House rides line between identity protection and voter access
A Senate bill sponsored in the House by Fruita Republican Rep. Jared Wright, SB 131, which would protect drivers from identity theft by pulling their address and signature from vehicle registration cards, passed a final vote today after being amended yesterday.
“Representative Wright, I commend your to work protect people from identity theft, but an unintended consequence would be to remove IDs acceptable for voters to use at polling places,” noted Rep. Dominick Moreno of Commerce City.
Wright said that making it harder for people to vote was never the intention of the bill and supported Moreno’s amendment to keep addresses on vehicle registration cards but not signatures.
The bill heads to the Senate, where members will approve the amendment.
Relief for emergency responder families
House Bill 1277 would ensure that when the Governor calls national guards-people to serve within the state — like during a flood or fire — those responders’ families are eligible for the same relief funds available to military and national guard families with a member serving overseas.
In order for the family to become eligible for assistance, the deployed member must be mobilized for at least 30 days. The bill was also amended to start as early as possible, June of this year, ahead of the fire season.
“We’re honoring our military both when they’re called to service outside the country and outside of Colorado and when they’re called to service in state,” said bill sponsor Sen. Nancy Todd of Aurora.
The bill got initial approval today and will likely get a final vote this week.
Senate gets hip to HIPPA
Denver Senator Irene Aguilar’s bill to standardize fees for third parties requesting medical records, and to modernize the deliver of those records, got initial approval in the Senate today. House Bill 1186 sets guidelines on how much qualified folks — like caregivers and alternative health providers — need to pay for those records.
Senator Owen Hill of Colorado Springs worried that setting down fees for HIPPA at the level of dollars and cents would skew the market and potentially threaten a patient’s privacy.
“I think this bill undermines our ability to have a well functioning health care system,” he argued, saying that setting the fee at exactly $18.53, as the bill does, might encourage administrators to take less time ensuring HIPPA compliance on a complex set of documents or perhaps to exclude records all together.
“The bill basically continues the status quo. The rate caps proposed by the bill have been in place from the board of health for several years. They’re comparable to what you see in other states,” said Aguilar. She added that after some amendments, the bill excluded some professionals, like coroners or occupational therapists, for having to pay for records.
The bill won initial approval in he House but likely won’t come up for a final vote until next week, since the House will be working on the annual budget.
Colorado agriculture appreciation day
The House spent an hour this morning discussing a resolution to make today official Colorado Agriculture Day. The House ultimately added the entire roll call as sponsors to the resolution. They also watched this video: