Sunday, January 23, 2011

Legislation 2011-Removing Barriers and Building Opportunity

We can spend time, money and energy creating new barriers for Colorado's struggling families or we can find ways to encourage movement towards economic security. From task force member Representative Kagan comes a bill to remove barriers.

BILL HB11-1127

Short Title: Fair Use Of Consumer Credit Information

The bill specifies the purposes for which consumer credit information (i.e., consumer credit reports and credit scores) can be used in certain situations. Section 1 of the bill restricts an employer's use of consumer credit information for employment purposes and requires an employer to disclose to an employee or applicant for employment when the employer uses the employee's or applicant's consumer credit information to take adverse action against the employee or applicant and the particular credit information upon which the employer relied. Section 2 amends the current law regarding the permissible use of credit information by an insurer offering personal lines of property and casualty insurance (insurer) as follows:
* Makes the filing of actuarial justification mandatory for insurers that use insurance scores to underwrite and rate risk; and
* Clarifies that "adverse action", with regard to insurance, includes denying a consumer a discount or placing a consumer in a higher tier. Section 3 removes a separate statutory section pertaining to the use of credit information in automobile underwriting or rating, and instead requires automobile insurers to comply with the same provisions governing use of credit information as property and casualty insurers. Current law requires a consumer reporting agency (agency) to notify a consumer when the agency receives information that would add negative information to the consumer's file. Section 4 adds to the notification requirement consumers who are cosigners to a debt. Section 5 allows landlords to use consumer credit information of a potential tenant (applicant) only to evaluate the applicant's payment history for prior tenancies. When an applicant's consumer credit information adversely impacts the landlord's decision, section 4 also requires landlords to disclose this fact to the applicant.

01/21/2011 Introduced In House - Assigned to State, Veterans, & Military Affairs

Friday, January 7, 2011

Join us today for a live chat from the meeting of the Economic Opportunity and Poverty Reduction Task Force

Colorado Center on Law and Policy volunteer Andy Cohen will provide moment-by-moment updates throughout the meeting. To ask a question or make a comment to the group, type it into the chat window. Andy will relay the information and any response. The meeting is scheduled for 2 to 4 p.m.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Congress fails to approve critical support for seniors

Seniors across Colorado are facing greater hardship this year because Congress failed to approve a $250 one-time payment or a cost-of-living increase for Social Security beneficiaries. For many seniors, that means a loss of medication, a loss of food, a utility bill that can’t be paid and other erosion of economic security.

When President Franklin Roosevelt signed the measure creating Social Security 75 years ago, he promised the government would offer “some measure of protection to the average citizen and to his family against … poverty-stricken old age.” However in 2011 will be the second year in a row during which Social Security recipients will receive no increase in benefits to accommodate the rising cost of living. Congress also considered, and rejected, a one-time $250 payment to help cushion the blow.

Social Security provides a financial lifeline to elders, families and people with disabilities. Nationally, three in 10 adults age 65 and older rely on Social Security for more than 90 percent of their incomes, and most beneficiaries are women. In 2010, the average Social Security benefit for women amounted to just more than $12,500. In Colorado, there are 477,256 Social Security beneficiaries older than 65, according to the federal government.

Among Colorado’s Social Security beneficiaries older than 65, an average of 66,163 or 14 percent are living in poverty, an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data by the Colorado Center on Law and Policy found.

Social security payments are an economic bridge for all households moving toward economic security. Not only would a one-time payment or cost-of-living adjustment have supported elders as they struggled to meet basic needs, but a one-time $250 payment would have injected significant cash into the economy. When Congress approved a similar payment in 2009, in combination with a payment to Supplemental Security Insurance beneficiaries, the effect was creation or saving of 125,000 jobs, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

The Colorado Center on Law and Policy will be examining elder economic security closely in 2011 as it publishes the Colorado Elder Index as a companion report to the 2011 Self-Sufficiency Standard. Watch for the release in summer 2011.