Colorado Senior Lobby was very active lobbying at the Capitol this year. The Colorado Senior Lobby Capitol Gang and Legislative Committee followed 101 bills, of the over 700 that were introduced this past session. The Capitol Gang consisting of Jeanette Hensley, Muriel Arvay, Ed Shackelford, Christina Johnson, Diane Robinson, Fran Maes and Jarret Hughes spent at least 54 days at the Capitol and attended the weekly legislative committee meetings on Mondays. This dedicated group of individuals testified on 54 different bills, some of the bills we testified on were in 4 different committee hearings within the two chambers on the same day. Of the bills we testified on, 28 were passed and sent to the Governor while 26 were killed.
Throughout the session, CSL was approached by many legislators and paid lobbyist asking us what our position was on different bills, asking the Capitol Gang to testify on the legislator’s bills they had coming up in committee hearings, and working closely with us to make amendments that CSL could support. The Capitol Gang put in over 1000 hours of volunteer lobbying in the 17 weeks that the legislators were in session. This does not include the hours we spend preparing for the weekly Monday morning meetings, attending the weekly meetings, preparing testimony and researching the impact of the bills on seniors. CSL would like to give a BIG THANK YOU to the Capitol Gang of volunteer lobbyist. Without them, CSL would not be as successful as we are.
Of the 101 bills CSL followed, 42 we monitored, 37 we supported, 14 we strongly supported, 1 we opposed, 2 we strongly opposed, and we dropped 4 (determined they were not senior bills). From this list we suggested amendments to 3 bills, which the legislator agreed to make to gain our support. Of the 101 bills 47 were passed and sent to the Governor to be signed into to law, while 50 were killed – Postponed Indefinitely (PI’d). One of our successes was the Dementia Bill HB18-1091 brought forward by Kelley Horton changing Alzheimer’s and other related dementias listed in the Colorado Revised Statute to be changed to Dementia, no longer separating the different dementias out by specific diagnosis.
The Capitol Gang made it a point to sit in the front rows of every committee, so the legislators could see our Colorado Senior Lobby name tags, we felt this really helped to drive home the point that seniors matter, that seniors vote and more importantly seniors care about the political environment. By the end of the session, many of the legislators began to know us and recognize that we represented CSL. We would have the legislators request that we testify on their bill as they knew that our testimony was heartfelt and represented over 700 members state-wide. CSL has been asked to sit in on some meetings throughout the summer and fall to help discuss different issues that may impact seniors. One specific topic is the Senior Property Tax Exemption, as well as the Property, Heat Tax and Rebate, affordable housing including mobile homes, prescription and health care transparency, and helping people save for retirement.
To learn more about the CSL Capitol Gang and our CSL Scorecard, visit our web page with materials from the recent Scorecard Event – CLICK HERE
– Colorado Senior Lobby Board Member and CSL Capitol Gang Team Leader