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March 7, 2024

Disability Advocacy Day Highlights New State Office and Key Legislation

DENVER, CO – Representative David Ortiz, Lieutenant Governor Dianne Primavera, Executive Director of Disability Law Colorado, Andrew Romanoff, and other disability advocates today outlined priority legislation and revealed the new Office of Opportunities of Coloradans with Disabilities.

“As I enter my final legislative session, I’m beyond proud of the laws we’ve passed over the years to improve basic access and look forward to a future where the accessibility issues faced by my community are fully addressed,” said Rep. David Ortiz, D-Littleton. “Today, we highlighted some of our priority legislation, including a new bill that would create the Office of Opportunities of Coloradans with Disabilities. Alongside disability advocates and state leaders, we’re taking the lead on breaking down accessibility barriers faced by our neighbors to create a safer, more equitable Colorado for all.”

Some of the bills Rep. Ortiz highlighted during the press conference include:

  • HB24-1360, Colorado Disability Opportunity Office. This bill would create a new office within the Department of Labor and Employment. The goal of this office would be to implement a statewide strategy to facilitate economic stability for people with disabilities and promote successful economic, social, and community integration.

  • HB24-1067, Ballot Access for Candidates with Disabilities. This bill would require the continuation of the caucus process to make it more accessible for people with disabilities to run for office. The bill would also require video conferencing participation options for a precinct caucus or a party assembly, unless they do not have access to a broadband network provider.

  • HB24-1165, Accessibility at Denver International Airport (DIA). This bill would mandate basic access in specific areas of DIA, including certain minimum accessibility features such as way-finding features and accessible bathrooms with changing tables in each concourse. This bill would also establish an advisory committee within the airport to support expanding and improving accessibility features as the airport grows.

Other priority bills outlined by Rep. Ortiz include preventing evictions (HB24-1098), curbing workplace violence against health care professionals (HB24-1066), updating prescription drug labels to be more accessible to those who have a difficult time seeing or reading (HB24-1115), modifying rental units for those with a disability (HB24-1318), improving access to EV charging stations (HB24-1161), increasing access to testifying in public meetings (HB24-1168), and supporting youth with disabilities in school (HB24-1063), among others.

Rep. Ortiz has been a long-time champion for disability rights at the Colorado State Capitol. He has led the charge in passing multiple bills to ensure Coloradans with a disability have the opportunity for legal recourse if they are discriminated against, expanding the youth prosthetic coverage law, creating the Rights of Coloradans with Disabilities task force, in addition to two trailblazing right to repair laws specifically for wheelchair users.

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