May 16, 2010
§ $3.5 billion – Amount over two years that Democrats have cut to balance the state’s budget. Democrats have cut waste and fraud while protecting essential services.
§ $132.6 million – Amount that 11 closed corporate tax exemptions will bring in during the next budget year to support schools, public safety, and community services.
§ 130,000 – The number of women who will no longer pay up to 59% more than men for the exact same health insurance coverage with passage of the Gender Fairness in Health Insurance Bill. HB 1008 - Reps. Sue Schafer (D-Wheat Ridge), Beth McCann (D-Denver), Sens. Morgan Carroll (D-Aurora), Gail Schwartz (D-Snowmass)
§ 35,000 – Number of cars and trucks that cross the Continental Divide through the Eisenhower Tunnel on an average day during peak season- all of which will benefit from reduced drive times and less congestion on I-70. SBs 184 and 196 – Sens. Chris Romer (D-Denver) and Dan Gibbs (D-Silverthorne), Rep. Christine Scanlan (D-Dillon)
§ 19,795 – Number of additional families receiving essential food assistance via the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). HB 1022 – Rep. Sara Gagliardi (D-Arvada), Sen. Betty Boyd (D-Lakewood)
§ 3,333 – Estimated number of “construction period” jobs per year that could result from 1,000 megawatts of renewable energy from local sources like rooftops. (from votesolar.org report) HB 1001 – Rep. Max Tyler (D-Golden), Sens. Gail Schwartz (D-Snowmass), Bruce Whitehead (D-Hesperus)
§ 2,000 – Number of new energy efficiency jobs that will be created in the next 5 years by increasing access to bonds & loans for home energy improvements. HB 1328 – Rep. Joe Miklosi (D-Denver), Sen. Gail Schwartz (D-Snowmass)
§ 50% –Annual expected increase in nursing faculty thanks to expansion of the Nursing Teacher Loan Forgiveness program. More nursing-teachers means more nurses. SB 58 – Sen. Abel Tapia (D-Pueblo), Rep. Sara Gagliardi (D-Arvada)
§ 30% – Amount of energy produced by the state’s utilities that will come from renewable sources by 2020 with our new Renewable Energy Standard. HB 1001 – Rep. Max Tyler (D-Golden), Sens. Gail Schwartz (D-Snowmass) and Bruce Whitehead (D-Hesperus)
§ 23 – Number of jobs that one single primary care physician can generate in a community, increasing economic development through the Health Care Jobs Act. HB 1138 – Rep. Sara Gagliardi (D-Arvada), Sen. John Morse (D-Colorado Springs)
§ 10th – Maximum grade level for language used in insurance policies; insurers must replace confusing “legalese” with “plain language” in their policies. HB 1166 – Rep. John Kefalas (D-Fort Collins), Sen. Linda Newell (D-Littleton)
§ 1 – Sites where the public can find all the information they need to keep government accountable. Via SMART, transparent information about state programs’ efficacy will be in one place. HB 1119 –Rep. Mark Ferrandino (D- Denver), Sen. Brandon Shaffer (D-Longmont)
§ $0 – Colorado’s budget deficit!
May 16, 2010
SENATE DEMOCRATS’ TOP TEN JOB CREATION AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
♣ Renewable Energy Standard — House Bill 1001 Sens. Gail Schwartz (D-Snowmass), Bruce Whitehead (D-Hesperus), Rep. Max Tyler (D-Denver)
Creates good jobs in Colorado, recharges the economy, and stabilizes people’s energy bills by increasing the Renewable Energy Standard to 30% by 2020.
♣ Clean Air Clean Jobs Act — House Bill 1365 Sens. Bruce Whitehead (D-Hesperus), Josh Penry (R-Grand Junction), Reps. Judy Solano (D-Brighton), Ellen Roberts (R-Durango)
Creates jobs, cuts air pollution, and increases the use of cleaner energy sources by retiring, retrofitting or repowering Front Range coal-fired power plants and replacing them with natural gas and other lower- or non-emitting energy sources.
♣ Job Retraining Accounts — Senate Bill 202 Sen. Bruce Whitehead (D-Hesperus), Rep. Andy Kerr (D-Lakewood)
Helps get qualified workers back to work, increases productivity, and improves recruitment and retention by helping workers set up a savings account dedicated to continued job training.
♣ Higher Education Flexibility — Senate Bill 3 Sens. John Morse (D-Colorado Springs), Josh Penry (R-Grand Junction) Reps. Mark Ferrandino (D-Denver), Karen Middleton (D-Aurora)
Preserves Colorado’s higher education system by keeping Colorado’s colleges and universities open and accessible to all students by giving the institutions more flexibility. SUPPORT FOR COLORADO FAMILIES
♣ Medicaid Efficiencies Act — Senate Bill 167 Sen. Betty Boyd (D-Lakewood), Rep. Jim Reisberg (D-Greeley)
Cuts down on fraud and abuse and increases Medicaid’s efficiency, providing healthcare for more people at a lower cost.
♣ Health Care Cost Transparency Act — House Bill 1330 Sen. John Morse (D-Colorado Springs), Rep. Sara Gagliardi (D-Arvada)
Creates a higher quality healthcare system, protects consumers, and improves government efficiency by collecting information to expose costly inefficiencies and gauge how dollars are spent.
♣ Creating a Child Protection Ombudsman — Senate Bill 171 Sen. Linda Newell (D-Littleton), Rep. Sara Gagliardi (D-Arvada)
Protects Colorado children by creating an independent Child Protection Ombudsman to serve as an outlet for citizens to report suspected child abuse and potential problems in the child protection system.
♣ Gender Fairness in Health Insurance — House Bill 1008 Sens. Gail Schwartz (D-Snowmass), Morgan Carroll (D-Aurora) Reps. Su Schafer (D- Denver), Beth McCann (D-Denver)
Protects Colorado’s women, children, and families by guaranteeing that health insurance companies no longer use gender as a factor when determining an individual’s insurance costs. STANDING UP FOR TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY
♣ SMART Government (“State Measurements for Accountable, Responsive, & Transparent” Government ) — House Bill 1119
Sen. Brandon Shaffer (D-Longmont), Rep. Mark Ferrandino (D-Denver)
Ensures CO has one of the best- and the smartest-run state governments in the country by creating budgets with “performance budgeting.” Ensures quality, efficient, and essential government services.
♣ Campaign Finance Reform — Senate Bill 203 Sen. Morgan Carroll (D-Aurora), Rep. Paul Weissmann (D-Louisville)
Brings transparency to Colorado’s campaign finance laws and defends fair elections in Colorado in response to the Citizens United ruling allowing corporations or unions to spend unlimited money without disclosure
May 12, 2010
I will write separately focusing on some of the overall best and worst bills of the 2010 session but I wanted to update you on the status of the bills that I carried this year.
The following bills I carried passed this year:
GOOD GOVERNMENT REFORMS:
(Land Development & Subsidy Reform) HB 1107 (Fischer - M. Carroll) stops the worst abuses of "blighting" ag lands for purposes of triggering subsidies to private developers, including a forced backfill from the state budget.
(Campaign Finance Reform) SB 203 (M. Carroll - Weissmann) closes disclosure loopholes created in the wake of Citizens United v. FEC that authorized unlimited corporate and union independent expenditures in campaigns -- a practice previously outlawed by Colorado voters.
(HOA Reform) HB 1278 (Ryden - M. Carroll) creates an HOA information office to provide information about basic rights and responsibilities in Colorado law and a mechanism for tracking complaints.
(Rulemaking Reform) HB 1346 (Kagan - M. Carroll) fixes the timeline in rulemaking to reduce the use of "emergency rules", to give best process to rules.
(IT Transparency) HB 1401 (Ferrandino - M. Carroll) returns the State Internet Portal Authority handling all state sensitive information online back to oversight authority of the state auditory, chief information officer and increases reporting to the Joint Budget Committee.
HEALTH CARE REFORMS:
(Insurance Reform) SB 76 (M. Carroll - Primavera) prohibits bonuses for denial of claims or cancellation of insurance policies.
(Insurance Reform) HB 1008 (S. Schafer, McCann - M. Carroll, Schwartz) prohibits gender discrimination in the individual health insurance market, making rates gender-neutral.
(Medical Provider Transparency) SB 124 (M. Carroll - Ryden) Michael Skolnik Transparency Act of 2010 extends the same information to patients that we previously created for MDS to other critical health professions (credentials, education, honors, disciplinary, malpractice and criminal history.
(Phamaceutical Transparency) SB 126 (M. Carroll - Tyler) Pharmaceutical Transparency Act of 2010 captures federal information about pharmaceutical industry gifts to medical providers in Colorado on state web site.
CONSUMER PROTECTION REFORMS:
(Debt Collection) HB 1222 (Middleton - M. Carroll) protects the requirement that debt collection agencies keep and maintain a physical presence in the State of Colorado if collecting debt from Colorado consumers to ensure consumers have access to an actual place where debts can be paid or negotiated.
(Foreclosure Reforms) HB 1240 (Ferrandino - M. Carroll) makes some logistical improvements to last year's foreclosure reform bill to help direct people to the free Foreclosure Hotline and the ability to renegotiate loan terms.
WORKERS COMPENSATION REFORMS: The Interim Committee on Pinnacol Assurance met and recommended 7 bills to improve transparency, accountability and enforcement of our current workers compensation laws. I chaired that committee so include some bills that I did not carry.
SB 11 (M. Carroll - Miklosi) reduces conflicts of interest in WC in 4 key areas: independent medical examinations, conflicts in financial incentives in denying claims, ex parte communications with medical providers in absence of patient, prohibiting insurance carriers from making themselves beneficiaries of deceased workers benefits for purposes of taking back benefits owed.
SB 12 (Tochtrop - Pace) updates enforcement penalties for violation of the workers compensation act and puts teeth in the medical prompt pay statute.
SB 13 (Hodge - Ryden) reinstates the annual oversignt report on Pinnacol Assurance, creates an exit satisfaction survey of injured workers, and posts the complaint process online at the Division of Workers Compensation.
HB 1038 (Miklosi - M. Carroll) gives injured workers notice of their rights under Colorado law.
HB 1009 (Miklosi - Hodge) gives public notice prior to regularly scheduled Pinnacol Board meetings.
HB 1247 (Gagliardi - M. Carroll) extends the workers compensation appeals board that allows employers to challenge their risk classification in workers comp.
PUBLIC SAFETY REFORMS:
(Higher Ed Campus Safety) HB 1054 (S. King - M. Carroll) creates a requirement that every higher education campus have a critical incident safety protocol and that it be distributed to students, parents, faculty annually.
February 15, 2010
Sen. Morgan Carroll, Rep. Su Ryden, & Rep. Karen Middleton
Thurs. Feb. 18, 2010
7:00 – 8:30 PM
Community College of Aurora, Rotunda
16000 E. Centreteck Pkwy
TOPIC: CRIMINAL & JUVENILE JUSTICE REFORM
STATUS ON MY BILLS
SB10-114 Taxpayer Transparency Act 2010. This bill ensures that we have appropriate transparency on state and government spending such that any entity that receives public funds for a public function is subject to Colorado's Open Records Act. It is critical in this budget climate that we can ensure we are getting the best bang for our buck and that the public has a right to know how their tax dollars are spent. Passed Senate Judiciary 6:1, Pending Senate 2nd Reading.
SB10-076 Insurance Bad Faith Bonuses. While insurance profits rose 59% last year, coverage for consumers declined and rates continued to rise. This bill prohibits the practice of paying bonuses or any financial incentive to delay or deny claims or to cancel or rescind coverage. This practice is widely understood to be insurance bad faith, but it is not expressly prohibited in our unfair claims practices act. Passed Senate Health & Human Services 4:3, Pending Senate 2nd Reading.
SB10-124 Michael Skolnik Medical Transparency Act. This bill extends the original Skolnik Medical Transparency Act for MDs to other critical health care professionals. It gives more information about the education, credentials, training, disciplinary or malpractice history to help health care consumers make informed choices about their health care needs. Passed Senate Health & Human Services 4:2, Pending Senate Appropriations.
SB10-126 Pharmaceutical Transparency. This bill brings pharmaceutical transparency to Colorado help us better identify, track our health care dollars and money spent to influence the decisions of those with prescribing authority. Pending Senate Health & Human Services Thurs. Feb. 18, 2010.
SB10-039 Job Retraining Scholarships. This bill uses interest earned on student loans to provide job retraining scholarships to anyone who lost their job on or after 2008 to help people who may need new or different skills to become employed in this job market or help to start a new business. Pending Senate Education Committee Feb. 25, 2010.
HB10-1008 Ending Gender Discrimination in Health Insurance. This bill prohibits gender discrimination in the individual health insurance market. Currently women pay as much as 40% more than men for the same coverage. A healthy, non-smoking female will often still pay more than a smoking, obese male. Passed House Health & Human Services 8:2, Pending House 2nd Reading Feb. 17.
HB10-1107 Blighting Ag Lands for Urban Renewal. This bill tightens up the definition of "blight" for purposes of urban renewal. Abuses of this practice have led to "over-blighting" perfectly good land for purposes of giving money to developers. Most significantly, this practice triggers a backfill of state funds, costing the State of Colorado at least $50 million per year. Passed House 55:8:2. Pending Senate.
OTHER ITEMS IN THE NEWS
Colorado has already closed a $2 billion budget shortfall and has another $1 billion revenue shortfall to close to balance the budget. The state has made 4 rounds of budget cuts, cut every department, placed hiring freezes, used furlough days, closed mental health beds, closed the Women's Correctional Facility, can't staff the new CSP II Maximum Security prison, deferred capital construction, cut Medicaid provider reimbursement rates, reduced financial aid, cut K-12, and completed an all-agency efficiency audit to find any and all other possible savings through increased efficiencies.
Colorado's sales tax is 2.9% but not everyone is paying their fair share because of over 100 tax exemptions carved out to give some groups favored tax status. 5% of our budget balancing package includes closing a few of these special tax exemptions so some of these groups will be treated the same as everyone else. None of the budget balancing measures are popular but they are necessary to balance our budget.
Calendars – Updated Daily
Download Bills, Fiscal Notes
Find Contact Information for Legislators
Download Status Sheet for All Bills Introduced
Thank you for your interest and participation!
January 12, 2010
The State Capitol Visitor services section offers three types of tours during the legislative session:
Historical – a 45-minute look at the building, its history, etc (led by our volunteers! and sometimes by staff)
Legislative – a 45-minute look at the process (led by the visitors' aides of the House of Representatives and Senate)
Dome climb – a 45-minute visit to Mr. Brown's Attic and the 99-step climb to the inside observation deck. (Theresa Holst, available at 303-866-3834, is the supervisor of our dome tours.)
They have been taking reservations for the 2009-2010 traditional school year since August 1st. Due to the furlough days during session and the closure of the Colorado History Museum the tours are filling even faster than normal. The least popular month is March because of CSAP testing. The busiest weeks are the last week of April and the first week in May. Three classes from the same school on the same day are already getting very difficult to schedule.
The volunteer staff can schedule all three types of tours at the same time If a dome only tour is needed, it is best to call Theresa at 303.866.3834.
If you know of a school who is planning to come to the capitol but has not yet made ita capitol tour reservations, call our tour desk at 303.866.2604 between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Mondays through Fridays with the following information:
name of school or group;
leader of school group or organization;
address of school or organization;
cell phone of leader of group;
number of students (maximum is 27);
number of chaperones (maximum is 3 – 1 teacher and 2 adults);
earliest arrival time at the capitol;
departure time from the capitol;
best time to call the group leader if a confl
Please let us know if we can be of any help. Edna Pelzmann can be reached at 303.866.4747; Simon Maghakyan can be reached at 303.866.4288 or email@example.com.
Looking forward to seeing you on January 13, 2010!
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