What a process! We began working on our bills back in November and December, right after Election Day. Our entire efforts are done on a very tight schedule. We have all the bills to heard and discussed before the second Tuesday in May.
I have four bills. Initially I had more than that, but as I was learning the process I found that I need more time to do a good job writing these other bills, so I reduced the number I was working on to those I could get done.
HB15-1026 Veteran Handicap License Plate. This bill has a newer name but its purpose is the same. Military veterans, who qualify for the handicap/disabled logo on their license plate would also be able to add their military medal to the plate, too, to tell the whole story. Brought to me by a Vietnam Veteran who was an Army helicopter pilot that lost his legs in service to his country, and he received a military medal. He asked that we combine the handicap plate with the military medal plates and that is what this bill does.
HB15-1096 Definition of a Small Business. This bill is intended to provide clarity on what a small business is in Colorado. After work with several business organizations I did make some changes to the bill. The final definition is that a small business is fewer than 50 full-time equivalent employees. That’s it, but at least we will know what a small business is when we pass legislation concerning small businesses.
HB15-1100 Sales Tax Revenue to Older Coloradans Cash Fund. This bill provides assistance to older Coloradans through the Area Agency On Aging for our Seniors. The bill moves $4 million from the General Fund into the Older Coloradans Cash Fund, statutorily keeping the $4 million in that fund. Seniors that stay in the comfort of their own homes and use transportation, meals-on-wheels, and housecleaning services are happier, healthier, and keep their assets in their family. Over a year it is estimated a senior may use an average of $6,000. If a Senior must move into a nursing home or an assisted living home, the state’s Medicare pays for the care. The cost of that care is an average $57,000 per year. Keeping it very simple, if 100 Seniors stayed in their homes over a year, they would be happier and the state will have saved $1.7 million in the Medicare fund after covering the cost of moving that $4 million over. I am proud to be a Prime Co-sponsor of this bill with Representative Lebsock (D-34).
HB15-1113 H.O.A. Dues Upon Foreclosure. Many HOAs have members not paying dues and sometimes the member is in foreclosure. I know of HOAs with members owing over $10,000 in dues because the member is foreclosed, withdrawing and refiling the foreclosure; never paying their dues and never paying a mortgage. This is unfair to the members who are paying their dues and their mortgages. This bill would have the HOA dues become part of the foreclosure process only if a foreclosure is withdrawn and refiled again and any subsequent actions such as this.
Other bills I’ve bounced around pretty hard include one for a transit grant through CDOT, intending to extend the hours of bus service and the frequency of stops. CDOT requested more time to work with me on this grant program so I withdrew the bill, but I am excited to help get reliable bus services in our District.
As a result of the Veterans License Plate bill, HB 15-1026, I learned about ADA parking concerns. This seems to be a local government issue, and I hope to follow up with the business community and local governments to see what if anything can be done. As one believing in local control, I will be very critical of whether we need to resolve this at a state level or work with our friends at the local level. More to come.
Finally, I learned of unnecessary, applicative government processes for our Disabled community. This year I will be working with our non-profits and examining if there is more than just one group affected by government inefficiencies.