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642C461A86D8B45387258A7F00601985 Hearing Summary


Date Dec 8, 2023      
Location HCR 0112

Guardianship, Conservatorship, & Other Protective Arrangements Act (2017) - Public testimony & commission discussion

10:29:41 AM  
Andrew Rogers,
Colorado Bar Association (CBA) Elder Law Section,
reported that the
subcommittee reviewing the act, including participants and observers from
a number of various stakeholders, has been meeting every Friday reviewing
the act line by line and will continue to review it. Overall, the act has
been well-received but it is a complete overhaul from how these cases are
currently handled and will be a big change on many levels, have many interested
stakeholders, and there is a significant amount of work to be done for
the act to be implemented successfully. Some issues have already been identified
that will need to be addressed, and he noted that it appears that the Colorado
draft has attempted to address some of those issues. One issue that needs
to be addressed is that the act does away with the term "incapacitated
person" which is used in numerous other statutes and case law. There
is a lot more work to be done and the goal is for it to be done early in
the new year and expressed appreciation for everyone participating in the
10:36:42 AM  
Letty Maxfield,
CBA Elder Law Section,
shared some additional possible key areas of
concern for the Colorado bar. A practical concern is funding, the act shifts
the cost burden of gathering evidence, presenting medical information,
monitoring and redacting confidential information, and providing notice
from the litigants to the trial court judges and their staff. It will require
significant judicial resources to accommodate the additional tasks that
will be placed on the judiciary if this act moves forward. Time for education
and training will be needed throughout the state, forms will need to be
rewritten, and changes made to the Colorado court e-filing system for increased
transparency while protecting the personal information included in the
proceedings. The act will require the current court visitor system contract
professionals to have more skills and professional experience. They will
now need to be able to talk with medical professionals, review financial
records, and to offer the court insights into the specific disability a
respondent is suffering from. The current court visitor system is not robust
enough to handle these new demands and conversation is needed as the act
moves forward as to whether the judicial branch is the best branch of government
to continue to house the court visitor system to fulfill these new demands.
Finally, the section believes it is critical that the comments are published
with the act to guide the courts and pro se parties in how this act is
meant to work. The subcommittee is trying to make as few Colorado specific
changes as possible to avoid confusion with the published comments. There
will be an increased need for a third-party to respect these orders, which
is already a problem, and would like to include an option for a court,
in its discretion, to access attorney fees should court action be needed
for enforcement. The bar is eager to hear from all stakeholders in this
process, in particular from stakeholders in more rural areas where the
resources available to comply with the additional protections in this act
are scarce or more difficult to find.
10:43:55 AM  
Cathie Giovannini,
representing Denver Human Services and Denver Adult Protective Services,

added that this thorough review of the act has been useful for all stakeholders
to participate in. She added that her group view the act through the lens
of adult protective services and shared that they would like to see most
of the act enacted. There are, however, some are concerns with some possible
unintended consequences in portions of the act that might harm the people
the act is trying to help. Would like to see protective guardianships provided
free if not otherwise available and would be happy to answer any questions
on any of their specific concerns.
10:49:59 AM  
McGihon noted that although the bill would need to be introduced in a timely
fashion, work with stakeholders and necessary amendments would continue
throughout the legislative process. Commissioner Gardner concurred that
the stakeholder process would continue and the commission encouraged stakeholders
to share concerns with the subcommittee. Commissioner Levy added that a
Boulder assistant county attorney also has concerns with the act that may
need to be addressed. Commissioner Gardner added that Colorado Counties,
Inc. would also like to be engaged in the stakeholder process moving forward
and concurred that there is still a lot of work needed on this bill. Ms.
Maxfield added that anyone interested in the line by line review of the
section's working group is welcome to participate virtually or in person,
and anticipates there will be a second more in-depth stakeholder process
where policy and final results will be discussed. The commission thanked
all for their testimony and diligent effort on the bill and also all of
the stakeholders participating in the review of the bill and in the process.

The effective date for bills enacted without a safety clause is August 7, 2024, if the General Assembly adjourns sine die on May 8, 2024, unless otherwise specified. Details