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2019 State Legislative Session

May 3, 2019 marked “sine die,” the final day of the 2019 state legislative session. This session, there were 23 new legislators in the House and 5 new legislators in the Senate. It was an exciting time to engage a new group of elected officials on the important work of CU across Colorado. 

Of particular importance this session were several healthcare-related bills that tackled the growing opioid crisis, the rising cost of healthcare, and healthcare access in underserved areas. 

There were also many initiatives from the Governor, the Democrats, and the Republicans in both chambers including full-day kindergarten and innovation in higher education delivery through transfer and concurrent enrollment and apprenticeship opportunities.  The legislature passed two initiatives that will go to the ballot, including a “debrucing” measure that will ask the voters if the legislature can keep the money over the TABOR cap: 1/3 to be spent on higher education, 1/3 to be spent on K12 and 1/3 to be spent on roads.  There will also be a ballot initiative to allow sports gambling in Colorado. 

There were 598 bills introduced this session. That was well under the 721 introduced in 2018, when divided partisan control and an election year generated lots of bills intended to make political statements but not necessarily pass. 

A lower percentage of bills were killed this year, and long committee hearings (one lasted 14 hours) and prolonged floor debates contributed to what seemed like a more intense session than a year ago. Our CU Team was there for those late nights and for the first time since 2006 the legislature met on Saturday.  

In an effort to promote the University’s endeavors, we engaged CU stakeholders in many activities at the Capitol including faculty presentations to committees, hosting campus groups for tours and legislator briefings, and hosting legislative events such as CU Advocacy Day.

Below is the 2019 legislative recap on the major issues impacting CU. Please visit this page for a full list of bills and links to bill text.

CU-initiated legislation:

SB19-001 Expand Medication-assisted Treatment Pilot Program (Garcia/Buentello): This bill extends the Medication-assisted Treatment Pilot Program administered within the University of Colorado for two years and increases its appropriation to $2,500,000 for two years from the Marijuana Tax Cash Fund. The new pilots will focus on counties in the San Luis Valley — Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Custer, Huerfano, Mineral, Rio Grande, and Saguache — and up to an additional two counties where a need is demonstrated are eligible to participate in the program. It will also continue the important work in Pueblo and Routt counties where the program currently operates. We worked closely with the College of Nursing at the Anschutz Medical Campus and the Center for Research into Substance Use Disorder Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Support Strategies on this bill. The President of the Senate, Leroy Garcia, sponsored SB19-001. Status: Sent to the Governor

HB19-1241 University of Colorado Training and Scholarships Rural Physicians (Buentello, Wilson/Ginal, Hisey): Beginning in the FY 2019-20 academic year, the bill requires that the University of Colorado (CU) School of Medicine provide educational support services and scholarships to students participating in the rural track program, and cover housing expenses of rural track students while located in rural or frontier areas. While the bill had broad bi-partisan support in the Legislature, it narrowly missed funding because it was competing with over 100 bills that required “new money” in a highly competitive prioritization process. The bill was ultimately postponed indefinitely in the House Appropriations Committee. Status: Postponed indefinitely

Other legislation

SB19-007 Prevent Sexual Misconduct at Higher Ed Campuses (Pettersen, Winter/McLachlan, Buckner) The bill requires each institution of higher education to adopt, periodically review, and update a policy on sexual misconduct. The bill establishes minimum requirements for the policies, including reporting options, procedures for investigations and adjudications, and protections for involved persons. It also requires institutions to provide training on awareness and prevention of sexual misconduct, the policy, and resources available to discuss such misconduct. The bill was amended to create an advisory committee of experts across the state to discuss and make recommendations on best practices in implementing federal rules when they become final. Status: Sent to the Governor

SB19-085 Equal Pay for Equal Work Act (Danielson, Petterson/Buckner, Gonzales-Gutierrez):  This bill modifies existing sex-based wage discrimination law and creates new provisions regarding transparency in wages and promotions. It increases state revenue and expenditures on an ongoing basis beginning January 1, 2021. Our lobbying team worked with the sponsors to amend the language around classifications of faculty in academia. Status: Sent to the Governor

SB19-099 Revised Uniform Athletes Agents Act 2015 (Todd/Tipper): This bill repeals and reenacts the "Revised Uniform Athlete Agents Act (2015)" (RUAAA). An athlete agent is a professional who contracts with student athletes to represent them for purposes of securing a professional sports services or endorsement contract, or who advises the athlete in financial, business, or career management issues or manages those issues on the athlete's behalf. The bill creates a registration program for athlete agents in the Division of Professions and Occupations in the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), effective January 1, 2020. Status: Sent to the Governor

SB19-188 FAMLI Family Medical Leave Insurance Program (Winter, Williams/Gray, Duran):  The original version of this bill created the Family and Medical Leave Insurance program and division (FAMLI program and division) as a state enterprise and a type 2 transfer in the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE). After many hours of debate, this bill was amended to be become a study that would research the need for this type of program in Colorado and to research the cost of the program. Status: Sent to the Governor

SB19-170 Inquiry Into College Applicant Criminal History (Rodriguez, Tate/Herod, Soper): The bill prohibits state institutions of higher education from inquiring into, requiring disclosure of, or obtaining an applicant's criminal or disciplinary history, except that institutions may inquire into an applicant's prior convictions or disciplinary history at another academic institutions related to stalking, sexual assault, and domestic violence; convictions for assault, kidnapping, voluntary manslaughter, or murder that occurred within the previous five years; pending criminal charges; and educational records related to academic performance. We worked with the bill sponsors to add language allowing for the screening of violent types of crimes to ensure campus safety. Status: Sent to the Governor

SB19-176 Expanding Concurrent Enrollment Opportunities (Lundeen, Bridges/McCluskie, Geitner): The bill makes changes to state law related to concurrent enrollment. The bill requires that concurrent enrollment be offered at no tuition cost to qualified students, and students who complete a concurrent enrollment course must receive credit that applies to high school graduation requirements and that applies to a postsecondary certificate or basic skills requirement, or credit that transfers among state institutions of higher education. Status: Sent to the Governor

SB19-190 Teacher Preparation Program Support (Todd, Rankin/McLachlan, Wilson): The bill requires that the Colorado Department of Education and the Department of Higher Education adopt guidelines and best practices for teacher preparation programs at institutions of higher education. The bill also creates a grant program to support mentor teachers who oversee pre-service teacher candidates in clinical experience. Status: Sent to the Governor

SB19-196 Colorado Quality Apprenticeship Training Act Of 2019 (Lee, Danielson/Garnett, Duran): The bill modifies contractual requirements and implements a prevailing wage requirement for state construction contracts. Our lobbying team worked with the sponsors and unions to amend the bill and change the threshold in the bill from $50K to $500K. We also added language to exempt higher education projects approved by a governing board before the implementation date of July, 2021. This will ensure that projects that have already been budgeted for and approved will not have to be pulled back and reassessed to meet the new requirements. Status: Sent to the Governor

HB19-1196 Financial Aid For Students With In-state Tuition (Gonzales-Gutierrez/Moreno): This Department of Higher Education initiated bill permits ASSET students to also be eligible for certain state-funded student financial assistance programs offered by the Department of Higher Education and administered by the institutions. Status: Sent to the Governor

HB19-1083 Athletic Trainers License (Hooton, Van Winkle/Williams, Cooke): The bill changes the term used to describe the regulation of athletic trainers from "registration" to "license" and "licensure." Status: Governor Signed  

HB19-1278 Modifications to the Uniform Election Code (Lontine/Fenberg): The bill makes several changes to the "Uniform Election Code of 1992," including changes to voter registration procedures, party filing requirements, procedures for curing ballots, provisional ballots, and other technical changes. Our lobbying team worked with the sponsors to ensure that CU Boulder could coordinate with the Boulder County Clerk’s office on the best way to implement this legislation, particularly polling locations on campus. Status: Sent to the Governor

Healthcare-related legislation:

SB19-133: Require License Practice Genetic Counseling (Ginal, Todd/Michaelson Jenet, Buckner): This bill requires that all genetic counselors in Colorado be licensed by the Division of Professions and Occupations in the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) by June 1, 2020. The bill sets forth the requirements for licensure, including that applicants be certified by certain national organizations, unless the applicant meets the criteria for a provisional license while obtaining the national certification. The bill also sets forth application and renewal processes, the scope of practice for genetic counselors, rulemaking authority, disciplinary procedures, and other provisions related to the establishment of the licensure program. Status: Sent to the Governor

SB19-228 Substance Use Disorders Prevention Measures (Winter, Moreno/Buentello, Singer): The bill provides funding for the implementation of several programs for the prevention of opioid and other substance use disorders. The bill: 

Directs the Center for Research into Substance Use Disorder Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Support Strategies at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus to conduct a statewide maternal and perinatal population-based needs assessment to gather information regarding substance use disorders among mothers and pregnant women and other mental health issues. 

Requires the Center to aid smaller communities across Colorado with grant writing, as it pertains to grant applications. Status: Sent to the Governor

SB19-079 Electronic Prescribing Controlled Substances (Todd, Priola/Esgar, Landgraf): The bill requires podiatrists, physicians, physician assistants, advanced practice nurses, and optometrists to electronically prescribe certain controlled substances. The bill minimally increases state workload on an ongoing basis. Status: Governor Signed  

HB19-1320 Hospital Community Benefit Accountability (Kennedy, Lontine/Winter):  This bill requires nonprofit hospitals to perform a community health needs assessment and create a community benefit implementation plan. Nonprofit hospitals are required to submit community benefit activities reports to the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) each year. HCPF is required to establish a reporting process through rulemaking and post reports online. Our lobbying team was able to amend the bill to ensure that our research hospitals were categorized a “community benefit.” Status: Sent to the Governor

SB19-193 Sunset Continue Colorado Medical Practice Act. (Ginal, Lee/Tipper): Under current law, the Colorado Medical Board and the regulation of physicians, physician assistants and anesthesiologist assistants, which is housed in the Department of Regulatory Agencies, is scheduled to repeal on July 1, 2019.  SB19-193 extends the repeal date to September 1, 2026, and implements some of the recommendations in the sunset review.  The bill eliminates the 60-day limit for physicians to practice with a pro bono license; removes the requirement that the board send a letter of admonition through certified mail; adds resorting to fraud to secure a license to practice as an anesthesiologist assistant to the list of unprofessional conduct; and allows the Colorado Medical Board to suspend a medical license if the professional has been convicted of a crime. Status: Sent to the Governor

SB19-234 Sunset Professional Review Committees (Rodriguez, Foote/Weissman): SB19- 234 continues the registration and reporting requirements of professional review committees in the Department of Regulatory Agencies through September 1, 2030.   Professional review committees, operating under a delegation of authority from the Colorado Medical Board and the State Board of Nursing, review and evaluate the professional conduct and the appropriateness and quality of care by physicians, physician assistants and advanced practice nurses.  At the heart of this patient safety mechanism is the confidentiality protection afforded committee members during the review and evaluation.  Status: Sent to the Governor

HB19-1088 Modify Income Tax Credit Health Care Preceptors. (Buck, Valdez D/Donovan): HB19-1088 extends the income tax credit for health care preceptors working in health care professional shortage areas through 2022.  It modifies the definition of a preceptorship to require that the preceptorship must last four working weeks, or 20 business days. Status: Sent to the Governor

HB19-1174 Out-of-Network Health Care Services (Esgar, Catlin/Gardner, Pettersen): HB19- 1174 requires health care providers, facilities and health insurance carriers to provide disclosures to consumers about the potential effects of receiving services from an out-of-network provider or at an out-of-network facility, and the “surprise bill” that may be received as a result.  The bill also establishes reimbursement schedules for out-of-network providers.  It creates an arbitration process for settling billing disputes.  The bill also adds a deceptive trade practice for health care providers and creates an unfair or deceptive for insurance carriers that fail to comply with the payment requirements for out-of-network health care services. Status: Sent to the Governor

Other bills with policy/funding implications for CU:

SB19-095 Five-Year of Higher Education Funding Formula (Todd, Holbert/Hansen, McKean): The bill requires that the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE) conduct a review of the higher education funding formula by November 1, 2019 and every five years thereafter, and submit the review report to the Governor, Joint Budget Committee, and the education committees of the General Assembly. Status: Governor Signed

HB19-1262 State Funding for Full-day Kindergarten (Wilson, McLachlan/Bridges, Fields): Under current law, the school finance formula provides funding for half-day kindergarten programs plus an additional amount of supplemental kindergarten funding. Beginning with FY 2019-20, this bill provides funding through the school finance formula for full-day kindergarten (FDK) educational programs. Students that choose to stay enrolled in FDK programs will be funded at the same amount as students enrolled full-time in other grades. Students enrolled in half-day kindergarten programs will continue to be funded as a half-day student plus the existing amount of supplemental kindergarten funding. Status: Sent to Governor

HB19-1257 Voter Approval to Retain Revenue for Ed and Transportation (Becker, McCluskie/ Court, Priola): Beginning in FY 2019-20, this bill permits the state to retain all revenue collected in excess of the state TABOR limit and to spend this revenue for public schools, higher education, and transportation projects. The bill requires approval by voters to become law. Status: Sent to Governor

HB 19-1258 Allocate Voter-approved Revenue for Education and Transportation (Becker/McCluskie, Court): Conditional on voter approval of HB 19-1257, which is referred to voters as Proposition CC, this bill allocates retained revenue in equal shares for higher education, public schools, and state and local transportation projects. It indeterminately increases state expenditures and local government revenue and expenditures on an ongoing basis. Status: Sent to Governor

Budget and Capitol Construction Update:

SB19-207 Long Appropriations Bill (Moreno/Esgar)

The final FY 2019-20 budget included the following changes for CU:

  • Higher Education Operating Funding:

Statewide $97.7 million operating increase in FY 2019-20 (12.9% increase)
Of this amount, CU will receive $28.2 million (13.1% increase) based on the funding model
The FY 2019-20 increase in state funding required CU to keep undergraduate resident tuition flat (0% increase)

  • Higher Education Financial Aid:

Statewide $23.0 million increase in need-based financial aid
Of this amount, CU will receive about $5.0 million in FY 2019-20

  • CU Anschutz – School of Medicine Funding:

Increase of $9.7 million from Upper Payment Limit (UPL) initiative to serve more Medicaid patients in Colorado.  This brings the total impact of our 2017 state budget and legislative effort to $78.0 million in FY 2019-20 alone.

  • CU Anschutz – Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement Funding:

Increase of $300,000 for campus funding, bringing the total amount to $15.0 million in FY 2019-20

  • Capital Construction Funding:

$19.8 million in state funding for the Anschutz Health Sciences Building (previously named Colorado Center for Personalized Medicine and Behavioral Health)  
$3.8 million in total controlled maintenance including projects at CU Boulder, UCCS and CU Anschutz
$18.5 million in state funding for the Heating and Hot Water System Replacement at the Auraria Campus (CU Denver, MSU-Denver and CCD)
Our lobbying team was successful in securing funding for the CU Denver School of Engineering building, but the CDC ended up cutting the list.

  • CU Anschutz – School of Medicine Long Bill Footnote 26b:

Of the state funding going to CU Anschutz, $1.0 million is intended to go towards scholarships for underrepresented minority students attending the School of Medicine

Special thanks to Chad Marturano for his hard work lobbying the CDC members during the session. Thanks to our State Relations team and our lobbyists Heather Retzko and Jerry Johnson for their efforts this legislative session. Lastly, thank you to President Bruce Benson. It was an honor and pleasure working with you over these past years.

Governor Polis laying out his vision for Full-day K at CU Denver’s Education Policy Networking Series sponsored by the School of Education & Human Development and the School of Public Affairs.

Governor Polis laying out his vision for Full-day K at CU Denver’s Education Policy Networking Series sponsored by the School of Education & Human Development and the School of Public Affairs.

CU Denver School of Education & Human Development

Pictured: Governor Polis laying out his vision for Full-day K at CU Denver’s Education Policy Networking Series sponsored by the School of Education & Human Development and the School of Public Affairs. While addressing the crowd, one of his policy advisors shouted from the back of the room that HB19-1262 State Funding for Full-day Kindergarten, one of the Governor’s top priorities this legislative session had just passed through the legislature. Read more about the moment here

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