A review of AARP and CCA Actions on Selected Bills

Two of our AgeWise Providers—AARP and CCA (Colorado Center for Aging)—conduct extensive work in legislative advocacy for seniors, such as supporting policies that benefit the 50+ community, opposing those that don’t, and working alongside partners to ensure that older adults are top of mind when drafting new legislation.

Both organizations are nonpartisan. This year AARP actively followed 119 bills and supported more than 70 of them. Of those, 66 were signed by the governor. During the 2022 legislative session, CCA followed 70 bills and supported 42, of which 25 became law. Following is a summary of selected legislation highlighted by AARP and CCA that passed and won the governor’s signature, along with a look at what the expected effects will be on Colorado’s seniors. Each bill was actively supported by AARP or CCA, in many cases by both.

HB22-1029 Compensatory Direct Distribution to Public Employees’ Retirement Association
What it does: Restores the $225 million in funding to PERA that was withheld in 2020, as well as the $79 million in lost investment gains. (However, the repayment of the $79 million in lost investment gains was removed from the final version of the bill.)

HB22-1031 Consumer Right to Repair Powered Wheelchairs
What it does: Requires powered wheelchair manufacturers to allow wheelchair owners to seek repairs from (and provide resources to) an independent repair provider rather than the manufacturer exclusively.

HB22-1035 Modernization Of The Older Coloradans’ Act
What it does: A comprehensive bill aimed at supporting increasing population of older Coloradans through the creation and expansion of existing programs, services, and infrastructure. It establishes the State Office on Aging as the state leader concerning aging issues and reorganizes the Colorado Commission on Aging, increasing its membership, defining it as the principal advocacy body in the state on behalf of older Coloradans, and directing it to coordinate and guide the implementation of the Strategic Action Plan on Aging. This is timely as the Strategic Action Planning Group on Aging (SAPGA), which developed this plan, is sunsetting this year after six years of work. 

HB22-1057 Public Employees’ Retirement Association Employment After Teacher Retirement
What it does: Temporarily waives the limits for the number of days retired teachers can work as substitute teachers to allow them to work in school districts with critical substitute teacher shortages.

HB22-1101 Public Employees’ Retirement Association Service Retiree Employment in Rural Schools
What it does: Makes permanent a program that allows PERA retirees to work full-time in a rural school district with critical shortages of qualified workers, including school nurses.

HB22-1205 Senior Housing Income Tax Credit

What it does: Creates a refundable, means-tested income tax credit available to Colorado taxpayers who are at least 65 years old as of the end of the tax year, whose adjusted gross income falls below a cap ($75,000), and who have not claimed a Senior Property Tax Exemption (often call the homestead exemption) for the 2022 property tax year. The credit is equal to $1,000 for taxpayers with incomes up to $25,000. For taxpayers with incomes above $25,000, the credit is reduced by $10 for every $500 above $25,000.

HB22-1253 Adaptive Equipment In Rented Motor Vehicles

What it does: Provides a lessee, including a person with a disability, the right to request adaptive equipment in rental motor vehicles. Also requires lessors of motor vehicles to display certain information in any reservation or reservation confirmation that includes a request for adaptive equipment.

HB22-1290 Changes To Medicaid For Wheelchair Repair

What it does: Prohibits the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing from requiring prior authorization for any repair of complex rehabilitation technology (CRT).

HB22-1303 Increase Residential Behavioral Health Beds
What it does: Adds and creates beds at mental health treatment facilities across the state, as well as require the licensing of treatment facilities.

HB22-1304 State Grants Investments Local Affordable Housing

What it does: Creates two state grant programs to support Transformational Affordable Housing and Infrastructure and Strong Communities. CCA and other advocates for older adults worked with the bill sponsors to ensure organizations like Area Agencies on Aging would be eligible recipients of grant funds. The Strong Communities Grant Program includes a focus on accessibility improvements, amenities that make the site of the project age-friendly, and transit-oriented development.

HB22-1306 Broadband Deployment Board Grant Processes
What it does: Updates requirements for the distribution of federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 funding for broadband deployment projects.

SB22-146 Middle Income Access Program Expansion

What it does: Provides $25 million to expand the middle-income access program, which provides support to those who make too much to qualify for low-income housing tax credit units but are unable to afford market rate rents.

SB22-154 Increasing Safety In Assisted Living Residences
What it does: Provides protections for residents in assisted living facilities by removing the financial penalty cap for residents injured, increases training requirements for administrators, and establishes a process to protect resident rights in assisted living residences regarding involuntary discharges. Similar processes exist for nursing homes and Alternative Care Facilities (Medicaid assisted living) but none previously has existed for assisted living.

SB22-185 Security For Colorado Seniors

What it does: Extends indefinitely and expands the Area Agency on Aging Grant Program created by SB 21-290 and renames it the Strategic Investments in Aging Grant Program. The grant program may accept funds from a variety of sources and make grants to finance projects across the state that are aligned with the Strategic Action Plan on Aging and the State Plan on Aging, which was developed jointly by the Area Agencies on Aging and the state. Such projects may include community services, health promotion, home modifications, infrastructure, research and data collection, and pilot programs. This is considered a companion bill to HB22-1035 (described above).

SB22-203 Program Of All-inclusive Care For The Elderly

What it does: Requires the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing to develop a regulatory plan to establish formal oversight requirements for the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE).

HOA Issues

CCA and AARP were also active on several bills related to HOAs. They advocated for HB22-1040 (Homeowners Reasonable Access to Common Areas), HB22-1137 (Homeowners Association Board Accountability and Transparency), HB22-1139 (Homeowners Associations Cannot Regulate Use of Public Rights-of-Way), and SB22-059 (Homeowners Association Voting Proxy Limitations). All became law.