BILL SUMMARY for SB09-144
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
|Votes: View--> ||Action Taken: |
|Moved to refer Senate Bill 09-144 to the Committee||PASS|
01:53 PM -- Senate Bill 09-144
Representative Gagliardi presented Senate Bill 09-144 which expands the mission of the Colorado Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing by:
- creating the position of system navigator specialist to promote public awareness and provide technical assistance;
- clarifying the commission's role in arranging services and accommodation for the deaf and hard of hearing in the state court system; and
- establishing a grant program to address the needs of the deaf and hard of hearing community.
Representative Gagliardi explained that in addition, the commission is to establish rules for the grant program and form a subcommittee to review and approve grant applications. The bill also specifies that the state court system does not include municipal courts. She stated that the bill allows the board to revise the qualifications for commission members and the procedures for filling vacancies. Representative Gagliardi stated that the commission is funded by revenue from the Colorado Disabled Telephone Users Fund. A fact sheet in support of the bill was provided to the committee (Attachment A). Representative Riesberg explained that there were several interpreters at the hearing.
01:57 PM -- Cliff Moers, Colorado Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Department of Human Services, spoke in support of the bill. Mr. Moers stated, via an interpreter, that he is deaf. He stated that the commission is concerned with educating the community and benefiting the deaf and hard of hearing citizens of Colorado. He described what auxiliary services would be provided under the bill, such as a cart service at legal hearings. A cart service includes an individual who provides real-time interpretation and projects the information being discussed onto a projection screen. Committee members discussed the proposed increase to the Disabled Telephone Users Fund.
02:16 PM -- Mary McGhee, Department of Human Services, spoke in support of the bill. Ms. McGhee provided information regarding the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission. She stated that the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) places a cap on the amount of fee increase that may be imposed on the Disabled Telephone Users Fund. She stated that the most the fee could be increased to is 15 cents without the approval of the PUC. In response to Representative Primavera's question regarding whether cell phone users are accessed a fee, Ms. McGhee stated that there are approximately 12 other states with a fee on cell phone users. She stated that the commission responds to several hundred calls from people seeking assistance. Representative Swalm asked about the statewide hiring freeze with regard to the 1.6 FTEs requested in the bill. Ms. McGhee stated they would have to make a request to the Governor in order to hire additional individuals. Committee members asked several questions of the witness.
02:34 PM -- Cheri Davis, Manager, Legal Auxiliary Program for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission, spoke in support of the bill. She spoke to the need for auxiliary services for deaf and hard of hearing individuals in court settings.
02:39 PM -- Kim Parra, Advocacy Services for Abused Deaf Women and Children (DOVE), spoke in support of the bill. She reiterated the need for legal auxiliary services for deaf and hard of hearing individuals. She stated that the state may save money by providing for such services. She stated that when a deaf or hard of hearing individual appears for court, be it a victim or defendant, many times the court date must be rescheduled because services and interpretation are not provided. She stated that the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission would coordinate these types of services for the court, ultimately saving time and money.
02:43 PM -- Karen Keil, spoke in support of the bill. Ms. Keil stated that she is hard of hearing. She stated that technical assistance is essential for hard of hearing people, as many do not understand sigh language.
Representative Gagliardi provided a wrap up to the bill.
|TIME: || 02:49:02 PM|
|MOTION:||Moved to refer Senate Bill 09-144 to the Committee on Appropriations. The motion passed on a 10-1 roll call vote.|
Final YES: 10 NO: 1 EXC: 0 ABS: 0 FINAL ACTION: PASS