Today we fought a great fight for our Seniors and Veterans. In House State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee, our reserved parking license plates for disabled veterans (HB 15-1026) passed unanimously. Disabled veterans should not have to choose between disabled license plates and displaying their military distinction. I am pleased this committee has passed this bill, giving disabled veterans the chance to display their military distinction and have reserved parking available to them. I thank the United Veterans community, the Governor’s Disabled Persons commission, Chris Hinds of that commission and El Paso County Clerk and Recorder, Chuck Broerman for their testimony and support for this bill. The bill moves to be heard in the House Transportation Committee.
Later today, Representative Lebsock (D-34) and I discussed HB15-1100, the Older Coloradans Cash Fund bill in House Finance Committee. This bill would move $4 million from the General Fund into the Older Coloradans Cash Fund. With Seniors accessing this fund’s resources through the Area Agencies on Aging (AAA), more seniors can stay in their homes and get the basic needs of transportation, house keeping, meals on wheels, and other services. Through this fund it costs the state an average of $6,000 annually per senior compared to an estimated $57,000 annually per senior through the Medicaid funds. The savings for Colorado, Seniors and their families is enormous. I was honored to have AARP, DRCOG’s AAA, the Pikes Peak AAA, the Senior Lobby, and many others there to testify and support the bill. The bill has been laid over so that a ‘trigger’ amendment can be made to the bill, allowing the state to withdraw the funds in the event of a recession. I am opposed to this trigger, but in light of the need for our Seniors, we’ll let it by. Hopefully we can remove that trigger in the future. I oppose balancing the state budget on the backs of Seniors.