House sets State Auditor on Colo’s Health Exchange. Report threat on locations passes unanimously. Both Chambers commemorate fallen soldier.

First steps of Colorado Health Exchange audit bill draws no acrimony. Seriously. 


We were all expecting an virulent floor throw-down when HB 1257 finally came up for second reading in the House today.

Sponsored by Republican Representatives Dan Nordberg of Colorado Springs and Jerry Sonnenberg of Sterling, the bill expands the State Auditor’s authority to include investigating the state’s health exchange, Connect for Health Colorado.

The Auditor already looks into dozens of Colorado’s public organizations each fiscal year, including the Governor’s office and the Secretary of State.

“Under current law the Office of the State Auditor only has the authority to review monies received [by Connect for Health]. This doesn’t address areas of paramount concern like information technology and security systems used to safeguard consumer information, as well as operating projections and the sustainability of exchange,” Nordberg said.

In response, there as no acrimony — none — despite a long history of bitterness about health care reform.

The measure passed smoothly on a voice vote, having picked up some bipartisan support in the House Committee on Health, Insurance, & Environment. It likely won’t get a final hearing in the House until next week.


Location, location, location. Bill mandating reporting threats on places — not just people — gains momentum

Much of the talk surrounding last session’s great gun-control debate involved some lawmakers calling for more health care measures to prevent gun violence . Today, the House unanimously passed a HB 1271, from Rep. Jovan Melton of Aurora, which would make it mandatory for mental health providers to report any threats they hear targeted on places, not just people

Given Colorado’s history with school and movie theater shootings, the measure appeals to the common sense of partisans on both sides of the aisle.

You can read more about the bill in yesterday’s notebook. The measure now heads Senate-side where it is sponsored by Linda Newell of Littleton.


Naming a bridge for a fallen soldier 

Almost a decade ago, Justin L. Vasquez of Manzanola was killed in Iraq while trying to help fellow army soldiers who had already been attacked. He was 26-years-old with a wife and child. Today both the Senate and the House unanimously passed a resolution to name a bridge near his hometown on the southeastern plains in honor of the Staff Sargent, who posthumously was granted a Purple Heart.

“To have a bridge named after Staff Sargent Vasquez in my district is not only a great honor for me, but for the state of Colorado,” said Rep. Clarice Navarro-Ratzlaff of Pueblo.

The “SSGT Justin L. Vasquez Memorial Bridge” spans the Arkansas River about 1.5 miles south of Manzanola.