Denver, CO– Governor Jared Polis today signed four bills into law to protect vulnerable adults, provide equal access to clinical trials for Medicaid recipients and ensure communities across the state have a reliable and modern emergency response system.
SB20-129, sponsored by Representatives Meg Froelich and Kim Ransom, protects those with court-appointed guardians by ensuring they are notified about court proceedings and understand critical information relating to the case, including their rights as a respondent and the resources available to them. It requires that a court-appointed counsel be appointed to cases where an adult with diminished capacities is involved and requires the counsel submit a report to the court in writing articulating the individual’s existing support community and decision making processes and make recommendations to strengthen the individual’s support network.
“Navigating through the judicial system is challenging as it is,” said Rep. Meg Froelich, D-Englewood. “Individuals with appointed guardians need help as they make huge fiscal decisions that can affect their lives for years to come, but that doesn’t mean transactions or court proceedings should happen without their knowledge or input. This law will go a long way to protect at-risk individuals with appointed guardians.”
Sponsored by Representative Susan Lontine, HB20-1302 protects at-risk adults by strengthening existing law requiring employers in Colorado to conduct a CAPS check (Colorado’s Adult Protective Services) if an employee will be directly in contact with an at-risk adult. Employers must also provide counties access to relevant records and persons to investigate potential mistreatment of at-risk adults.
“If your business is to serve or work with at-risk adults, then your employees should undergo a proper background check,” said Rep. Lontine, D-Denver. “No one who has a record of taking advantage of or abusing a vulnerable Coloradan should be hired for a position that works directly with at-risk adults.”
HB20-1232,sponsored by Representative Dafna Michaelson Jenet and Representative Larry Liston, allows Medicaid patients to have their routine costs of care covered while they are participating in a clinical trial. Without this coverage guarantee for costs associated with clinical trials, Medicaid members face financial barriers to participate in these trials, leaving vulnerable Coloradans without access to new, life-saving medical treatments for rare conditions.
“Increasing access to clinical trials for patients of all backgrounds is essential to closing health disparities and ensuring the safety of new treatments,” said Rep. Michaelson Jenet, D-Commerce City. “This bill protects Medicaid recipients, often members of underrepresented or vulnerable populations, and it levels the playing field so they can equally access breakthrough medical treatments, which is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
HB20-1293, sponsored by Representatives Julie McCluskie and Rod Pelton, will provide badly needed resources to help communities upgrade their emergency response systems, especially in rural areas, to ensure all parts of the state have a modern 9-1-1 system. The bill eliminates the cap on 9-1-1 telephone charges and the fee on prepaid wireless phones as well as establishes a new, statewide 9-1-1 surcharge to support local systems. The new funding structure balances local control with state support and is critical to financing 9-1-1 system modernization efforts across the state.
“In an emergency, Coloradans depend on a timely and professional response, and that response depends on a modern 9-1-1 system,” said Rep. Julie McCluskie, D-Dillon. “Communities across our state, and especially in rural areas, are struggling to fund badly needed upgrades to these critical systems. I’m proud we came together in a bipartisan way to help meet the needs of our communities and keep them safe.”