Gov Signs Bills to Protect and Better Serve Coloradans With Disabilities

DENVER, CO — Governor Jared Polis today signed legislation that will ensure that state resources are in compliance with federal anti-discrimination laws and revamp training to improve first responder interactions with people with disabilities. 

“Every Coloradan should be able to access state services and information online, but not all state websites and services are accessible to people with disabilities,” said Rep. David Ortiz, D-Denver. “During the pandemic, some Coloradans weren’t able to get critical information or had to wait longer to access it because state websites didn’t meet accessibility standards. The bill Governor Polis signed today will bring Colorado’s state government inline with federal standards to ensure everyone can use and access state services online.” 

HB21-1110, sponsored by Representative David Ortiz, requires that all rules promulgated by Colorado departments are at least as strong as the Americans with Disabilities Act. The law tasks state agencies with developing an accessibility plan that enables an individual with a disability to access digital content with the same privacy and ease of use as individuals without disabilities. 

“Today, Colorado is taking an important step forward to ensure that first responders have the training and tools necessary to guarantee safe and appropriate outcomes while interacting with people with disabilities,” said Rep. Meg Froelich, D-Denver. “This new law will bring people together and give voice to people in the disability community to better inform law enforcement, prevent tragedies and protect people with disabilities, who we know are disproportionately more likely to be the victims of crimes and have unique needs and considerations for preserving their wellbeing.”

HB21-1122, sponsored by Representatives Meg Froelich and Colin Larson, establishes a twelve-person commission tasked with performing a detailed study of existing training for peace officers on interactions with persons with disabilities and provide a report to the POST Board by February 28, 2022. The bill requires the resulting curriculum be implemented for basic training and the annual in-service training by July 1, 2022. Once the curriculum is implemented, the commission must monitor the training process, assess any challenges and the effectiveness of the training to present and suggest to the POST Board.

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