Today, Colorado Center on Law and Policy (CCLP) and the National Health Law Program (NHeLP) filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights and the U.S. Department of Justice.
Bethany Pray provided testimony for Senate Bill 24-093, Continuity of Health-Care Coverage Change. CCLP is in support of SB24-093.
CCLP Policy Fellow, Milena Castañeda testified at the Medical Services Board meeting regarding emergency rules for the NEMT.
Chaer Robert provided testimony against House Bill 24-1065, Reduction of State Income Taxes. CCLP is in opposition of HB24-1065.
Legislative Update: Feb. 15, 2019
Bill to Watch: HB 1038
Nearly 900 pregnant women with health insurance coverage from Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) lack coverage for dental care. Having access to oral health care, however, improves an expectant mother’s health, their pregnancy outcomes and the health of their newborn baby.
During pregnancy, changes to a woman’s diet and hormone levels increase her risks for a number of oral health conditions, including tooth decay, gingivitis and periodontal disease. In pregnant mothers, periodontal disease has been linked to adverse birth outcomes such as preterm birth and low birth-weights.
For a small cost, Colorado could add dental benefits for these women and help ensure their children get a healthy start in life. Sponsored by Reps. Monica Duran and Susan Lontine and Sens. Joann Ginal and Tammy Story, House Bill 1038 requires a total appropriation of $439,425 to be dedicated to oral health coverage for pregnant mothers covered under CHP+. However, due to a federal match rate of 88 percent for CHP+, $372,470 will come from federal funds and the remaining $66,955 will come from a trust fund consisting mostly of funds from the tobacco settlement.
CCLP supports this legislation, which passed unanimously through the House Committee on Public Health Care and Human Services in late January and is awaiting approval from the House Appropriations Committee.
Bill to Watch: HB 1170
Alarmingly, one in four Coloradans spends more than 50 percent of their income on housing. With affordable housing stock becoming increasingly scarce, health and safety of the available units is becoming a growing concern. Units are being rented out despite being infested with mice and bedbugs or with serious safety concerns such as gas leaks, broken heat and other serious hazards.
Developed by 9to5 Colorado and sponsored by and Reps. Dominique Jackson and Mike Weissman and Sens. Angela Williams and Jeff Bridges, House Bill 1170 would strengthen Colorado’s Warranty of Habitability statute that requires landlords to maintain safe and habitable rental units.
Current law assumes that landlords who file to evict tenants do so in “good faith” rather than in retaliation for reporting unsafe conditions. No other state has a law that automatically grants a presumption in favor of the landlord. Also, current law lacks sufficient remedies to hold landlords accountable when units are uninhabitable. Furthermore, the current statute does not include the presence of mold as a factor that could deem a unit uninhabitable. HB 1170 would rectify those shortcomings in the law, define a reasonable timeframe for the landlord to make repairs and give renters the right to withhold an estimated cost of the repair from a rent payment and reinforce the right to break a lease if the uninhabitable conditions persist.
Whether they rent or own, everyone should have a safe place to call home. That’s why CCLP strongly supports HB 1170.
On the Radar
Free or reduced-price school lunches are proven to reduce food insecurity and obesity among elementary-school children while improving health and academic performance. Sponsored by Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet and Sen. Rhonda Fields, House Bill 1171 would extend free lunches in Colorado schools by removing caps on the middle school program and extending grades of eligibility up through 12th grade. CCLP supports the legislation, which will be heard by the House Education Committee on Feb. 21.
House Bill 1118, which would increase Colorado’s eviction notice period from three days to 14 days, was transferred from the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee to the House Transportation and Local Government Committee on Wednesday. If passed, the bill would give thousands of Colorado families a more reasonable timeframe to avoid the devastating effect of a forced move, or allow tenants to transition to new housing if they cannot reach an agreement with their landlord. HB 1118 is a win-win for renters and taxpayers.
By preventing evictions, the bill would reduce shelter, hospital and mental health costs and juvenile delinquency.
Learn more about the legislation in this op-ed in Colorado Politics from CCLP’s Jack Regenbogen.
-By Bob Mook