AARP AARP States Colorado

AARP Colorado 2021 End of Session Report

Check out the expansion of Medicaid thanks to Gov. Hickenlooper

AARP Colorado is pleased to report on our 2021 legislative activities. All bills marked with an *asterisk identify AARP’s priorities. For more information, visit our bill chart by clicking here.

As in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has made advocacy work at the Colorado State Legislature challenging, but AARP advocates rose to the occasion by submitting testimony, appearing virtually and appearing distantly when absolutely possible. We thank our volunteer advocates who have remained active and worked hard on behalf of all 50-plus Coloradans and their families during these difficult times. Here's what happened with our efforts.

The Colorado Legislature passed two major bills to reduce the price of prescription drugs.

Senate Bill 21-123, Expand Canadian Prescription Drug Importation Program by Senators Joann Ginal and Don Coram and Representatives Karen McCormick and Mark Lynch.
AARP position: Strongly Support.
Status: Signed into law by Governor Jared Polis.

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SB-123 authorizes the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing to expand its current drug importation program to include importation from other countries in addition to Canada (Colorado passed legislation to allow importation from Canada in 2019) if federal policy allows for an expansion. This bill ensures Colorado’s readiness to expand opportunities for consumer savings on prescription drugs if federal statute changes to allow importation from additional countries.
Why is this bill needed? Colorado needs to be ready to move forward when Congress amends federal law to allow for the importation of drugs beyond Canada. The Department estimates drugs imported from Canada, on average, are 63% cheaper compared to Colorado prices. If the current Importation Program with Canada expands to other countries, the Department’s initial analysis show Colorado could access even lower drug prices.

Senate Bill 21-175, Prescription Drug Affordability Review Board by Senators Sonya Jaquez Lewis and Julie Gonzales and Representatives Yadira Caraveo and Chris Kennedy.
AARP position: Strongly Support.
Status: Signed by Gov. Polis.
The Prescription Drug Affordability Board will be an independent board within the Division of Insurance comprised of five members with experience in health care economics and clinical medicine. Board members cannot have conflicts of interests or financial ties that would compromise the Board. The Board will research, review, and limit costs for the most expensive and unaffordable prescription drugs and investigate when drug companies sharply increase the costs of a specific drug.

The fight against utility rate hikes continues in the Colorado Legislature with a win and a loss

Senate Bill 21-103, Sunset Office Of Consumer Counsel by Senators Steve Fenberg and Faith Winter and Representative Daneya Esgar.      
AARP position: Strongly Support.
Status: Signed by Gov. Polis.
Most public agencies in Colorado are subject to periodic review by the Colorado Legislature, referred to “sunset” review. Unlike the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, the Office of Consumer Counsel is a consumer advocate and has no regulatory authority. It is party in proceedings as are utilities and other interested parties. It is up to the PUC to weigh interests and testimonies of parties and make decisions. When the OCC was up for sunset five years ago, the Colorado Legislature stripped the OCC of its ability to advocate on behalf of consumers in regard to telecom issues. Through the hard work of AARP advocates, telecom is back under OCC purview.

Senate Bill 21-72, Public Utilities Commission Modernize Electric Transmission Infrastructure by Senators Chris Hansen and Don Coram and Representatives Alex Valdez and Marc Catlin.
AARP position: Strongly Oppose.
Status: Signed by Gov. Polis.
While AARP supports sustainable energy, it also fights for fair and affordable rates — especially in these uncertain times. AARP questioned why Colorado lawmakers would want to hand over regulatory authority to a Regional Transmission Organization (RTO), made up of more than 10 states that will take local control away from Colorado, especially when Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland and New Jersey are considering leaving RTOs because they don’t see the benefits of paying for power in other states. Presently, the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) whose three members are appointed by the Governor with the approval of the state senate, determine the just and reasonable rates of Xcel and Black Hills. When Colorado joins an RTO, that responsibility would be turned over to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which historically has allowed higher rates with less oversight. There also would be more costs for our PUC and its staff to attend the hundreds of meetings RTOs have every year and ratepayers could be charged for those costs. Unsightly transmission lines also will be built across our state to accommodate the RTO.

And expanding broadband

House Bill 21-1289, Funding For Broadband Deployment by Representatives Chris Kennedy and Mark Baisley and Senators Kevin Priola and Jeff Bridges.
AARP position: Support.
Status: Signed by Gov. Polis.
This bill establishes and funds the CO Broadband Office in the Office of Information Technology to help with broadband deployment. It creates and funds multiple grant programs.

Important health care legislation AARP supported,

House Bill 21-1198, Health-care Billing Requirements For Indigent Patients by Representative Iman Jodeh and Senators Janet Buckner and Chris Kolker.
AARP Position: Strongly Support.
Status: Signed by Gov. Polis.
Establishes uniform health-care billing requirements for indigent patients receiving services not reimbursed through the Colorado indigent care program and establishing procedures before initiating collections proceedings against a patient.

Senate Bill 21-181, Equity Strategic Plan Address Health Disparities by Senators Rhonda Fields and Don Coram and Representatives Leslie Herod and Yadira Caraveo. The bill asks state agencies to address health disparities in Colorado.
AARP position: Strongly Support.
Status: Signed by Gov. Polis
The bill expands and renames the existing program to the health Disparities and Community Grant Program, to authorize grants that positively affect the key determinants of health to reduce the risk of future disease and exacerbating health disparities in underrepresented populations, and to the fund to community organizations to reduce health disparities in underrepresented communities.

Long-term care bills AARP followed in the legislature and supported

Senate Bill 21-286, Distribution Federal Funds Home- and Community-based Services by Senators Dominick Moreno and Bob Rankin and Representatives Leslie Herod and Julie McCluskie.
AARP position: Strongly Support.
Status: Signed by Gov. Polis.
Lays out the distribution of money received under the federal "American Rescue Plan Act of 2021" for home- and community-based services.

Senate Bill 21-290, Security For Colorado Seniors by Senators Janet Buckner and Jessie Danielson and Representatives Mary Young and Mary Bradfield.
AARP position: Strongly Support.
Status: Signed by Gov. Polis.
Allocates $15 million from the general fund to establish the Area Agency on Aging grant program for programs providing assistance to older Coloradans.

And other important bills AARP supported

House Bill 21-1011, Multilingual Ballot Access For Voters by Representative Yadira Caraveo and Senators Dominick Moreno and Julie Gonzales.
AARP position: Strongly Support.
Status: Signed by Gov. Polis.
Expands multilingual ballot access. 

House Bill 21-1075, Replace The Term Illegal Alien by Representative Susan Lontine and Senator Julie Gonzales.
AARP position: Strongly Support.
Status: Signed by Gov. Polis.
Replaces the term "illegal alien" with "worker without authorization" as it relates to public contracts for services.

House Bill 1139, Driver's License Electronic Renewal By Seniors by Representative Julie McCluskie and Senator Bob Rankin.
AARP position: Support
Status: Signed by Gov. Polis.
Facilitates the renewal of drivers' licenses by mail and by electronic means, the renewal of identification cards by electronic means, the renewal of drivers' licenses and identification cards by older individuals, and allowing certain individuals to sign a driving log attesting that a minor driver with an instruction permit has completed a minimum number of driving hours.

Votes on key legislation

AARP asked for a NO vote on Senate Bill 21-72
HOUSE:
Judy Amabile (D) - Y
Jennifer Bacon (D) - Y
Mark Baisley (R) - N
Adrienne Benavidez (D) - Y
Tracey Bernett (D) - Y
Shannon Bird (D) - Y
Rod Bockenfeld (R) - Y
Andrew Boesenecker (D) - Y
Mary Bradfield (R) - N
Yadira Caraveo (D) - Y
Terri Carver (R) - N
Marc Catlin (R) - Y
Lisa Cutter (D) - Y
Lindsey Daugherty (D) - Y
Monica Duran (D) - Y
Daneya Esgar (D) - Y
Tony Exum Sr. (D) - Y
Meg Froelich (D) - Y
Alec Garnett (D) - Y
Tim Geitner (R) - N
Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez (D) - Y
Matthew Gray (D) - Y
Ron Hanks (R) - N
Leslie Herod (D) - Y
Richard Holtorf (R) - Y
Edie Hooton (D) - Y
Dominique Jackson (D) - Y
Iman Jodeh (D) - Y
Chris Kennedy (D) - Y
Cathy Kipp (D) - Y
Colin Larson (R) - Y
Susan Lontine (D) - Y
Stephanie Luck (R) - N
Michael Lynch (R) Y
Julie McCluskie (D) - Y
Karen McCormic (D) - Y
Hugh McKean (R) - Y
Barbara McLachlan (D) - Y
Dafna Michaelson Jenet (D) - Y
Kyle Mullica (D) - Y
Patrick Neville (R) - N
David Ortiz (D) - Y
Rodney Pelton (R) - N
Andres Pico (R) - N
Kim Ransom (R) - N
Janice Rich (R) - N
Naquetta Ricks (D) - Y
Dylan Roberts (D) - Y
Shane Sandridge (R) - N
Emily Sirota (D) - Y
Marc Snyder (D) - Y
Matt Soper (R) - Y
Tom Sullivan (D) - Y
Kerry Tipper (D) - Y
Brianna Titone (D) - Y
Alex Valdez (D) - Y
Donald Valdez (D) -Y
Tonya Van Beber (R) - Y
Kevin Van Winkle (R) - N
Mike Weissman (D) - Y
Perry Will (R) - Y
Dave Williams (R) - N
Steven Woodrow (D) - A
Dan Woog (R) - N
Mary young (D) Y
House Totals: Yes: 49. No: 15. A: 1.
SENATE:
Jeff Bridges (D) - Y
Janet Buckner (D) - Y
James Coleman (D) - Y
John Cooke (R) - N
Don Coram (R) - Y
Jessie Danielson (D) - Y
Kerry Donovan (D) - Y
Stephen Fenberg (D) - Y
Rhonda Fields (D) - Y
Leroy Garcia (D) - Y
Robert Gardner (R) - N
Joann Ginal (D) - Y
Julie Gonzales (D) -Y
Christopher Hansen (D) - Y
Dennis Hisey (R) - N
Chris Holbert (R) - N
Sonya Jaquez Lewis (D) - Y
Barbara Kirkmeyer (R) - N
Chris Kolker (D) - Y
Pete Lee (D) - Y
Larry Liston (R) - N
Paul Lundeen (R) - N
Dominick Moreno (D) - Y
Brittany Pettersen (D) - Y
Kevin Priola (R) - Y
Bob Rankin (R) - N
Robert Rodriguez (D) - Y
Ray Scott (R) - N
Cleave Simpson (R) - Y
James Smallwood (R) - N
Jerry Sonnenberg (R) - N
Tammy Story (D) - Y
Faith Winter (D) - Y
Rob Woodward (R) - N
Rachel Zenzinger (D) - Y
Senate Totals: 23 Yes. 12 No.

AARP asked for a yes vote on SB 21-123
HOUSE:
Judy Amabile (D) - Y
Jeni Arndt (D) - Y
Jennifer Bacon (D) - Y
Mark Baisley (R) - Y
Adrienne Benavidez (D) - Y
Tracey Bernett (D) - Y
Shannon Bird (D) - Y
Rod Bockenfeld (R) - Y
Mary Bradfield (R) - Y
Yadira Caraveo (D) - Y
Terri Carver (R) - Y
Marc Catlin (R) - Y
Lisa Cutter (D) - Y
Lindsey Daugherty (D) - Y
Monica Duran (D) - Y
Daneya Esgar (D) - Y
Tony Exum Sr. (D) - Y
Meg Froelich (D) - Y
Alec Garnett (D) - Y
Tim Geitner (R) - Y
Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez (D) - Y
Matthew Gray (D) - Y
Ron Hanks (R) - N
Leslie Herod (D) - Y
Richard Holtorf (R) - Y
Edie Hooton (D) - Y
Dominique Jackson (D) - Y
Iman Jodeh (D) - Y
Chris Kennedy (D) - Y
Cathy Kipp (D) - Y
Colin Larson (R) - N
Susan Lontine (D) - Y
Stephanie Luck (R) - N
Michael Lynch (R) - Y
Julie McCluskie (D) - Y
Karen McMormick (D) - Y
Hugh McKean (R) - Y
Barbara McLachian (D) - Y
Dafna Michaelson Jenet (D) - Y
Kyle Mullica (D) - Y
Patrick Neville (R) - N
David Ortiz (D) - Y
Rodney Pelton (R) - N
Andres Pico (R) - N
Kim Ransom (R) - N
Janice Rich (R) - Y
Naquetta Ricks (D) - Y
Dylan Roberts (D) - Y
Shane Sandridge (R) - N
Emily Sirota (D) - Y
Marc Snyder (D) - Y
Matt Soper (R) - Y
Tom Sullivan (D) - Y
Kerry Tipper (D) - N
Brianna Titone (D) - Y
Alex Valdez (D) - Y
Donald Valdez (D) - Y
Tonya Van Beber (R) - N
Kevin Van Winkle (R) - N
Mike Wessman (D) - Y
Perry Will (R) - N
Dave Williams (R) - N
Steven Woodrow (D) - Y
Dan Woog (R) - N
Mary Young (D) - Y
House Totals: Yes 50. No 15.
SENATE:
Jeff Bridges (D) - Y
Janet Buckner (D) - Y
James Coleman (D) - Y
John Cooke (R) - N
Don Coram (R) - Y
Jessie Danielson (D) - Y
Kerry Donovan (D) - Y
Stephen Fenberg (D) - Y
Rhonda Fields (D) - Y
Leroy Garcia (D) - Y
Robert Gardner (R) - N
Joann Ginal (D) - Y
Julie Gonzales (D) - Y
Christopher Hansen (D) - Y
Dennis Hisey (R) - Y
Chris Holbert (R) - N
Sonya Jaquez Lewis (D) - Y
Barbara Kirkmeyer (R) - Y
Chris Kolker (D) - Y
Pete Lee (D) - Y
Larry Liston (R) - Y
Paul Lundeen (R) - N
Dominick Moreno (D) - Y
Brittany Pettersen (D) - Y
Kevin Priola (R) - Y
Bob Rankin (R) - N
Robert Rodriquez (D) - Y
Ray Scott (R) - Y
Cleave Simpson (R) - Y
James Smallwood (R) - A
Jerry Sonnenberg (R) - N
Tammy Story (D) - Y
Faith Winter (D) - Y
Rob Woodward (R) - Y
Rachel Zenzinger (D) - Y
Senate Totals: Yes-28. No-6. A-1.

AARP asked for a yes vote on Senate Bill 21-175
HOUSE:
Judy Amabile (D) - Y
Jennifer Bacon (D) - Y
Mark Baisley (R) - N
Adrienne Benavidez (D) - Y
Tracey Bernett (D) - Y
Shannon Bird (D) - Y
Rod Bockenfeld (R) - N
Andrew Boesenecker (D) - Y
Mary Bradfield (R) - N
Yadira Caraveo (D) - Y
Terri Carver (R) - N
Marc Catlin (R) - N
Lisa Cutter (D) - Y
Lindsey Daugherty (D) - Y
Monica Duran (D) - Y
Daneya Esgar (D) - Y
Tony Exum Sr. (D) - Y
Meg Froelich (D) - Y
Alec Garnett (D) - Y
Tim Geitner (R) - N
Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez (D) - Y
Matthew Gray (D) - Y
Ron Hanks (R) - N
Leslie Herod (D) - Y
Richard Holtorf (R) - N
Edie Hooton (D) - Y
Dominique Jackson (D) - Y
Iman Jodeh (D) - Y
Chris Kennedy (D) - Y
Cathy Kipp (D) - Y
Colin Larson (R) - N
Susan Lontine (D) - Y
Stephanie Luck (R) - A
Michael Lynch (R) - N
Julie McCluskie (D) - Y
Karen McCormic (D) - Y
Hugh McKean (R) - N
Barbara McLachlan (D) - Y
Dafna Michaelson Jenet (D) - Y
Kyle Mullica (D) - Y
Patrick Neville (R) - N
David Ortiz (D) - Y
Rodney Pelton (R) - N
Andres Pico (R) - N
Kim Ransom (R) - N
Janice Rich (R) - N
Naquetta Ricks (D) - Y
Dylan Roberts (D) - Y
Shane Sandridge (R) - N
Emily Sirota (D) - Y
Marc Snyder (D) - Y
Matt Soper (R) - N
Tom Sullivan (D) - Y
Kerry Tipper (D) - Y
Brianna Titone (D) - Y
Alex Valdez (D) - Y
Donald Valdez (D) -Y
Tonya Van Beber (R) - N
Kevin Van Winkle (R) - N
Mike Weissman (D) - Y
Perry Will (R) - N
Dave Williams (R) - A
Steven Woodrow (D) - Y
Dan Woog (R) - N
Mary young (D) Y
House Totals: 41-Yes. 22-No. 2-A.
SENATE:
Jeff Bridges (D) - Y
Janet Buckner (D) - Y
James Coleman (D) - Y
John Cooke (R) - N
Don Coram (R) - N
Jessie Danielson (D) - Y
Kerry Donovan (D) - Y
Stephen Fenberg (D) - Y
Rhonda Fields (D) - Y
Leroy Garcia (D) - Y
Robert Gardner (R) - N
Joann Ginal (D) - Y
Julie Gonzales (D) -Y
Christopher Hansen (D) - Y
Dennis Hisey (R) - N
Chris Holbert (R) - N
Sonya Jaquez Lewis (D) - Y
Barbara Kirkmeyer (R) - N
Chris Kolker (D) - Y
Pete Lee (D) - Y
Larry Liston (R) - N
Paul Lundeen (R) - N
Dominick Moreno (D) - Y
Brittany Pettersen (D) - Y
Kevin Priola (R) - N
Bob Rankin (R) - N
Robert Rodriguez (D) - Y
Ray Scott (R) - N
Cleave Simpson (R) - N
James Smallwood (R) - N
Jerry Sonnenberg (R) - N
Tammy Story (D) - Y
Faith Winter (D) - Y
Rob Woodward (R) - N
Rachel Zenzinger (D) - N
Senate Totals: 19-Yes. 16-No.

These selected votes provide only a limited view of each legislator’s voting record.  This selected voting record does not highlight unrecorded matters such as work in committees and constituent services.  This selected voting record does not reflect the overall qualification a legislator has for public office and should not be the sole determinate in evaluating a legislator.







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