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11301A784B113F188725822E0076E0A9 Hearing Summary


Date Feb 8, 2018      
Location HCR 0112

HB18-1065 - Committee Discussion Only

02:38:32 PM  
The committee recessed.
02:48:40 PM  

The committee returned to order. Representatives Beckman and Buckner, prime sponsors, presented House Bill 18-1065, concerning discipline of a Department of Human Services employee when the employee is found to have mistreated a vulnerable person.  Representative Buckner explained the effect of the bill and discussed its need. Representative Beckman provided input on the merits of the legislation, and explained the effect of amendment L.001 (Attachment B). Representative Buckner provided input on the amendment.  Discussion ensued regarding the scope of the problem to be addressed by the bill.

03:05:55 PM  

The following persons testified in support of HB 18-1065: Mr. Tony Gherardini and Ms. Sarah Wager, representing the Department of Human Services.  Mr. Gherardini explained why the bill is necessary, and provided an overview of the effect of the legislation. Discussion ensued regarding the preponderance of the evidence in human resources matters under the bill for the Department of Human Services. Discussion followed regarding the use of "predominant" in the bill, and the threshold for disciplining an employee under the bill.

03:21:00 PM  
Discussion continued regarding activities that would result in disciplinary action for an employee under the bill. Ms. Wager provided input on the policies relied upon for creating employee expectations and providing the basis for punishment under the bill. Ms. Wager responded to questions regarding the department's policy on whether to discipline an employee who is acquitted of criminal charges associated with a work-related event. Representative Beckman noted that the bill brings the department's personnel policies into alignment with policies observed by private-sector care providers.
03:36:48 PM  
Discussion ensued regarding certain potential vagaries in the language of HB 18-1065 pertaining to the threshold for disciplinary action for Department of Human Services employees. Mr. Gherardini responded to questions regarding the number of disciplinary cases that the department has opened in recent years, and the number of those employees that have been reinstated. He related the circumstances of these cases, and discussion ensued about the cases.
03:52:55 PM  
Discussion returned to the policies governing employee discipline at the Department of Human Services, and how these policies were used in the cases cited.
04:00:45 PM  
Ms. Alison Butler, representing Disability Law Colorado, testified in support of HB 18-1065. Ms. Butler discussed the evolution in care for vulnerable populations, and the need to bolster protections for the clients served by the Department of Human Services. Ms. Butler responded to questions regarding whether the current employee disciplinary process is working well for the Department of Human Services, and the reasons why the department did not employ progressive discipline in the cited cases.
04:09:24 PM  
Ms. Jeanne Weiss, representing the Arc of Colorado, testified in support of the bill. Ms. Weiss discussed some cases where employees disciplined for neglect continued their employment in the field. Ms. Weiss responded to questions regarding the background check process for those seeking employment with the Department of Human Services. Mr. Gherardini provided input on the department's hiring process.
04:15:18 PM  

Ms. Kathy Hartman, representing herself, testified in support of the bill. Ms. Hartman discussed the care provided by Department of Human Services employees, and explained how the bill will help to keep certain problem employees away from vulnerable populations. She discussed the circumstances of her son, who is a client of the department. The chair laid over HB 18-1065. Representative Buckner provided additional thoughts about the issues associated with the bill. 

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