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Afternoon headlines March 9, 2017

Posted: March 9, 2017 at 1:49 pm by , in Headlines

Today the Colorado House Judiciary Committee will discuss a bill that would make it easier for transgender Coloradans to change their birth certificate to represent their gender identity.

As it stands, an individual must provide the state registrar a court order indicating that they have undergone sexual reassignment surgery in addition to a legal name change.

This bill, HB 1122, would change the requirements so a person would only have to provide a letter requesting the change, in addition to a written statement from medical or mental health provider indicating that the individual has either undergone surgery, or other treatment for gender transition. In addition, the bill would require the state registrar to issue a new birth certificate rather than simply amending the original birth certificate.

This is the third time a bill addressing the issue has come up in the State House. Last year many Republicans and religious advocacy groups objected to the bill on religious grounds.

If the bill makes it out of committee and passes in the state house, it will then be sent to the Senate for consideration.

 

Yesterday Democratic House Speaker Crisanta Duran and Republican Senate President Kevin Grantham announced a $3.5 billion bill that would address Colorado’s transportation needs.

However, the bill has already received a lot of criticism from Republicans who oppose a proposed sales tax increase as a way to fund it.

The legislation proposes to increase the statewide sales tax by less than a penny, from 2.9 percent to 3.52 percent. The increase would raise an estimated $702 million a year. The money would be used to fund state and local road improvements, and other transit-oriented projects.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Chris Holbert, from Parker, told the Denver Post he will not support the bill because his district has made it clear they do not support tax increases.

Grantham says he’s acknowledged that there will be friction regarding the bill, and there is a lot of work to do, both in his party and across the aisle.

 

A system error in the Medicaid department could result in Colorado taxpayers owing the federal government as much as $43 million.

The Medicaid computer system has been categorizing some services as eligible for more federal funding than they actually are. While the department is correcting the problem this month, the problem dates back to July 2015.

Since that time, some clients receiving Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansion have been receiving 100% reimbursements from the federal government for services when they should have only been receiving 50% reimbursements.

While there is some debate over the amount of money that could be owed, Governor Hickenlooper has asked the Joint Budget Committee to create a new cash fund of $25 million that could be used to pay back the federal government. However, the JBC has said they can instead allocate another $25 million to the state budget.
Still, some government officials are optimistic that the state will not be asked to repay the amount. They say President Obama’s administration was typically lenient regarding mistakes regarding the the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. However, others worry the Trump administration won’t be as forgiving.