(Feb. 20) – Three bills sponsored by Rep. Tony Exum Sr. advanced in the legislative process today.

Rep. Exum’s bill to assist the families of state employees who die in the line of duty passed House Public Health Care & Human Services Committee on a unanimous 13-0 vote.

SB18-148, sponsored in the House by Reps. Exum, D-Colorado Springs, and Polly Lawrence, R-Roxborough Park, requires the state to continue paying medical and dental benefits to the dependents of a state employee who dies in a work-related death for 12 months from the end of the month in which the work-related death occurs. The issue came to light after the recent death of State Trooper Cody Donahue, whose family lost their health insurance only a few days after his death.

“This bill cannot bring back those who lose their lives in service to our state,” Rep. Exum said. “But it can be a gesture of our respect for their sacrifice and a measure of our appreciation for their grieving families.”

SB18-148 now goes to the House floor.

The first Exum bill to advance this afternoon was HB18-1078, which is also sponsored by Rep. Lois Landgraf, R-Fountain. The bill would require that active duty military members and veterans appearing in court as defendants be advised of the availability of substance abuse treatment and mental health treatment programs.

“These so-called veterans courts have proven effective in getting many veterans what they really need: treatment, not jail time,” Rep. Exum told the House Judiciary Committee. “We should do everything we can to honor the service of our veterans and make sure they are productive members of their communities after they return from battle.”

The Judiciary Committee voted 11-0 to advance HB18-1078 to the House floor.

On a 10-3 vote, the House Public Health Care & Human Services Committee also approved Rep. Exum’s bill to ease the application process for the state’s Aid to the Needy Disabled program. Currently, certification for the monthly $189 stipends must come from physicians, physician’s assistants, advanced practice nurses or registered nurses. HB18-1196, which now goes to the House floor, adds licensed psychologists, social workers and professional counselors to the list, easing the process for disabled applicants who regularly see psychologists, not medical professionals.

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