to help stabilize transit.  In 2020, an advisory committee was established by the State Legislature to review operating restrictions on RTD.  These restrictions were established when RTD was chartered by the legislature in 1969  The three restrictions that the legislature seemed most interested in modifying  are, farebox ratio, parking fees, and use of RTD properties.

Farebox ratio–  RTD is required by State Law to have a percentage of its budget come from farebox ratio.  The other major source of income is sales tax.  It is presumed that the legislature in 1969 wanted an additional contribution to transit services by those people using the service.  However, the sales tax is applied to everyone whether or not you use the service or not.

Current fare collections,

CRS 32-9-119.7(3)states: The district shall take whatever measures it deems necessary to ensure that the following percentages of its operating costs are funded by revenues collected, as follows: 

  1. (a) For the fiscal year 1990, twenty-seven and one-half percent; 
  2. (b) For the fiscal year 1991, twenty-eight and one-half percent; 
  3. (c) For the fiscal year 1992, twenty-nine and one-half percent; 
  4. (d) For the fiscal year 1993 and each fiscal year thereafter, thirty percent. 

If the legislature lifts this requirement as recommended by the RTD accountability committee,  RTD will have options to change the ratio or to eliminate the farebox altogether.  Unfortunately, a zero farebox is probably not possible at this time.  Unless RTD receives dollars to fill that 20% gap it will probably use the option to lower fares during emergencies as we experienced in 2020 from the pandemic.  The fact that the recovery from the pandemic will probably occur late this year RTD could have had the option of suspending or lower fare during this period of recovery.  Other influences that could eliminate a transit fare would be an increase in the sales tax percentage or major dollars from the federal government.  The new federal administration has promised more support for transit in the U.S.  If funding were provided from them as an essential service then perhaps long-term funding could help Colorado have fareless transit systems.  Most of our European friends enjoy low and in some regions no fares because their government considers transit essential and it provides a major portion of funding for their transit systems

One of the restrictions that we all need to acknowledge is that, unlike the federal government, State and local governments have to maintain a balanced budget.  It is great that the Federal government can create larger deficits during times of need.  This option has provided an opportunity to print more money and provide stimulus packages for its citizens.  By law our local governments are not allowed to spend money and just hope they meet their targets at the end of the year.  They cannot create budgets that have deficits.

If  this recommendation from the Advisory Committee is passed by the 2021 State Legislature,

The Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition will be working with Mile High Connects and other organizations in farebox reforms in 2021.  Note:  The State has postponed starting its 2021 Legislative session until February 16th due to the pandemic.

Parking–  Another restriction that was placed on RTD in 1969 was that transit users would have free access to parking.  Before the Pandemic, RTD was experiencing a drop in ridership.  One of the glaring observations was that most parking lots assigned to transit were not being fully used.  This causes two concerns.  Is the property an asset or an operational liability?  It is estimated that each parking spot is worth $12 thousand dollars (this number varies with location)  on the real estate market.  If RTD does not have the option to recover some revenue it would be best to guess that the property is a liability.  RTD has two options to work with if allowed by the State Legislature. One, charge a nominal fee for parking.   Though the use of parking is down, it is not reasonable to expect the property to sit idle without allowing the owner to recover some revenue from it.  However, RTD will have to be careful not to charge too much or it will be a disincentive for users to use the system. The second initiative that RTD can make is to identify parking areas that show no potential for further use and to sell those properties or work collaboratively with local developers to build transit-friendly housing.  ( see more in Properties)

Properties–  RTD needs more flexibility in the use of its properties.  Properties near transit have grown in value especially since the implementation of new rail lines around the region.  The lines provide better opportunities to travel within the district and people are starting to acknowledge the benefits of living near transit.  RTD may want to sell certain properties that have limited development.  This provides funding to the current budget but this type of sale does not have a long-term benefit to the agency.  Another use of properties are collaborations between RTD and developers.  This is an opportunity to create annual revenue by working with developers to create housing, commerce, and recreation on RTD properties.  

Summary:  These possible initiatives on their own cannot solve the financial problems that RTD is facing.  However, combine the three and there is potential to provide a 5-10 percent impact on RTD’s budget.  If you have an opportunity to attend hearings concerning these issues at the State Legislature we encourage you to do so.  Letting them know how important transit is to you will help these recommendations become a reality.  Information on how to attend meetings remotely are at


One of the fascinations I have with working with on Transit, as an advocate, is that it is always evolving.  One of the changes we will see in the next few years is the electrification of transit systems.  Whether it is just electrification of transit fleets or the use of autonomous vehicles, CCDC will be at the table to ensure that the implementation of this technology is accessible to our community.

A few years ago CCDC was invited to see the pilot program for autonomous vehicles in Colorado.  We were able to identify many obstacles for our community and gave the manufacturers our concerns and advice on how to make these vehicles accessible.

In 2021, CCDC will be working with (TEEM) Towards Electrical Equitable Mobility 

Background: The current transportation system presents challenges for racial equity, mobility, and climate change goals. It is the largest source of air pollution in the United States, with environmental and health implications disproportionately experienced in low-income communities of color. For many, poor access to transportation is a barrier stemming from policies that have discriminated on the basis of race. Today transportation is the second-highest household expense for most people, and a person’s commute time is the most critical factor in their chances of escaping poverty. One solution to many of these challenges is innovative mobility programs that utilize electric mobility. The formation of partnerships between racial equity advocates and traditional environmental organizations will be vital to ensure that such programs are approved, funded, and implemented successfully. If mobility and electrification programs are designed to work for historically underserved communities, they will work better for all communities and will maximize the environmental and economic benefits of electrification. 

Purpose of the TEEM Community of Practice: We aim to establish a peer-to-peer community of advocates to share policy goals, learn together, build relationships, and in the process develop a sense of belonging and mutual commitment towards advancing racial equity, electric mobility, and climate change goals.

Though TEEM focuses on racial and environmental equity they realized that the disability community is also a key benefactor when transit is improved.  That is why we are participating along with 4 other states to share information about and for electrification of transit systems.  

CCDC will be performing outreach activities in 2021 to get feedback about transit equity and to provide findings that the five state collaborative discovers.  We look forward to our own Colorado community to participate in this process so that we continue to be at the table.

Jaime Lewis, CCDC Transit Advisor

Passive Donations through Amazon Smile.

Last week we received the following email from our member, Jessica. Rather than follow her suggestion, we thought we would just let Jessica say it to you.

“Today I received an email from Amazon Smile informing me that in 2020 my charity of choice, CCDC, received $33.47 based on .5% of my purchases to date. Reading this, it occurred to me that I will not be the only member whose heart wants to give much more than my pocketbook allows in this year of broad financial hardship. Thus, I thought I would write and suggest that you remind members IN BIG BOLD LETTERS that .5% of all Amazon purchases made on can be donated to CCDC. 

Almost everything purchased on Amazon Smile will generate real dollars for the organization we love and depend on. Purchases like all Kindle books, heavy bags of World’s Best Cat Sand, toilet paper not found at any store, birthday presents, new socks, the window air conditioner that was shipped overnight this past summer, and even MP3 music can qualify. I have no idea how many members there are with CCDC, but 200 members times $33 each is $6,600. It’s not the Moon, but would $6,600 cover a new advocate training? What else that is vital to CCDC would $6,600 pay for? With a New Year starting, I’d love knowing that every member’s Amazon purchases are yielding donations for CCDC.

Last, on the cover page for Amazon Smile is a page full of directions and FAQs. Maybe link to it, or better yet, if you have time, summarize it in steps 1 -6 (or whatever) in your message, so those who have for so long meant to change their bookmark from Amazon to Amazon Smile will finally see how easy it is to do.

As always, my input stems from only my appreciation for all CCDC does for my husband. 

Please stay safe.
Be happy!
And be at peace.


If you would like to take up Jessica’s suggestion, go to and bookmark the page. If you already have an Amazon account, just log in and follow the instructions. Type into the “pick your own charitable organization” box “Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition”. Our organization will come up. Then, delete your existing Amazon bookmark and use this one instead.

The thing to know about Amazon Smile is that it doesn’t restrict your Amazon search. By starting at Amazon Smile, the system identifies qualified products as you buy them and automatically makes the donation while allowing you to search all of Amazon. One study shows that 82% of American households have an Amazon Prime account. So, we ask you to set up the easiest passive giving you can engage in. Year to date we have received $497.16 and while I have only generated $.88, it is $.88 that Amazon coughed up – and for me, that might be the best part. ?

We thank Jessica and all of you for your generosity.

Angela Nevin
Director of Training and Communications Facilitator

Colorado Voters Elect The State’s 1st Lawmaker Who Uses A Wheelchair

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