Disability Law Colorado has a long history of educating policy makers about the rights of people with disabilities and older people.
We have also played an instrumental role in getting groundbreaking laws passed in the State of Colorado.
Position Statements - 2017 Legislative Session
Vote YES for Students with Disabilities
Vote YES on HB17-1276
HB 1276 includes three main components to protect students, parents and school staff:
1. Ban on Prone Restraints
2. Data Collection on Restraint & Seclusion
3. Complaint Mechanism
Support for HB17-1210 & HB17-1211
HB17-1210 ensures that students with disabilities will not be suspended or expelled unnecessarily, and safeguards against an infringement of their right to a free appropriate education. Furthermore, HB17-1211 provides a means to more successfully implement HB17-1210 through the discipline strategies pilot program, which we believe will provide necessary support to schools so they may implement positive behavior supports.
For these reasons, we support HB17-1210 and HB17-1211 and urge you to vote yes!
Support for HB17-1087
HB17-1087 allows for the creation of a pilot program to allow adults with severe disabilities who do not have family or money – like Joe - to nonetheless enjoy the fundamental protections of due process when someone else is needed to step in to make decisions for them. This is a basic human and legal right that we need to extend to all people with severe disabilities – regardless of their income or family status.
For these reasons, we urge you to vote yes on HB17-1087.
Vote Yes on HB17-1143, HB17-1126, HB17-1129
These bills would greatly increase client understanding of HCPF correspondence and further ensure the protections in current law
The Interim Study Committee on Communication between the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) and Medicaid Clients (Interim Study Committee) was created in April 2016 to focus on three main issues: the form and content of communication, the frequency of communication, and the understandability of the communication. Disability Law Colorado supports all efforts to simplify and clarify client notices in Medicaid, making the documents user friendly, providing information clients need to assess the propriety of the Departments’ action, and comply with the legal requirements. Our Medicaid clients report that letters issued by HCPF are difficult to understand and do not clearly convey the information about the Departments action or decision. HB17-1143 builds upon the recommendations of the 2016 Interim Study Committee and the spring 2016 HCPF Improving Client Communications Report by continuing to audit client communications on a regular basis.
HB17-1126 simplifies the hearing process and conserves resources by allowing an Administrative Law Judge to review the sufficiency of the Notice of Action before having a hearing on the merits. Additionally, HB17-1129 clarifies that Medicaid clients who appeal a termination or reduction in benefits within 10 days are automatically ensured continuing benefits during the appeal, unless the client specifically opts-out. Disability Law Colorado has had instances where client benefits have not continued automatically despite a timely appeal.
Vote YES! On SB17-012
Disability Law Colorado strongly supports Senate Bill 17-012, which requires:
- The court to consider out-of-custody competency services on an outpatient basis for defendants on bond or summons;
- Competency restoration services for juveniles to be provided in the least restrictive environment and to occur and be reviewed by the court in a timely manner; and
- Establishes a unit within the Department of Human Services to provide oversight or restoration education and the coordination of competency restoration services.
Vote YES! On SB17-089
VOTE YES! – Disability Law Colorado strongly supports Senate Bill 17-089 which declares that consumers of electricity have a right to install and use electricity storage systems on their property.
THIS BILL HELPS PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
- Electricity storage systems allow people who require oxygen therapy to remain at home with a backup during power outages. Diseases like sleep apnea, cystic fibrosis, and severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease can require oxygen therapy on a regular basis, typically through oxygen concentrators. Power outages create emergency situations because the person using the oxygen concentrator has to find an alternative source of energy or potentially be hospitalized.
- This emergency factor could determine whether a person can live in the community. Individuals with disabilities are at risk of institutionalization when they are unable to care for themselves. With an electricity storage system on the property, the oxygen concentrator would automatically transfer to the storage system when the electricity fails.
SB17-091 Brings Colorado into Compliance with Federal Law
Support for SB17-091
We at Disability Law Colorado have worked with numerous individuals who – if home health services could be provided in settings outside the home – could more fully integrate into the community. For example, we are currently working with a family whose daughter receives periodic home health care for several medical conditions, but because the current law only allows those services in the home, when she needs those services while at school, her family members must physically go to the school and provide her services. With the passage of SB19-091, that young woman could go to college or get a job knowing that her required home health services could be provided to her in those settings, allowing her to fully integrate into the community.
For these reasons, we support SB17-091 and urge you to vote yes!
Support for SB17-207
Although Disability Law Colorado would rather see a bill that immediately bans the use of jails for persons placed on emergency mental health holds, we recognize that the present crisis system’s ability to provide adequate care in rural and frontier counties needs to be ramped up so they can be an effective first line of response for persons in mental health crisis. SB17-207 allows for people who are experiencing a mental health crisis to be treated with appropriate care in the appropriate facility, rather than be treated as criminals. We believe this is in line with basic human rights and dignity and we urge you to vote yes.
For these reasons, we support SB17-207, and urge you to vote yes!
Vote NO! on SB17-071
To Protect the Rights of People with Disabilities
Vote NO! - Disability Law Colorado strongly opposes Senate Bill 17-071, which changes the number of required Voting Service and Polling Centers (VSPCs) from one for each 30,000 active voters to one for each 75,000 active voters and removes the requirement that VSPCs be open on the first Saturday during the 15 day period prior to Election Day.
How This Bill Affects People with Disabilities – By reducing the number of VSPCs available in the first week of Colorado’s early voting period, people with disabilities will face greater barriers and challenges during the election process that will inevitably result in disenfranchisement. Colorado has made significant progress over the past several years by creating a more accessible election system by implementing an early voting period, ADA compliant VSPCs, and same day registration. This progress has made it much more likely that a person with a disability will have the opportunity to vote and participate in Colorado’s elections alongside non-disabled voters. Disability Law Colorado’s concern is that this bill eliminates services during early voting without taking into consideration how it will disparately impact people with disabilities. Nor does the bill provide any thoughtful alternatives that could replace these services. This legislation places Colorado on a regressive path when it comes to providing equal opportunities for people with disabilities during the election process.
Become an Advocate
If you are interested in supporting our advocacy or legislative analysis work, there are many different ways that you can get involved:
- Become a Partner. We work in collaboration with a broad range of partners to make change in Colorado. If your organization or law firm is committed to defending or advancing the rights of people with disabilities, we invite you to partner with us.
- Testimonies. Families and individuals who can testify before policy makers about their experiences are some of the most powerful partners in bringing about legislative changes. If you have a story to tell, please contact us.
- Citizen Activists. We welcome volunteers who are willing to advocate on behalf of people with disabilities. If you’re interested in volunteering your time, please contact us.
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