AARP Colorado 2020 Legislative Wrap-up

Posted on 07/08/20 by Angela Cortez

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AARP Colorado is pleased to report on our 2020 legislative activities. All bills referenced in this report were signed by Governor Jared Polis unless otherwise noted. An *asterisk denotes an AARP priority. Click here for more information.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Colorado Legislature was out for several weeks during the 2020 legislative session. The pandemic also caused a $3.3 billion shortfall in the state's budget. Relief funds from Congress were not able to save state legislators from having to make deep budget cuts. Every area of the budget was impacted.

Colorado Secure Savings

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*Senate Bill 20-200, the Colorado Secure Savings Program by Senators Brittney Pettersen and Kerry Donovan and Representatives K.C. Becker and Tracy Kraft-Tharp.
Status: Signed by Gov. Polis.
Summary: In the 2019 legislative session, AARP supported legislation that created the Colorado Secure Savings Plan Board. In February 2020, the Colorado Secure Savings Plan Board unanimously recommended Colorado create a state-facilitated, automatic retirement savings program for all Coloradans without access to workplace plans. Based on their detailed analysis, the new Colorado Secure Savings plan will be based on thorough market and financial analyses and managed by a financial services company. The program will be tied to individuals, making it easy for every hardworking Coloradan to automatically invest in their future and take their retirement savings with them when they change jobs, or if they work multiple jobs.

Utilities

*Senate Bill 20-30, Consumer Protections for Utility Consumers by Senators Leroy Garcia and Robert Rodriguez and Representative Daneya Esgar.
Status: Signed by Gov. Polis.
Summary: Supported by AARP, SB 30 will require utilities to continue to give notice to customers and allow them a chance to rectify issues prior to disconnecting their service.

Energy Bills AARP Opposed

Senate Bill 20-13, Promote Innovative and Clean Energy Technologies by Sen. Rodriguez.
Status: Rejected in Senate State Affairs Committee.
Summary: SB 13 would have allowed regulated utilities to recoup the cost of failed projects through rate base charges to consumers, the vast majority of whom are residential customers. AARP supports sustainable energy, but also argues for fair and affordable rates, especially in these uncertain times.

Senate Bill 20-190, Boost Renewable Energy Transmission Investment by Senator Chris Hansen.
Status: Died in Senate State Affairs Committee.
Summary: SB 190 called for an investigation into whether Colorado electric utilities should join a Regional Transmission Organization (RTO). There are many reasons why joining an RTO would be bad for Colorado, including the fact that Colorado would be ceding authority, now vested in the state Public Utilities Commission (PUC), to an RTO composed of at least 10 states. Colorado would have to pay for transmission in other states, even if it does not directly affect the state. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which has been pushing an agenda to revive the use of coal, would oversee Colorado transmission through an RTO when the state plans to go to 80 percent renewables by 2030 and 100 percent by 2050. At a time when the state is cutting back its budget severely because of the Coronavirus pandemic, joining an RTO would force state utilities and the PUC to attend regional meetings that could number in the hundreds per year.

Pensions

House Bill 20-1044, Modify Pension Plans administer by FPPA Fire and Police Association by Representatives Alec Garnett, Tony Exum and Shannon Bird and Senators Joann Ginal and Jack Tate.
Status: Signed by Gov. Polis.
Summary: Supported by AARP, HB 1044 makes the employer and employee contribution rates equal, reduces probability of statutory plan rollbacks, increases the likelihood of Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs) in the long term, and allows the FPPA Board to implement additional equal-member and employer-contribution increases agreed upon through a member and employer election.

House Bill 20-1379, Suspend Direct Distribution To PERA Public Employees Retirement Association For 2020-21 Fiscal Year by Representative Kim Ransom and Senator Bob Rankin.
Status: Signed by Gov. Polis.
Summary: This bill, opposed by AARP, was part of the budget package to reduce state spending. HB 1379 suspends a $225 million direct distribution of state funds to the Colorado Public Employee's Retirement Association that took place on July 1, 2020.

Health Care and Prescription Drugs

House Bill 20-1236, Health Care Coverage Easy Enrollment Program by Representatives Susan Lontine and Perry Will and Senators Jack Tate and Jeff Bridges.
Status: Signed by Gov. Polis.
Summary: HB 1236, supported by AARP, creates a health care coverage enrollment program that uses information gathered from state individual income tax return forms to aid uninsured individuals in obtaining health care coverage.

Senate Bill 20-119, Expand Canadian Prescription Drug Import Program by Sen. Ginal and Representative Sonya Jaquez-Lewis.
Status: Rejected in House Health and Insurance Committee for lack of funding with COVID-19 related budget issues.
Summary: SB 119 would have increased the Canadian prescription drug importation program to include prescription drug suppliers from nations other than Canada upon the enactment of legislation by the U.S. Congress authorizing such practice. AARP had supported this legislation.

Other Bills

Senate Bill 20-193, Creation Of The Financial Empowerment Office by Senators Julie Gonzales and Dominick Moreno and and Representatives James Coleman and Kerry Tipper.
Status: Killed in Senate Finance Committee due to fewer funds following the COVID-19 outbreak. The bill would have created the financial empowerment office. The office would have been authorized to develop methods to increase access to safe and affordable financial products; tools and resources that advance, increase, and improve Colorado residents' financial management; and community-informed policies and systems that dismantle systemic barriers to building ownership and wealth for all, especially low-income communities and communities of color. AARP had supported this legislation.

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House Bill 20-1294, Replace "Illegal Alien" with Undocumented Immigrant by Rep. Lontine and Sen. Gonzales.
Status: Died in Senate State Affairs Committee.
Summary: This bill, supported by AARP, would have replaced the term "illegal alien" with the identifying words undocumented immigrant as they relate to public contracts for services.

Senate Bill 20-93, Consumer and Employee Dispute Resolution Fairness by Senators Mike Foote and Steve Fenberg and Representatives Mike Weissman and Dominique Jackson.
Status: Rejected in the House Finance Committee.
Summary: SB 93 was an effort to add protections for individuals filing claims against businesses or employers in arbitration court. It would have established ethical standards for arbitrators and increase transparency around the process. AARP supported this bill for its protections of individuals in nursing facilities.

At the Public Utilities Commission

Beginning in 2022, most residential consumers in Colorado will be able to choose how their electric rates are charged as Xcel Energy converts to two-way "smart metering." AARP, along with the Office of Consumer Counsel, advocated for consumer choice of rates after seeing how and when electricity is consumed. The agreement was filed with the PUC on June 12. However, it is subject to final approval by the PUC later this summer. Consumers will be able to choose between a time of use (TOU) or flat rate billing plan. The goal of both options is to be revenue neutral to residential customers although bills could vary based on usage and time of use. For more information, click here.

Votes: AARP asked for a yes vote on both SB 200 and SB 30.
Senate Bill 200

Legislator NameHouse Final vote
Jeni Arndt (D)
Y
Mark Baisley (R)
N
KC Becker (D)
Y
Adrienne Benavidez (D)
Y
Shannon Bird (D)
Y
Rod Bockenfeld (R)
N
Perry Buck (R)
N
Janet Buckner (D)
Y
Bri Buentello (D)
Y
Yadira Caraveo (D)
Y
Terri Carver (R)
N
Marc Catlin (R)
N
Richard Champion (R)
N
James Coleman (D)
Y
Lisa Cutter (D)
Y
Monica Duran (D)
Y
Daneya Esgar (D)
Y
Tony Exum Sr. (D)
Y
Meg Froelich (D)
Y
Alec Garnett (D)
Y
Tim Geitner (R)
N
Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez (D)
Y
Matthew Gray (D)
Y
Leslie Herod (D)
Y
Richard Holtorf (R)
N
Edie Hooton (D)
Y
Stephen Humphrey (R)
N
Dominique Jackson (D)
Y
Sonya Jaquez Lewis (D)
Y
Chris Kennedy (D)
Y
Cathy Kipp (D)
Y
Tracy Kraft-Tharp (D)
Y
Lois Landgraf (R)
N
Colin Larson (R)
N
Larry Liston (R)
N
Susan Lontine (D)
Y
Julie McCluskie (D)
Y
Hugh McKean (R)
N
Barbara McLachlan (D)
Y
Jovan Melton (D)
Y
Dafna Michaelson Jenet (D)
Y
Kyle Mullica (D)
Y
Patrick Neville (R)
N
Rodney Pelton (R)
N
Kim Ransom (R)
N
Janice Rich (R)
N
Dylan Roberts (D)
Y
Lori Saine (R)
N
Shane Sandridge (R)
N
Jonathan Singer (D)
Y
Emily Sirota (D)
Y
Marc Snyder (D)
Y
Matt Soper (R)
N
Tom Sullivan (D)
Y
Kerry Tipper (D)
Y
Brianna Titone (D)
Y
Alex Valdez (D)
Y
Donald Valdez (D)
Y
Kevin Van Winkle (R)
N
Mike Weissman (D)
Y
Perry Will (R)
N
Dave Williams (R)
N
James Wilson (R)
N
Steven Woodrow (D)
Y
Mary Young (D)
Y
House Totals
41240

Votes in the Senate

Legislator NameSenate Final vote
Jeff Bridges (D)
Y
John Cooke (R)
N
Don Coram (R)
N
Larry Crowder (R)
N
Jessie Danielson (D)
A
Kerry Donovan (D)
Y
Stephen Fenberg (D)
Y
Rhonda Fields (D)
Y
Mike Foote (D)
Y
Leroy Garcia (D)
Y
Robert Gardner (R)
N
Joann Ginal (D)
Y
Julie Gonzales (D)
Y
Christopher Hansen (D)
Y
Dennis Hisey (R)
N
Chris Holbert (R)
N
Pete Lee (D)
Y
Paul Lundeen (R)
N
Vicki Marble (R)
N
Dominick Moreno (D)
Y
Brittany Pettersen (D)
Y
Kevin Priola (R)
N
Bob Rankin (R)
N
Robert Rodriguez (D)
Y
Ray Scott (R)
N
James Smallwood (R)
N
Jerry Sonnenberg (R)
N
Tammy Story (D)
Y
Jack Tate (R)
N
Nancy Todd (D)
Y
Angela Williams (D)
Y
Faith Winter (D)
Y
Rob Woodward (R)
N
Rachel Zenzinger (D)
Y
Senate Totals
18151


Senate Bill 30

Legislator NameHouse Final vote
Jeni Arndt (D)
Y
Mark Baisley (R)
N
KC Becker (D)
Y
Adrienne Benavidez (D)
Y
Shannon Bird (D)
Y
Rod Bockenfeld (R)
N
Perry Buck (R)
N
Janet Buckner (D)
Y
Bri Buentello (D)
Y
Yadira Caraveo (D)
Y
Terri Carver (R)
N
Marc Catlin (R)
N
Richard Champion (R)
N
James Coleman (D)
Y
Lisa Cutter (D)
Y
Monica Duran (D)
Y
Daneya Esgar (D)
Y
Tony Exum Sr. (D)
Y
Meg Froelich (D)
Y
Alec Garnett (D)
Y
Tim Geitner (R)
N
Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez (D)
Y
Matthew Gray (D)
Y
Leslie Herod (D)
Y
Richard Holtorf (R)
N
Edie Hooton (D)
Y
Stephen Humphrey (R)
N
Dominique Jackson (D)
Y
Sonya Jaquez Lewis (D)
Y
Chris Kennedy (D)
Y
Cathy Kipp (D)
Y
Tracy Kraft-Tharp (D)
Y
Lois Landgraf (R)
A
Colin Larson (R)
N
Larry Liston (R)
N
Susan Lontine (D)
Y
Julie McCluskie (D)
Y
Hugh McKean (R)
N
Barbara McLachlan (D)
Y
Jovan Melton (D)
Y
Dafna Michaelson Jenet (D)
Y
Kyle Mullica (D)
Y
Patrick Neville (R)
N
Rodney Pelton (R)
N
Kim Ransom (R)
N
Janice Rich (R)
N
Dylan Roberts (D)
Y
Lori Saine (R)
N
Shane Sandridge (R)
N
Jonathan Singer (D)
Y
Emily Sirota (D)
Y
Marc Snyder (D)
Y
Matt Soper (R)
N
Tom Sullivan (D)
Y
Kerry Tipper (D)
Y
Brianna Titone (D)
Y
Alex Valdez (D)
Y
Donald Valdez (D)
Y
Kevin Van Winkle (R)
N
Mike Weissman (D)
Y
Perry Will (R)
N
Dave Williams (R)
N
James Wilson (R)
N
Steven Woodrow (D)
Y
Mary Young (D)
Y
House Totals
41231

Votes in the Senate

Legislator NameSenate Final vote
Jeff Bridges (D)
Y
John Cooke (R)
Y
Don Coram (R)
Y
Larry Crowder (R)
N
Jessie Danielson (D)
Y
Kerry Donovan (D)
Y
Stephen Fenberg (D)
Y
Rhonda Fields (D)
Y
Mike Foote (D)
Y
Leroy Garcia (D)
Y
Robert Gardner (R)
N
Joann Ginal (D)
Y
Julie Gonzales (D)
Y
Christopher Hansen (D)
Y
Owen Hill (R)
Y
Dennis Hisey (R)
Y
Chris Holbert (R)
N
Pete Lee (D)
Y
Paul Lundeen (R)
N
Vicki Marble (R)
N
Dominick Moreno (D)
Y
Brittany Pettersen (D)
Y
Kevin Priola (R)
Y
Bob Rankin (R)
Y
Robert Rodriguez (D)
Y
Ray Scott (R)
A
James Smallwood (R)
N
Jerry Sonnenberg (R)
Y
Tammy Story (D)
Y
Jack Tate (R)
Y
Nancy Todd (D)
Y
Angela Williams (D)
Y
Faith Winter (D)
Y
Rob Woodward (R)
Y
Rachel Zenzinger (D)
Y
Senate Totals
2861

These selected votes provide only a limited view of each legislator’s voting record. This selected voting record does not highlight unrecorded matters such as work in committees and constituent services. This selected voting record does not reflect the overall qualification a legislator has for public office and should not be the sole determinate in evaluating a legislator.

This story is provided by AARP Colorado. Visit the AARP Colorado page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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