According to HB10-1278 passed last year, all Colorado homeowners associations (HOAs) must register with the state by March 1, 2011. If you are in charge of an HOA and haven't yet registered, click here to go to the Dept. of Regulatory Agencies' registration page. The bill also created the HOA Information Office and Resource Center, where you can find information all the Colorado HOA information you need.


Check Up On Your Doctor

Your health depends on having a quality physician you can trust. So how do you find out if your physician has had any suspensions, restrictions, or convictions? Just visit the Colorado Dept. of Regulatory Agencies' Physician Profile database. There, you can type in the name of your doctor and receive a full report. Soon, you will also be able to check this information on other healthcare professionals, including nurses and therapists, now required by the passage of SB10-124, "The Michael Skolnik Medical Transparency Act of 2010." This database is expected to be available after July 1, 2011.


Governor Hickenlooper's Budget Proposal

Yesterday, Governor Hickenlooper submitted his budget proposal for FY 2011-12 to the Joint Committee on Budgeting. Based on revenue forecasts from the Legislative Council and Office of State Planning and Budgeting, the FY 2011-12 budget package reduces $425.0 million total funds and 263.4 FTE. The plan includes reductions to K-12 education, higher education, Medicaid, and human services. It also proposes closing a state prison (Ft. Lyon Correctional Facility), a drug treatment and a residential health care program, and re-purposing four State parks. Bonny Lake, Sweitzer Lake, Harvey Gap, and Paonia State Parks are being considered for closure/re-purposing. According to the budget plan re-purposing could mean "closing, transferring management or ownership, or placing into a “caretaker” status the referenced parks." All of the details are available on the Office of State Planning and Budgeting website. Take a look at the "Budget Balancing Letter to the JBC" and the breakdown for individual departments to get an idea of the cuts that have been proposed.

The Joint Budget Committee will review and consider the budget balancing proposal, and present their recommendations to the General Assembly. A good description of the budget process can be found on the JBC website.


Motorcycle Safety

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures*, "motorcycle deaths account for 13 percent of all motor vehicle crash fatalities, even though motorcycles were only 3 percent of all registered vehicles in 2009." The Colorado Dept of Transportation has started a new motorcycle safety program called Live to Ride. The program emphasizes proper training for motorcyclists, the importance of riding sober, and the use of proper protective gear. This year the program has published its first annual report, which you can view online or in print from our library. CDOT's goal is to see more motorcyclists live to ride another day.

*Info from NCSL Legisbrief, February 2011.


Income Tax Information

Although April 18th seems a long ways away, you may want to start collecting information for your income tax forms. This year the IRS announced that people will not automatically receive paper forms in the mail. If you prefer submitting a paper form over filing electronically, you can call the IRS to order a form or instruction booklet (1-800-829-3676) or print them from the Internal Revenue Service website. It can take 7 to 15 days for them to process and ship your order, so plan ahead.

The Colorado Department of Revenue has put together a nice compilation of e-filing options for state and federal income tax: http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/Revenue/REVX/1177017551291


Unwanted and Leftover Medications

Many people have medicines in their home that they are no longer using, whether they were prescribed during an illness a person has recovered from, or belonged to an elderly person who has passed on, or belonged to a patient who has been prescribed a different medication from what they were taking before. Hospitals and pharmacies, too, have many extra medications that are not needed. So when there are leftover medications, how do you dispose of them? In the old days I remember my parents flushing them down the toilet, but that was before we knew of the environmental concerns of having so many different medications in our water system. Getting rid of unwanted medications from the home also keeps them out of the hands (and mouths) of small children. So, the State of Colorado has established two programs to deal with unwanted medications.

One program is the Colorado Medication Take-Back Project. Under this program, anyone can drop off their unwanted medications at a variety of pharmacies around the Denver metro area and in Summit County. (The list of locations can be found on the project website.) The project helps keep the environment clean by reducing the number of medications in the water system and in landfills. Instead, medications that are dropped off through this program are disposed of via hazardous waste incineration. See also the Colorado Dept. of Public Health & Environment's Fact Sheet on the program.

The second program was established by SB10-115 in the Colorado Legislature last year. This program allows health facilities to dispose of their unneeded medications, medical devices, and other medical supplies, including those donated by patients, residents, or patients' next of kin, by donating them to non-profit organizations to be re-dispensed to others in need. The bill was originally crafted with the idea that unwanted medications could be sent to the relief effort in Haiti following that country's devastating earthquake, but the bill allows for medications to be passed on for other causes as well. Donations must be made through a licensed health facility (hospital, clinic, pharmacy). Donated medications must be unopened and in their original containers, so leftover pills from households are not being accepted at this time.

Both of these programs provide benefits for the disposal of unwanted medications: helping the environment and helping those less fortunate. So next time you're considering flushing or trashing your unneeded meds, think of these programs first.

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