The second regular session of the 72nd General Assembly in Colorado adjourned on Monday, June 15, 2020. This was after a 72 day recess due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the help of advocates like YOU, it has been an exceptionally good year for passing heart-healthy policies that will help ensure longer, healthier lives for Coloradans.
The session started out strong, with an estimated increase in our state budget, so much so that it was expected that Coloradans would receive a tax rebate due to hitting the TABOR cap. However, returning from the pandemic recess, the state was in a much different situation with $3.3 billion less in the budget than we had anticipated. This drastically changed what the Joint Budget Committee had initially laid out in their budget and hindered the ability of a number of priorities from moving forward.
Tobacco & Smoke-Free Air
- HB20-1001, Nicotine Product Regulation: This bill, the first to be introduced in the House, will change 18 to 21 in state statute for sale of tobacco and creates a tobacco retail license for both combustible and e-cigarettes. This bill passed. The AHA was active in the passage of this bill.
- HB20-1319, Prohibit Sale of Flavored Nicotine Products: This bill would have prohibited the sale of flavored tobacco and nicotine products. This bill ultimately became challenging to support and was tabled. We will work to reintroduce next session. The AHA was active in this bill.
- HB20-1427, Cigarette Tobacco and Nicotine Products Tax: Once signed by the Governor, this bill will put a measure on the November ballot asking Coloradans to increase the tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products, as well as create a tax on e-cigarettes, which are currently not taxed at the state level in Colorado. In the first couple of years, the revenue will go to housing, education, and to backfill Amendment 35 funds, which enable a number of key health programs across the state. After 2.5 years the revenue will continue to backfill Amendment 35, fund cessation, and pay for 10 hours of pre-K for all Coloradans. This bill passed. AHA Supported this bill.
Healthy Eating & Active Living
- SNAP Incentive Funding in the Budget: We entered the session advocating for a $300,000 increase to this SNAP incentive funds (to increase to half a million dollars total), but this failed due to the budget outlook once COVID-19 hit. The AHA was active in advocating for this increase.
- Increased Funding for Quality Physical Education Grant Fund: Pre-COVID-19, the AHA and partners successfully advocated for an additional $1.1 million for the quality physical education grant program we helped to establish last year. With the new budget forecast once the pandemic hit, this was taken out of the budget. The AHA actively advocated for this increase.
Access to Care
- SB20-212, Reimbursement Telehealth Services: Requires telemedicine to meet the same standard of care as in-person care and continues parity for in-person telehealth visit billing. This bill passed. The AHA monitored this bill.
- SB20-215, Health Insurance Affordability Enterprise: Extends and funds the reinsurance program for five years to reduce premiums for insurance purchased on the individual market and expands coverage for those who can’t afford health insurance, including those without proper documentation. This bill passed. The AHA monitored this bill.
Other Bills of Interest
- SB20-163, School Entry Immunization: Intends to increase vaccination rates. This bill passed.
- SB20-214, Suspend 2020 Legislative Interim Committees: Suspends all interim committee activities for the 2020 interim to protect staff and legislators from having to meet in confined areas and will also save some general fund dollars. This bill passed.
- SB20-217, Enhance Law Enforcement Integrity: In response to the death of George Floyd to increase police accountability. This bill passed.