Bills to Increase Lobby Transparency & Streamline Behavioral Health Services

Weissman-Cutter sponsored bills moving through legislature

(Mar. 27) –  Rep. Lisa Cutter’s bills to improve lobbyist transparency and streamline the behavioral health services into one license are moving through the legislature.

Yesterday, the House State, Veterans, and Military committee approved a bill, sponsored by Rep. Cutter, D-Jefferson County, and Rep. Mike Weissman, D-Aurora, that would increase the reporting requirements for lobbyists. This afternoon, the House Public Health Care and Human Services committee gave approval to her bipartisan bill focuses on the licensing and certification process of behavioral health entities.

“Colorado has received C and D ratings on lobbyist transparency from the Sunlight Foundation and the Center for Public Integrity,” said Rep. Cutter. “In my career as communications consultant, I advocate for ethical and transparent communications, and that is also an important focus for me at the legislature. I do believe that most lobbyists have a desire to be in compliance. But it is important to shore up cracks in the system and work restore public trust in government. This bill is one small step in that direction.”

HB19-1248 requires more frequent reporting of relevant information by professional lobbyists, clarifies that lobbyists that are also attorneys are not privy to attorney-client confidentiality, and it clarifies that a professional lobbyist must disclose who their ultimate client is, i.e., disclose the name of the client who employs or retains the professional services of the lobbyist.

“As elected officials, I believe that we should be guardians and protectors of the public trust. There is not a tremendous amount of public trust in political processes right now,” said Rep. Weissman. “I do believe we must do what we can to shore that up. There are few better ways to do that than bring transparency to all processes around this legislature and that’s what this bill does.”

HB19-1248 passed by a vote of 6-3. It now heads to the House Appropriations committee.

A bipartisan bill sponsored by Rep. Cutter to streamline behavioral health services was approved in committee today.

“These policy reforms are expressly designed to increase access to care and services by better streamlining the regulatory structures that oversee facilities,” Rep. Cutter said of HB19-1237.

HB19-1237 combines various licenses for the provision of behavioral health services into one license as a behavioral health entity, to be administered by the state Board of Health. It will reduce the regulatory burden on facilities, and ultimately help people in need of mental health or substance abuse treatment.

In June 2018, former Governor Hickenlooper formed a taskforce of stakeholders to complete a comprehensive review of current licensing and certification of behavioral health facilities and develop recommendations. This bill includes the recommendations from that taskforce.

HB19-1237 was approved on a unanimous vote by the Public Health and Human Services committee. It now heads to the House Finance committee.

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