Eye on the Legislature

February 13, 2017

House Bill 17-1035:  If passed and enacted, victims of unlawful sexual behavior or stalking will be able to vacate a residential lease “due to fear or imminent danger under the same conditions that current law provides to victims of domestic violence or abuse.”

HB 1035 also prohibits a victim of unlawful sexual behavior or stalking from being penalized for emergency calls in response to a situation involving unlawful sexual behavior or stalking. 

Finally, HB 1035 will afford a victim of unlawful sexual behavior or stalking protection from tenant misconducts charges and property damage, provided specific evidence is provided to the landlord.

A statement from a medical professional or application assistant from the Address Confidentiality Program are made suitable evidence to be provided to a landlord of unlawful sexual behavior, stalking, domestic abuse, or domestic violence under HB 1035.

Current law provides certain protection for victims of domestic violence or abuse, but not for victims of unlawful sexual behavior or stalking:  1) vacate and termination due to fear or imminent danger upon notification in writing; 2) residential lease agreement cannot penalize a tenant for emergency calls; and 3) rules of habitability deemed by the landlord apply, as well as responsibility and misconduct of the tenant.

Sponsors of House Bill 17-1035:  Representative Dominique Jackson (D-Arapahoe) 866-3911. No sponsor as yet in the Senate.

House Bill 17-1115:  The issue of health care is fraught with terms new to ordinary citizens. HB 1115 is titled “Concerning the Establishment of Direct Primary Health Care Agreements to Operate Without Regulation by the Division of Insurance,” and fair warning, research into the subject presents what is a complicated proposition and should be entered into only after due diligence and expert advise.

This writer seldom recommends experts but will do so in this case. If this bill passes and Colorado citizens are allowed the option of such a plan, careful review of the in-depth explanation on the American Academy of Family Physicians’ website should be completed. Some readers may have heard the term “concierge health care” which is also used to describe direct primary health care agreements.

The basic points of HB 1115 are:

  • establishes definitions and legal parameters for direct primary health care agreements;
  • specifies that direct primary health care agreements are not an insurance product;
  • specifies that direct primary health care agreements are not regulated by the Division of Insurance in the Department of Regulatory Agencies;
  • prohibits a health care provider from refusing to enter into an agreement or from discontinuing an agreement because of the health status of a patient;
  • providers are allowed to refuse patients if they have reached a practice’s capacity or if a practice is unable to meet the health care needs of the patient;
  • an agreement may be discontinued if the patient fails to pay the required periodic fee, commits fraud or misrepresentation in connection with the agreement, fails to adhere to the recommended treatment plan, or if the provider discontinues operation as a direct primary health care provider. 

    These are the specific points of direct primary health care agreements a person considering such should be aware of, especially with the Republican congressional plan to repeal and replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare):

  • Direct primary health care agreements are a contract between a provider and patient under which the patient pays a periodic fee in exchange for primary care services from a health care provider;
  • Such agreements, also referred to as concierge health care, are allowed under current law and are not currently regulated in Colorado; and
  • Such agreements allow the use of direct primary health care agreements in conjunction with certain types of low-cost, high-deductible health plans as meeting the requirement that an individual maintain coverage through a qualified health plan.

  Lead Sponsors of House Bill 17-1115:  Representative Perry Buck (R-Larimer, Weld) 866-2907. No sponsor as yet in the Senate.

Senate Bill 17-107:  Recent years have brought the recognition that courses or educational programs in the arts are vital to a student’s balanced education. SB 107, titled “Measures to Reward Public Education Entities that Provide Student Access to Arts Education Programs,” requires “the State Board of Education adopt rules for awarding performance credit to schools and district for arts offerings.” To be considered in determining the amount of additional credit, “the board must also taken into account a district’s or school’s geographic location, and the percentage of enrolled students who qualify for free or reduced price meals.”

The fiscal impact analysis provides these four performance indicators that form the basis of the state’s public school accountability and accreditation system:

  • student academic growth;
  • student achievement on statewide assessments;
  • progress made in closing growth and achievement gaps; and
  • postsecondary and workforce readiness.

    The courses or programs provided in the arts must be reported by the schools and districts to the Colorado Department of Education, along with assurances that those courses meet or exceed applicable academic standards.

SB 107 requires that beginning in the 2017-18 academic year, the Colorado Department of Education to consider access to courses or educational programs in the arts as a performance indicator.

Lead Sponsors of Senate Bill 17-107:  Senator Michael Merrifild (D-El Paso) 866-6364; and Representative Barbara (D-Archuleta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, La Plata, Ouray, San Juan) 866-5683.

Senate Bill 17-099:  With the 2016 Presidential election as chaotic as it was, Colorado just could not have a legislative session without a bill trying for a popular vote to become the binding method of selection for America’s President.

Titled “Concerning Adoption of an Agreement Among the States to Elect the President of the United States by National Popular Vote,” you can bet your life no such bill would be on the slate if the Democratic nominee had won the Presidency.

The language of the bill is unusual to say the least:  “The agreement among the states to elect the President by national popular vote is hereby enacted into law and entered into with all jurisdictions legally joining therein; in the form substantially as follows:”

  • Any state of the United States and the District of Columbia may become a member of this agreement by enacting this agreement;
  • Each member state shall conduct a statewide popular election for President and Vice President of the United States;
  • Prior to the time set by law for the meeting and voting by the Presidential Electors, the chief election official of each member state shall determine the number of votes for each Presidential slate in each State of the United States and in the District of Columbia in which votes have been cast in a statewide popular election and shall add such votes together to produce a “National Popular Vote Total” for each Presidential slate; (with further explanation given about how the “national popular vote winner” is determined and designated by a chief election official and the Presidential elector certifying official of each member state.

   Such an agreement would terminate if the Electoral College is abolished!!!! Readers who wish to read the complete language of SB 099, which describes a process equally as chaotic as the 2016 Presidential election was, should e-mail me and I will be happy to forward a copy of the full bill for your enjoyment.

Forgotten by those who promote electing the President by popular vote is the ultimate result of doing so would mean states with sparse population would have no say in who is elected President. Election would be controlled by high-population states such as New York and California.

Lead Sponsors of Senate Bill 17-099:  Senator Any Kerr (D-Jefferson) 866-4859; and Representative Paul Rosenthal (D-Arapahoe) 866-2910.

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