Common Interests instead of Special Interests

I believe that our state and federal governments must work for ordinary Americans, not against them. I believe the focus must be on the issues that unite us for the common good.

Protecting Colorado Families and Growing Our Economy

Since the economic crisis of 2008, many Aurora and Colorado families have been struggling. While in the Colorado State House,  I’ve sponsored or supported many bills to create good, high paying jobs throughout the state.  Because of the innovative legislation we’ve passed to expand our economy, Colorado is now the fastest growing economy in the country.  Unemployment has plummeted from a high of almost 10% to 4.3% for July, 2015.  The next Colorado update will occur on Sept. 18, 2015 .  The National Unemployment rate is 5.3%.

Effective January 1, 2015 the minimum wage in Colorado is $8.23.  And, for “tipped” employees, the minimum wage is now $5.21.  A step in the right direction.  But it is not hard to see that living on either hourly wage in Colorado is a real struggle.  There is more to be done!

One of the legislature’s key roles is to approve a balanced state budget to provide services and protect citizens.  I have worked across the aisle to balance our budget while maintaining Colorado’s values, including our commitment to quality public education, access to affordable healthcare and fairness in contracting on state projects.

Throughout the 2016 legislative session, as your state representative, I pledge to continue to put the needs of Colorado families and small businesses first.  As I have in past sessions.  I will continue to support education,  consumer protections and measures that provide opportunities for those who want to enter the new energy economy. I am also remaining vigilant in the area of oil and gas development to make sure we protect public health and safety as we develop new energy resources.

Colorado Health Care

In Colorado, the The Affordable Care Act is working!  Indeed, estimates are that 94% of the population now has healthcare coverage!  The previous percentage of coverage was at 84%.  The actual percentage figures will be released later this fall, and will be reflected here.

During the 2015 legislative session these are a few of the health related bills that passed:

Senate Bill 15 Requires insurance carriers to provide coverage for autism spectrum disorders at a cmparable level   to physical health services.

Senate Bill 228 established a periodic review of Medicaid provider reimbursement rates so that each rate is reviewed at least once every five years.

House Bill 1039  allows nursing homes and other institutions to donate unused and unexpired medications to nonprofits.

House Bill 1309 allows qualified dental hygienists to place a temporary filing on a tooth under remote supervision through a “teledentistry” model.

Senate Bill 197 permits advanced practice nurses (APN’s)  to prescribe medication after 1,000 hours of training under a physician or an APN with prescriptive authority, as long as the APN in training has at least three years of clinical experience.

House Bill 1242  requires that hospitals ask patients or their guardians to designate a caregiver, someone who will help with the care at home, within 24 hours of arriving at the hospital.

COLORADO BUDGET: states the following in their 2015 legislative report:

A Balanced Budget that Invests in our State

With this budget, we were able to invest in the future of Colorado. We were able to increase funding for education, child welfare, transportation, senior services and capital construction while at the same time maintaining a balanced and responsible budget.

  • Every year, the legislature must uphold its constitutional requirement to pass a balanced budget.
  • Unlike the federal government, whose budget runs a major deficit every year, Colorado will not have to worry about going into the red since we have balanced our budget.
  • We were unable to invest nearly $245 million in this year’s budget due to TABOR set asides as a result of Colorado reaching the TABOR cap.
  • Each year, we must allocate funds to certain programs before we look at anything else in the budget. This year, those allocations included a 6.5% reserve dedication (rainy day fund), $128 million for transportation funding, $184 million for Medicaid caseload increases, $63 million for Department of Corrections caseload increases, nearly $200 million for education funding and $126 million for Senior Homestead property tax exemptions.
  • This year’s budget comprised of $10.9 billion in general fund spending and $26.4 billion overall.