2017 Legislative Wrap-Up --by Dawn Howard

Submitted by Jose Torres-Vega on July 20, 2017 - 6:33pm

 

Picture of Dawn Howard after being release from jail 36 hours after the ADAPT Sit-In ADAPTandResist July 1st, 2017

During the 2017 legislative session, many CCDC legislative advocates spent time on the phone and at our State Capitol. Through much discussion, many three-minute speeches, and long committee hearings, they accomplished much under the leadership of Josh Winkler, CCDC Board Co-Chair and Policy Guru.

Three bills will make Medicaid notices more understandable and requires Colorado HCPF (Department of Health Care Policy and Financing) to conduct testing of the readability of actual notices on Medicaid clients.  Another bill requires Administrative Law Judges to tell clients who are at risk of losing Medicaid at hearings that they have a right to wait to have a hearing if they have a bad notice. We thank our attorney friend, Jack Regenbogen from the Colorado Center for Law and Policy (CCLP), who helped CCDC legislative advocates to pass these Medicaid bills. Due to new legislation, Medicaid clients receiving long-term home health care through home health agencies can now be served in the community--not just in their homes. CCDC has been concerned about the lack of conflict free case management in the IDD (intellectual developmental disabilities) system. The legislation was passed which starts the process of organizations which provide case management being separate from organizations which provide services.

Several pieces of legislation which CCDC Advocates cared about did not pass. We will work to pass bills pertaining to the issues mentioned  below during future legislative sessions. The Right to Rest which would have made it legal for individuals experiencing homelessness to rest in public.  Some proposals addressing affordable housing (but some funding was allocated through the budget process!). A few bills on renters rights also failed (but one passed).  Thanks to CCLP and Denver Homeless Out Loud for their great work!  Ban the box which would have made it illegal to ask about criminal history on initial job applications also failed.

We need YOU during the 2018 Legislative Session which starts January 10, 2018! We’ll teach you the legislative process and how to work effectively with legislators to pass legislation to improve the lives of PWD.  Before the next legislative session begins, we need CCDC Members and Advocates to reach out to their own Colorado Senators and Representatives. It is critical that our legislators know who we are and our stories so when we call, they listen. Please call Dawn Howard 303-531-7333 to become a legislative advocate or to have her accompany you when you talk to your legislators. If you live outside of the Denver Metro Area, we still need you to attend town halls and meet with your legislators when they are not in session.

 

Thank you, as always, for your support as community members in the systemic issues that affect us all.

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