Yesterday the Colorado House of Representatives passed a bill that would prohibit mental health providers from engaging in conversion therapy on individuals under 18. Conversion therapy is an effort to change an individual’s sexual orientation including efforts to change a person’s gender identity.
The bill, HB 1156, is supported by numerous mental health organizations in Colorado, including the Colorado Psychological Association, the Colorado Counseling Association, and Mental Health Colorado.
A statement from One Colorado, the state’s leading LGBTQ advocacy group, says the bill will help to protect young people in the LGBTQ community who are often coerced into undergoing conversion therapy. The statement adds that being forced into conversion therapy often leads to depression, substance abuse, and suicide.
The bill passed the House with bipartisan vote of 38-27, and will now go to the Senate for hearings in committee.
Friday, the Colorado State Senate introduced a bill that would outlaw using jails to hold people who are a danger to themselves or others, and have not committed a crime.
The bipartisan bill would also allocate $9.5 million to increasing crisis-response teams, walk-in treatment centers, and transportation from rural areas.
This would include having two person response teams, including a mental health professional and a law enforcement officer, in response to mental health related calls to police. This would aim to de-escalate situations instead of leading to arrests.
Colorado is currently one of six states in the country that allows people who are suicidal or having mental health crisis’ in jail. The state also has a higher prevalence of mental health and substance abuse disorders in comparison with other states.
The bill is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, March 22nd.
Yesterday, Senator Cory Gardner, along with three other Senate Republicans, sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sharing concerns about the proposed replacement for the Affordable Care Act.
While the letter still states support for a repeal of the law, the Senators say they are worried that a proposed cut to Medicaid could lead to many Americans without access to lifesaving health services. All four Senators represent states that chose to expand their Medicaid under Obamacare.
In Colorado, around 407,000 people get their health insurance through Medicaid.
According to the Colorado Health Institute, the Medicaid expansion helped to reduce the uninsured rate in Colorado from 15.8 in 2011 to 6.7 in 2015.
Senator Gardner has voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act in the past, including the Medicaid expansion. However, he has recently become a target for Democrats and liberal activists who want to keep the law in place.
Tomorrow, organizers of the Women’s March in January are urging women to go on strike for International Women’s Day. The strike is being called “A Day Without Women”.
Women are urged to not participate in any paid or unpaid work, wear red in solidarity, and refrain from spending money unless at women or minority owned businesses.
In Denver, there will also be a silent vigil held at the State Capitol from noon to 1pm.
You can find special coverage of International Women’s Day on KGNU tomorrow morning, starting at 8:35am.