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Legislation

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LineList of Current State Bills

CCDC’s DISABILITY LEGISLATION: HOUSE & SENATE BILLS 2020

 

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End of Session Wrap Up

This legislative session was different than anything we have experienced in our 30-year history.  The session stopped in March and did not resume until the end of May.  After the havoc wreaked by COVID-19 most planned bills were postponed indefinitely –in other words, killed.   Some were laid over until 12/31/2020 which has the same effect. However, in the waning days of the session, several important pieces of legislation came through.  

This wrap-up will:

  1. 1. Outline our most significant wins/successes this session
  2. 2. Outline other significant bills with links to the lead organizations involved
  3. 3. Outline what did not happen this session regarding major priorities.
  4. 4. Acknowledge our key organizational partners
  5. 5. Identify our 2020 session heroes
  6. 6. Thank the Legislators who have our back

1.  Wins/Successes: 

Medicaid Buy-In for Working Adults with Disabilities

SB 20-033 was our priority bill.  This bill directs HCPF to change the Medicaid Buy-In to allow people to stay on the program if they live to be 65 and keep working.  While the bill passed, implementation will not happen for another year for fiscal reasons.   The Department is allowed but not required to consider higher premiums and stricter work requirements for people over 65.  This will only be available to people who used the program before age 65.

Rural Interpreting Services Program or RISP

This has been a pilot program for two years run by the Colorado Commission on the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deaf/Blind.  This provides both interpreters for people in rural areas and scholarships to people willing to become a certified interpreter and work in rural areas.  We had planned to both fund continuation and make it a permanent program in statute.  The funding to continue the program was granted but the bill was not introduced.  The reason was simply that it was to be a Joint Budget Committee bill and they had too much to deal with to address it this year. It was postponed but we hope it will be done next year.

2. Other Important Bills:  

We work in a coalition with many great organizations and were happy to actively support these bills.

  • HB 20-1410:  (Passed/Signed to Law)Provided additional funds for housing and eviction defense.
  • HB20-1420 Fair Tax Act: (Passed/Sent to Gov.) ends state tax handouts for corporations and the very wealthy in order to protect funding for K-12 education. The bill preserves economic relief for hardworking Coloradans and small businesses and invests $1 billion to K-12.
  • HB 20-1332 Prohibit Housing Discrimination Based on Source Of Income: (Passed/Sent to Gov.) It will help people with behavioral health issues who need to use a section 8 voucher and whose income is social security disability.  57% of people who have experienced homelessness for more than a year had disabilities and a majority of those were mental health issues.
  • SB 20-100: (Passed/Signed to Law) Repealed the death penalty in Colorado.
  • SB 20-181:  (Passed/Signed to Law) Instituted measures to reduce the wait time for treatment to restore competency to stand trial in criminal matters.
  • SB 20-217: (Passed/Signed to Law) Landmark police accountability bill that ends qualified immunity, requires the adoption of the use of body cameras, requires data collection, and much more to improve policing around the state particularly with regard to race.  A significant number of police shootings of unarmed black and brown people in the country over the past decade have been people with disabilities. 

Behavioral Health Bills

  • SB20-042 Committee on Treatment of Persons in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice Systems: (Passed/Signed to Law) Authorizes the continuation of the legislative oversight committee and the associated task force, allowing their work on reform to continue. It expands its work to include SUDs, in addition to mental health conditions.
  • HB20-1271 Repeal of Red Flag Law: (Postpone Indefinitely) We opposed this bill, and it failed. It would have repealed the Red Flag law passed in 2019, making it impossible to remove guns from the home of a person who was a danger to themselves or others. We supported the 2019 bill as it contained strong due process protections. It would have changed the standard for an involuntary 72-hour mental health hold from imminent danger to extreme risk. 
  • SB20-028 Substance Use Disorder Recovery: (Passed/Signed to Law) This bill contains multiple provisions designed to support people with SUDs during recovery, including by funding temporary housing assistance and job training.
  • HB20-1065 Harm Reduction Substance Use Disorders:  (Passed/Signed to Law) This bill contains multiple provisions designed to support people with SUDs during recovery, including by funding temporary housing assistance and job training.
  • HB20-1017 Substance Use Disorder Treatment in the Criminal Justice System: (Passed/Sent to Gov.) The bill contains multiple provisions regarding treatment. It allows prisons, jails, and institutions to make an opioid antagonist available for MAT and requires the department of corrections and jails to ensure that continuity of care is provided to inmates prior to release, which includes post-release resources and a list of available substance use providers.

Losses/Postponements:

Behavioral Health Bills:

  • HB20-1270 Consent For Behavioral Health Services One Parent: The bill would have allowed a child to receive behavioral health treatment with the consent of only one parent. It failed because there was no time to finish it, and it was not a priority of leadership.
  • SB20-001 Expand Behavioral Health Training For K-12 Educators:  It failed due to time and budget constraints.
  • HB20-1086 Insurance Coverage Mental Health Wellness Exam: (Postponed Indefinitely)The bill would have required insurance carriers to provide an annual mental health wellness exam. It failed because the governor opposed anything that might have increased insurance premiums.
  • HB20-1085 Opioid Prevention:  A bill passed requiring increased alternative care and medication-assisted treatment but was vetoed by the Governor due to concerns about insurance mandates.
  • HB20-1284 Secure Transportation: (failed) This would have provided transportation to help people get to inpatient mental health treatment in ways other than ambulances and law enforcement but more secure than a private vehicle.
  • Carrie Lucas Bill: (Held over to 2021)  A bill that would name the law that makes discrimination against parents with disabilities illegal in child welfare after Carrie.  This had a hearing in the Senate but the house sponsor postponed it until next year to make sure there could be the appropriate honor to Carrie in both the House and Senate. 
  • Community First Choice:  CCDC hoped that this would finally be the year to pass Community First Choice.  This would refinance and improve personal care in Colorado.  It would make it a state plan benefit (not in a waiver) and bring in an additional 6% federal match.  It would require all personal care to be available using a consumer-directed model if desired by the client.  While it will eventually save the state approximately $25 million a year that does not occur for several years and it does cost a little money to get going.  It is a complex initiative and there was neither the finance nor bandwidth to take it on this year.
  • HB20-1331 Non-Medical Transportation:  (Failed) This would have created a pilot program to allow people using HCBS waivers to use services like Uber, Lyft, and other “non-medical” services for this transportation
  • HB20-1195 Right to Repair(Postponed Indefinitely) This would have allowed people who wanted to purchase a part for repairing something (like a wheelchair) the right to get it directly from the manufacturer without being forced to go through a dealer (like NuMotion for example).
  • SB20-151 RTD Accountability:  (Postponed Indefinitely) This was a multi-faceted bill to create much more robust accountability within the Regional Transit District.  It also changed some other problematic sections of the statute to allow RTD to function better (for example allowing RTD to sell stuff at Park N Rides).
  • HB20-1221 Spinal Cord Injury Waiver(Postponed) This would have expanded the benefits in the Spinal Cord Injury Waiver (chiropractic, acupuncture, and massage) available to some more disability types.
  • HB20-1263 Sub-minimum Wage:   (Failed) A bill to end the use of sub-minimum wage and give “providers” that engage in sub-minimum wage activities 5 years to figure out other alternatives.  This is already illegal except for a few circumstances but the bill was an effort to make sure “employees” are not just dropped with nothing to do.  Another support was embedded in the bill including adding the DD comprehensive waiver to the Buy-In for working adults with disabilities, a more robust benefits planning program, and other employment supports.
  • HB20-1227 Texting and Driving: (Postponed Indefinitely) This would have finally made the practice of texting while driving a primary offense.
A note about the Budget  

This was a very difficult budget year because of the dramatic fiscal effect of the pandemic.  The JBC had to fill a hole of $3 billion.  This was much more than the previous budget crises.  Cuts were and will be painful.  Programs many of us hoped for were canceled or postponed.  Increases that were needed were mostly canceled.  What we witnessed was a bipartisan group of legislators working as hard as possible to minimize impact to the most vulnerable Coloradans and do the best they could in a difficult situation on a compressed timeline. They did fill much of the hole using cash funds.  These funds will not be available next year so cuts are likely going to continue and be worse, at least for one more year. We listened to every single hearing and saw genuine concern and efforts to do the right thing by this committee.

Key Organizational Partners

CCDC worked closely with the following organizations and suggests you look at their websites for more information on bills that we worked on together.


Session Heroes

CCDC wants to thank the following volunteer lobbyists for your amazing work! 

  • Chris Arnis
  • Karen Bennett
  • Pete Boryla
  • Dan Burke
  • Cynthia Coffin
  • Irene Coleman
  • Douglas Howey
  • Frank Kane
  • Fran Maes
  • Kenny Maestas
  • Auralea Moore
  • Michael Neil
  • Jennifer Roberts
  • Haven Rohnert
  • Ellie Shepard
  • Paolo Solorzano
  • Cindy Stevens
  • Kelly Tobin
  • Gary VanDorn
  • Board Members Kim Jackson and Josh Winkler
  • CCDC also wants to acknowledge paid staff that worked hard during the session: Dawn Howard, Jaime Lewis, and Valerie Schlecht

Legislative Support

CCDC wants to thank these legislators for your support of disability issues and our priority bills:   Italicized names are those who are term-limited out and served their last term in the stated office.  Some are running for other offices.

  • Senator Larry Crowder
  • Senator Jessie Danielson
  • Senator Rhonda Fields
  • Senator Julie Gonzales
  • Senator Pete Lee
  • Senator Rob Rodriguez
  • Senator Jack Tate
  • Senator Nancy Todd
  • Senator Angela Williams
  • Representative James Coleman
  • Representative Leslie Herod
  • Representative Dominique Jackson 
  • Representative Sonya Jacquez-Lewis
  • Representative Tracy Kraft-Tharp
  • Representative Susan Lontine
  • Representative Colin Larson
  • Representative Lois Landgraf
  • Representative Dafna Michelson-Jenet
  • Representative Jonathan Singer
  • Representative Briana Titone
  • Representative Mary Young

And members of the JBC:

  • Senators Dominick Moreno, Bob Rankin, and Rachel Zenzinger
  • Representatives Daneya Esgar, Julie McCluskie, and Kim Ransom

We also want to thank the non-partisan bill drafters, JBC staff, committee staff, and state agency liaisons who worked hard on the best possible outcomes for Coloradans during this unprecedented session.


Important Notice
CCDC’s employees and/or volunteers are NOT acting as your attorney. Responses you receive via electronic mail, phone, or in any other manner DO NOT create or constitute an attorney-client relationship between you and the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition (CCDC), or any employee of, or other person associated with, CCDC. The only way an attorney-client relationship is established is if you have a signed retainer agreement with one of the CCDC Legal Program attorneys.

Information received from CCDC’s employees or volunteers, or from this site, should NOT be considered a substitute for the advice of a lawyer. www.ccdconline.org DOES NOT provide any legal advice, and you should consult with your own lawyer for legal advice. This website is a general service that provides information over the internet. The information contained on this site is general information and should not be construed as legal advice to be applied to any specific factual situation.

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