What got done, what didn’t in legislative session

Newell talks about bills passed during session

Column by Linda Newell
Posted 5/24/16

You may have heard about the 2016 State Legislative session - what got done, what didn't, or if people even cared. So from the inside, here's what I can tell you.

At least we're not Congress! …

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What got done, what didn’t in legislative session

Newell talks about bills passed during session

Posted

You may have heard about the 2016 State Legislative session - what got done, what didn't, or if people even cared. So from the inside, here's what I can tell you.

At least we're not Congress! Although we had our share of partisan obstacle courses, hold-ups and dead ends, I'm proud to say there were some successful pieces of legislation that will directly improve Coloradans' lives. And at the state level, we're required to arrive at a balanced budget, which we did, although not perfectly.

Rather than covering what you might have read already, I thought you might prefer to know a bit of what I got through (and didn't).

My bills that passed with bipartisan support:

  • SB-147 Colorado Suicide Prevention Plan in the Healthcare System via the Zero Suicide Model. We'll be the first in the country to adopt this model statewide intended to catch those falling through the cracks in the healthcare system.
  • HB-1066: Addressing the problem of Domestic Violence Habitual Offenders who have multiple offenses and are getting away with it.
  • SB-13: Clarified roles of the Child Protection Ombudsman, Office and Board.
  • HB-1033: Human Trafficking Council tweaks to improve operational effectiveness.
  • HB-1302: Career Advancement Act maximizing flexibility of funding within the Federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act to best serve dislocated workers, veterans, people with disabilities and those new to the workforce.
  • HB-1047: Interstate Medical Compact increasing access to affordable health care by allowing physicians in other states to practice in Colorado via telemedicine.
  • HB-1098: Clean-up of School Discipline Reporting tracking students moving from school to juvenile justice system.
  • HB-1081: Repeal of Healthcare Policy and Finance Reports that are statutorily required, yet obsolete or redundant.
  • SB-80: Requiring Grows of Medical Marijuana to be secured and enclosed from allowing access to kids.
  • HB-1149: Transparency of all Homeowners Associations' budgets to their homeowners.
  • HB-1363: Medical Marijuana Advertising rulemaking to prevent advertising targeting children.
  • HB-1436: Prohibiting Marijuana Edibles to be shaped in a manner to entice children.

Some of mine that were killed on a party-line vote:

  • PTSD Workers' Compensation Equity would have prevented denials of claims for mental injuries on the job based on your profession (to address problem of peace officers being denied PTSD claims due to their job). In spite of our bipartisan talk of support of our "friends in blue," that turned out to be just talk.
  • Patient Choice of Pharmacy would have allowed consumers to select their pharmacy without an increase in cost. This died party-line even with bipartisan sponsors.

Failed, then passed:

My bill with Rep. Daniel Kagan, creating penalties for a person intentionally falsely claiming that a pet is a service animal in order to gain disability access or services, passed the House 65-0 only to be killed in Senate committee on a party-line vote. But bipartisan sponsors on another assistance animal bill amended our bill onto theirs and it passed again in the House 65-0. Without our names on it, it passed in the Senate and is ready for the governor's signature. (In essence, I'll sure miss the policy, but not the politics.)

For more detail on any of my bills, you can go to senlindanewell.com or email me.

Linda Newell is the state senator for District 26, which includes Littleton, Englewood, Sheridan, Cherry Hills Village, Greenwood Village, west Centennial and parts of Aurora. She can be reached at 303- 866-4846 or Linda.newell.senate@gmail.com.

Linda Newell

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