Mar 11, 2016

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Legislative Update: March 11, 2016

by | Mar 11, 2016

CCLP’s Halftime Report
With the legislative session a little past the halfway mark, CCLP helped develop two bills that should be introduced during the next few weeks.

One measure, which stems from our Responsible Re-Entry project, would improve job prospects for hundreds of thousands of Coloradans whose opportunities are limited by past mistakes. Sponsored by Rep. Beth McCann, D-Denver, the measure would expand Colorado’s “ban the box” laws by prohibiting most employers from asking about criminal history on the initial job application.

CCLP also is working with Rep. Max Tyler, D-Lakewood, on legislation that would use surplus funds from the state’s unclaimed property fund to invest millions of dollars into building, rehabilitating and preserving affordable housing in Colorado and provide financial assistance to help Colorado’s lowest-income households afford rent.

Earlier in the session, CCLP worked on HB 1050, which would create a task force charged with evaluating how state agencies could coordinate meeting the childcare needs of low-income parents who wish to advance their education. The bill, which is sponsored by Rep. Brittany Pettersen, D-Lakewood and Sen. Mike Merrifield, D-Colorado Springs, was approved by the House Public Health Care and Human Services Committee and is awaiting approval by the House Appropriations Committee.

So far, the session has been a mixed bag for CCLP’s priorities – with many bills meeting their demise in Senate committees. On Wednesday, the Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee killed HB 1002, which would have allowed employees to take time off work to attend school-related activities for their children. Legislation guaranteeing earned sick time, reviving the Pay Equity Commission and triggering payment of the Child Tax Credit met similar fates.

On the positive side, SB 22, which would expand a pilot program to mitigate the cliff effect in childcare subsidies, has fared well. That bill gained bipartisan support, was approved by both chambers and is on its way to the governor’s desk. HB 1290 has also gained bipartisan support. The bill would extend funding from 2017 until the end of 2021 for ReHire Colorado, a successful transitional jobs program.

For a complete update on poverty-related legislation in Colorado, check out this two-page summary of bills from CCLP’s Family Economic Security Program.

Off the Radar
HB 1102, which would have required prescription drug manufacturers to provide data on cost components of expensive drugs, with a report going back to the state legislature, was killed by the House Committee on Health, Insurance and Environment on Thursday.

The legislation attempted to shed light on one of the biggest drivers of health care costs. CCLP worked on amendments that would have focused the discussion on costs incurred by the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, but the amendment failed to pass and the committee rejected the bill by a vote of 9-4.

Despite HB 1102’s failure, CCLP will continue to encourage policymakers and health care stakeholders to look at high prescription costs and improve transparency with the goal of improving the access and affordability of health care in Colorado.

– Bob Mook

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CCLP Statement on Health and Hospital Corporation v. Talevski

Last term, we watched as the Supreme Court issued rulings that had wide sweeping consequences for individuals across the country. The Court tipped its hat to the second amendment by expanding the ability to carry guns in public while simultaneously decimating the...

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