Eye on the Legislature

June 13, 2016

The deadline for the Governor to take action on legislation passed during the session is fast approaching (June 11th), or bills become law without the signature of the Governor.

House Bill 16-1142:  Signed by the Governor on June 6th, HB 1142 creates a tax credit against the state income tax "for licensed Colorado health care professional who provide personalized instruction, training, and supervision to one or more graduate students seeking a medial degree at a Colorado institution for higher education."

The legislative declaration gives this background information on the need for the bill:

  • It is vital to the well-being, quality of life and economic development of the entire state that excellent health care be available in all regions of the state, including rural and frontier areas;
  • Rural areas of the state currently suffer from a shortage of primary health care providers and, as a result, these communities experience reduced access to such providers and poorer health care outcomes; and
  • A consistent problem is a lack of professional instruction, training and supervision in rural and frontier areas that allows students studying primary care to obtain the requisite professional mentoring and supervision to allow them to practice in such areas upon obtaining a professional degree.

   House Bill 16-1142 was signed by Governor Hickenlooper on June 6th, and takes effect on August 10, 2016, if no referendum petition is filed. Legislation passed subject to petition takes effect "the day following  the expiration of the ninety-period after final adjourning of the general assembly." [Section 1 (3) of Article V of the Colorado Constitution.]

Senate Bill 16-146:   Titled "Modernizing Sexually Transmitted Infections," the legislative declaration of SB 146 declares that the purpose of Part 4, Article 4 of Title 25 of the Colorado Revised Statutes is to "protect the public health, empower individuals to take personal responsibility for their sexual health, and to prevent infections that may be sexually transmitted."

SB 146 directs the State Board of Health, within the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, to adopt rules to implement the bill, including rules addressing the control and treatment of sexually transmitted infections, to investigate sexually transmitted infections and to use appropriate means to prevent their spread.

Such a sensitive issue deserves explanation of just what is indicative of protecting the public health: 

  • Reporting sexually transmitted infections to public health agencies is essential to enable a better understanding of the scope of exposure and the impact of the exposure on the community and to optimize means of sexually transmitted infection control;
  • Efforts to control sexually transmitted infections include public education, counseling, voluntary testing, linkage to treatment, prevention, and access to services;
  • Restrictive enforcement measures may be used only when necessary to protect the public health;
  • Having a sexually transmitted infection, being presumed to have one, or seeking testing for the presence of such an infection must not serve as the basis for discriminatory actions or prevent access to services; and
  • It is the policy of the state to encourage voluntary testing for sexually transmitted infections and promote linkage to care without perpetuating stigma.

   Senate Bill 16-146 was signed by Governor Hickenlooper on June 6th, and takes effect on July 1, 2016.

The reader's comments or questions are always welcome. E-mail me at doris@dorisbeaver.com.