Feb. 2010 Newsletter
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.
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Thank you for your interest and participation!
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