House OK for Dems’ Elder Coloradans Package

(April 15) – The House gave final approval this morning to two bills to increase the economic and physical security of Colorado retirees.

HB15-1018, sponsored by Rep. Jessie Danielson, D-Wheat Ridge, increases efforts to stop those who cheat, rob or physically abuse the elderly. Current law requires some types of professionals, ranging from physicians to clergy members to law enforcement officials to pharmacists, to report elder abuse when they see it. The bill expands the list to include victims’ advocates associated with law enforcement agencies and call-n-ride drivers.

“This bill takes another step toward allowing Colorado seniors to live the safe, secure retirements they deserve,” Rep. Danielson said after the 36-29 vote.

Remarkably, nearly the entire Republican caucus voted against an innocuous, virtually cost-free bill to make Colorado seniors safer. Having some explaining to do to their older constituents are Republican Reps. Jon Becker of Fort Morgan, J. Paul Brown of Ignacio, Perry Buck of Windsor, Terri Carver of Colorado Springs, Don Coram of Montrose, Brian DelGrosso of Loveland, Tim Dore of Elizabeth, Justin Everett of Littleton, Stephen Humphrey of Severance, Janak Joshi of Colorado Springs, Jon Keyser of Morrison, Gordon Klingenschmitt of Colorado Springs, Lois Landgraf of Fountain, Polly Lawrence of Littleton, Paul Lundeen of Monument, Clarice Navarro of Pueblo, Patrick Neville of Castle Rock, Dan Nordberg of Colorado Springs, Kevin Priola of Henderson, Bob Rankin of Carbondale, Kim Ransom of Littleton, Kit Roupe of Colorado Springs, Lori Saine of Firestone, Lang Sias of Arvada, Jack Tate of Centennial, Dan Thurlow of Grand Junction, Kevin Van Winkle of Highlands Ranch, Yeulin Willett of Grand Junction and Jim Wilson of Salida.

Also passing today on a 44-21 vote was HB15-1033, sponsored by Rep. Dianne Primavera, D-Broomfield. The bill orders a strategic action plan to anticipate and respond to the significant changes Colorado will have to make to accommodate the increasing number of residents 50 years of age and older.

The ratio of working adults to senior citizens in Colorado will drop by a third in 15 years, triggering seismic economic shifts as more Coloradans live on fixed retirement incomes, reducing tax revenue but increasing demand for health care, senior housing and a variety of other services.

Rep. Primavera’s bill creates a strategic planning group appointed by the Governor to make recommendations by November 2016 to address the impacts of this unprecedented demographic shift.

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