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2021 Colorado General Assembly Re-Cap

Posted August 19th, 2021
The 2021 Colorado General Assembly ended on June 8th.  A large number of bills passed – including some that may affect you. We have summed up 3 of those bills below:
 

Employment

 
 
In 1938, the Fair Labor Standards Act created the first minimum wage. But, not everyone was paid minimum wage. Employers were able to apply for a waiver to pay people with disabilities less than minimum wage. At the time, many said it was the “best option” for people with disabilities.
Advocates did not agree. We have said for years that everyone can earn minimum wage. Some people with disabilities may need help at work, but it is possible.  
 
The good news is several states have voted to end subminimum wage. SB21-039 adds Coloroado to that list.  Employers who pay subminimum wage will have a few years to phase it out.
 
Want to learn about how getting paid minimum wage may change your benefits? Visit Colorado Disabilities Benefits Page here (opens in new tab). 
 

Independent Living: 

 
 
Guardianship is a legal process. A judge declares an adult unable to make certain decisions. A guardian is then appointed to make decisions for them.  This means guardianship limits the human rights of an adult. For that reason, we believe that guardianship should be the last option thought about.
 
SB21-075 creates a new option for adults with I/DD called supported decision-making.
 
A supported decision-making agreement is very flexible.  The adult with I/DD can choose what decisions they need help with.  They can also choose who will help them. The adult with I/DD still makes the decision – but they can get help to make it. SB21-075  allows for everyone to sign a formal document that solidifies the agreement.
 
 
Criminal Justice
 
All peace officers in Colorado must go through training. Colorado’s peace officer standards and training board (P.O.S.T.) oversees this. While in training, police officers learn how to interact with people with disabilities. Many advocates want officers to receive more training on how to interact with people with I/DD.
 
This bill creates a commission to examine that training. The commission will have representation from:
 
  • Advocates
  • People with Disabilities
  • First Responders
  • Parents of people with disabilities
  • And More
The commission will examine current training standards. They will also make recommendations to the P.O.S.T. board. The P.O.S.T. board must put the recommended curriculum in place, subject to available funds by July 1, 2022.  
 
 
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