One of the last bills sponsored by Sen. Lois Tochtrop this legislative session and in her political career is reminiscent of one of the first bills she worked on as a freshman legislator.
Senate Bill 14-130 increases the personal needs allowance to residents of a nursing facility or an intermediate care facility with people with intellectual disabilities from $50 to $75 monthly.
Tochtrop, D-District 24, used to work in long-term care facilities and remembers that patients would run out of discretionary funds long before the need did.
“These are folks that, many of them, worked all their lives and because of some unfortunate circumstance, end up in long-term care,” said the retiring legislator.
Tochtrop, a registered nurse, said one of the first bills she worked on when she was elected into her first public office 16 years ago was increasing this fund from $34 to $50 per month.
Tochtrop, who serves as chair of the Senate Business, Labor and Technology Committee, said that most of her time this legislative session has been spent on telecom reform.
The state’s telecom regulations have not been updated since the 1980s and the whole industry has changed, the senator said. She added that back in the 1980s, there was no Internet and cell phones were the size of bricks and not widely popular.
One of the issues she said she hopes to tackle is building out broadband for rural areas in Colorado.
“This expands (Internet) services around the state and modernizes the telecom industry and brings it up to the 21st century, which many states are doing,” Tochtrop said.
She said that claims that legislators are trying to eliminate 911 service or landlines are falsehoods.
“People can continue to have land lines, we are not taking that away,” she said.